Microsoft released Windows Vista a little over three years ago, and it hit the market (and customers) like a rock right between the eyes. Hardware configurations were too underpowered, hardware support was horrid, and tons of third party software did not work with it (including some of Microsoft’s own).
Supporting this abomination was even harder.
Out of the clouds, however, came sunlight because being enormously frustrated with what users were stuck with, I looked into options. The best option I could come up with was Ubuntu. Ubuntu is an Open Source (click link to read definition) and free operating system. The first version I discovered in 2007 was Feisty Fawn (7.04). It impressed me immediately. It loaded fast, looked usable (simple), and didn’t try to wow you with too much fluff…it just worked, and worked well. Sure, it wasn’t as refined as Windows, but it also blew the doors off of Windows in performance and security. I discovered that many of my clients could easily satisfy all their computer needs with Ubuntu; on their existing hardware! Learning about and teaching Ubuntu was and is a sheer pleasure.
Fast forward three years, and Ubuntu is now up to version 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) which is released tomorrow. In three years, the usability and stability of Ubuntu has grown greatly. The folks who work on this project impress and inspire me to try and spread the word about this wonderful product to more and more computer users.
Today, a new group of mostly volunteers released a manual for the newest version of Ubuntu. You can download the 160+ page manual here: Getting Started with Ubuntu 10.04. Many good books exist for Ubuntu, but this is the first thorough manual ever released by the Ubuntu organization. Lots of great online help is available at the Ubuntu web site, their forums, and in the included help file in Ubuntu itself, but folks like manuals and this manual fills that void. Like many technically written documents, the Ubuntu Manual isn’t stimulating reading, but it does work extremely hard at providing the reader with all the basics necessary to get a good start with Ubuntu.
If you are a Windows user and frustrated with the security woes and expensive and confusing software and support that come with it, give Ubuntu a look. It works great on older computers and gives new purpose to a once thought of obsolete system. Ubuntu isn’t for everyone to be sure, but I stand by my claim that more than 75% of all home computer users would benefit and thrive in the Ubuntu world.