Today I’ll try to explain you why I’m now an Ubuntu enthusiast instead of an… Apple freak. I used to be a very Apple guy, who loved Apple even he hadn’t a Mac. But I still loved it. I used sometimes a friend’s Mac, and I liked it. I used Ubuntu 11.10 and I hated it, because Unity was buggy et all… But now I gave a new opportunity to Ubuntu 12.04 (in seven days we’ll have 12.10 with Unity 6, yay!) and I’m really surprised, so I don’t need Apple-fantasies anymore!
I’ll just try to let you see if Ubuntu is a best choice than Mac for you.
10. Ubuntu Software Center
For start, we have the great Ubuntu’s Software Center. Other package-manager GUIs have nothing to do with Software Center, basically it’s just like the Apple Mac App Store. Well, Mac App Store came after Software Center. Yes, Apple was a pioneer on using App Stores, but Ubuntu has been the first OS (at least that I know) using an App Store. It’s easy to search for software if you know its name, or just navigate in the categories. A lot of software is free, although some software isn’t. But the most used things on Linux (such as Emacs, LibreOffice, GIMP…) are free to use. Nothing that isn’t free on other systems isn’t on Ubuntu!
Some people says that Unity isn’t customizable. They aren’t wrong, Unity is less customizable than, in example, KDE or XFCE (XFCE is, in my opinion, the best thing if you want to customizate), but it’s customizable. I have installed a Mac OS X theme, although I preffer the Ubuntu default Ambiance. I also installed some Mac cursors and the Mac fonts. You can see how to do all this stuff here, but I’ll tell you, friend, that the font is Lucida Grande.
You also have lots of apps for customizating and theming. My favourites are MyUnity, wich is an easy-to-use GUI for configuring some Unity settings like themes, window animations, etc, and UbuntuTweaker, wich is the most complete tool. It even has a AppStore! You can configure fonts and to a, in my opinion, better customization. But it may be different for you, just try it -it’s free!
8. It has Rhythmbox
Yes, it has. Rhythmbox -you’ll say-? Why do I want it? Well, folk. It’s a great media player, if not the best. It’s simple, it doesn’t eat too much memory, it has compatibility with Last.fm and Libre.fm, and access to the Ubuntu One Music Store (the equivalent to iTunes Store). But, read this, you aren’t dreaming: iTunes Store’s Podcasts will be on Rhythmbox in 12.10! Yes, yes! They will! At least, some people says it. If it’s true, it would be great.
Rhythmbox automatically puts all your ~/Music folder’s music into the library, but you can add all the songs you want, and play them in lists, loops, random mode… Also, it’s integrated on the Sound indicator on the Unity panel, so you can close Rhythmbox and the music will keep playing! Also, you’ll see Rhythmbox notifications, and you’ll can Play/Pause/Forward, etc. just in the Sound indicator. Easy, isn’t it?
7. Tomboy Notes
Another App, though you’ll have to install it via the Software Center. But you know how to do it, don’t you? It’s absolutly free! It lets you… well, just write notes. But it’s a notes App, isn’t it? Then what else do you want?
It has its own indicator on the Unity panel. The indicator will appear when you open the App. Then you can happily close it and the indicator will stay on the panel. Clicking on the indicator lets you add a new note, browse them, or… Sync them! Yes, it’s fully-compatible with Ubuntu One (we’ll take about it later), and you can have the same updated notes on all your computers! (Obviously you’ll need Tomboy installed). Also, you can add links between your notes. Practical!
Note: Please, don’t confuse Tomboy Notes with GNotes. Tomboy is based on GNotes, but it has more amazing features as the Ubuntu One synchronization.
6. Cute default apps
We’ve seen at some Apps, but now we’re looking at the included ones. On one hand, we have the Mozilla Twins (Firefox as default navigator and Thunderbird as default mail app), and, on the other hand, we have the LibreOffice suite. Of course, we have a lot of more apps like the calculator or the terminal, but they aren’t the biggest ones.
