Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The [almost] Greatest OS today?

Well, after having thoroughly read reviews, prices and watched conferences on the new and upcoming Operating Systems from Apple and Microsoft, I have concluded that the best OS out for a PC is neither (especially in considering the difficulty one would have in placing OSX on a PC). The greatest is actually Ubuntu. Ubuntu is an entirely free, Open Source operating system based on Linux. To learn more about Open Source, click here. In short, Open Source is based off a mentality to have freely developed software available to everyone.

Over the past few months, Ubuntu has evolved from something good to a truly spectacular operating system. In the screenshot, I have the latest Ubuntu Edgy installed - which only took 15 minutes to install ground-up.

Already out of the box upon installing Ubuntu comes Evolution - almost the equivalent to Microsoft Outlook... just better, the latest and greatest of Firefox - 2.0... the entire Openoffice.org Suite, which eliminated my need for any office software; I even had database tools. There was also The Gimp installed - which is a fairly equivalent to Photoshop - a handful of games, music listening/ripping/burning sofware, and GAIM. Gaim is the best instant messaging client any human being could ask for, and what a better way to use it than to place it on the operating system for human beings.

After I installed Edgy, I grabbed Automatix2 - a tool used to easily install the most popular used apps to your system - by following ubuntuguide.org. In a matter of minutes, I had GoogleEarth, Exaile! music player, a number of developing programs, Blender3d - an opensource equivalent to 3dMax - and a web development tool. My computer had become a multimedia video/audio/image studio, along with a complete developer's backyard to write applications.

Gamers! You can also be excited! If you can't leave your Windows games, there are ways to play them in Ubuntu. Cedega offers a solution that can allow your gaming goodness to become a reality in Linux. The software isn't free, but it is worth it. What's even better is that some terrific games are already ported to Ubuntu. Nexuiz is one of those games. It offers the gaming fun of Unreal Tournament, with some of the latest graphics offered in games like Half-Life 2 (such as the bloom and HDR effects).

Low graphics settings - I was on a non-gaming laptop.

One more AMAZING plus to Ubuntu is AIGLX. It is incredibly easy to install something called Beryl, and it will then turn the computer into a 3d-fluid desktop environment, featuring a 3d multi-desktop, transparent window titles (which was a possibility before Windows Vista was even released), and many more cool effects.

The last and biggest thing that would have held me back from Ubuntu is a little thing called PlaysForSure. If you own an mp3 player other than an iPod, odds are it is PlaysForSure - and was MS's attempt at locking you in to Windows. But now it works, thanks to the release of libmtp2 and Gnomad2 (v 2.8.9+).

The ONLY thing that still is not enabled in Linux is the ability to play music bought through an online music store like iTunes or URGE.

At least not yet - the Open Source community is always changing, always growing, always supporting.

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