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Double Stamp is an easy-to-understand guide to useful computer and internet technology. It's written to be readable by everyday computer users.

Ubuntu! *clap clap clap*

I have been avoiding this post for a long time, but it is finally time that I tell you about what I believe to be the most promising future of computers. If you know me personally, I have probably already talked your ear off about this subject, but I avoided posting about it here in Double Stamp because I wanted some more time to get my facts straight.

Before we go any further, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would you rather pay hundreds of dollars for your computer system (software), or get it for free?
  • Are you tired of buying a Windows computer, only to find that your new system already has a bunch of crap installed that you never wanted?
  • Do you get really annoyed when it takes 5 minutes for your computer to completely load, even though it seemed to work fine 3 months ago. Are you tired of all those automatic start-up programs taking over?
  • Are you tired of having to buy, install and run anti-virus and spyware software?
  • Are you tired of being manipulated into using only Apple products, just because you bought an iPod?
  • If someone offered you a solution to all of these problems for FREE, would you be interested??? Read on.
Most of you have probably heard of Linux before, but haven't had much experience. In the past, Linux was an operating system used mainly on servers (computers that run in the background), or on computer geek machines. Over the past 5 years, however, Linux has become very user friendly and powerful for both the geeks and typical users.

Linux comes in all shapes and sizes, and each variant of the system is called a distribution. It's like a hand in a glove. Linux is the hand, the part that is the core of the motion, and the distribution is the glove. You choose a distribution based on what you need to do. If your objective is to stay warm, you choose a warm glove, and if you want to hit a hole in one, you use a golf glove.

Ubuntu (pronounced "ooo-boon-too") is the name of my favorite Linux distribution. It's purpose is to be very user-friendly and powerful for people like you and me. With Ubuntu, you can basically do everything that you can do with another operating system like Windows or Mac. For example,
  • Browse the internet
  • Create/edit office documents for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, etc.
  • Use email, calendar, task lists...
  • Edit your photos: crop, resize, fix colors, contrast, etc.
  • Play games, chat online via IM, and much, much more.
Now, why would you even want to try Ubuntu?
  • It's is legally 100% free and always will be. So are all the programs you need. No more paying hundreds for Windows or Mac software! There are thousands of great programs to choose from in Ubuntu; it's like a free shopping spree for software.
  • You can do basically everything that you can do with Windows or Mac, and there are many things that it can do exclusively.
  • It runs very clean; no problems with programs automatically loading on start-up and hijacking your memory.
  • No need for anti-virus or spyware software that slow your computer down and cost money.
  • It is extremely easy to use, and is very secure.
  • It is easy enough for a beginner to use, yet powerful enough for computer geeks to love it. My mom, who just started using computers, can use Ubuntu with no problem.
You are hopefully starting to get the idea. Now that I have talked it up, how about a little tour of the computer I am using to write this article. Let's begin by looking at the desktop.

Check this out, I will now "flip" my desktop and work on a fresh space. When I want to come back, I'll just flip back. It's like working on the sides of a 3D cube. This allows me to manage my windows without getting too cluttered.

Where did that one window go? Oh, let me just flip through them visually.

Now I want to download a new program. I'll just open the automatic software installer that allows me to simply place a check mark next to the programs that I want. It then downloads and installs for me! If I want to get rid of the program, I just un-check the box.

Are you "sold" yet? If so, you don't have to pay a dime for this system. You can download or order CD's to install Ubuntu for free. Just go to and look for the download links. If you want to try it out, you can do so without even actually installing it on your computer by running it from the CD. You can also install it in a way to keep your old operating system intact, enabling you to choose which system to run when you boot up. If you want to try it out, but need some help getting started, post up in the comments and I will help you personally.

Ubun-tu *clap clap clap* Ubun-tu *clap clap clap* Ubun-tu *clap clap clap*


tysqui said...

I like Ubuntu as well. It's a nice clean install. You failed to mention the downsides though, some of which are that many peripherals that work perfectly fine on a PC or Mac take quite a bit of work to get going in Linux (and some don't work at all). The good news is though, Linux is improving far more quickly than any other OS and solutions to these problems are being found with every new version.

Doughy said...