Navigating with Firefox is easy and fast as hell. Although, if you don’t like it, you can install Chromium. Setting up a new email account (or even creating a new one!) on Thunderbird is the most easy process I’ve seen. I used to don’t use email clients because they were a bit difficult to configure, but it’s great. Maybe it’s better than Mac’s Mail!
And, finally, we also have Empathy, a great app for Instant Messaging (Facebook/XMPP/Jabber, Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo!…) and Gwibber, a social networks manager (although it has some problems in the moment).
You have all the LibreOffice suite, but may be will miss the Unity menubar. Until 12.10, you’ll have to install the lo-menubar program on Software Center (or at the terminal, using sudo apt-get install lo-menubar).
5. Shutter: Maybe the more-used app of Bousie
Yes, another app. There are a lot of apps! But, you know, an operative system without apps is just a piece of ones and zeros, so I think it’s better to see the apps than other techy things.
Well, as I was saying, Shutter is the best screen capturing App. I just installed it via Software Center, and it’s amazing. It lets you do captures of a selection, all the desktop, etc. And then, you can easely edit the captures (in example, by censuring your name or personal information) with the great built-in editor. Just click edit, do a bit of makeover, and save. You can also export it to some cloud services as Ubuntu One.
It’s simple, but useful. I use it a lot for doing all the screencaps!
4. It’s Linux, and it’s Free
It’s Linux, don’t forget it. You can go thru the easy way (software center, in example) or thru the difficult way. It’s better than Mac, because it has a built-in package manager called apt-get, while in Mac you have to do macports and darwins and other stories. In fact, Software Center uses apt-get. It’s easy! It basically is a configuration file with all the places where apt-get will look for the apps.
So, how can you use it? Easy, again. Just open a terminal (search for: Terminal) and write:
sudo apt-get install <name of the program>
(Replace <name of the program> with the name of the program you want, in example: shutter).
What does it do? Sudo is the name of a program that allows you to run commands like root, like super user. So it basically asks you for your password and then runs the following command as root. So, it runs apt-get install shutter. And what does it do? apt-get is the name of the program as you know. install is the argument, you have to tell apt-get what you want to do! And, finally, shutter is the name of the program.
You can also uninstall programs replacing install with remove, or update your packages list with update, or update all your apps with upgrade. Easy as nothing!
Also, as a good Linux system, it’s free. As Mac OS, it’s based on UNIX, but Linux and Mac OS are different sons of UNIX. Anyway, it’s free to use, and free to do whatever you want with it!
3. All-in-one updates manager
Forget Windows updates crap! Here you don’t have to update each program one by one. Just search for Update Manager and you’ll see if there’s something to update on your system. It may be a library or a program itself. Sometimes, you’ll see a message telling you that a new version of Ubuntu is avaliable. You can easely upgrade to a newest version of Ubuntu clicking on Upgrade, without losing any App or data, but sometimes a clean installation is recommendated.
2. One of the biggests communities
Ubuntu has a huge community behind it. Sites like AskUbuntu or Ubuntu Forums allow you to have a quick answer for even the more stupid question you can think in. On the other hand, we’ve got sites like OMG! Ubuntu!, with daily news of everything related to Ubuntu. You can even report bugs on launchpad!
1. Ubuntu One
Number One: Ubuntu One. Its name tells it all. For Mac users, it may be familiar, because it’s a bit like iCloud. But it’s more based on synchronizating files that configurations. Of course, you can synch your TomBoy notes as you saw before. It’s free (5GB), but you can upgrade to more space paying a bit. For more information, look at http://one.ubuntu.com.
It’s easy to decide what folders will be synchronizated with One, just right-click them and select Ubuntu One > Synchronizate this folder. All the files on that folder will be uploaded to One, but there’s more. Any new file or modified file will be updated and uploaded on Ubuntu One. If you have another computer, Windows, Mac or Linux, you can download the client, and have all your folders in both computers. Any change that you do on a synched folder will be applied on all the synched computers. It’s easy and practical.
It’s also avaliable for Android and iOS, so you can have all your music, documents and photos on all your devices! What are you waiting to create a Ubuntu One account?
Finally, if you choose Ubuntu, considerate donating to Canonical. You can donate whatever you want, even $0.