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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Liberate Yourself !

I have been using Ubuntu which is a GNU/Linux distribution for nearly eight months and now I find myself in an opportune position(had been busy with exams)to share it with everyone.
Few questions that may come to your mind. What is Ubuntu?, what is GNU/Linux?, what is a distribution?, why this title "Liberate Yourself"?.
Read on and you may find the answers to them and much more.
We all know that an Operating System is required to get the Computer working( you know it now if you didn't already) and like Microsoft Windows is an operating system so is GNU/Linux but unlike Windows it is "Free Software". Free is a relative word and has many different meanings but in this case Free stands for "FREEDOM".
"Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer"
Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program's users have the four essential freedoms:
  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.[1]
You can read more about "Free Software" here. "Free Software" is also know as "Open-Source Software". Collectively and most widely they are known and used as "FOSS"(Free and Open-source Software). 
"GNU/Linux" is often(rather mostly) referred to as just "Linux" but it is very important to know and understand the "GNU" part.
So just how popular and important is Linux.
Check this:
 Chances are you must have already heard something about Linux in the lines of:
  • Linux is hard
  • Linux is a hacker tool
  • Linux is for hardcore geeks 
I am sorry to disappoint you but these are not true.  
Linux is no harder to use than Windows and in many ways a better alternative to it. When it comes to hacking any OS can be used as a "Hacker tool". Linux is not just for hardcore geeks , Linux is for everyone.
Few(of the many)Advantages of Linux are:
  • Linux is versatile. Most of the Linux distributions are free of cost like Ubuntu(which is the most popular and widely used Linux distro).        
  • Linux is easy to install. I had only followed the installation instructions provided on the Ubuntu download page and then the installer itself when I installed Ubuntu for the first time. 
  • Linux is very stable. And even if the system crashes(which is an off case)the whole system doesn't goes down.The Blue Screen Of Death that most Windows users will be familiar with is not a worry for the Linux users.   
  • Linux is Virus free. I don't sit around wasting my time on running a resource hogging Antivirus Software for which a Windows users would actually pay for(and even then you can't be sure that you are 100% safe). 
  • Linux doesn't slows down with usage and passage of time. Also there is no need to defragment your hard disks on it.
  • Linux can breathe new life into old computers! If you have an older computer (especially Pentium III or later) laying around, you can install Linux and in essence have a new computer. In many cases Linux will run faster and you can do all of the basics such as browse the Internet, email, play games, and create and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It should also be mentioned that Linux runs great on newer computers as well.
  • Linux can free you from the clutches of Software "Piracy"(although the correct terms would be “unauthorized copying” or “prohibited copying” for the situation where it is illegal). If you are a Muslim reader know this, "Piracy" is HARAAM because stealing is Haraam. It does not matter in which form you are doing it, Stop it now before its too late.
  • Linux has applications galore.There is a wealth of applications available to Linux users, again most of them are Free of cost. Popular applications like Mozilla Firefox,Mozilla Thunderbird,Google Chrome(which initiated from the Chromium project),Vlc,Amarok,Audacity and many more come under the banner of FOSS. Also check these Linux Equivalents to Windows Software , 50 Open Source replacements for Really Expensive Software , Top 50 best Linux apps 2011.
  • Linux is more than just a Software, Linux is a Community. A Community of varied Individuals from different walks of life, having different belief systems but have one thing in common. We All Choose To Be LIBERATED.      
  • Linux has great support system. There is support available for any of your queries/problems on different levels through various mediums(Documentation,Forums,Tutorials,Live chat with fellow users and support providers on IRC channels and more)[2]. 
  • If you want to know about more advantages check these:
How You Know When It's Time to Switch to Linux
10 Reasons for Switching to Linux
From Windows to Linux.
Disadvantages of Linux are:
  • Many Windows programs will not run in Linux. iTunes, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer and many other Windows programs will not run natively in Linux. The good news is that there are decent ways around most of these problems. For example, music libraries can be managed with programs such as Amarok,Banshee, or Rhythmbox in Linux. Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are outstanding Internet browsers which can be used in the place of Internet Explorer(The fact of the matter is even Windows Users don't use Internet Explorer). It is also possible to run some Windows apps in Linux using Wine, VirtualBoxLibreOffice is an excellent office suite which can be used in the place of Microsoft Office. Click here to learn more about Linux equivalents to software commonly used in Windows. There is also a way of installation known as  dual booting(which is recommended for new users) through which you can have both Windows and Ubuntu on the same computer, So you can still keep Windows as a second fiddle for those Windows Centric programs.
  • There is a learning curve for people who are new to Linux. Despite this, most Linux distros, especially the major ones, are very intuitive and user-friendly. Also, the desktop environments in Linux are in many ways similar to Windows in their appearance. One thing which should be emphasized is that there is also a learning curve for Windows XP users who switch to Windows 7[2].
I find this video to be an excellent Epitomization of Linux:  
You are free to choose among the plethora of Linux distributions that are available but today I will be introducing Ubuntu.
Ubuntu Circle Of Friends.
Ubuntu is a "Super-fast, easy to use and free, the Ubuntu operating system powers millions of desktops, netbooks and servers around the world. Ubuntu does everything you need it to. It'll work with your existing PC files, printers, cameras and MP3 players. And it comes with thousands of free apps.".[3]
ubuntu |oǒ'boǒntoō|
Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning 'humanity to others'. It also means 'I am what I am because of who we all are'. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.
[4]
It was this core philosophy that had me captivated when I first found the Ubuntu website as this is also a part of my belief system.
Please go ahead and read more About Ubuntu and its Philosophy.   
Pronouncing Ubuntu is fairly easy but just in case you need help check here.
The latest Ubuntu release is Ubuntu 11.10 'Oneiric Ocelot'. 
Standard maintenance updates will be provided for Ubuntu 11.10 for 18 months, through April 2013. The next Long Term Support (LTS) version of the software will be Ubuntu 12.04, or “Precise Pangolin,” which is due in April.
The previous release, Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal' has been listed as one of 2011's 'standout hardware, software or services' by PCWorld[5].     
Ubuntu on PCWorld list
Get an overview on 'What Makes Ubuntu 11.10 So Great?' 


