How I ended up running Ubuntu on my main PC

November 5, 2009

Like most people I had Windows on all my computers and was very happy.  I like Windows and still have it on my netbook, but today I run Ubuntu exclusively on my desktop PC where I spend most of my computing time.

I like to tinker and try things but I’m not going to get the screwdrivers out if I don’t have to and I have a feeling this is how I ended up with Linux and more specifically Ubuntu.

I knew about Open Source and the free beer/speech thing but wasn’t too bothered.
What got me into Linux in the end were very practical needs.

I was running a bunch of apps on XP and they weren’t meeting my needs.  I decided to check out free (as in beer) options.

I ended up installing the following apps that became my daily workhorses on XP.

Firefox – better than IE6 at the time so less frustrating to use and I still love the tabs.
OpenOffice – I needed to create PDFs and OpenOffice has this built in.  Opened all my Word and Excel files as well so no problems.
GIMP- the graphics app.  A bit of a learning curve but no different to when I went on a Photoshop course after using Paint Shop Pro for a year.  It does what I need.
Inkscape – Vector graphics for logos and design work.
Thunderbird – This was one of the last things I installed as Outlook Express did what I needed but I kept hearing Thunderbird was better so I installed it and it just worked.

So, there I was happily running XP with a range of Open Source app and the world was a good place… until my computer died.  Proper died, motherboard dead.  It was a laptop so no east fix.
I decided to use this as the perfect time to get a new computer and had space for a proper desktop with a proper keyboard and mouse.

I then looked at what I used the computer for and saw that I wasn’t using any Windows specific apps any more.  I have moved to Open Source because it worked for me.
It was one of those ‘looks like a duck, smells like a duck, walks like a duck’ moments.
If all the apps were Open Source and available on Linux why not try it out for real.
I picked a desktop with no OS installed.  Got an Ubuntu LiveCD, booted, checked it all worked and did the install.

Less than an hour later and I was up and running with OpenOffice, GIMP and Firefox there already.  The only things I had to install were Inkscape and Thunderbird.  With Ubuntu there is a nice easy app called Synaptic to do this.  It’s all click and install.  No command line required.

So, 2 years later I’m still an Ubuntu user because it just works and as an added bonus I ended up with Sudoku to keep my brain busy.


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