Ubuntu 7.04 Released!

5.1.2007 Update: Dell just announced that they will be shipping and supporting computers with Ubuntu Linux installed. To paraphrase Mark Shuttleworth, the embargo is over. Woo hoo!

In the nobody-cares-but-me department, Ubuntu Linux 7.04 has been officially released! I’d tell you where to grab the torrent, but I don’t want you thrashing the server before I get there.

I’m not a huge proponent of fanboys writing odes to their desktops in blogs. Sure, I read them all the time. In between the sneering and holier-than-thou rubbish there’s quite a bit of good information in them, and my inner geek is always looking for better ways to do things. But I read these things with a grain of salt - what’s a great OS for one person may not be for another. Choice is a good thing, and we shouldn’t frown on someone else because their choice sucks. Is different I mean.

I run Windows at work (no choice), and I run Linux at home. I do occasionally run Windows at home in, well, a window, using VMware Server on Linux, when I have to do things like run proprietary Windows-only VPN software to log in to work. But that doesn’t happen very often.

People do ask me why I run Linux, and at the risk of becoming one of those blog-posting-fanboys, I thought with this Ubuntu release I’d address that briefly.

There are a number of reasons why I choose to run Linux at home:

  • Stability. I’m fairly comfortable saying Linux is the most stable thing out there, at least in my experience. Security and application updates generally never require reboots. Things just work.
  • Performance. I generally build my desktops at home, and I want them to perform like finely oiled machines. Linux is an extremely high performance OS and lacks a lot of overhead costs you get from running Windows.
  • Security. I don’t have to run anti-virus software or firewalls or adware removers or any of their ilk. Linux was built to run in a network computing environment and is tight as a drum. The open source nature of the software means any vulnerabilities are found by the community and patched extremely quickly.
  • Ease of use. Yes, ease of use. Most modern Linux variants will detect and run far more hardware out of the box than Windows will. I run Ubuntu, which is apt based. When Ubuntu checks for updates, it isn’t just for the OS - any piece of software installed through apt gets updated. Financial software, browsers, office software, media players - you name it. That makes application management a piece of cake. I also find the desktop environment in general (I’m a Gnome user) to be more intuitive and better laid out than XP or Vista, though that’s a personal thing.
  • Configurability (not a work, but should be). I can make my desktop look and behave any way I want to. Heck, I can even choose entirely different desktops until I find one that I like (Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Fluxbox, Enlightenment, LookingGlass, etc.). Everything, down to the slightest detail, is customizable. And it’s darn pretty. Linux folks running Compiz or Beryl get a good laugh when Vista users talk about their pretty new interface. Check out this YouTube video showing Vista’s Aero interface and Ubuntu with Beryl:

  • Freedom. My OS is free. It’s free of cost and the source code is free to anybody that wants to improve it. My OS isn’t running DRM checks dozens of times per second to appease the RIAA and MPAA, it doesn’t phone the mothership to check to see whether it should accuse you of piracy and lock you out of your own computer, and it doesn’t store your data in proprietary file systems and file formats. It does what I tell it to, and only what I tell it to. That’s important to me, and if you really sat down and thought about it, I think you’d find that’s important to you too.
In all fairness, however, there are some valid reasons to choose or stick with Windows:
  • You are married to a Windows application. If you spend most of your computing life running a Windows-only application and there are no Linux equivalents that meet your needs, you need to keep running Windows.
  • You’re a serious Windows gamer. 99% of the gaming vendors only release games for Windows. I do play some games on Linux, but believe me, Penguin Racer != Oblivion.
  • You don’t have time to invest in the learning curve. A lot of people have been using Windows for so long it’s second nature, and they’ve forgotten just how long it took for it to get that way. Linux is not Windows, and it’ll take a while to get up to speed. If you don’t have time to regularly shower and get three meals in, hopping to a new OS of any kind probably isn’t for you.

I’m not chiming in on Mac users - OS X is essentially BSD Unix and Mac users tend to be fanatically happy with their desktops. I can’t blame them - OS X is awfully nice.

If you have ever considered playing with Linux I strongly recommend giving Ubuntu a shot. It comes as a live CD, meaning you can run the whole operating system from the CD without installing anything on your hard drive to play around with it. Just be aware that running an OS from a CD makes it run much, much slower than it will installed. You can also dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu - that option will come up during installation when Ubuntu detects your Windows OS - and I’d highly recommend that until you get used to Linux.

But, of course, to each his or her own. Now you must forgive me as I go drool over my new OS release.

*Oh, all right. http://releases.ubuntu.com/7.04/ubuntu-7.04-desktop-i386.iso.torrent