The Ubuntu Alternative
The Ubuntu 9.04 – An Alternative to Commercially-Available Operating Systems
The latest release of the Ubuntu OS is nicknamed Jaunty Jackalope, and the free software lives up to the playful qualities of its imaginary namesake. A Jackalope is a folkloric animal that is supposed to be a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope; it has been portrayed as a rabbit with antlers. Like a rabbit, Ubuntu 9.04 runs faster, offering boot speeds as short as 25 seconds and faster access on the majority of laptop, desktop and netbook computers. Other notable features of the new release include improved suspend-and-resume features so that you can immediately access your computer after putting it in sleep mode and broadening the switching between Wi-Fi and 3G, which supports more wireless devices and 3G cards.
The new release also comes bundled with OpenOffice 3.0, which provides users with word processing, spreadsheet and presentations applications that are compatible with Microsoft Office. Another notable application included with Ubuntu 9.04 is the Evolution 2.26.1 e-mail client, which integrates mail, address book and calendaring functions. The new version of Evolution now allows Windows users to directly import Microsoft Outlook files to Evolution, letting you transfer e-mail and contacts to the new application. The new Linux kernel 2.6.28-11.37 also speeds up the performance of your storage drives through better disk performance, improved solid-state drive support and enhanced virtual memory scalability.
The Ubuntu 9.04 desktop edition is noteworthy for its inclusion of technologies to make computing more accessible to handicapped users. For the blind, Ubuntu includes Orca technologies to help them use many of its applications. Orca uses a combination of Braille, magnification and speech software to enable sight-impaired users to use the Ubuntu interface and access the Firefox e-mail client, OpenOffice and other applications. The OS also offers slow-key support, which allows the keyboard to be used as a mouse, making this an essential tool for the physically-challenged. The Ubuntu OS can also support a touch-screen keyboard used with pointers.
Will the Ubuntu 9.04 OS entice users away from well-entrenched operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and the Mac OS X? The outlook is promising with the inclusion of the Eucalyptus technology in the Server Edition of the OS. Eucalyptus – which stands for Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs to Useful Systems – is open source, cloud computing technology which allows users to set up storage and create virtual machines online through Amazon’s Web Services. The Ubuntu OS can also run well with as little as 384 MB of allocated base memory. And, of course, the price – free – is unbeatable.
If you want to try it, the Ubuntu 9.04 OS is easy to find and install. You can download it online from the Ubuntu website or a host of torrent sites. If you’re already using Ubuntu 8.04 you can get an automatic upgrade to the newer edition through the Upgrade Manager tool. You can also get a host of applications for the OS free for download. In short, there is no reason for you not to install the Ubuntu OS on your computer and sample the many features it can offer.