Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ubuntu Emerges

With the backing of a multimillionaire philanthropist and the support of a huge user community, Ubuntu made unbelievable waves in the open source and Linux communities. Its popularity has soared over the past few years to the point where computer manufacturer Dell has begun selling machines with Ubuntu preloaded on them in France, Germany, the UK, and the USA.

Such has the popularity of Ubuntu grown that it has spurned several spin-off projects. The first of these was Kubuntu, a version of the Ubuntu distribution that made use of the KDE desktop environment, which is traditionally more popular with users new to the GNU/Linux operating system since it resembles the desktop environments of Windows or Macs more so than a GNOME desktop does. KDE also runs applications that are unique to it that some users find more favorable than their counterparts that run specifically in the GNOME environment. Although applications built for KDE can run in the GNOME environment, and vice versa, they do require the proper libraries to be installed.

Designed for systems that need to conserve resources, such as older computers, the Xfce-based Xubuntu is thought to be the best choice in desktop environments over GNOME or KDE. Since this desktop environment does not have all the bells and whistles of the other desktops, Xfce is considered to be a less resource-hungry interface as far as RAM and CPU usage is concerned. This also means that Xfce does not come equipped with as many applications as GNOME or KDE. This desktop environment comes in response to GNU/Linux being used in low-budget computers; however, it is also believed to be the most natural transition for users who are moving from Windows to GNU/Linux.

The third subproject of Ubuntu is the Edubuntu version of the operating system. Edubuntu was created for use in a classroom environment containing additional software packages like GCompris educational software suite, which contains over 100 educational activities in math, reading, computers, science, geography, and other subjects. Other packages included in Edubuntu are the KDE Edutainment suite similar to GCompris, and SchoolTool calendar, where teachers, students, and parents can connect and share calendar-related information. Edubuntu also works with the Linux Terminal Server Project that allows multiple thin client computers to run software from a server. Since thin clients are much less expensive than regular computers, they are ideal for schools in countries with limited funds. Another benefit of Edubuntu making use of the Terminal Server Project is that the operating system and software are run from one central location for the entire network, making the management of computers and resources much more efficient.

Due to complaints that Ubuntu did not utilize only free software in their packages, the Ubuntu team released a project called Gobuntu. Gobuntu consists of entirely free software. This project has completely respected the wishes of the free software community by leaving Mozilla’s Firefox out of this package since there is a restriction on images used in the Firefox web browser.

As with Edubuntu, there are other projects that cater to a specific user group. Ubuntu Studio is a multimedia flavor of Ubuntu. UbuntuJeOS (pronounced “juice”) was created to work with virtual appliances, and Ubuntu Mobile was created to work with mobile Internet devices.

In addition to the subprojects supported by Ubuntu, its parent company, Canonical, Ltd., sponsors other open source projects that aid in the management of information technology projects. More recently, they have begun to offer official Ubuntu training both for typical use of the Ubuntu operating system and its software packages, and as a path toward the Ubuntu Certified Professional certification for IT professionals.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Osborne Media How to Do Everything Ubuntu

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