Why we love Ubuntu Linux (or maybe we don't)
I eventually left this company to go back to the University; they gave me a hollowed-out and silver-painted Mac as a farewell gift. A few years later I dropped in to say hi and join them for lunch and I was shown the Red Hat Linux server which now single-handedly performed web serving (via Apache), web proxying (via Squid), file and print serving (via Samba) and POP and SMTP e-mail.
At home, I continued using Red Hat Linux through its successive versions. After a while Red Hat renamed their consumer offering as Fedora, retaining the Red Hat name for their enterprise edition.
I’d always taken the view point that, while I was a Fedora person, Linux distributions were pretty much one and the same. After all, Linux at heart is the kernel, Torvalds’ creation. Then there’s a set of GNU and other free open source software that provides rich functionality. A graphical user interface – these days GNOME or KDE – gives a bit of polish, while an installer and package management tool help with adding and removing software. Although the latter two items may vary, fundamentally any Linux distro consists of pretty much the same things.
Or, so I thought. I heard rumblings about Ubuntu from all different areas. It gained momentum while I was looking the other way. Indeed, even as recently as last year I wrote stories for this column using Red Hat Linux commands and output to illustrate. I was surprised by the amount of feedback which criticised the choice to use Red Hat when Ubuntu was the bees knees.
Sure enough, Ubuntu didn’t seem to have a single bad review when I checked it out. It had gained a reputation for being dead easy to install and a doddle to maintain. Apparently, even one’s grandmother could use it, we were told. I theorised in this column I should apply a “Ubuntu test” to every command or output I used. Yet, then the criticism came the other way; hard-core Debian groupies felt slighted anyone would use such a rogue platform which, they felt, stole from the work of Debian.
It’s hard to deny that the new releases of Ubuntu – most recently Gutsy Gibbon and now Hardy Heron – catch attention more than new versions of Slackware (now up to v12) or Red Hat or Damn Small Linux or a great deal of others. Major PC retailer Dell chose Ubuntu for their line of Linux-based desktop computers which brought great excitement that Ubuntu would be the distribution which took Linux into the mainstream. However then ASUS hit a winner with their wildly-successful Eee subnotebook but this had a custom Linux derived from Xandros.
On the one hand, Ubuntu had all the signs of being the most unifying and popular Linux distro of all time, but on the other I kept finding people grumbling about it. On reflection, the grumbles may be because Ubuntu has been so massively hyped that the reality can be disappointing when compared to expectations. Perhaps Ubuntu has made itself a victim by virtue of its own marketing.
Anyhow, enough about me; time to hear what readers and user group members think.
ITWIRE SERIES - BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE WEBINARLooking to successfully deploy Business Intelligence & Analytics?
Discover the “real-world state of the BI market” – the knowledge you need to ensure Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics success.
Join Yellowfin for a free Webinar!
We dissect the results of 2013’s Wisdom of Crowds Business Intelligence Market Study – the BI industry’s most in-depth research report into major implementation, usage and technology trends and developments.
ITWIRE SERIES - BUSINESS COLLABORATION SUMMITCollaboration, Contact Centre and the Cloud - this is one you cannot afford to miss!
Considering the Cloud? Next generation Contact Centre? Do you understand your Customer Conversations? Are you really Collaborating?
The event will be showcasing traditional Unified Communications, Contact Centre and Workforce Optimisation themes, with an emphasis on the Australian market and cloud-based applications.
VENUE DOLTONE HOUSE HYDE PARK - SYDNEY 24th JULY
ITWIRE SERIES - CIO SUMMIT GOLD COASTFor CIOs & Senior IT Management Summit on the Gold Coast!
This event has been personally vetted by the iTWire CEO who has attended four of these conferences in the past and is an event you cannot afford to miss!
We can guarantee that this conference is of great value. Network with fellow CIOs and IT Mgrs and hear Glenn Archer CIO, Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO), Matt Barrie, Award-winning Entrepreneur to provide insights on Navigating Your Entrepreneurial Initiatives in a Hyper-connected New World, Stephen Tame, CIO & Head of Group Information Technology, Jetstar, Tim Thurman, CIO, Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.