Why do I use Ubuntu?

Far too many people have queried me why I use Ubuntu at all. And I am pretty tired of explaining to each and every one of them again and again and again. Hence, I decided to collect and organize my thoughts here so that I can refer them to this blog post to quell all of their doubts. While I have briefly covered this topic covered this topic earlier, I think it really does deserve an extended post.

(I also have a little history to share about what made me try out Ubuntu. So, do check it out when you have some time.)

Here’s the awesome Ubuntu logo for those who like that tingling Ubuntu orange colour.

Ubuntu logo

Now, let’s get to listing down the various reasons.

Note: They are compared against Windows, which was what I was using before switching to Ubuntu. These points may or may not be relevant to people using Mac OS X.

It’s free!

No money spent to try and use Ubuntu. Not a penny! When I first wanted to try something different from Windows, Mac OS X was the first thing that came to my mind. Unfortunately, it was far too expensive and I cannot afford it right away. The next option that was suggested to me was Ubuntu. I was told that Ubuntu is not only free but also comes with useful technical support from the community, which also comes free of charge. That was enough of a reason for me to get started.

Customization options are aplenty

I prefer tweaking my system to my wish. While Windows does allow you to customize a bit, it still took way too long to boot and it was full of bloat. Me being a computer inquisitor always wanted to see how changing the settings modified my workflow and Windows didn’t really have too much of choices. And, the level of customization possible in Ubuntu is much more than that what is possible in Windows. Moreover Ubuntu is open source and that means I can also see how different things were put together. To summarize, we got along way too quickly than I would have possibly expected myself to and that was all for a good cause.

It is secure

When I first looked at the Ubuntu website, it was being advertised as virus-free and I think it holds true even now. Whether or not it achieves security by obscurity is a different point though. When Mac users’ claim that their system is safe from malware gets invalidated by the flashback botnet, I can continue to profess that Ubuntu does not require an anti-virus software for it to be used for daily purpose. However, we should be safe than sorry so I do think I should have an AV installed. I will get to that, eventually.

Awesome community

Ubuntu has a really awesome community, of varying technical abilities. I haven’t seen so many people passionate about a piece of software, who are willing to spend their spare time working on making it better. I really liked the collaborative nature of the community and I felt I should do something to make the lives of millions better. The community basically made me to not only use Ubuntu but to contribute to it as well.

Software-center

Software center

The software-center we currently have in Ubuntu allows the users to quickly look for software that he needs to use. While I can conveniently look up on Google for relevant software on Windows, I also made my system open to exploitations and it was pretty easy to get viruses that way. Luckily, Ubuntu has such a smart system to prevent all of that mess and makes it very safe and secure for users trying to install non-default applications. Who wouldn’t want that level of convenience?

Upgrading is easy

Something that caught me by surprise is the fact that you can update to the next version of Ubuntu within Ubuntu. You don’t have to burn a new CD or create a partition. With the least amount of hassles, you can happily zip past from one version to another.

Notifications

Twitter, in your desktop

Being able to get the notifications of the social networks right into your desktop is just plain brilliant. Oh, you can even make your Google Chrome or Firefox notifications to look consistent with the system notifications.

Workspaces

Multiple workspaces

The multiple workspaces that Ubuntu offers is a killer feature. It lets me multi-task without much of a hassle. I can jump from one task to another rather effortlessly with just three keyboard buttons. Windows users never really understood the need for workspaces. They probably never will. Workspaces are necessary if you want to keep track of multiple things at the same time without being distracted by them. That’s my take at the workspaces, anyway.

Consistency among the various windows

Consistency among the various windows

Compared to how every application has its own look in Windows, Ubuntu has a more consistent look between how the various applications look like. While I accept that Ubuntu still has a long way to go before reaching Mac’s level of consistency, it is not tough to see that it is still miles ahead of Windows in this area.

Appreciation of contributions

Who wouldn’t like it when your contributions are appreciated and encouraged? I doubt we have that level of community building and bonding for any other OS. The option to apply for Ubuntu membership was one of the motivators for me to continue to stick with Ubuntu, being aware that you will be recognized for your efforts and contributions.

