Review by Cam424

"Ubuntu: A top-notch example of what Open Source truly means."

Ubuntu has a number of versions you can download. The OS itself is updated, and can be seen as separate little OS's within itself, similar to how Apple's Mac OS X (10.4, 10.5, 10.6). Ubuntu's current version is always the most available to get, although if one wishes to get previous versions, including some of its first releases, one can easily download them without any hassle. As for different variations of the OS, the traditional version comes in a 32-bit and 64-bit version. There is a "Netbook Remix" for Netbooks and low-quality laptops. There's a Light version in the works that boots in under 20 seconds, instantly booting up a web browser, for quick usage.

Procuring a copy of Ubuntu is extremely easy and quick, much like every other distribution of Linux. Ubuntu can become installed on your PC in a number of ways. The process is as easy as visiting the official website for the OS, and heading over to downloads. From there, one can easily find the copy available for direct download, or torrenting, which is recommended. Each previously-mentioned variation of Ubuntu can also be downloaded from the same page, guaranteeing anyone ease of use and downloading. Another option is to get a physical copy of an install CD. One can easily get these by filling in their address info, and Canonical (developers Ubuntu)) send you a free 32-bit copy of the CD for free, without shipping, however sometimes you may need to pay upwards of $5-$10 in shipping + handling costs.

Ubuntu is incredibly easy to install. The first way to install is by popping in your CD, and following on-screen prompts within Windows, so you can do what you normally do, all while your secondary OS installs in the background. The second, better option is to boot from the CD drive, and enter the more comprehensive installation menu. From here, you have two options. You can try Ubuntu by having the CD "stream" content to your computer, so technically you have Ubuntu without needing an install. This should be enough to give people a good idea of whether they want the OS or not. From there, one can install Ubuntu to their hard drive. The installation prompt is generous enough to give people every single option they need without going back into the menu. You can even adjust how large your partition is by an on-screen slider. The installation takes anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes. While it installs, the many features of Ubuntu are advertised.

Ubuntu is a dream come true for people who are weary of downloading new software, but need it. The OS comes pre-installed with virtually every app one can need. From the start, users are given the latest version of FireFox, a multi-network IM Client, a free Office Suite, many Video/Audio apps, a DVD Burner, a BitTorrent client, and even an app that can control your Facebook and Twitter accounts. A user can technically own an Ubuntu PC for years and years and not need to install or uninstall a single app. If one wishes to uninstall or install something, Ubuntu has the easiest option available. Instead of going to an internet browser, and going through the process we all know (and frankly hate), there's the Ubuntu Software Center. Think of it as a PC-centric App Store. You can search for any app you need, and it's right there! You can install new apps, and uninstall undesired ones with the simple click of a button. However, the downside to Ubuntu is that many high-profile apps aren't available for it (or the Linux platform as a whole). Many favorites such as iTunes, music production tools like Pro Tools + FL Studio, and others haven't seen Linux versions. As of recent, developers such as Valve and Google have become interested in porting their flagship products to Linux.

Compared to both Windows and Mac OS, Ubuntu is the easiest OS I've had the liberty of using. From the get-go, you're greeted with a desktop. On that desktop are two panels. The top panel is seen as a menu bar. It contains a clock, a shutdown button, a Social Media "broadcaster", and available space for the user to put custom applets on, such as system resource monitors, weather, and more. The main idea behind Ubuntu is customization. To the left of the bar is your main menu, consisting of three drop-down panels. Applications, which lists all available apps in categories such as Games, Internet, System Tools, Sound, Video, and more. There's Places, which lists all available folders and directories, such as your Filesystem, your Download, your Music, Videos, etc. The final panel is Menu, which is pretty much your control panel. From here, you can make any changes to the OS, and I do mean "any". You can customize Ubuntu to your liking. Don't like one of the panels? Delete it forever. Don't like the font? Change it to something else. Ubuntu can be customized to an extent where it doesn't even seem like the original OS after some thorough changes.

This is the letdown. Ubuntu prides itself on being a jack-of-all-trades in terms of software, but like other Linux distributions, its lacking in the fun department. Ubuntu comes pre-loaded with many boring games. Using the previously-mentioned Software Center, one can travel to the Games category, and download some good, albeit unmemorable efforts, running the gamut from platformers to third-person shooters to racers, even to MMORPG's. Ubuntu's had some high-profile games on it, such as iD Software's Doom 3. Sadly, developers don't seem that keen on making Linux ports, and its a shame. However, Ubuntu's a dream for freeware developers. The prevalence of Emulators, Demos, Freeware hits, and other software is immense compared to modern-day Windows or Mac OS's.

In a world dominated by the Windows and Mac OS, people need something easy to use, something that looks great, and something that can easily be customized as to be a reflection of who they are. Ubuntu is an extraordinary example of that, and not only has it been doing wonders for small-time developers, but it's opened doors for the Linux brand itself. More people have become aware of it, and due to this, the ideology behind Open Source software has become embraced. Other OS's like Google's Android OS are great examples of this. Personally, Ubuntu is the best OS I've ever used, and with the exception of a few setbacks, including a major lack of legitimate games, Ubuntu is perfect for both casual PC users, and people who are looking for a challenge, and true fun in working the OS itself. As Ubuntu itself continues to evolve, I can't help but think that its doing a small part in helping personal computing as a whole evolve.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/01/10

Game Release: Linux (US, 12/31/91)

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