Friday, January 9, 2009

Switch to linux for a better experience

Do you have a PC that works well on Windows XP, want to switch to Vista, but it's configuration is a bit too low to support Vista? Well in that case, you should consider switching to Ubuntu Linux.

What is Ubuntu? It is a linux distribution based on Debian (another kind of linux distro.)

I have a PC with Intel Pentium 4, 3.06 GHz Processor, 512 mb RAM and Nvidia GeForce 6200 SE. Also, I have Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu Linux 8.10 Interpid installed on it. Since my PC was pre-installed with XP, it works quite well with it. Talking about Vista, the PC just can't take it, thanks to the extremely low RAM that it has got. But yes, Ubuntu, with similar features runs quite smoothly on my system.

You can get Ubuntu from here for free. Also take a tour of Ubuntu on the same site. I've listed some of its pros and cons here.Check out this video...

Pros:
  1. Old systems - Works well even on older systems without compromising on features, and is not as memory hungry as Windows Vista or Windows 7 beta.
  2. Visuals - It has all 3D and other visually pleasing effects. Some of these effects surpass those of Vista (like desktop cube.)
  3. Stability - It is very stable and never crashes. Also, it is the fastest.
  4. Safety - Being built on the strong foundation of Debian linux, it has loads of safety features, many of which you won't find in other systems. As you guessed, you won't require to install any anti-virus softwares.
  5. User-friendliness - It is the most user friendly linux distro out there. In versions 8.04 (Hardy) and higher, a windows based installation tool is also available, whereby you don't need to boot from the CD or repartion the hard drive. Ubuntu can be installed inside the windows partition (it does not mean you can access the files from windows.)
  6. Driver availability - Drivers for most devices are available for linux, and when you connect to the internet, it detects and downloads them automatically.
  7. Automatic updates - Ubuntu provides automatic updates through software sources for all packages installed through built-in package managers. Also, you can upgrade to a new Ubuntu version online when available.
  8. Software sources - Ubuntu community provides users with most available softwares through software sources. To install any of them, you just have to open the Synaptic Package Manager, check on the desired packages and select 'apply changes'.
  9. Wine - In case you want to use some Windows .exe programs in Ubuntu, you can do so using wine. Though not very stable, you can install and run many small softwares on it. I have also seen guys installing Microsoft Office 2003 in linux this way. Beware while using it because if it becomes unstable, the program may just quit without any warning.
  10. Free - Almost all the things in this OS are free, including the OS itself.
Cons:
  1. No gaming - If you are a serious gamer, this OS is almost completely useless for you.
  2. No shockwave - You cannot probably play much games on the internet as well because they use shockwave flash, and as such there is no plugin available for that in linux for the time being.
  3. Inferior drivers - Some things go wrong sometimes with the drivers in Ubuntu. When listening to music on high volume, the sound often bursts, whereas I get much better sound at the same volume in XP or Vista. Also, sometimes video gets choppy while watching HD movies and where frame rate is high.
  4. Internet Necessary - An internet connection is necessary and it should work 'in' Ubuntu. If you don't have such a connection, then it gets really hard to install anything, including codecs and drivers, without which you cannot do many things on it. This problem can, however, be solved if you install Ubuntu from the DVD, which comes with many more packages, otherwise ignored in the CD version due to space restrictions.

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