Savouring Flavors of Linux: Ubuntu

For the last few years, reviving old pentium IIIs with 512MB or less of memory with a Linux distribution has been my magnificent obsession. This has been a rewarding and dare I say, a heart-warming experience that has opened up my eyes to free, legal and high quality systems that come loaded with equally high quality software. Here is my take on some of these systems.

This is probably the most popular of Linux distros. Funded and developed by a loyal community, Ubuntu systems can be installed as desktop systems, servers or clouds. There is also a version for the netbook. Ubuntu comes with a deluge of applications supported by a vibrant user community.
My Ubuntu machine is a P4 with about 1.5 G of RAM. It also serves as my HTPC and runs Boxee, moodiva and XBMC.The installation comes with an open office word and spreadsheet programs, a media player and a few other utilities.

I tried the latest Ubuntu distro, Karmic Koala on it a couple of weeks ago. I was impressed with its speed and boot time, Unfortunately it does not reliably run Boxee or XBMC(for now) . I was forced to downgrade to the prior Ubuntu release, Jaunty Jackalope.

Built from Debian, Ubuntu is a stable and powerful OS. I have had many problems installing the original Ubuntu on older machines.

Linux features a Gnome desktop. I figure that a bit of explanation is needed here. Linux has two kinds of desktop layouts. Gnome and KDE. Both are panel heavy though some of us prefer one over the other. A detail discussion of the two systems is a bit of overkill here.

Kubuntu This is a version of Ubuntu that uses a KDE desktop. In my experience I find it a bit faster than Ubuntu. It has a default blue background that I prefer to Ubuntu's brown and unappealing look and feel

Xubuntu is another version of Ubuntu I have tried. It is used to install Ubuntu on systems that do not have the luxury of too much memory or fast processors.

Mythbuntu is another Ubuntu flavor that comes preinstalled with MythTv. Mythtv can be installed on Ubuntu as an aplication. The latest version of Ubuntu, Karmic Koala has made much of this an automated and relatively easy process

Ubuntu supports an application distribution called 'PPA'. This allows for an easy upgrade of all applications to their most up-to-date version with a single system command. Ubuntu's default installer called aptitude facilitates maintaining of the latest application versions on the respective system.

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