Ever since I first heard about Ubuntu, I've had one eye on it. I was especially drawn to it after the past year of struggling with Vista on a newly puchased laptop. If someone were to ask you what the opposite of Windows was, they might say Mac...but I say Ubuntu. It's light, simple, easy to use and the one thing it has on both Microsoft and Apple...it's free.
I downloaded the latest version (8.04) about a month ago, along with the latest version of Kubuntu. I would boot the CD's and run the light version of both to get a feel for each of them and which one I thought I preferred. Kubuntu is graphic. A beautiful interface that is very easy on the eyes and simple to find what you need. Ubuntu is more simpler and more friendly for a home user (hell, there are games included with Ubuntu...not Kubuntu).
After a few trials, I wanted to take it a step further and get Ubuntu on my hard drive and really figure out if its what I wanted. I thought about buying an extra laptop...cheap...just to load the system on and see what it could do. But, Tai-Tai shot that one down. Then, I read several blogs that had people installing an extra hard drive and loading it on that. That's cheaper. But, with 8.04 you get the option of actually loading it as though it were any other Windows program. It asked you to set aside some disk space for the install and off it goes.
I had some initial problems with this, as the CD's I had burned wouldn't read properly. So, I had to open the ISO file on to my hard drive and then install it from the hard drive. Took a little work...but it was faster loading.
Once Ubuntu loaded and Windows rebooted, I was given a new boot screen in which I could decide which system to boot to - default was Win XP. Once you select Ubuntu, it takes you right into the system. They say the disk speed is a little slower...but, I could hardly notice. Just a couple more updates of software and you are ready to roll with it.
Getting bit torrents to load and share was a task while I figured out the port settings and static ip address inputs for the computer...but got them going. I am still struggling with getting WiTopia running...I have done everything they have said, but it just doesn't want to connect. I've looked into replacing MS Money and that appears to be a long shot. I may have to just start over if I completely dump Windows.
Bottom line, this operating system is fantastic. I love the simplicity and how light it feels and operates. There isnt' a load of crap in there that I don't want...there is a catalog with a load of crap that I can download and install if I want to...but they don't force it on you from the get go. Bravo. The graphics aren't as good as Vista or XP...but, I think that will come around with more upgrades.
The more I test this and the more comfortable I get with it...the more likely I am going to say good bye to Microsoft. Ubuntu is built by the users, so they thoroughly understand the consumer. Microsoft has gotten completely out of touch with their consumer and have produced systems that are more what they want, rather than what we want (ever notice this downturn with MS sort of started when Bill Gates stepped away from the business??).
UPDATE: Randomly clicking things works...I got my WiTopia VPN connection rolling. Next step...importing MS Money (which I hear is nearly impossible).