Moving to Linux

First of all, this blog is coming from “Google Documents” as they now allow an automatic upload to my blog. It will be interesting to find out how easy this will be to do, and if I fail, there is always “cut ‘n’ paste”.

Over the years I have attempted to get into Linux but have always dropped the idea, for various reasons.

Either it all seemed too complex, or people on the support forums were too rude to newcomers. I thought, often, “I don’t need this!” and returned to Windows.

I now use Windows XP but am alarmed that, when I buy the next computer, it is going to come with Vista and there is no way I want to use that. Not in its present form anyway.

So I took a look around to see what was the flavour of the month, and discovered Ubuntu.

This looked more interesting than all the others I had tried in the past, but perhaps it is not very fair to make comparisons with a 2008 program against what was around in 2006.

Ubuntu is the brainchild of Mark Shuttleworth. A South African, born in the Orange Free State. If his name sounds vaguely familiar, this is because he was that “space tourist”. He paid the Russians $20,000,000 at the age of 30, to spend nine months training and learning Russian in Russia, and then spent eight days on their space station. Mark had made $590,000,000 selling Thawte the company he started up to Verisign.

He then took the Debian package and altered it, making it more user friendly for beginners and launched Ubuntu 4.10 in October 2004. (The version number is the year and the month) So 2004 = 4 and October = 10. Since then the program has grown, with a new version out every six months, in leaps and bounds, and I now feel confident to take Windows off my computer completely.

Mark Shuttleworth is very wise and the first thing he did was to form a company to supply support for companies. Companies hate “free” and want to be able to pay and command support. So Canonical Limited, Mark’s new company, supplies that to all who require it. Mark also put up £5,000,000 in a trust fund to keep the project going should he fall under a bus. Users responded to that and moved over in their hundreds and eventually thousands.

In addition he “created” a community and in his forums you can click on a “Thank You” button if anyone solves your problem. Other users vie with each other to get the most “Thank You” tags. Also to be an official member of the Ubuntu community, recognised by Mark, you have to have helped with either programming, marketing, design or any way you can offer a service.

This all boils down to me now being confident in moving over to Ubuntu and I have set aside the weekend 12th/13th May for the big day. In the meantime I have Ubuntu 8.04 Beta as a dual boot on my machine so that, come the 12th May, I will know what I am doing.

However, to be successful in making such a move, and to be able to complete everything in one weekend, takes lots of analysing and planning.

My next blog on this will be to show you some of the planning and my “time-line” used for the last 12 days of this project.

Then after the weekend, when I have time, I will publish my notes with my experiences in case any of you will want to make the move. I will still want to use certain Windows programs and have not yet decided on whether to use a VMWare style program that allows me to run a copy of Windows within Linux, or whether to use Crossover which will allow me to run programs without having Windows installed at all.

If you would like to be noted each time I post a blog, send a blank email with Bolg (please use the strange spelling) in the Subject line to ampers at gmail com and I will notify when each blog goes up. Please don’t send me a message in that email as the whole process is automatic and I will not actually see your message.


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