Check the awesome Features of Ubuntu. Want to test drive it, take the online Ubuntu Tour and also get to know why Ubuntu 11.10 is the best Ubuntu yet.    
There is a great chance that by now you must be wondering, how on Earth such an amazing existence been lost upon you till now(as this is what We all have also felt). So without further delay lets move onto getting you to Ubuntu.
Please follow these Steps:

  1. Go to the Ubuntu download page here.
That is it(yes I played with you just a little bit when I said steps ). Didn't I tell you earlier that Installation of Linux is easy and when it comes to Ubuntu nothing is easier than this. Every Information that you will need pertaining to trying and installing Ubuntu is provided there. 
Go Ahead Try Ubuntu and
Liberate Yourself!
If you have any comments/questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me via the comments section, Google+ or twitter. Also if you like what you have read, do share it with others.  


References: 
[1] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
[2] http://www.renewablepcs.com/about-linux/advantages-of-using-linux
[3]  http://www.ubuntu.com/ubuntu
[3]  http://www.ubuntu.com/project/about-ubuntu
[4]  PCWorld| 100 Best products of 2011

17 comments:

  1. Wow, great post :)
    You have explained very well the concept of freedom in the software!

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  2. Very well written. I tend to send people to www.whylinuxisbetter.net to really explain what Linux is and what it can do. Remember one thing though, Linux is just the Kernel, not an operating system. And FOSS doesn't mean free as in "Free Beer". Sorry to nitpick but, it needed saying.

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  3. @Jason Glad that you liked it.
    "Remember one thing though, Linux is just the Kernel, not an operating system. And FOSS doesn't mean free as in "Free Beer". hmmm. Yes Linux is the "Kernel" but at the same time is far more than "just that". When people generally mention Linux it is in the respect of Linux as a system. Also, I didn't said "FOSS means free as in "Free Beer" anywhere in my post.
    I have kept things simple while explaining FOSS yet have stayed true to its origins.

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  4. Good points made there. Like I said, a very well written article. :) Oh, and I like free beer. Lol

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  5. Hello!
    Well written article. But I would like to add one point that surely LINUX provides better user experiences but from technical point of view LINUX is not for impatient guys :P

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  6. Hi Hashim Ali,
    Thanks. On "But I would like to add one point that surely LINUX provides better user experiences but from technical point of view LINUX is not for impatient guys :P". Brother you are vague in your response, the word "technical" has many meanings but if You meant it in a professional way then also in most cases the fact remains the same "Linux is for everyone".

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  7. Good article, I may point a few people there in my own blog.

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  8. some of my thoughts about Linux

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ORP_HBonM0g129qW4MGcQltw_u7-HgnNsDA1g1oFWGo/edit

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  9. Thanks for sharing this with me :) Your dissertation was well written and thought out!

    -Spatry

    Spatry's Cup of Linux
    http://youtube.com/user/linuxspatry

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  10. Very very awesome post! I simply like the way you blog. I've been writing too much; it's time to write and integrate the various sources around the web as you have done here.

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  11. Very good post, i will surely make all those who have never met GNU/Linux read this articel......

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