Of course, I would have missed million other things that puts Ubuntu above Windows. If you have anything specific in mind, do mention them in the comments below.

Ubuntu member, finally!

Just to break the news to everyone, I am now an Ubuntu member! It is some kind of a pleasant surprise that I actually managed to become an Ubuntu member within 12 months of actually switching to Ubuntu full time. I mean, who would have expected this thing to happen so fast?

Anyway, being part of the Ubuntu means I knew I would become an Ubuntu member one day. It was a matter of when and not if. In any case, I am not trying to demean the idea of Ubuntu membership. I am just saying that it is a nice gesture of showing appreciation towards people who contribute selflessly towards Ubuntu. To be frank, Ubuntu membership was something that was in the back of my mind when I was answering questions on Ask Ubuntu or when I was translating strings into Tamil.

Time to show some appreciation to people who helped me in the entire process of me becoming a member.

  • Hrishi O.A. – Thank you for showing me that there is a better OS than Windows.
  • The writers at OMG!Ubuntu! – Thank you for bringing the news about the Ubuntu world every day possible. It should be mentioned that, during the early days of me adopting Ubuntu, the regular updates got me hooked onto Ubuntu really fast.
  • Conscioususer – The man who is behind the awesome green bird and the developer of Polly, the Twitter client. He is probably one of the first few from the greater Ubuntu community that I got contact with and he inspired me to contribute back to the community.
  • Ask Ubuntu community – Thank you for being so accommodative. It should be mentioned that the majority of my contributions was in Ask Ubuntu and that would not have been possible if not for the friendly community at Ask Ubuntu.
  • Ubuntu Tamil translators community – I will be doing no one a favour if I didn’t mention how the Tamil translators helped me contribute back to Ubuntu. First of all, thank you for accepting my request to join the translators’ team at Launchpad.net. Thank you again for listening to all of my feedback and replying when necessary. That acted more than a mere encouragement would possibly do.
  • Amith KK, Alan Pope – Thank you for turning up during the meeting and mincing generous words towards my application. I am sure it helped a great deal in convincing the council and letting my application hold a better chance at getting approved.
  • James Gifford, Octavian Damien, Thomas Ward – Thank you for being generous with the words and leaving awesome testimonials on my membership application. What makes it even more special is that you left them voluntarily without me asking for them, which shows your bigheartedness and generosity. I vaguely remember someone remarking that they were some of the best testimonials to ever have. So, a big thank you for that.
  • Roland Taylor – Thank you for letting me contribute content at 2buntu.com. I can go on being lyrical about your numerous other helpful contributions, but I do realize that you are a very humble person. So, I am going to stop right here. 🙂
  • dpm – Thank you for being very patient with me. I realize that I have been annoying on more than just a couple of occasions and I appreciate that you have been as calm as ever and guiding me along as you see fit.
  • dholbach – Thank you for making me feel comfortable in #ubuntu–motu and being helpful whenever I ran into doubts (which was almost every time) regarding fixing bugs in Ubuntu and other development related things. I promise to contribute in Ubuntu development again when I get some more free time.
  • Laura Czajkowski – Thanks a bunch for helping me with the bulletin points on my application. And, thanks for being part of the council that approved my application.
  • destine, head_victim and elky – It is very easy to miss the last group of people who actually approved my application. Thanks for noticing my contribution towards Ubuntu and appreciating just that by approving my application. I would like to buy you drinks if we were ever to meet again in person. 🙂
  • If I did not mention your name in the long list of people above, it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate your help. I hope you understand that I am tired after a long day at college today and I am still feeling too ecstatic about the whole thing.

And, some things to entice the readers, who might have some interest in becoming an Ubuntu member someday. I now have a nice at ubuntu dot com email address and an IRC cloak at irc.freenode.net. I am sure that is enough of an awesome deal. 🙂

If you want to know what actually happened during the membership meeting, feel free to go through the IRC log and make fun of my numerous mumblings. Or, well, if you want to know how I made my contributions to Ubuntu, you can take a look at my wiki page.

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