Ubuntu up

I’ve been Linux-happy and Microsoft-free at home for a year and a half. Last night, I installed the new desktop darling of the Linux world — Ubuntu Linux — and I’m sold. It is better integrated and easier to add new software packages than the other Linux distributions I’ve installed.

Linux and open-source software generally, you see, despite its wonderful reputation as a server has had problems making it the everyday desktop with the same ease of operation as, say, MS Windows. (I learned a few Unix commands back in 1994, and I still had to use them. This is like still using DOS in Windows. In other words, unsatisfactory to the great number of users.) The Open Source community has made great strides and Ubuntu is one of a few viable options for individuals and churches.

Why should you care?

Well, does your church pirate software? Is it good stewardship to be locked into proprietary software? Does your software reflect your ethics and community standards (cooperation v. monopoly)?

I think a Linux desktop is a valuable tool for churches and little wonder there’s a budding Christian Linux cohort to do its bit for the Open Source community. More about that later.

Until then, I’m going through each step of my Ubuntu installation and configuration to see where there are unmarked paths that might flummox the casual user or noobie. More about that later, too.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Ooh, do let us know how you get on.

    I’m a complete newbie to Linux, but Ubuntu has almost convinced me to switch. I think I’ll wait and find out if there’s any big hurdles I should be aware of first. :-)

    “Does your software reflect your ethics and community standards (cooperation v. monopoly)?”

    That’s the one that does if for me. All this time, I feel like a guy complaining about unfair trade whilst sipping Coffee at Starbucks!

  2. So I take it Graham that you have a install or live CD?

    For the rest of y’all: a nice thing abvout Ubuntu, Mepis (my last install) and some of the other Linux releases is that you can try it out on top of your current operating system (OS) by running it exclusively off a live CD-ROM. Looking back, the Ubuntu live CD was so slow and the features we so few that it was more of a “show book” than a proper representation of the OS.

    The project is supported by a very deep pocket in the UK, which is why one can order free of charge as many CD kits as one likes. The Intel x386 set (a live and a install disk set) is what most current Windows users would get. I got several and have been passing them out. Or you can burn your own dish. Links from their website.

    Important note: I’m actually running the second newest version, a version having just come out last month. Most Linux distros (distributions) come out in rapid fire, and this one is prone to having cute names. The new distro is Hoary Hedgehog and the one I use is Warty Warthog. In case you start seeing reference to hoary and warty.

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