I have been using Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Linux on my desktop computer, and it been working great at performing tasks which I normally use my computer for like Web Browsing (YouTube, Facebook, blogging web mail) with Firefox, listening to music, watching videos with media players, editing images with GIMP image editor, and typing up a document with LibreOffice Word Processor.
Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot Linux is a free open source Linux based operating system which you can download, install, and use on your computer for free for life. It is one of the simplest modern Operating Systems to learn how to use for computer newbies since there is so much online help forums dedicated to Ubuntu Linux, and free or inexpensive offline resources on Ubuntu Linux from Books which you can borrow from the local library or buy for an inexpensive price like under 30 dollars or less about Ubuntu Linux.
The System Requirements for Ubuntu are lower then most modern operating systems like Windows 7, MAC OS X LION according to Ubuntu’s Wikipedia page. You need a CPU which has a speed of 700 MHz, 384MB of RAM/Memory, 5 GB of disk space, and a monitor with a resolution of 1024×768 Pixels. A Internet connection via dial-up, Cable, or DSL is needed for going online, and installing updates.
The low requirements means you can install Ubuntu 11.10 onto your Netbook, Nettop, or slower computer without worrying about a very slow user experience.
I use Ubuntu 11.10 on a HP a1720n Desktop Intel 1.86 GHz Core2Dou Dual Core CPU, 1GB RAM, 320 GB hard drive, and onboard intel Graphics. It is not a very slow computer, but it’s also not very fast since it is over 3 years old, and there are now computers and desktops which are a lot faster then mine. Installing Ubuntu Linux along side Windows 7 to make a dual boot computer which can boot into Ubuntu 11.10 and Windows 7 was very easy. I only had to start my computer from the Ubuntu 11.10 LiveCD which I burned with a CD Burning program, and started my computer from the CD by just rebooting my computer with the CD inside my drive when Ubuntu started from CD, I pick Install Ubuntu. Next, I just followed the instructions on installing Ubuntu along side Windows 7, and how much space to give to Ubuntu. 10GB or more should be enough for Ubuntu for most average users. Finally, I just filled out my user name, password, and click install.
I also used Ubuntu 11.10 in LiveCD where I run Ubuntu off the CD, and not install it on my hard drive. In Ubuntu live CD mode it is usable, but not as fast as a hard drive install.
Ubuntu also asked me if I wanted to install updates when I first booted up into Ubuntu, and I agree. After I agree, Ubuntu installed Updates for me automatically.
The new login screen powered by LightDM for Ubuntu 11.10 is also easy to use, and looks very sleek.
Ubuntu Software center now has user review of software, so I can learn what other think of the software before I install. Installing programs are simple as well. All I do is browse the categories, or search for programs I want to install, and click the install. Lastly, type in my password I made earlier during the install to install the programs. Ubuntu is compatible with Skype, Adobe Flash Player, and other popular software like VLC Media Player.
If you plan on buying a new computer with Ubuntu 11.10 pre-installed in it, system76.com is a good Ubuntu desktop brand since they only make and support Ubuntu Desktops. System76 may seem more expensive then a HP, Dell, Acer, or other computer, but you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues for hardware working with Ubuntu 11.10, and they’re support is better since their staff are more knowledgeable in Ubuntu Linux. The computer parts also seem more high quality and faster then cheaper computers which you buy from most stores.
Ubuntu starts up in under 30 seconds, and programs usually start up in seconds. Ubuntu also shutdowns in a few seconds. The faster start up and shutdown times for Ubuntu and programs installed in Ubuntu save me a lot of time in the long run since I spend less time waiting for programs or the OS to open and close, so I can spend more time on watching videos, and browsing the web which is what I usually do on my computer. I also do not need to restart my computer to make it fast again like other operating systems like Windows, and programs don’t slow down or crash as much in Ubuntu. Disk defrags, and manually operating maintenance is also not needed since Ubuntu automatically keeps its hard drive defragmented.
Ubuntu 11.10 also has Ubuntu One which is a free 5GB online backup software to backup your files online, and synchronize them with different computers, and devices, so all device have the same files. Ubuntu also now has the Déjà Dup backup client, so you can back up your files to Ubuntu One, another hard drive, or an external hard drive easily.
The User interface in Ubuntu which is called Unity which has a sidebar on the left, and a program and file search engine on the top left corner when you click on the Ubuntu icon. The Search engine for launching programs also recommends you programs to download, and you can filter them by star rating out of 5, and the category. You can also use the search engine on Ubuntu 11.10 to look for files, music, , and programs.
The Unity user interface is also very easy for computer newbies to learn with it’s built in search function on the sidebar, and big icons. When programs are maximized, the left sidebar hides away, and the menubar integrates with the top toolbar, so there is less spaced used up like previous versions of Ubuntu like 10.04 which had two toolbars which uses up more space then Ubuntu 11.10 desktop. The File manager in Ubuntu 11.10 is also very fast loading, supports tabs and simple to use. There is also a Ubuntu Snap feature which re-sizes your Windows to use half of the vertical space on your desktop which is useful for comparing two documents or file management. The Work spaces button which allow you to change work spaces is now on the left sidebar, and has nice animations. ALT-TAB keyboard button shortcut also makes changing open programs easier.
If you do not like the Unity user interface, you can use the Ubuntu software center to search for LXDE which is a Light Desktop Environment which user interface is similar to other operating systems like Windows XP, 98, ME, and 2000 where shortcuts for programs are organizes in a pop-up menu on the bottom left, and there is a system tray with your clock, and other icons. Some people complain that Unity is very slow, but I don’t notice a huge slow down when using Unity, but when using the LXDE, and Xcfe desktop user interface environment. I notice Ubuntu seem a little more responsive if you prefer a classic theme, and faster speeds rather then the modern look and feel of Ubuntu default Unity desktop setting. There is also Ubuntu 2D which is a 2D version of Unity which looks like Unity, but in 2D with fewer effects.
By installing Compiz, and other desktop appearance tweaking programs, you can customize Ubuntu Linux even more. One of the best things about Ubuntu 11.10 and other Linux desktops is how customizable they are without the customizations slowing down your computer.
I personally just use the LXDE environment, and set my computer to automatically log into Ubuntu to save a few seconds off my start up times, and applications start. I mainly just use my computer for browsing the web, so I’m rarely on my desktop, so I pick a desktop environment which is faster, so I have better performance. The LXDE desktop environment is also more power efficient, and less resource intensive, so I am also saving a little bit of electricity, or power. The LXDE desktop environment would be useful for users who have Ubuntu 11.10 installed on a older computer running off a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply), Netbook, or Laptop where performance, and battery life is not very good, or unlimited like desktops.
Resources to learn more about Ubuntu 11.10