Its been 3 weeks since I installed Ubuntu on my laptop at home, and I use it whenever I can. I love it. I want to move away from windows now. Pack up my bags and head out hitchin' on the Ubuntu Uberbahn. This is why:
Everyday things the interface does are done quicker on my laptop. As an example, try this if your on Xp. Load up some apps and switch between them using Alt+TAB. You notice that delay when the application is “coming to the front”? that's not there in Ubuntu. Before my finger has reached the ascent from the Tab key the app is there.
Its not just fast but it stays fast. Windows on the same laptop after a few ours of use and app switching just slows down. It always has. It just become a sluggard.
I don't mean cool in the emotive sense but in the temperature sense. As I said in this post, it just doesn't get as hot on your lap. This is because, anyone who has studied information/entropy equivalence knows full well that information is power. In a very literal sense heat is the mean something or other of power and therefore the more work a system does the more heat it generates. Linux doesn't need to do as much work as XP because its better design and less bloated.
Its on a power diet.
For the same reasons as above, it seems to use less power than XP so the batteries last longer. I haven't done any tests and I probably wont but the difference between XP and Ubuntu on my laptop is discernible.
“Reliability” is a catch-all really for the fact that now, 3 weeks in, I appreciate it is safer, more secure, more robust and doesn't crash. Sure, there are no viruses or Trojans etc on Ubuntu and that's great but I mean something simpler and, to computer users, more fundamental. A notion best described by a “live example”:
I'm writing this post on the Open Office word processor, and I'll be doing it for an hour or two on a sunny Saturday morning. In the garden, in the lounge. I haven't saved it to disk. I haven't set the backup save in Open Office (I guess it has one). I just have no reason to think the system or Open Office will crash or anything bad will happen. If this was XP I would have made sure that this document was saved and Automatic backup turned on.
Wine is the Windows Emulator that comes with Ubuntu. Its pretty amazing, it installs and runs Windows Apps. I have had Google Earth, for example, running. (Embarrassingly not all of our companies software works in it, but we are looking to rectify that.)
What Wine does is, I think, a coup de grace against XP. It takes away that excuse that “but my companies bespoke accounts package wont work” excuse not to turn to Ubuntu.
The Ubuntu Community
I guess many people would think because Ubuntu is open source there is nobody to turn to if you need help. This couldn't be further than the truth. Built into the system is a chat room, you go into this, ask any question, and people who are so helpful they should work for the Buddhist Mc Donald's in Disneyland are there with the answers and help. It really is something to behold.
There are forums and mail lists too, but i haven't needed to ask them anything yet. Not with the super guys and girls in the Ubuntu support chatroom. (The forums and websites have loads of great info and answers to questions asked by others)
Its not all good, dawg.
There is one area where I'm really not happy with Ubuntu and I gather from the Ubuntu websites this is a common issue. Graphics. I can only run Ubuntu in 1024 by 768 rather than 1200 by 800. It still looks great (I have it looking like a Mac right now) but I haven't found out, after a fair bit of trying, how to get the extra pixels.
Given the choice of this resolution and all the perks of the bigger resolution and XP I am still going for Ubuntu but it is a gripe I have. I gather that in the next update (It is updated every 6 months) full support for my slightly obscure graphics chip will be included
There are many reasons to use Ubuntu over XP. Some technical others economical and perhaps a few ethical. This little post, written unbaked-up on Word, in Ubunto, on my laptop, on my lap, lists some of mine.
Don't forget you can try Ubuntu just by downloading one file from here and burning it to CD. It wont install over XP unless you want it to. If you like it it will install and keep your XP intact, you simply choose which you want when the computer starts, XP or Ubuntu. It does it all.