Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Bob Gourley, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: Linux Containers

Linux Containers: Article

The Ubuntu Experience

The Ubuntu Experience

Ubuntu Linux is a new experience for me. Having used only Red Hat's Fedora Core, I was anxious to try out the recently released Ubuntu 5.10 (available from Ubuntu's Website at www.ubuntu.com).

I was not disappointed. After waiting approximately 45 minutes to download the 617 MB ISO file, I quickly burned it to a CD and rebooted my computer. Within a mere half an hour, Ubuntu was successfully installed on my system.

Ubuntu 5.10 opens with an attractive background display resembling a swirling, luminous horizon surrounded by clouds. The bottom half of the picture looks like an ocean. Both the top and bottom of the desktop are framed by long horizontal menu bars. The top menu bar shows a few menu items such as "Applications," while the right-most corner displays the current date and time.

The bottom of the desktop shows currently active programs along another horizontal bar (similar to other Linux distros). Clicking on one of the tabbed programs maximizes it onto the desktop. In addition, both active and inactive desktops are displayed near a small trash can at the very right-most corner of the screen.

Clicking on the "Applications" menu shows several menu items: Accessories, Games, Graphics, Internet, Office, Sound and Video, System Tools, and Add Applications. Next to Applications is Places, which includes Home Folder, Desktop, Computer, Network Servers, Connect to Server..., Search for Files..., and Recent Documents.

Finally, the System menu displays Preferences, Administration, Take Screenshot, Help, About GNOME, About Ubuntu, Lock Screen, and Log Out.

The menu system is self-explanatory. If you've used Linux before, they are easy to navigate and find. Desired programs are but a few clicks of the mouse away. If you're not satisfied with the present crop of programs, you can always "Add Applications" under the Applications menu.

Ubuntu also includes a few "shortcut" icons on the top menu bar. The first one (starting from the left) is the Firefox Web browser from Mozilla Corporation. The version included with Ubuntu is 1.0.7. Next to the Firefox icon is Evolution Mail, sort of an "Outlook Express"-style mail client. The last icon at the top launches the Ubuntu "Help Topics" program. From here you can search the knowledge base online or in preselected categories within the help program.

Ubuntu uses GNOME 2.12.1, a fairly recent variation of the popular desktop environment. While others may prefer KDE, I have always found GNOME to be highly intuitive, easy to use, and extremely stable.

Of particular note in Ubuntu is the inclusion of Open Office 2.0. Open Office includes Base, Calc, Draw, Impress, Math, and Writer. These programs compare very favorably to their Microsoft Office counterparts. While some minor variations exist, most users who have used Microsoft Office products in the past will feel right at home with Open Office.

If you still prefer the console mode, Ubuntu gives you that and more with Konsole 1.5.2. Installing additional packages is a snap. If, for example, you wish to install the KDE desktop in Konsole, type:

sudo apt-get install kde

Because Ubuntu restricts access to the root shell account (a smart idea), the end user will have to type in their password to install anything on the system. This safeguard also applies to launching most administration and networking tasks. But the price paid is small for a degree of added security.

Speaking of security, Ubuntu uses Firestarter 1.0.3 (a well-known firewall utility). I have found this firewall to be superior to many currently available on the market.

For games and entertainment, Ubuntu gives us a fair assortment of classic card, parlor, and board games. Also included is the Totem Movie Player and Serpentine Audio-CD Creator, while GIMP and XSane provide excellent image editing and scanning capabilities.

I was a bit disappointed with Rhythmbox 0.9.0, however. I found the features somewhat lacking, especially considering Rhythmbox has been in development for at least three years now. Nevertheless, music afficionados will appreciate a very stable program and a decent set of playback features.

For people who enjoy instant messaging, GAIM 1.5.0 provides an easy-to-use AOL Instant Messenger clone. And XChat IRC is a simple-to-use program for connecting to Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels.

If I had to choose one thing to improve upon in future versions of Ubuntu, I would upgrade many of the sound and video component programs to be easier to use. Both ksCD and JuK confused me for several minutes before I got the hang of things. Most veteran Linux users won't have trouble with the aforementioned programs, but some new users to Ubuntu may be unfamiliar at first with several of the chosen packages.

Overall, I was very pleased with Ubuntu. For a beginning Linux distro, it has everything you need to get started. Setup is quick and virtually painless (only the Wireless LAN Setup was somewhat unorthodox). For intermediate users, though, Ubuntu might seem a bit boring. Thankfully, Ubuntu is easy to customize and change to your liking.

Ubuntu is headed in the right direction. With release 6.04 on the horizon, expect more changes to this already promising Linux distro.

More Stories By Paul Panks

Paul Panks is the author of "HLA Adventure," an adventure game written in Randall Hyde's HLA (High Level Assembly) language. His ultimate intention was for others to eventually contribute to this project, so in May 2003 he released it into public domain, including the source
code, so others could add to the game over time. Paul is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, an avid fan of pro football and creative writing, and became
interested in Linux programming through Red Hat Linux and Fedora Core.

Comments (4) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Kiermel 03/21/06 01:32:51 PM EST

To install KDE in Ubuntu:
sudo aptitude install kubuntu-desktop

Or use The Kubuntu CD to install. The KDE version of Ubuntu: http://www.kubuntu.org/

Kiermel 03/21/06 01:32:34 PM EST

To install KDE in Ubuntu:
sudo aptitude install kubuntu-desktop

Or use The Kubuntu CD to install. The KDE version of Ubuntu: http://www.kubuntu.org/

Kiermel 03/21/06 01:31:30 PM EST

To install KDE in Ubuntu:
sudo aptitude install kubuntu-desktop

Or use The Kubuntu CD to install. The KDE version of Ubuntu: http://www.kubuntu.org/

Tony Blanco 02/18/06 02:52:52 AM EST

"only the Wireless LAN Setup was somewhat unorthodox" ... What kind of problem did you run into? I installed the latest Ubuntu distro on my laptop (Dell Inspiron 2200) and all is working great except i cannot get my internal wireless card to function properly. Do you have any "helpful hints" i can try to resolve my "wired" delimma? Thank You

@ThingsExpo Stories
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...