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explore ubuntuLearning a new operating system can be difficult, but is also really fun. If you’ve recently installed Ubuntu 10.10 on your computer and want to explore what this operating system is capable of, don’t panic: you’ll enjoy it.

Learning a new operating system is rarely simple, because you’re not just learning how to do things: you’re unlearning your previous ways of doing things. The best way to learn, then, is to simply explore. And, as any true geek knows, exploring is fun!

If you’re ready to explore Ubuntu, but not sure where to start, here are the things I usually do after setting up Ubuntu.


Try what sounds interesting, ignore what doesn’t and suggest other things to try in the comments below.

Explore The Software Center

explore ubuntu

The best place to start exploring is probably the software center. You’ll find it by clicking “Applications,” right at the bottom of the menu.

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Fire it up and you’ll be presented with categories to explore Ubuntu. I recommend you look at the games to begin with, because you’ll find fun ones (Frozen Bubble is highly recommended), but browse any category that interests you.

This will give you a good feel for how software installation works on a Linux-based system. It’s best to find the software you’re looking for here, rather than searching for a given program online and downloading it.

Tens of thousands of free programs await you, so have fun! Let me know of any really good ones in the comments below.

The MakeUseOf Ninite Pack

learn about ubuntu

You might notice, though, that not every program on the web can be found in the software center, including Google Chrome, Dropbox and Skype. There are legal reasons for this, but if you want to install those programs quickly and easily you should really check out the MakeUseOf Linux Pack from Ninite MakeUseOf Linux Pack 2010: All-In-One Easy Installer MakeUseOf Linux Pack 2010: All-In-One Easy Installer Read More .

It’s a relatively recent change to my ritual, but ever since it came out I’ve been using it pretty much as soon as I get Ubuntu up and running. You can pick which of these programs to install and let Ninite do the work for you.

Set Up Your Accounts

learn about ubuntu

Since Ubuntu 10.04, Ubuntu’s tray has included an amazing applet that integrates all of your inboxes Ubuntu 10.04 Integrates All Your Inboxes [Linux] Ubuntu 10.04 Integrates All Your Inboxes [Linux] Read More . The sooner you click this applet and fill in your email, instant messaging and social networking credentials, the sooner you can take advantage of Ubuntu’s amazing integration with these services. Try it out; you’ll probably like it!

Customize!

Don’t like the default look of Ubuntu? You’re not alone. Happily, there are thousands of themes, icon sets and wallpapers for you to download on the web. Check out Gnome-Look for the best collection of them.

Installing themes is easy: just click “System” followed by “Preferences,” then click “Appearance.” Drag any theme you’ve downloaded to this window and it should install (if not, check the page where you downloaded the theme for instructions).

Wine, AIR & more

Ubuntu is extremely powerful, and can run a wide variety of software. If you’re interested in using Adobe Air, Java, DOS and even some Windows software from within Ubuntu you can do so. Get started by reading this article on ways to make Linux compatible with more software 4 Ways To Make Linux Compatible With Even More Software 4 Ways To Make Linux Compatible With Even More Software Read More .

Switch Desktops

explore ubuntu

By default Ubuntu uses what’s called the Gnome environment, but that’s not the only interface you can use. Check out Tim’s excellent article on switching between Gnome and KDE How To Switch Between GNOME & KDE 4.5 On Ubuntu 10.04 How To Switch Between GNOME & KDE 4.5 On Ubuntu 10.04 Read More to find out how you can explore the KDE desktop, learning a great deal about what makes Linux special in the process (hint: it’s choice).

Other Things Worth Checking Out

There’s a lot more to explore out there, of course. You could try f.lux’s cool new Linux GUI f.lux Now Comes With A Simple GUI [Linux] f.lux Now Comes With A Simple GUI [Linux] Read More to help you sleep better after late night computer sessions, or give Hotot, the ultimate Ubuntu Twitter client Hotot - A Fast, iPhone-Like Twitter Client For Linux Hotot - A Fast, iPhone-Like Twitter Client For Linux Read More a spin. The opportunities are endless.

The goal: to explore this amazing operating system and find out what it has to offer. As it turns out, the answer is quite a bit. Can you recommend Ubuntu newbies any cool things to try out? Do you have any questions about any of these processes? As always, comment away.

  1. Agenda21
    November 8, 2010 at 2:51 am

    The MAIN Reason I Love UBUNTU, is because as soon as a new version is introduced, LINUX MINT tweaks Ubuntu and puts out their easy to use next version of LINUX MINT.

    I am running Linux Mint 10(rc) right now. Simpler than Ubuntu 'right out of the box.

    Makes Winslows / Windows look like a joke. Very Glad Micro$t doesn't make Airplanes...

    Love ya Ubuntu!!

    http://www.linuxmint.com

    • Anonymous
      November 24, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      e1 i like linux mint and using linux mint 10!! its toooooo good ! oly thing that it lacks is integration with ubuntu one!! windows u Suck to the core!!

  2. Agenda21
    November 8, 2010 at 3:51 am

    The MAIN Reason I Love UBUNTU, is because as soon as a new version is introduced, LINUX MINT tweaks Ubuntu and puts out their easy to use next version of LINUX MINT.

    I am running Linux Mint 10(rc) right now. Simpler than Ubuntu 'right out of the box.

    Makes Winslows / Windows look like a joke. Very Glad Micro$t doesn't make Airplanes...

    Love ya Ubuntu!!

    http://www.linuxmint.com

  3. Tina
    October 29, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    It looks fantastic and I'm so tempted to try a dual boot. Thanks for this article, Justin!

    • Anonymous
      October 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm

      Try it, you don't even have to install it, I highly recommend using a live usb image instead of the live Cd. Cds are too slow and if you decide to install it (which is very easy) the usb image can make the installation super fast.

  4. Ari
    October 29, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Long time b4 i was using Ubuntu, now i am going to use it again. its all coz of your repeated articles about Ubuntu. Cheers :)

    • Aibek
      October 29, 2010 at 9:39 am

      Ubuntu has changed a lot over the last couple of years. Let us know whether you like it this time.

  5. vs8
    October 28, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I always recommend Ubuntu tweak to add PPAs, and make tweaking easier. and Docky to make the desktop more modern, friendly and usable.

    Chromium is available in the Software Center instead of Chrome as you said for legal reasons. But for those interested, Chromium is almost the same thing as Chrome, the real difference is that Chromium is open source and it's the development bed or something like that for Chrome.

    http://www.chromium.org/

  6. Anonymous
    October 28, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I always recommend Ubuntu tweak to add PPAs, and make tweaking easier. and Docky to make the desktop more modern, friendly and usable.Chromium is available in the Software Center instead of Chrome as you said for legal reasons. But for those interested, Chromium is almost the same thing as Chrome, the real difference is that Chromium is open source and it's the development bed or something like that for Chrome.

    http://www.chromium.org/

    • jhpot
      October 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm

      Yeah, Chromium is basically identical. I don't know why; I just prefer Chrome. Thanks for filling us all in!

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