Recently, a Guardian writer who's witterings I usually appreciate reading on a Saturday afternoon, waded into the ridiculous PC versus Mac debate.
I – on the other hand – am going to wade straight back out with a single word: 'Ubuntu'. Sounds a bit like Vic Reeve’s ‘Uvavu’ and is – likewise – a tad ridiculous, but lots of fun.
Ubuntu is a Linux operating system that works on both PCs and Macs, it can – theoretically – be installed to dual boot on Macs (both G5 and Intel), or installed on an external drive (not recommended by me). Intel Mac owners can use Parallels to install the program, which is what I ended up doing.
Like most Linux installers, Ubuntu is completely free and you record it to a CD. You can launch straight from the CD and muck about with it before heading into the installation. What’s special is that it’s Linux goodness all in one place. Alongside the operating system you get copies of OpenOffice (MS Office clone), GIMP (almost Photoshop), Firefox, a decent email package called Evolution; on top of that you get plenty of games and tools. If you want more there’s a built-in software update utility that plugs into the Ubuntu online catologue, getting and installing new programs is just a case of ticking boxes and clicking ‘OK’.
The website describes it as ‘Linux for human beings’ and in one forum I managed to see one person type: ‘and people have the nerve to thing that Linux is harder than Windows’. The website says: “On a typical computer, the Ubuntu installation should be done in less than 25 minutes.” And they say Mac users are blind to reality.
It took me the best part of an afternoon and an evening. Even now it doesn’t recognise my monitor properly and I’m having to learn how to access the root user command to edit text configuration files to fix it – hardly stuff for human beings.
But it’s glorious fun. Totally impractical mind. I spend all my time with Linux mucking about with the OS and not actually getting anything done with it. