Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tech Tuesday: Linux isn't Scary

So I'm sure at least some of you have heard of Linux in some capacity. Just in case you haven't, it's a computer Operating System much like Windows or Mac OS. It's definitely not as popular as either of them but lately it's popularity has been growing with the attention Ubuntu and Google's Android has been getting.

I first started experimenting with Linux back in high school. I knew what it was before then, but never really took a look at it. I'm not sure what it was that got me excited but since I started I've been a huge fan and have enjoyed seeing the progress it's made. In this post I'm going to address some of the myths and some of my favorite things about Linux, primarily Ubuntu.

Linux is hard to install... Myth
How many people have installed Windows on their computers? If you have, you probably realize how complicated that can be for a beginner. The latest version of Ubuntu (10.10) installs itself in only a few clicks. Also, if you already have Windows on your computer, you can install Ubuntu to try it out in just Two steps! Wubi is the new Windows installer that handles everything for you. Just enter a password and click install! Gone are the days of having to compile the whole OS yourself.

Linux is hard to use... Myth
It pretty much works the same way as any other major OS. Click applications and there are your applications. They are even conveniently split into categories for you. You want to install applications? Click Add New Application. It'll let you search for new applications that you can install or browse through different categories. You can find applications that do pretty much anything you'd want to do. To install, all you do is check the box next to any application you want to install and uncheck the box next to applications you want to remove and click Submit! Ubuntu will download and install any application you requested automatically.

Linux is boring... Myth
If you thought Mac OSX and Windows 7 looked cool then check out Compiz Fusion. It gives Linux computer some flashy special effects as well as great functionality like titling windows, Exposé like functionality, multiple virtual desktops.

Just a few of the special effects

Hopefully this sheds some light on Linux for some of you and piques some interest. If anyone wants to give it a try without even installing it, you can download the whole OS from www.ubuntu.com and burn it to a disk and just reboot your computer and try it straight off the disk! It will not run as fast as if it was fully installed, but definitely a good way to see if you like it. What have you got to lose? Unlike Windows and OSX, Ubuntu is FREE. On top of being free, you also don't have to wait years between updates and new features. Ubuntu has a 6 month release cycle and releases new versions every April and October.

If anyone has any questions I'd be more than happy to answer them and give you a crash-course. steak@steakandlegs.com


  1. Oh cool - yeah I've never really thought too hard about Linux other than the nerd-association. But looks like it is a good alternative to windows next time my computer goes down.

  2. Especially when a windows computer goes down. The Live disk is a great way to recover data. Boot up the CD, run Linux straight from it and copy all data you want to save to a second hard drive.

  3. Weird coincidence, I just installed Ubuntu with Wubi Sunday night (after watching the Social Network). I am absolutely stunned at how well it just WORKS on my laptop. Wifi, audio, video, Flash, even finding the printer attached to my Airport Express via Bonjour. The only thing that didn't work out of the box was the scroll button thingy, and that required running the software install program and clicking "install" on the relevant package. Plus it took about 1/4 of the time that installing Windows 7 did.