I'm sure many of you have seen Jessamyn's awesome video installing Ubuntu on a couple of donated library PCs. I made the switch to Ubuntu for my primary desktop workstation here at AADL after we had a windows virus get loose on our network and I was fed up. I never looked back, even after the virus was summarily squashed.
If you're looking to jump into or even experiment with Ubuntu, this week might be the time to go for it. The latest version of Ubuntu, code named Hardy Heron, is scheduled to be released April 24. Ubuntu releases new major versions about every 6 months, but only once every two years do they label a release as Long Term Support (LTS), which means it will be supported for 3 years for the desktop (5 years for the server edition). The last LTS release was code named Dapper Drake, released in 2006. This version also includes tools that makes it even easier to try Ubuntu, letting you install it like an application inside Windows to try it out.
Ubuntu 8.04 Long Term Support (LTS) provides a stable platform for software and hardware vendors, developers and users. With three years of support and maintenance on the desktop, 8.04 LTS is a great choice for large-scale deployment. A substantial and growing ecosystem of free and commercial software built for Ubuntu provides a rich set of choices for desktop users. This is the eighth desktop release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu's track record in delivering - on a precise schedule every six months - a commercial operating system that is free, stable, secure and fully supported, remains unique. (read more...)
Specific to my geekly duties at AADL, here are some of the applications I use on Ubuntu:
- Gimp: Great image editor, perfect for quick crops and resizes as well as multi-layer intensive editing. (included in Ubuntu)
- Firefox: not only works with flash, but all the great Firefox plugins like Adblock plus, firebug, and greasemonkey. (note Firefox 3 beta 5 is included in Hardy)
- OpenOffice: able to open and edit MS Office docs, still a necessity in this day. (included in Ubuntu)
- Komodo Edit: a free PHP editor with code completion and syntax highlighting. (Download linux version here).
- VMWare Server: I've been unable to find a email client that can establish a consistent and stable connection with our Exchange server for email, so I installed XP and Outlook2003 in a virtual machine in VMWare Server. Also nice when I need to test something in Internet Explorer or another Windows-only app. (Download linux version here)
- Flex Builder: Adobe has an alpha of their Eclipse-based Flex editor for linux. Unfortunately it doesn't include the Design view, but the code completion and compiler work just right. (Install info here)
- Innovative Millennium: Yes, because the Millennium client is Java based, it works just as well on Linux as any other platform. (download from csdirect)
So give Ubuntu a shot. You might never look back.