Graham commented, after I mentioned I had installed Ubuntu Linux on my home computer: “Ooh, do let us know how you get on.”
I’m getting on quite well, and I think it is the best Linux distribution for home and church office desktops I’ve seen to date. But it isn’t for most people yet.
The biggest problem is in the installation. The way I was weaned off Windows isn’t all that unusual. I had a big, slightly unwieldy installation of Mandrake (now Mandriva) Linux dual booted on my machine with Windows ME. Two operating systems on one drive. Got it? IN time, it was clear the Linux distribution had all I needed, even if I did have to twiddle with it. The freedom and free software was worth the trouble.
By the time I was ready to move to the Debian-based Mepis Linux distribution — with its superior software packaging — I didn’t need Windows, and so wiped it from my hard drive. Which is all well and good since I really liked Mepis, and Debian-based Ubuntu is even better. Better usability. More logical controls. Superior community support. Terrible installation. I was going to go halves with Mepis and Ubuntu, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of how Ubuntu sets up disk divisions. And that is probably a deal-breaker for first timers.
The good news is that the poor installer is a known problem and will eventually be replaced with something more intuitive. That’s when most people should adopt Ubuntu Linux. (But if you have a spare computer, try it out on that. The project is well funded and you can order disks free of charge.)
But say you go for it. It detects hardware very well. You need to know what extra software you want to add. A look at the Ubuntu support site will train you on the Synaptic Package Manager. With it you can get Audacity (for sound editing), GnomeSword2 Bible Guide, and Scribus (for desktop publishing). Everything else — media players, an office suite, games, image manipulation software, a browser (Firefox) and a mail client, and the usual goodies are already included.
So it looks good; if you can wait a few months, it’ll be better.
That was cursory I know; what more do y’all need to know?