Why Ubuntu: A Bird’s Eye View

I have been a happy member of the Ubuntu community and user of the product for years now.  Today I decided to ask the internet ‘why’.  I had my own reasons why but I wondered what Mr. WWW was telling people.

I was surprised.  I couldn’t find any short summary.  It was all too product-based or too philosophy based but didn’t quite sum up the ‘big picture’ for someone who wanted a quick read.  I was tempted to call this post “Ubuntu: Why all the Hype?”

I remember Randall Ross saying somewhere… or writing somewhere something about ‘How Many P’s are there in ‘Ubuntu’?”  I searched his blog but was unable to find the P’s.  I’ll kindly request that Randall officially publish those or if someone could fire a link to these in the the comments below that will be much appreciated.  The P’s that I remember are Philosophy, People, Product which are the key things that got me moved over to Ubuntu and kept me there.  I think Privacy might have been one, too.

Even the official Why Use Ubuntu page on ubuntu.com wasn’t really that satisfying for me.

So without further adieu, my spew:

~philosophy~

  • it doesn’t cost you money, and therefore is not reserved for the elite.  A child in a poor country has the same rights to be involved as a rich man
  • it is built by the community and therefore for the community.  Instead of a boardroom of software execs deciding which new thing they can craft up that will keep the users in bondage to their business model, a grandpa alone in Moosejaw (that’s a real place, by the way) can, with the help of the community, suggest or even write a change to the system and watch it take place before their eyes.  They can do software instead of being done by software.
  • you remain in control of your hardware that you paid for.  Now that I’ve been an Ubuntu fanboy for a while, I find it disturbing to think that the operating system – the thing that has complete control over your hardware – could be shipped to you pre-installed without your consent.  The company could limit you from what you could do with that hardware you paid for, or they could give themselves power over it without your consent.  I no like.

~people~

  • you’re not alone.  There are people out there who are really excited about Ubuntu and they’ll help you.  They want to see you succeed because when you succeed so do they.  People are volunteering lots of their time to organize meetups, to write helpful material and to write code to improve everything.  You can join or start local groups and you can network online.  Instead of clicking aimlessly online you can talk to people.

~product~

  • it’s unified.  it is the only operating system to have unity (hence the name Unity) from a PC, to a laptop, to  a netbook, to a tablet, to a TV all the way down to a smart phone (search ‘Ubuntu Phone’).  Across all hardware, Ubuntu unites them.
  • it works.  Ubuntu never fails to amaze me.  Whenever I use it, everything just feels and works better.  I don’t get paralysing crashes, slow bootups, lag times, etc.  Its smooth and it works.
  • it’s fast.  On one occasion I was forced to use a big slow operating system.  For fun I decided to boot Ubuntu from a USB stick which should be slower than the native operating system since it’s running on the external drive.  To my surprise it was like someone handed me a new laptop – it was alive again and snappy fast.  The proof is in the pudding.
  • it’s safe.  I challenge you to find any virus written for Ubuntu and if you do, I challenge you to show me that it had any negative impact.  I have not so much as thought about viruses since I made the switch years ago.  Want the world to see everything you do on your hardware?  Do not use Ubuntu!
  • it’s both cool and creative.  I just love the way that every few months I have something to be excited about. I know that someone in the community has changed something for the better and that soon enough when I upgrade to the next release something will get cooler.  Compare that to my crippling and enslaving experience with big proprietary company’s updates when I dreaded the next release because I knew something I paid for in the past would no longer be supported and I would have to pay extra to get it working again.
  • it’s simple and easy.  My mom and dad are 74 years old and have been with Ubuntu for years.  They haven’t experienced any major problems and if they did the community was there to help get it resolved – for FREE
  • its growing.  Although I don’t have the reference here I was under the understanding that Ubuntu was the fastest growing operating system in the world (reference needed).  The point is is that it’s not dying like many other systems and seeing a downward curve.
  • its freakin’ awesome.  No further comments

~project~

I found another P in Ubuntu.

I hope that this has been helpful in converting you from darkness to light and from folly to wisdom.  The great part about having a free will is that no one will stop you from smashing your own head against a cement wall if you want to.  That’s your right.  No one  can take that from you (although they probably should).

Do what you choose but I strongly recommend doing your due diligence and doing the right thing wherever you can.  Imagine regaining your freedom and how sweet that would feel?  It’s empowering.

Join the Ubuntu Project today.

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6 thoughts on “Why Ubuntu: A Bird’s Eye View”

  1. Yes, I should write something more formal. In absence of the full blog post, here’s my summary:

    Ubuntu is not just software. It’s
    a Philosophy,
    a Platform,
    a Product,
    a Project, and
    People.

    I didn’t include privacy as it’s implicit in the philosophy.

    Cheers,
    Randall.

  2. I read another blog entry today about why more people are choosing Ubuntu, and the article gives a lot of techy reasons. I can’t even say whether I agree with those reasons, since I frankly don’t really know that much about computers and OS. But that’s the beauty of Ubuntu — I’m amazed that I’m able to move to this new system and actually find it quite easy to navigate. And when I had issues, I have been able to turn to the Vancouver LoCo group for advice and help. So you are definitely right that we aren’t alone.

    I don’t know about the other LoCo teams, but the Vancouver team certainly knows how to be creative with sharing their enthusiasm about Ubuntu, reminding us that Ubuntu is not just software 🙂

    (PS — I can’t wait to see the Ubuntu tablet and Ubuntun phone at the jam — it’ll be a blast!)

  3. Good article. I take it as just a typo, but I think you likely mean ‘official’ rather than ‘office’ in, “Even the office Why Use Ubuntu page on ubuntu.com wasn’t really that satisfying for me.” Still, a truly good article.

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