5 Reasons A Disgruntled Windows User Should Consider Using Ubuntu

Ads by Google

ubuntu reviewSince I decided to dual-boot my main laptop with Ubuntu, I’ve found myself spending considerably longer in a Linux environment than a Microsoft one. The extra speed I’ve reclaimed from my ageing Asus has made it feel like a brand new machine again, and it didn’t cost me a thing.

Linux has a reputation for being somewhat difficult, and casting my mind back to the days when I first tried it I’d have been the first one to admit it. In case you hadn’t heard, Ubuntu (and it’s associated derivatives) has earned notoriety for being as easy-as-pie to install, maintain and work with.


There are inevitably going to be a lot of concerns if you’re thinking of making the jump. I’m going to try and put some of those to bed and demonstrate some of my favourite things about the operating system.

Install Ubuntu Within Windows

It’s even easier to install Linux than it has ever been. Not only have you got the choice of using excellent tools such as UNetbootin to create bootable Live USB sticks, but also the option of installing Ubuntu from within Windows.

ubuntu review

By far the easiest and most-straightforward option available to you if you’re already a Windows user, simply head over to Ubuntu’s home page and download the Windows installer. Run it, choose your particular flavour, nominate a spare partition and you’re done. Then all you have to do is reboot into your shiny new OS. Simple.

Re-Install Your Favourite Software

Those of you who use primarily free software on Windows will be pleased to see most of your favourites are still available, but in Linux flavour. A prime example is Google’s Chrome web browser (which trades under the open-source name “Chromium” on Ubuntu) which runs noticeably faster on my Linux install than it does on Windows 7.

Ads by Google

ubuntu software

Vital bits and bobs like VLC, 7Zip and Skype all have compatible Ubuntu variants. Granted, you’re not going to find Linux versions of all your favourites, but that brings us nicely onto….

Wine

Derived from the acronym “Wine Is Not an Emulator” the popular Microsoft Windows compatibility layer means you don’t have to leave all of your Windows-specific programs behind. Popular Windows applications that work well in Ubuntu include Adobe Photoshop, Spotify (standard Windows version, not the subscriber-only experimental Linux version) and even games like World of Warcraft and Counter-Strike: Source.

ubuntu software

My main issue as a wannabe Ubuntu user was the lack of Photoshop. Now I’ve solved that, and I’ve got my beloved Spotify playlists back too! Of course not everything will work, but then you’ll also be able to….

Ditch Your Least-Favourite Software

As grateful as I am to have an antivirus program for Windows, I secretly despise it. For years I didn’t even use one, favouring the common sense approach of not clicking dodgy executables. We all know this isn’t enough though, and if you truly want to secure your Microsoft box then it’s a necessity.

Not with Linux. Permissions play a huge part of any UNIX operating system, meaning it’s nearly impossible for something to execute on your PC unless you explicitly tell it to. Even then you’re going to need administrator access and a password.

I’m not saying Ubuntu is impervious to attacks, and there are a number of antivirus programs aimed at Linux. Many users simply install protection to prevent spreading viruses to users running Windows.

If you’re concerned check out Wikipedia’s known list of Linux infections. I don’t run an antivirus with Ubuntu and for me this is one of the most liberating aspects of the OS. I’ve got some precious RAM back, my CPU usage doesn’t spike when my antivirus deems it necessary to and my machine boots faster than ever.

Customization

Many Mac users harp on about how pretty their OS is, and a lot of Windows users can’t really argue with that. The default GNOME skin isn’t exactly beautiful, but you can quite easily change that (and everything else to boot).

ubuntu review

From your taskbars and window interfaces, to adding fancy effects and OS X-style docks that actually work ““ you have an immense amount of options available to you. Ubuntu users who want the most eye candy possible should check out the Emerald window decorator which makes your title bars look sexier than ever and Avant Window Manager, a dock that’s functional and beautiful.

