So as I said I would, I am updating a post I made a couple of years ago about running Ubuntu.
In those days I was running version 6.1 and now I am running version 8.10 and have fewer “issues”.
If you don’t know what Ubuntu (follow that link for Wikipedia’s explanation) is it is a full desktop operating system with a vast array of free software that pretty much covers off all your “office” requirements and much much more. The whole set up is open source and hence “completely free” and I believe is a powerful alternative to Microsoft for NGOs. Especially, given the increasing danger from hackers trying to destroy the Microsoft empire and bringing the innocent down with them in the process. The Confickr virus just being one of the larger recent examples. But considering there are thousands of viruses and mal-ware disasters being released into the internet electro sphere everyday, it’s only a matter of time before your Window’s based system’s security gets a hole and your servers with your client data are infected and havoc is your result.
So with tomorrow’s Confickr fear running though people’s minds today…consider this: Linux systems are not effected by these nasty electronic bugs. Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that’s free for all….
“Ubuntu” is an African word, meaning “humanity to others” and the Ubuntu organization has the following promise:
- Ubuntu will always be free of charge, including enterprise releases and security updates.
- Ubuntu comes with full commercial support from Canonical and hundreds of companies around the world.
- Ubuntu includes the very best translations and accessibility infrastructure that the free software community has to offer.
- Ubuntu CDs contain only free software applications; we encourage you to use free and open source software, improve it and pass it on.
|“||One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.
We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.
Ubuntu is a fantastic system and for a novice Linux user is a straightforward and supported introduction. The Ubuntu organization provides the software free of charge and in fact you can order CDs free to distribute Ubuntu to all your compatriots. But you don’t need a CD to install it, you can do that right from an easy download. They have brought the Linux world to the desktop and made it “easy”. And fun. This my friends is the future, today.
My experience with Ubuntu has been overwhelmingly positive over the last few years. My laptop starts up faster, I have ready access to many useful programs which provide functions like many of the top end proprietary systems like Photoshop and MS Office. My wireless worked flawlessly, printer set up was easy compared to Windows, it doesn’t crash and I have little to fear from viruses and the usual plagues of the net.
Used in conjunction with Open Office it rivals our general Microsoft based systems. In fact, I can create documents using Open Office and others can open them in MS Office and that works quite well, though there are some formatting issues which crop up occasionally; but I can make PDFs without any trouble and they work. I can run Windows based systems should there not be an open source equivalent (a rarity these days) in an emulator and have many multi-media choices as well. Installing new software onto the Ubuntu operating system is an extremely simple procedure of opening a built in program and selecting what you want from an ever growing and continually updated list and clicking on it. It will download and install automatically and there are no long serial codes to enter or remember and no disc swappings and convoluted registrations to go through. It’s click and install and run.
I find the whole community aspect of open source to be much closer to the hearts of NGOs than the for profit vendors and is worth considering from a philosophical viewpoint.
I won’t slam Microsoft because they have a fantastic charity program which provides their software, even high end MS server software, to charities for unbelievable price discounts and I applaud them for that. In Canada, you must be a registered charity with Revenue Canada.
But enough of Microsoft and back to Ubuntu. Ubuntu also has an education oriented Ubuntu distribution called Edubuntu and is designed for schools and universities.
Here’s a quote from their Edubuntu web site:
“The Edubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Edubuntu Manifesto: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customize and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.
These freedoms make Edubuntu fundamentally different from proprietary software: not only are the tools you need available free of charge, you, and thousands of developers around the world, have the right to modify and build upon your software until it works exactly the way you want it to.
Many people around the world exercise this right. And you can expect many improvements with each new release of Edubuntu.”
Ubuntu presents a great opportunity for NGOs to reduce costs in their IT departments. There is a great deal of free support on the net and many developers that work on Ubuntu and Linux contribute to help forums and love the community spirit that open source software represents. There is much help on the net through open forums when problems arise and you can always call on a local developer or on Ubuntu for help for a fee.
So with all the confickr fear and the $ spent on security and buying updated software forever…maybe it’s time for a switch? What do you think?
Have fun out there and be kind.
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