As I'm writing these words, a major computer wholesaler has decided to ship some of its new models with Linux Operating System.
They have selected UBUNTU's 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" distribution of Linux. (Windows have OS releases or versions like XP or Vista; Linux has "distributions" like Fedora, Redhat, Ubuntu and many others.)
A perfect choice because I've been using UBUNTU on one of my machines for over a year now and I have nothing but qualified praise for it.
Qualified? Yes. Because I cannot run any of my Windows application (like Photoshop, Illustrator, FrameMaker, GoLive) on Ubuntu.
GIMP comes close to doing what Photoshop can do (at least at my level of graphic competence) but other Windows applications do not have their Linux-counterparts yet. There is nothing over the horizon, for example, to match the reliability and power of FrameMaker in a Linux environment.
So why do I still like my Ubuntu? Let me count the ways:
1) It's FREE.
2) OpenOffice that comes with it is also FREE and it can match MS Office in every category, except in mail management. (NOTE: You can download and use OpenOffice on Windows and Mac machines as well.)
3) No viruses. Period. I have not used any anti-virus programs or firewalls with my Ubuntu system yet. Knock on wood.
4) No system crashes. And when I crash my system (a rare event) while trying to open 10 different applications or files at the same time, Ubuntu recovers beautifully, restoring each crashed file one by one when you restart the system.
5) Auto updates... when you click this great little "you have updates" button on top of the screen, UBUNTU automatically downloads (after your approval of each item) whatever updates are developed by hard-working Linux volunteers around the globe.
6) An ever-growing collection of free, new and interesting software available for instant downloads through Synaptic Package Manager. (For example, it's free CHESS program - one of the hundreds of Linux games available online for free - is one of the best I've ever played against.)
I do all my writing, for example, on my Linux machine. Since OpenOffice also has a free PDF conversion utility built right into its word processor, I'm writing my new book ("Copyright-Free Content for Your Newsletters") also on my Linux machine. (YES - you don't need to buy Adobe Acrobat Pro to generate PDFs!)
One shortcoming of "Feisty Fawn" distribution – its energy-saving screen- and machine-sleep modes are not perfect and don't work well. When the machine goes to sleep after a certain configurable duration of time, it shuts itself off as it tries to revive itself. If you get Ubuntu 7.04, do not use that energy-saving option. I hope they'll fix that pesky problem as well in a future release.