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Friday, 18 January 2008

A Real OS Hoot

We're stepping into the new millennium, and it's time to think differently. The biggest news about modern thinkers these days are, of course, the newly elected Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

And the Australians are not disappointed by this change of tradition. Rudd certainly made countless efforts that won him hearts of the citizens over the formal PM, John Howard.

I don't think I should talk too much about politics - if there's one thing on earth I don't understand, it's got to be politics.

The point is, Microsoft's various versions of Windows have been dominating the market for well over a century. I can doubtlessly tell everyone that I have only seen less than 5 individuals having computers not running the operating system.

Today, I went out of the blue and proceeded to download Ubuntu 7.10 and burnt it into a CD. Being new to Linux (I have only used Linux once before, at KLCC's Burger King) I decided to try out the Operating System before installing it permanently in my computer.

It took me few attempts to start Ubuntu and connect to the internet (thanks a lot to the forumers of and I finally sit here comfortably, typing this blog entry away.

I'm posting a few first-sight impressions on Linux today. Expect more in depth reviews during the next few weeks after I've explored more of Ubuntu's functions.

After some waiting, (it does take time to load from a CD), the OS finally got started. Ubuntu comes with several free softwares, such as Mozilla Firefox and OpenOffice, all packed into a single CD (696MB, to be precise).

This is a typical Linux desktop. And no, the button at the left bottom corner is not the start button. Everything you need is at the top bar. The button is "minimize all" button.

This is OpenOffice Word Processor. It is said to be able to handle Microsoft office document files.

Various windows opened in Ubuntu. On the front is File Browser, my blog is shown in Mozilla Firefox, and at the background is System Monitor, the equivalent to Windows's Task Manager. Notice the translucent window of Firefox - looks like Aero is not the only of its kind.

Terminal - the Command Prompt of Ubuntu. Looks more like Notepad, huh?

GIMP Image Editor, which I used to edit screenshots. You may think it is Linux's answer to Windows's Paint, but in my humble opinion, Image Editor is several times more powerful than Paint. Reminds me of a scaled down Photoshop instead.

Instead of "Yes", "No", and "Cancel", Linux uses "Save" and "Don't Save". Better clarification.

Windows and Linux share many common shortcuts. I've been happily using Ctrl+C, Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+Z, and a bunchful of Firefox shortcut keys the first minute I start using Ubuntu. No surprise - many of the key combinations can be changed in Keyboard Shortcuts.

But the shortcut key which surely wins Windows's is the Alt+Tab. Pressing this combination brings up a translucent windows with preview of all the opened windows. Press tab without lifting Alt to navigate between the windows. The highlighted window will be brought forwards - should the preview be too small, just look at the real window. This is real cool! I know Vista has this, but *ahem* Ubuntu is open-sourced, which makes all the difference.

It's getting late now and I guess I have to end the introduction to Ubuntu. I promise to post more after my exams. In the meantime, why don't you try Linux out for yourself? You can download Ubuntu at Help and support is available at Ubuntu Forums. Besides Ubuntu, there are plenty other versions available. You don't have to install them, just run them from the CD. If you don't like it, go back to your Windows as always. If you do, go ahead click on "Install"!

Hoot hoot!

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