Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kubuntu: A OS Love Story.

Ubuntu is a Linux based operating system. The word Ubuntu means "Humanity". A variation of Ubuntu, that uses a graphical user interface called KDE, is Kubuntu. It means "Towards Humanity". I don't have much experience with other operating systems besides Windows and Kubuntu, but I love me some Kubuntu.

My Linux experience started mostly as a product of my own curiosity. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. After some Google searches I discovered there were several different favors of Linux to choose from, and one of the "most popular" or most used was Ubuntu. So I downloaded that, it uses an interface called Gnome. I played with it a bit, then downloaded Kubuntu that uses KDE in place of Gnome. Same core OS, just different interface. I liked it better, it was a really breathtaking interface, so stuck with it. Still love the way it looks and how it works.

KDE, it's said, originally stood for Kool Desktop Environment. However as time moved on the project pretty much dropped the idea that KDE itself any longer stood for anything, and now it's considered the name of the project itself, standing on it's own and no longer an acronym. What a Desktop Environment does, in a nutshell, is unify the user experience. It's the place all the visual user interface stuff happens. With windows it's the desktop as a whole, and all the different aspects like the Start menu, task bar, windows, and notification area down by the clock. With later versions of windows it also includes any desktop widgets. 

The KDE Environment is visually related closely to Windows by default, in fact you can set it up to look almost exactly like your favorite version of windows. The advantages? You can also change it to look nothing like anything anyone has ever seen, and it's free verses $100+ for any version of windows. It also allows about a thousand ways to make it much more cool then windows ever was. If you like custom options, you got em. You can change all sorts of ways windows act and look. The entire environment is alive with possibility. And it just plain looks really good. You can easily set up multiple desktops and switch to them in inventive ways. Pretty much if you can dream it, and got some time, you can do it.

The core OS is still Ubuntu, that is based off of Debian, that is based off UNIX if you go back far enough. There are other distributions out there, such as RedHat, Mandriva, Slackware, and SUSE just to name a few. Mostly it's a matter of taste, and in some cases the computer you run it on. Some distro's run only on "top of the line" systems, some others can run on almost nothing (Puppy, Lubuntu).

The best part of Linux and all it's flavors??? It's FREE!!!! There are some distro's where you can pay and get support, but for all intents and purposes it's 100% free. And that's surprising really. There are corporations involved in some or most of the distro's, but mostly they serve in an over-site role, mainly to keep a common focus and to keep things moving towards certain goals.

Linux gains more market share every year. I'm not sure if that's because it's becoming more user friendly, or because the average user has become more computer savvy. I can't lie and say in general it's just as easy to setup and run as Windows in most cases, but it's not much harder. Mostly it's the little things you have to work on, and that happens with windows sometimes too. But because hardware manufactures are much more likely to spend their time and money on drivers for Windows then they are for Linux often it takes more time for new hardware to become stable on Linux distro's. Often the hardware mfg's. don't even bother with drivers, but instead let the developers of the different lines of Linux write their own.

So you could say Linux's biggest problem is that it's not big enough. That is changing slowly, and Linux is becoming more main stream. The Linux hard core fans might not like that, but it's good for the community in general. The more people who use it, the more people who will get involved with it. And the more people who become involved the more people who will work on developing it. Better for all.

Some interesting facts:

Android phones run on a version of Linux developed by Google for phones.

It's estimated the cost to code most versions of Linux today would be in the ballpark 13 or 14 billion. That's just the cost to code it, not including research, testing, etc. Just the base system itself, just the OS, would cost about 1 billion. Linux was written pretty much by volunteers, so the true cost was much closer to 0.

Market share of Linux is more or less holding at %1, but Linux use is growing because the overall USE of computers is growing.

Seem small? MacOS is only at about 5%

Kubuntu Website

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