Conclusion

I’m not trying to convince you to ditch Windows. I don’t plan on getting rid of my Windows partition completely either, but variety is the spice of life. Ubuntu won’t cost you a penny and it comes with everything you need to get going straight away. We also have published a cool Ubuntu guide to help you started.

With a bit of time, extra reading and effort on your part you can create a beautiful OS that is as smooth as it is beautiful. Did I mention everything was free?

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Best Linux Apps
Best Linux Apps
21 Members
Linux for New Switchers
Linux for New Switchers
26 Members
Linux Distros Talk
Linux Distros Talk
12 Members
Master the Linux Command Line
Master the Linux Command Line
15 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (108)
  • Charge_errorfm

    Ricky your right on, and I agree with a couple of exceptions. Being an IT consultant with over 20 years experience, I service over 40 businesses and see / meet new people just about every day and flat out your points are huge and reality. However.. there ARE clean UI distro’s, and if people were introduced to mature, clean distro’s with common UI’s and themes this would all change quick. I believe nearly everything you can do CAN be done on most distros.. and Mint, Ubuntu and a few others are *very* close to being able to be introduced and used wide scale. There still are things that are UI dissimilar and flat out clunky.. but there are in all os’s IMO.

    In my experiments with linux I have introduced quite a few people to it, and MANY refuse it because of “no MS Office”, “cant run my apps I like”..etc.. But few cant deal with it because of butt ugly UI.

    But sadly, I agree with you that the downfall of linux is its lack of common UI, some bad decisions on how things work, and *requirement* in many cases of “DL and Install” to “get it sexy”.

  • Tim Brookes

    According to WineHQ’s AppDB it might run but probably won’t be entirely functional.

    http://appdb.winehq.org/object

    I’d try it out for yourself, you never know. Perhaps let WineHQ know your results!

  • Liam Howlett

    Will Ubuntu or failing that xandros install propellor heads reason?

  • Ricky Mills

    did u n0 u s0und leik a twat wenz u type lyke datz? Grow up kid.

    My point is simple: I can use Linux (I own a hosting company and manage over 50 CentOS and RHEL based servers). However as a desktop operating system for the AVERAGE user, its crap for the following, valid reasons:

    - Butt ugly, not a nice ‘simple’ or ‘sleek’ user interface, but a slapped together mess of different styles and standards by different people. There are no design practices for *Nix, which unfortunately means apps look hideous and are not user friendly. They fail majorly at usability.

    - Too many options: Its great that you can customise everything. But your average joe doesn’t want to do that, so why (as standard) provide options to do stuff like install server packages, or upgrade a kernel. More pointless UI stuff.

    You can whine and moan all you like, but the downfall of Linux is its lack of the most basic usable standards.

  • MicroBuntu

    I did get it online at one put through the ethernet and enabled the gfx card throught the hardware manager but it didnt seem to work for some reason. I previously had Karmic Koala running on a HP laptop with Intel gfx, never got the dialup modem to work, driver installed (i believe) but just couldn’t connect.

    Before the MBP’s got i7 processors, I had purchased a Toshiba laptop running i7 and nVidia gfx for $1899, a friend of mine had purchased a MBP with a core 2 dual core running 2.5Ghz I believe for around $1600 around the same time. The performance for the dollar value was exponential, a extra $200 got me a 8core monster on par or better then desktop systems at the time. Then with the advent of the i5 and i7 chips MBP’s got a boost but the price for performance is still heavily in PC systems favour. The 2.66ghz i7 dual core dual threaded cpu coupled with a nVidia GT330 gpu is priced at $2199. I’ve ran this system and it still couldn’t really compete with the the 1.6ghz quad core dual threaded in the Toshiba, the gpu is also lacking with 512mb of ram vs 1gb and system memory of 4gb vs 6gb.

    Qosmio x505
    http://browse.geekbench.ca/gee

    Mid 2010 MBP
    http://browse.geekbench.ca/gee

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.