Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Linux is an open-source operating system (OS) used as an alternative to Windows or Apple OS.  Linux systems demand far less resources from computers (384MB of RAM is the recommended minimum for desktop use or 128MB will be sufficient if just setting up a basic local file server).  New computers become lightning fast whilst older systems are revived and responsive again.

A nice overview can also be found on the BBC website.

Traditionally Linux has been a system only used for servers on the internet, servers in businesses, and for computer enthusiasts – be in no doubt Linux is a secure and robust platform to work from.  The Ubuntu version of Linux is the most most popular variant for home users as it utilises a modern user friendly interface so interaction with the computer is mainly point and click with the mouse for desktops,laptops and netbooks.  It is also often used by businesses and schools as there are not any license fees to pay as it is free software.

Ubuntu is installed using a “live” CD or USB memory stick so you can see what it looks like before you install it on your machine, or even use your machine immediately if Windows has completely crashed.  You are able to do this yourself – all instructions are on the Ubuntu website.  I can of course do this for you, or assist you if you want learn this alternative way of computing.  I’m here to help.

Running a “live” system is useful even if you don’t want to install Ubuntu: you can use the virus scanner to check your installed system without booting it up and further propagating viruses on your computer and the internet; use the shredder to permanently delete sensitive data; and run “GParted” to partition hard drives into custom sized segments if for instance you want to keep your files separate from your operating system. These are just three of many many useful open source tools that are just part of Linux systems waiting to be discovered.

Some advantages:

Fast start-up and shut-down times.  Typical system will boot-up and be ready to use in 45 seconds.

Centralised system updates.  All your software will be updated with just a few clicks (security updates can be set to happen automatically without the forced reboot that Windows 7 Home editions now gives you).

Can be installed alongside Windows giving you a “dual boot system” so you can choose whether to use Windows or Linux in case you have some Windows specific requirements such as Sage accounting software, work training packages or Sat Nav updating.

Extend the usefulness of your old desktop or laptop for yourself, children, older relatives friends or just use it as a file sharing Network Attached Storage (NAS) server.

Some disadvantages:

You cannot generally buy software or games in the shops for Linux (all the software you need including enough games to keep you amused are downloaded free from the Ubuntu repository).

Some functions and peripherals that are not fully supported can be a fiddle to enable but I can guide you through this.

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What ever you decide please do not throw old computers away as they normally can be used for many years longer than you may think and will be very welcome by someone who wants to get online without spending a small fortune.  Any computers recycled through me will have the hard drives electronically shredded (permanently erased) for your security.

Learn – Share – Enjoy

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