It's true that some specialty devices require tweaking, but Ubuntu's support of hardware peripherals is better than Windows Vista in my opinion (not XP). All the main stuff should work fine out of the box: printers, external hard drives, cameras, etc.

You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the rate at which Linux is improving compared to the other systems. For those of you who don't know, Ubuntu sticks to a strict schedule, releasing a new version of the system every 6 months.

cutesy DOOM said...

I agree with Tysqui. Unless you're wanting to change this blog from informative to advertising, you need to address the downsides of Ubuntu up front -- especially considering you're catering to the non-technical market. The last thing a lay user wants is to take the leap and then be plauged by surprise complications.

Doughy said...

I don't make any money off this blog, and the post about Ubuntu has no commercial value to me. How could it be advertising?

A "lay user" would like to run programs without them completely hijacking their startup. A non-technical user doesn't know how to protect his/her own computer from getting completely run down. A lay user would want to save money by using software free of charge. A non-technical user would like to have a safe operating system even though they don't necessarily know how to provide that for themselves.

Case in point, my Mom is now using Ubuntu. When I visited her, I had to go into the startup list and disable dozens of unwanted programs. Now that she runs Linux, her system stays nice and clean with virtually no maintenance.

And Cutesy, what is this talk about "taking the leap?" What is more of a leap, throwing down 300 bucks for windows vista, or installing Ubuntu for free alongside windows via dual boot? If something doesn't work the way you want it, you aren't out a dime. People don't seem to have a problem "taking a leap" to Windows Vista, yet hardware support for Vista is still spotty.

There is no downside to Ubuntu when you get it for free, and can dual boot it along with what you currently have.

cutesy DOOM said...

Advertising doesn't necessarily imply monetary gain. We advertise for UEngineers without the expectation of making a buck. The Foundation for a Better Life posts advertisements solely for the sake of hoping to better the world.

The difference between an advertisement and a informative writeup is simple. The ad gives a slant on a product or an idea by emphasizing its highlights and downplaying its shortcomings. An informative writeup presents all pertinent information to the reader, regardless of whether it's good or bad.

I'd still say switching operating systems certainly IS a leap. It requires a substantial amount of time and effort on the user's behalf -- downloading/burning the images, installing the OS, and facing the learning curve of Ubuntu and all the other programs they are unfamiliar with.

I'm not trying to argue with you that Ubuntu is bad, that Windows is good, or that anyone should go buy Vista. (Heck, you know me. I refused to even buy XP.) The fact of the matter is that I'm not trying to argue at all. Instead, I'm recommending that you spell out for your readers exactly what they should expect -- for better or for worse -- and let the facts tell the story about why Linux is better.

Hearing comments like "there is no downside" makes me think of a used Hyundai dealer. Don't be a Hyundai dealer. You dress WAY too nice for that!

Doughy said...

If you put it that way, I have always given my opinion on this site; nothing more, nothing less. I AM trying to advertise Ubuntu then because it is by far my favorite operating system. I'm not trying to be fair, I'm trying to share with people the things that I find are useful with computers and the internet. I have nothing to gain by convincing people to use the stuff I post, other than the satisfaction that they will benefit from the information.

If I am a Hyundai dealer, then here's the deal. I claim to have a car that has extremely good gas mileage, is easy to drive, and looks great. I am telling you that you can have the car for free, and keep your old car. If you don't like my new Hyundai, get rid of it. What is the downside to that?! (I even mentioned being able to try Ubuntu out via the CD without even installing it.)

You're being offered a free car, man. You can drive it and find out it's capabilities and limitations on your own. If you don't like it, junk it.

cutesy DOOM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cutesy DOOM said...

I'd give you the official cutesy DOOM seal of approval, but I'm fresh out. Instead, I offer to you the cutesy DOOM walrus of approval.

cutesy DOOM!

Aaron Waite said...

What's up with Cutesy Doom getting on your case. I don't go to people's blogs to give them trash about what they are writing.

Doughy, I just reinstalled XP and formatted my harddrive since my PC was getting ridiculously slow. Can I still stick Ubuntu on it? I only have one partition on the drive. Will it slow down my XP? If you get a sec email back at

Your blog gets the Aaron walrus of approval. That's way bigger then a seal, with bigger tusks and could probably kick a seal's bum in a cage fight.

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