You may have heard about Linux from time to time, but never had a
chance to use it. Here's a look at what some of the commonly used
features look like in Ubuntu 9.04. Ubuntu is probably the best bet
for the new Linux user. It's pretty easy to use, stable and quite
secure. It can be easily installed on a computer with Windows on it,
and have either Windows or Ubuntu available to the user. The easiest
way to install it is using the Wubi installer (W for Windows, ub
for Ubuntu, i for installer). Wubi lets you install Ubuntu like a regular
Windows program. It can be uninstalled if you don't like it or want
to free up space on your hard drive; Wubi takes a few gigabytes of
hard drive space, at a minimum.
There are several browsers available, and lots of networking tools,
particularly for wireless connectivity.
There's lots of free games available.
If you click on "System" then "Preferences", you'll find a lot of
settings like you'd find in Windows Control Panel.
Under "Administration" you'll find "Update Manager", similar
to Windows Update.
If you have a computer with just Ubuntu on it, you can install
Windows in what's called a virtual machine. Both operating systems
would be running at the same time.
This is one you'll want to try out. Add/Remove Applications lets you
access thousands of free programs. The default when Ubuntu is
installed is to only look for a limited set of programs that conform
to very strict standards of licensing. For instance, Adobe does not
release their Flash player under the same licensing terms as a lot
of the open source software like you commonly find in the world of
Linux. If you set the drop down menu at the top to "All open source
applications", you'll be able to download more programs. you want to
be careful in doing this to avoid any software with security
problems. but if you stick to very popular applications that you are
familiar with, you should be OK. This feature is supposed to be
replaced by a different package to install new software in version
If your graphics card has enough memory in it, you can turn on
enhanced visual effects.
You can simply turn on an all in one setting like
"Extra" in the "Appearance Preferences" window, or you can fine turn
settings if you like.
Ubuntu is extremely secure as it comes when first installed (as long
as you install all of the security updates). But a firewall called
Firestarter is available. You'll need to be sure to top to click
"All Open Source Applications" in the Add/Remove Applications window
to see Firestarter listed.
If you are a super geek, you will love all the details about a
laptop's battery that you can see.
This menu lets you change what starts up when the computer starts.
You should be careful using this. But if your computer is older and
runs slow, it can be helpful to turn off things you don't need, like
Bluetooth and printing.
thing that can be confusing in Linux is that there are often more
than one way to do things. That's actually true about Windows.
Synaptic is another way to install new software. A general rule in
Linux is that if one package manager is running, and you start
another one, the second one can't work at the same time. So if you
ever get a warning like that, try closing Synaptic, Update manager or Add/Remove
Applications to "unlock" the
Update Manager keeps your PC running safe and secure. Make sure you
download all of the packages that say they are security related.
It's also a good idea to update other packages because they often
contain bug fixes to help keep your PC running more stably.
This is sort of the tip of the iceberg, it's a look at a lot of the
common things you should be aware of. But there's so much more
available if you want to learn about Linux, programming or just try
out a ton of cool software. have fun.