What is it? Ubuntu is a Linux operating system, based on Debian, and designed for a vast array of devices, from computers and smartphones, to servers. It’s published by Canonical Ltd.
Give me some background: ‘Ubuntu’ is a South African ethical ideology focusing on people’s allegiances and relations with each other, translated roughly as “human-ness” or “humanity towards others”. Pretty cool concept, right? But where does this fit into computing? As a platform based on free software, Ubuntu bring this South African spirit to the software world. With a strong history developing Debian, Mark Shuttleworth, who would step down as Canonical CEO in 2010, funded the development of Ubuntu in 2004, founding the Ubuntu Foundation a year later. Ubuntu’s original form was released in October 2004, and has been steadily updated ever since, with Ubuntu 17.04 being released in April 2017.
Who/Why use it: It’s free, for a start. Ubuntu also has access to a multitude of familiar or replacement applications, such as LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Transmission, Google Chrome, as well as the whole of Ubuntu Software Centre. Being a Linux distribution, applications can also be installed via Terminal prompts. This allows access to apps not in the USC. It is also designed to be secure “out-of-the box”. Root access is locked as default, and this makes it an incredible distro for beginner Linux users. It looks pretty sweet too, with the default Unity desktop environment being polished, clean and easy to use. A huge bonus with Ubuntu is that it less hefty than other more well known Operating Systems, meaning it’s a greet tool to refurbish, recycle, or other wise get life out of older computers. All you need to install it is the instructions and media from the Ubuntu website, and a USB Stick.
My opinion: I personally use an altered version of Ubuntu on one of my home computers, and I love it. I get a large amount of the things I enjoy with Linux, such as Terminal and certain application compatibility, but it still looks modern and clean, which is less than can be said for the majority of other Linux distributions. I will say that alternative desktops are available, and I have used XFCE at times instead of Unity, despite the “old-school” feel.
If you do fancy giving Ubuntu a try, I’ll leave this link here to the download page on the official site!