An Introduction to Ubuntu Linux
The minimum requirements for the current (14.x) releases of Ubuntu are:
- 700 MHz processor (Intel Celeron or better)
- 512 Mb RAM
- 5 GB free disc space
- Graphics card capable of at least 1024x768 resolution
- DVD drive or USB port (-for installation media)
Ubuntu's whole philosophy is based around making is easier for the user - hiding any unnecessary complexity..
In our opinion, Ubuntu Linux has five main strengths (-over and above the usual Linux ones):
It is arguably the most user-friendly version of Linux out there. Ubuntu's whole philosophy is based around making is easier for the user - hiding any unnecessary complexity behind the scenes
It has a huge repository of (free) software available - by far the most of any Linux distro
It has a huge installed base: it's the most popular Linux distro, so there are plenty of people and websites out there supporting it
It's backed by Canonical, which means that they have the resources to put out six-monthly releases plus bug-fixes
The user-friendliness and choice of available applications available make Ubuntu our recommendation for novice Linux users.
The main drawbacks of using Ubuntu are:
Ubuntu has a slightly conservative approach to new technologies so, if you like to keep up with leading edge technologies then you may be better suited to a distro such as Fedora instead
In our experience, Ubuntu (-particularly 11.x) can be very sensitive to hardware (-or software) faults, which can make it much less stable than, for example, Fedora. If resilience is top of your list, then look to Fedora instead
Ubuntu is quite large and requires a reasonably capable machine to run effectively: if your machine is particularly old (-and you can't upgrade it) then you may be better off with something like Puppy instead
Ubuntu is not the most popular Linux distro without good reason! However, question marks over it's ability to cope with some dodgy hardware and software faults may lead you to look elsewhere. All in all, it's a great place to start your Linux experience!
Ubuntu ships with a minimum of installed applications: please see our Useful Linux Applications to see which applications it ships with - and where to go to install others.
We have created a 15 minute video of the Ubuntu 11.10 desktop in action on our Video Section: click here to take a tour of Ubuntu 11.10!
There are two Ubuntu releases a year. Ubuntu releases are often referred to by an alliterative phrase, composed of an adjective, followed by an animal name. Each release uses the next consecutive alphabetic character in the alphabet.
Often, in forums, you'll see them referred to by just the adjective - such as "Natty" or "Lucid". Here are the release name and versions for the last few releases:
|Trusty||Tahr||14.04||LTS Version (April 2019)|
Note: April releases will be x.04 releases and those in October will be x.10 where <x> is the year. So the April release in 2013 will be 13.04 and the October release in 2009 was 9.10
Ubuntu releases prior to 11.04 came with the more traditional Gnome 2.0 desktop. However, Ubuntu 11.04 introduced a radically different desktop called Unity which - like Marmite - users tend either to love or hate.
After all that upheaval, the current (11.10) release came as a welcome respite. Very much like Fedora 16, it can be seen as an evolution of the previous release rather than a revolution: it addresses many of the rough edges and incrementally builds on the concepts introduced in 11.04.
The 12.04 release includes a kernel update from that used in 11.10. You can view the release notes on the Ubuntu wiki for more details on the intended contents of this release - or check our video reviews section for our various desktop tours.
The latest (14.04) seems to be focused on incremental updates to the latest kernel and software. You can view the release notes on the Ubuntu wiki for more details on the contents of this release.
Ubuntu is available in several different versions - either using different desktops or slanted towards a particular type of user. These include the following:
Ubuntu can be installed by doing the following:
We have created several short articles to allow you to familiarise yourself with Ubuntu. This should help you decide if this is the Linux distribution for you - before you take the plunge and download it! Here are a selection of the main pages you may want to review: