A few moments before I began typing this, I checked out the Ubuntu Free CD request page to see if I could order Jaunty Jackalope (that’s the code name for Ubuntu 9.04) which was released yesterday. Lately my torrent client has stopped working since I bought a new router, and I did not want to increase the load on HTTP/FTP servers. So I went to the Ubuntu Free CD Request Page, to see if I could order a CD online. Surprise, surprise! The site was offline and this was what I beheld:
Now this is the first time I’ve seen this page taken offline. So it’s clear that Linux, specifically Ubuntu is making a dent in the mainstream desktop OS market, which has till date been monopolised by, you know what that thing is, yeah, Windows. A major story that has been making news this week is the dip in sales for the Redmond based Microsoft, the big daddy of software manufacturers. This can be due to fall in PC sales, but another factor that may go neglected is that Linux based operating systems such as Ubuntu have been replacing Windows slowly. They may never overtake Windows in the desktop space, but they present an alternative, free to tweak as far as you take it, to Windows.
I’ve been using Linux on my PC for the past three years now. The first distribution I tried was openSUSE 10.1 in September 2006. I was amazed at the eye candy and the speed. Yeah, it was cooler than Vista or Aero, and ran on a quarter gigabyte of system memory! I’ve since used many other distributions, but the images of my PC performing faster than I could ever dream of, and those marvellous visual effects, will remain etched in my memory for long. I can’t say Linux is perfect, though. Out of the box (as soon as you install it and run it the first time) many essential features may be unavailable. These are mostly audio-video support, driver support (that’s no more an issue now, Vista is worse than Linux in device support) and some small quirks (such as where the hell is office!). But these do not bother me at all. I’m patient enough to download and compile/install all these packages. Many are not, so I suggest you take a look at Sabayon 4.0(I’m using it right now, and its a breeze to install. Only quirk for the new user: compiling from source, although many packages are available as binary installers these days.) This is an awesome distribution, breezy and easy to use. I wish there was more awareness about this alternative to Windows, so that people who cannot afford the money to buy shareware could benefit from this new wave. Yeah, for the cost of a Windows licence(5000+ rupees) one can feed a child for two months. So I think this is the time for a new revolution to make knowledge accessible to all.