Running Ubuntu: 5 First Impressions

I’ve finally had a chance to run my Ubuntu PC from Dell. I can see why the systems aren’t quite ready for all users. But I’ve got to tell you, folks. It’s clear to me that Ubuntu will be able to serve a large segment of the consumer population. In fact, Ubuntu is better than Windows in at least five areas. Here they are.

Oh, but first: Here are the specs for my new machine, in case you were wondering about the tech details.

Now, onto the 5 areas where Ubuntu beats the world of Windows.

5. Acquisition Cost: OK, that was a simple one. Free wins. Let’s move on.

4. Simple First-time Set-up: Aside from a bad monitor connection (my fault), setting up a Dell system with Ubuntu pre-loaded was quick and easy. No annoying Windows licensing windows. No long software activation issues. I’m not a guru at PCMag labs, but simple experience tells me Ubuntu boots up far faster than Windows XP and Vista. Microsoft’s development teams should look at Ubuntu and take note of the fast boot time.

3. Simple Desktop: There aren’t any craplets on the Ubuntu desktop. Twenty ISP icons don’t compete for $9.95-a-month dial-up access. In fact, there are NO icons on the Ubuntu desktop shipped by Dell. A simple Applications Icon in the bottom-left of the window, similar to Microsoft’s Start button, directs you to a few pre-installed applications — most notably OpenOffice.

2. OpenOffice: It’s a bit premature for me to say I love OpenOffice. But so far, so good. Each application — the word processor, spreadsheet, etc. — loads in a mere 5 seconds. FIVE SECONDS. And again, there are no annoying “activation windows” that distract you from your job at hand. It’s point-and-click productivity.

1. Firefox: There’s the open source Web browser, right on your tool bar at the bottom the the screen. I’ve read reports that Firefox is buggy on Ubuntu. I hope that’s not the case. The first impression is good, though. And it’s default home page directs me to Dell and Ubuntu support forums.

Sure, I also run Firefox on Mac OS and Windows. But there’s something reassuring about running an open source browser on an open source operating system. Sort of like peanut butter and jelly, they just seem to go together.

So what’s the bottom line? I’m not predicting that Ubuntu will displace Windows on the desktop anytime soon. But generally speaking, Ubuntu is now ready for a certain section of the consumer market.

Advanced users who are tired of spyware and bloatware will surely welcome Ubuntu. I’m not saying Ubuntu is more secure than Windows. But it certainly isn’t a big target for hackers.

I’ve been waiting about two years for a PC operating system that loads fast and stays out of my way. Sure, Mac OS fits that description. I can finally say that Ubuntu does as well.

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14 thoughts on “Running Ubuntu: 5 First Impressions

  1. Pingback: TechIQ » Archive » First Impressions of Ubuntu Linux

  2. Been thinking about get a dell laptop myself with ubuntu installed, as my main computer runs ubuntu. If shipped via dell they fix your monitor resolution and wirless networking

  3. Add another, package management. Windows zealots may say it’s overrated, but I think it serves a good purpose. Ubuntu creates (not code, but compile into a binary) all (well, not the proprietary pkgs, but 99% of the pkgs) of the packages. So when you’re looking for – say a media player – you don’t have to worry about it taking over your system and adding adware, something which you cannot guarantee on windows. In addition to that, ubuntu provides security updates for all of these packages, so rather than worrying about updating programs manually, a quick update does the work.

  4. Canitbe:

    I agree: Buying a laptop with ubuntu installed is intriguing. I was tired of logging into WiFi networks in airports and coffee shops and worrying about spyware, etc. That’s why I purchased a MacBook for my mobile needs. But if i had the extra dough i would give ubuntu on laptop a look.

  5. I can confirm your report of astonishingly fast start up times for Ubuntu. Try running it on a laptop – I used to wait five or more minutes for XP to start on my old Dell Inspiron; now, with Ubuntu, it’s up and running and connected to my wireless network in literally a minute or so.

    As for Firefox, In my experience it runs faultlessly on Ubuntu. And its partner, Thunderbird, provides an excellent e-mail client, too. (I have the profiles for both programs on a network drive, so my e-mail folders and bookmarks are the same on any of my computers (two desktops and a laptop) where ever I am in the house. Try doing this with Outlook and IE!!!. And Ubuntu, Firefox and Thunderbird are all free!)

  6. OpenOffice can start up in under a second on my computer. Make sure that you have gone into the “Tools>>Options” menu, and then select the “Openoffice.org>>Memory” screen, and then make sure that the “enable systray quickstarter” is checked and enabled.

  7. Sounds like the layout of the desktop is different than the normal layout in Ubuntu. care to share some screen-shots? (press Print for full screen capture. Alt+Print to capture the window thats in focus. just in case you didn’t know.)

  8. “I’ve read reports that Firefox is buggy on Ubuntu. I hope that’s not the case.”

    Firefox is just as good on Ubuntu as on Windows. But: the linux Flash Plugin is buggy: it’s likely to freeze the programs using it (Firefox, for example, when visiting a site with flash on it) 1 out of 10 times.

  9. I haven’t had any buggy problems with firefox including flash, it all works flawlessly for me. I would recommend people to try Linux Mint though. It has a brilliant start button and is heavily based on ubuntu. It also has all the DvD and video playback codecs preinstalled along with a GUI wireless driver assist (ndiswrapper). Basically it is a more polished version of Ubuntu, give it a try I love it!

  10. Firefox in Ubuntu is buggy. Yes it is.
    Many apps _are_ buggy, everywhere.
    Internet Explorer in M$ OSes is MUCH buggy.
    But Firefox bugs are quickly fixed. And using Ubuntu’s update manager is easy. I would say, you don’t use it, it takes care for you.

  11. I thinks ubuntu is nice thing but to use it in a clean pack tells only that you are crazy!!! There is a lot packs in the internet that installs with many soft < fixes drivers and so on!!!

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