Ubuntu desktop is just easy

Using Linux as desktop OS makes work easy

As some of you may remember, I installed a dual-boot Ubuntu set up on my laptop some weeks back using WABI. Initially, I was going to switch back and forth between Windows 8 and Ubuntu to compare and contrast between them. After a little bit of time, though, I had settled back into Windows and wasn't booting Ubuntu as much anymore.

I realized that the main reason I was staying in Windows was that I was not actually shutting down my machine when I was done using it. I would either leave it on or, if I had to travel with it, put it to sleep. So I never really rebooted, and hence never came to the dual-boot screen where I pick which OS I wanted to run.

Finally, earlier this week I decided that I was going to go back to Ubuntu. So I shut down, saved all of my open work and rebooted. I fired up Ubuntu and was pleasantly reminded how quickly it booted. Once up and running, I quickly updated any available updates, and then got to work. 

My Mozilla Thunderbird mail client quickly was up to speed on my mail. I find it every bit as good as Outlook, frankly, and more snappy. Next, I ran Firefox and Chrome for all of my web browsing (same as I do in Windows). I actually liked the Chrome browser in Linux better than the Windows version. The Linux version seems a little older, or at least it seems Chrome runs like it used to, which frankly I like a lot better than the latest versions.

Open Libre gives me everything I need in terms of office productivity. Since I have been storing files in Microsoft Skydrive I was actually able to access my files from there. Isn't that a bit ironic - using Microsoft's Skydrive so I can use Linux instead of Windows?

Next, I had to do some graphic work. Nothing major, just touchup and photoo editing for a white paper I was writing. I opened the Ubuntu Software Center and downloaded two great programs. One is GIMP and the other is Inkscape. If you are familiar with Photoshop or Corel PaintShop Pro, GIMP will feel very comfortable very quickly. If you are familiar with CorelDraw, Inkscape is a no-brainer. Both products were high-quality and free. I quickly completed my tasks and moved on to the next one.

Overall, for me, Ubuntu is just very easy to use. For 99% of the tasks I perform on my computer, there really is no need to go to a command line or use power-user settings. I have applications for just about everything I do. What I like about it is that the OS doesn't get in the way. I don't get the Windows "experience" on top of the application. Ubuntu seems cleaner, faster, and focused on my chores.

That being said, I can see where some of the power-user features of Linux and delving under the hood could lead you down the rabbits hole, or should I say rat's nest. You then need to know those command-line functions and library names that I think scare so many Apple and Windows users away. But, really, if you are not seduced by becoming that kind of user, Ubuntu gives you what you need right in the GUI.

I think that is why Linux-based mobile OS like Android and others have caught on so well. The apps run great, you really don't need to get under the hood. It is easy. If you want to tinker, there is more for you to do with that in Linux, but that is only if you want to.

So, contrary to popular belief, I think Linux makes a great desktop and mobile OS because it is easier than the alternatives.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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