Welcome Ubuntu!

by Edd Dumbill

Related link: http://www.ubuntulinux.org/

Today's the official release date of href="http://www.ubuntulinux.org/">Ubuntu Linux, the most
exciting development in Linux distributions since Fedora.

Ubuntu mixes three elements that make it uniquely attractive. First,
it aims to be a cutting edge desktop Linux that works right out of
the box. That means you can find the latest GNOME and
freedesktop.org innovations inside it.

Second, it's based on Debian GNU/Linux. Ubuntu takes all the rough
corners off Debian, and preserves the diversity, integration and
power that makes it one of the most popular Linux distributions.
Debian will benefit too as Ubuntu developers contribute their changes

Third, it's based on a distinctive philosophy and good motives.
Ubuntu will always be free of charge. Canonical, its developers,
intend to make money from technical support and professional services.
To show how deep that intention is, Canonical will href="http://shipit.ubuntulinux.org/">ship CDs with Ubuntu on free
of charge to anywhere in the world.

In case you're wondering how they can sustain it, Canonical is founded
and backed by Mark
, a South African entrepeneur with business
sense, deep pockets and a
solid record of open source philanthropy.

Canonical is pretty up-front about its philosophy, too. The front page of the web site explains the Ubuntu name:

"Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". Ubuntu also means "I am what I am because of who we all are". The Ubuntu Linux distribution brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.

border="0" alt="image" />
Ubuntu's login screen

Aside from these points, does Ubuntu work well? You bet. Preview
releases of Ubuntu have been around for a little while, and there's
been a great uptake among open source early adopters. I've run it
myself on one of my machines and been very satisfied. The install is
easy, with a minimal number of questions to answer, and it's quick
too. Ubuntu fits a great GNOME 2.8 desktop and a full-featured
Python development environment onto one CD.

On top of that, there's a large selection of other packages
available, drawn from Debian. Third parties are also already starting
to package software up for Ubuntu where Canonical themselves haven't
yet provided it. For example, you can find Mono and groovy Mono-based
like Muine and Tomboy at href="http://www.getsweaaa.com/~tseng/ubuntu/debs/">at this

Now their first release, "warty", is out, the Ubuntu guys will be
working towards their next. The plan is to release every six months,
providing security support for each release up to 18 months. Like
Debian, they'll also have their development version, "hoary",
available for use by bleeding-edge fans.

If you've not already tried Ubuntu, do give it a spin. There's
also a Live CD
available if you don't have the disk space to hand.

Have you tried Ubuntu? What did you think of it?


2004-10-21 09:09:57
What exactly do I need to add to /etc/apt/sources.list to get those mono apps?
Edd Dumbill
2004-10-21 10:03:30

deb http://www.getsweaaa.com/~tseng/ubuntu/debs/ ./

2004-10-21 11:30:03
nice alternative to Debian/Unstable

I converted my laptop from Debian/Unstable to Ubuntu a few weeks ago. Didn't realize I was working with a development snapshot, so I was confused that there always seemed to be daily package updates. Looking forward to working with it in a "stable" state.

My only beef so far has been missing or differently-named packages, specifically Mono. Thanks for the repository link!

I've used Debian on my servers for years, but was never totally happy using it on a workstation: Stable is always embarassingly behind with the major Desktop Environments (GNOME 1.4?), and Unstable breaks too frequently. I've looked at other Debian-based distributions geared toward workstation use, but they almost always use KDE, which I don't like. Ubuntu's GNOME 2.8 is extremely clean and functional.

I'm gonna try to stick with Ubuntu at least through the next release (5.4?). Let's hope the project keeps up the good work.

2004-10-21 12:33:30
[OT] Dammmmmit! "Africa" is not a single cultural entity
Sorry for the off-topic posting, but I'm sensitive to this one and usually try to correct it where I hear it. This thinko is twice galling coming from an African company.

'"Ubuntu" is an ancient African word, meaning "humanity to others". Ubuntu also means "I am what I am because of who we all are"'

Yeah . And "agape" is an ancient European word meaning the same sort of thing? Of course no one would say that. It's an ancient Greek word (Attic to be even more precise).

Even within South Africa "ancient African" could be Ndebele (IsiNdebele), Xhosa, Zulu, etc. or even Afrikaans (depending on your definition of "ancient"). Never mind how many thousands of options the whole continent opens up.

I guess some people think "ancient African" brings about an aura of mysterious fecundity. Bah. Fie.