Today is the day for the final release of Ubuntu Dapper, Ubuntu's latest generation of its desktop operating system. For anyone not familiar with the Ubuntu distribution, it is a excellent version of the Linux that has been making serious headways in the Linux user base. Ubuntu is an excellent choice for anyone considering a Linux installation.

Ubuntu installs incredibly easily. In general, Linux distributions have greatly improved the installation interface over the past five years. Not only is it now easy to understand the various possible configurations, as well as comprehend how to create a dual-boot installation with Windows, there is a huge range of support of drivers and other hardware. (Several years ago, it was, occasionally, a big deal to get Linux to install and run properly on things like a laptop — no longer the case.)

Ubuntu's interface is really quite gorgeous. It's comparable to Vista or Mac OS X, but in my opinion, at least, it's even more refined. One thing I like about it is that it gets away from all the bluish schemes of Mac and Windows. Oh! and the start up music is a hundred times better.

Like SuSE or Novell Linux, Ubuntu is built on Debian, so some of the command line commands differ slightly from Red Hat Linux. One of the most attractive aspects of Debian is the "sudo" command, which enhances security by limiting the time spent as a super user, or administrator.

Another once troubling aspect of Linux, was it's installation process. Unpackinging a .tar or .gzip file and then running "make" commands caused many Windows and Mac users to throw their hands up in frustration. Ubuntu has addressed this with an interface that simplifies the problem. For those familiar with the Mac update process, you will recognize similarities. Application installation in Ubuntu is now as straightforward as downloading updates.

Mark Stamiatu has a comprehensive look at Ubuntu for novices. His blog is from October 2005, but much of what is there is applicable in Dapper. Lunapark posted a great article on Dapper last night, May 31, 2006, complete with screenshots.

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