If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a new Ubuntu-oriented project that’s been making waves: install.exe. In short, it’s a way to install Ubuntu onto the same file system as Microsoft Windows without repartitioning your drive. Justifications include minimizing the risk of data loss during repartitioning, a more user-friendly installation process, and eliminating the need of burning a CD to install. However, is there truly a need for an Ubuntu installer for Windows?
An oft-trumpeted home triumph in technology discussion sites isthe conversion of friends or loved ones to a GNU/Linux desktop. “Iwas tired of fixing Windows on my kid's/grandmother's/in-law'scomputer, so I set up a Linux desktop. They love it! It's so easyto use, and I don't have to do anything to maintain it! No ad-wareor viruses, and best of all, it's free!” It sounds almost too goodto be true.... has the free desktop revolution arrived? I recentlyfound myself in a position to find out first hand.
I want to tell you a little story. One that involves: love, greed, selfishness, guilt, shame and finally—confession. A torrid little story this is. It revolves around a geek and his love for free software. Not just free as in freedom, we’re talking free as in “keep my cash in my wallet” free! I’ll be playing the part of the geek, Ubuntu will play the part of free software.
In my blog post a couple weeks ago I suggested non-profits should package up some free software solutions into niche packages and sell them as a fund raiser. The idea that there is so much FOSS available, the preselecting, testing and validating is a value added component worth paying for.
You have some computer experience and a desire to start learning about free software. Where do you start, what distribution do you choose? The book you should read when starting out with GNU/Linux is Moving to Ubuntu Linux by Marcel Gagné, and published by Addison Wesley Professional. This well-written book discusses Ubuntu Linux 6.06 LTS from installing from the included DVD through to networking, office productivity applications, and even working the command-line. If you’re new to GNU/Linux, or want to check out the coolest new distribution, pick up a copy of Moving to Ubuntu Linux.
In my last post, I was overflowing with praise for the value of Ubuntu for the non-profit world and said I’d discuss “how Ubuntu works” in this entry. Well “how” is beyond my technical expertise and is undoubtedly a complex dance of 0s and 1s and static electricity. What I meant was a little less technical and more practical... just the joy of using it.
As a former founder/CEO of a paranoid technology company developingproprietary enterprise software, one would think "free" software and Iwouldn't mix any better than wax and water. After fighting lawsuits torecover my "stolen" software, the idea of ownership is etched into mypsyche. Hence the paranoia in my company... NDAs, trade secrets andpatent interests. The business models around giving software away havemade me confused. Funny though what time spent curled up withfreesoftware magazine will do. I have recently become a strong convertand advocate for the free software movement.
The quality publishing around Ubuntu these days cannot be ignored. Another excellent book sits here beside me now, pages flagged with many points of interest. I wasn’t anticipating doing so much detailed reading with this one. After all, I just reviewed another Ubuntu book before this one. How much new information could be in there?
I just read on the Linux Advocate that Google Trends is indicating that the Ubuntu OS has outpaced Mac OS X (as well as other free distros) by a pretty fair margin. However, as the comments on the article indicate, really this is just showing the relative number of searches for "Ubuntu" vs. "Mac OS X." Still, even if it's not an accurate indicator of how many people are installing either OS, I find it significant that a free OS would trump a powerful commercial OS like the Mac's in Google searches.
Sometimes I wonder what separates the geeks from the non-geeks. I’ve always assumed I fell into the geek category based on my job and the hours spent with computers on my own time. But, after reading Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks, I must not be much of a geek because I found this book to be quite interesting!
This is a translation of a French proverb: “un Tiens vaut mieux que deux Tu l’auras”. It means that what you already have is better than what you may get—even if you may get more—because you already have it.
Strangely, it also is one of the problems with GNU/Linux systems.