As a disclaimer for those who don’t know, Ubuntu is a Linux operating system that is becoming really, really popular, not to mention it is completely free. It does nearly everything Windows does just as well or better, with the major exception of high-end PC games and a few programs here and there. In most cases, if you don’t need the actual version of a program, there is an open-source (free) version of it that will work in Ubuntu/Linux (for example, instead of MS Office you can use OpenOffice). And with that out of the way, here’s what I did with my day:

After putting it off for a long time, I am finally running Ubuntu on my new computer. Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 came out yesterday, so I immediately fired up uTorrent and downloaded the 64bit version to take advantage of my computers architecture. I have been running Ubuntu on an older computer I have down here in the basement, but it’s only a Pentium III good for browsing the Internet, music, and not much else.

I’ve had a spare 300GB hard drive sitting around for almost a year so I finally decided to put it to some use. I threw it in my main computer and installed Ubuntu on it. I’m glad I did. After tinkering with the settings and installing programs for several hours, I have decided that Ubuntu will be my main operating system from now on. In fact, I’m currently composing this in Ubuntu.  I still need Windows for a few different things, such as logging into a specific VPN that requires Windows software and not being sure if it will run through Wine or a similar Linux program, but at least I will have divorced myself from Windows as much as possible. Maybe if I get a wild hair one day I’ll see if I can run that VPN software through Wine.

I’m going to try out a program called Ardour that is supposed to be similar to Pro Tools. If it is and it works with my Edirol UA-25 USB audio interface, I’ll have no use for Windows-based audio editors. Out of the many audio editing suites I have used over the past three years, Pro Tools was always my favorite, which means Ardour will have some big shoes to fill.

Ubuntu makes it extremely easy to add and remove programs and do other basic tasks. The new version integrates Compiz desktop special effects for those with decent to high-end graphics cards, such as cards based on nVidia or ATI chipsets. After turning on restricted drivers (which I didn’t have a problem with but others have), I’ve been playing around with these features and I am very impressed. It makes the old Windows XP/Vista interface seem dull and boring. It’s about time the old 1990’s desktop design had a facelift.

Rumors are flying that a certain radio station that used to be on the air in Granite City a few years ago will be back up and running again within the next month or two (hint, hint). The computer running this station will be running Ubuntu and not Windows. Linux operating systems are generally more stable than Windows operating systems, meaning that with a little luck the station computer will never crash.

There are several different versions of Ubuntu, notably Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Edubuntu. Kubuntu is essentially the same as Ubuntu except that it uses KDE instead of Gnome, which is the desktop environment. Xubuntu is made for breathing new life into older, slower computers, and Edubuntu is made for schools as a learning environment for students while maintaining the functionality of Ubuntu. Can you imagine how much schools could save by not having to pay for all of those software licenses if they switched all of their computers from Windows/Mac machines to Ubuntu/Edubuntu machines?

Well, that’s it for Tallin’s educational tech talk for the day. If any of this sounds the least bit interesting to you, I’d recommend you head over to the Ubuntu website and find out more.