Posts Tagged ‘ ubuntu ’

Ubuntu Alternatives: Kubuntu and Fedora

Don’t get me wrong, Ubuntu is a great operating system that shouldn’t really need an alternative. However, some people just don’t exactly like Ubuntu, or prefer to have some alternatives to their alternatives. This time we will be talking about two popular Ubuntu alternatives, Kubuntu and Fedora.

Kubuntu isn’t necessarily a complete alternative to Ubuntu. In fact, the main system is based on Ubuntu. So what’s different? If you’re Linux-savvy, you’ll recognize that the K in Kubuntu will represent KDE, which is the desktop environment of Kubuntu. Ubuntu uses GNOME, which has a different look. Kubuntu has two advantages over Ubuntu: It has a more appealing appearance and it is closer to the Windows desktop than GNOME is. Sadly thou, advantages come with disadvantages. A more appealing desktop requires a higher amount of resources, so it’s not meant for low-resource systems. If this is your case, you might want to try Xubuntu, which uses the very-low resource Xfce desktop environment. Also, if you’re acquainted with some GNOME applications, there is a good change that it won’t be installed in a KDE desktop. Instead it’ll have a KDE counterpart, which, in most cases, isn’t exactly the same.

With the pros and cons out of the way, it’s definitely something that you should at least try out if you have a spare blank CD lying around. At least for testing purposes it seems to be a very solid OS with a lot of nice features. Especially in the latest Kubuntu version (9.10 Karmic Koala), you’ll notice the magic that is presented to you with KDE 4.3. If your computer can handle the demands of KDE, you’ll be happy to experience the blend of blues, along with very smooth transitions of menus, just to say the least.

Now if you just can’t stand Ubuntu in general as the underlying system, but GNOME and KDE are fine, then there are options. Of all the possibilities, my personal choice would be Fedora. A RPM-based free desktop distribution from Red Hat, it packs enough power to do virtually anything. Fedora is available with GNOME or with KDE. There are a handful of differences between Ubuntu and Fedora, with some of the most obvious ones that you will notice during use is that Fedora installs applications using .rpm files, whereas Ubuntu (and Debian) use .deb files. Another difference is that Ubuntu uses apt for it’s package manager; Fedora uses yum. Something that you may not notice is that (last time I checked) Fedora uses slightly newer versions of applications than Ubuntu, but these differences appear to be very minor.

Overall, Linux distributions are all unique in their own way. Personally Ubuntu is my favorite, due to its ease of use and the fact that I learned Linux using Ubuntu. Whether your favorite is Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, Mandriva, or any other distribution, use whatever you feel comfortable with. And even if you only know Ubuntu and are extremely comfortable with it, it’s still well worth to look at what other Linux possibilities are available.

If you’ve been reading this, why don’t you tell us what distribution YOU use? Why do you like it?


Why You Should Use Open Source Software

Today’s computer users are very accustomed to the fact that a lot of good software costs money. Sometimes it costs a reasonable sum, other times it’s about ten times as much. Two of the most popular examples of expensive software are Windows and Photoshop. Windows for home users can cost anywhere between $100 and $300, and Photoshop can cost even more. Of course, these pieces of software have their well deserved reasons for being so pricey, but your wallet doesn’t care about the money to quality ratio. It just cares about the money. Thankfully, there are some very kind-hearted people on this planet, who believe that quality software should exist without carrying a price tag. However, some people came up with an idea to go even further, and let other people modify their own programs to fit the needs of everyone. Here is where “Open Source Software” comes into play.

To give a small history background, the idea of open source software began with the GNU General Public License, created by Richard Stallman. The GNU General Public License allows everyone to modify, change or distribute software under the license without any restrictions. The only requirement is that all software under the license be free. This gives way to many advantages, which we will discuss later.

Now, if you are interested in open source software, you’ll be glad to know that obtaining open source software is easier than you think. Here are some of the most popular open source apps that you can easily obtain:

1. Mozilla Firefox

Firefox, in my opinion, is one of the greatest, most supported open source applications in existence. It is the most popular open source browser, and is currently used by approximately 35% of all internet users, placing it in 2nd place. It is extremely stable, and is offered on many operating systems, including the major ones such as Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Firefox has many areas that you can configure to personalize it to your needs and taste, such as themes, skins, and add-ons. On top of all this, it is supported by the benefits of the program being open source (see below).

2. Mozilla Thunderbird

Yes, it’s true that Mozilla makes some pretty great programs. Firefox isn’t the only one, and instead has an e-mail counterpart know as Thunderbird. Thunderbird is a nice little Outlook substitute that still packs a lot of muscle. It has great organization methods, a calendar, and supports all e-mail protocols such as POP3, IMAP, and SMTP. It even has an easy wizard to set up Gmail in Thunderbird, which gives you more control over your mail. Like Firefox, it’s available on multiple operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

3. Ubuntu Linux

Here’s something different that is still fully open source. Ubuntu Linux is not an application, but instead an entire operating system. If you think that all operating systems cost loads of money, I’m happy to announce that you’re wrong. Ubuntu is completely free, so you won’t have to go out and spend at least $100 for Windows. It can do almost everything Windows can, such as go onto the Internet (thanks to Firefox), read PDF and Word files, edit pictures, watch movies, and much more that you are able to do in Windows. In fact, the only downside is that not all Windows applications work on Linux, but for most applications there are open source alternatives. Something that Linux can offer that Windows can’t is the fact that Linux is virtually virus-proof. Except for the ultra-rare Linux viruses that have a hard time getting activated via user interaction, it is not affected by the horrendous streams of Windows viruses. Because of this, there is no need for an anti-virus program, although a firewall is still recommended (Ubuntu comes automatically with a firewall). This makes Linux in general a great choice for server administrators who wish to provide productive services or host intensive websites on a robust system. Ubuntu also plays friendly with Windows in case you decide to keep it and install a “dual-boot” setup.


GIMP is a life-saver for your wallet in case you were ever once interested in Photoshop. Although not an exact replica, GIMP is definitely a good recommendation for anyone with a tight budget. This handy program contains all the features you could possibly need to edit photos or create amazing graphical art. You can add custom brushes, add amazing effects, and much more.

5. WordPress

Although it’s not an actual application that is used directly on your computer, WordPress is an open source blogging platform where you can blog about your daily life and do a number of other things. It is available as a directly-hosted product, or as a downloadable platform that can be installed and used on your own web server. It allows many different forms of media to be inserted into your blog, and is easy to use in general. It offers a variety of other features that can spice up your blog, no matter what it’s about. It is definitely something worthwhile to check out. Even this very blog runs on WordPress.

Using open source software can be a great thing, especially for you. Since open source applications offer their program code publicly, any programmer or other expert can look through the code and find any mistakes, whether pertaining to performance, security, or other factors that can improve quality, and point them out. Those mistakes, or “bugs”, in the code get fixed, and these fixes get released in an update that makes the software better, and your computing experience safer. So why not do something good for your computer and your wallet, and use open source software.