Linux for the Human Race

Dennis Faas's picture

As a long time UNIX Systems Administrator, I enjoyed the ebb and flow of data processing in a rather intense world of Commercial UNIX. Working with operating systems with names like AIX, Solaris, HP/UX and Irix, I was surrounded with a complex but orderly set of environments that although similar at first glance, were fascinating in their strengths and differences. Each was UNIX at the very basic core, but the different philosophy and approach of each vendor made working with each one an interesting experience. And I mean that in a good way!

When I discovered Linux in 1994, I had no problem understanding the software and installation of Slackware Linux 2.0. Running it seemed like second nature, although I could see how it would be daunting for an average joe PC hobbyist going from DOS or Windows to Linux. In my experience, installation was never straightforward and navigating the system after an install proved to be confusing and frustrating, to say the least. The learning curve was lengthy because you not only had to learn the basics, but you also had to learn the finer points of "administrattion."

Nevertheless, for me, it was comforting to have a UNIX-like OS running on my own personal computer whenever possible. It also enabled me to sharpen up my skills. I could even develop software on the system that could translate easily into functional tools on the Real UNIX systems. I had languages and compilers, databases and scripts to play with. Moreover, all for a few pennies. Ah, paradise!

Over the years, I have installed and used a variety of Linux distributions ranging from Slackware to Red Hat and SUSE Enterprise Linux. As before, each one has unique traits that make learning a new distribution interesting.

But in each case, it took more than inserting the CD in the drive and booting the system to install, as there are a daunting number of complex entries that must be made to install the Linux environment successfully. Drive partitioning and sizing, package selection, and a whole array of decisions need to be made to properly install Linux. At least, until now!

Enter Ubuntu Linux! Suddenly, installing Linux is as easy, if not easier, than installing Windows. If you have ever wanted to try Linux, this is the distribution to get your hands on. It will run on almost any PC you can get your hands on from the high powered 3MHz+, 64 bit, multi-core systems to the Pentium II plodding along at 300 MHz. Installation is so painless, you can take a nap while it is loading and wake up to a fully functional Linux environment.

What you need to start the process is a Internet connection, a hard drive and a comfortable chair. A cup of coffee or tea is optional. Just to give you something to do while it is installing. Load the CD in the drive and power up. You will be asked two questions referring to where you want to install and your choice of log in information. Then you sit back, sip your cup of whatever, and watch the fun! That's it.

Ubuntu loads the core system, sets up and initiates the network connection and then downloads and installs the rest of the system for you. When it finishes, you are asked to remove the CD and it boots itself! Suddenly you are looking at the Ubuntu login screen and you are off on safari!

If you were wondering how complete an installation you will have, it is perfect for a Personal Workstation. The distribution is based on the popular Debian Linux and is a full Linux system with the current stable kernel and a full complement of tools. And getting additional software is not hard at all! Just pick out what you want and the system will download and install it where it needs to be.

The nice thing about Ubuntu is that it is totally free. Download the ISO and burn your own or order a CD from them at no charge. Need or want more than one copy for friends? No problem. Free! They even have a Live System CD available to try out to see what Ubuntu is all about.

So if you're thinking about trying Linux on for size, this one sure fits! Check out their web site and see what the system is all about!

The Ubuntu Linux Site


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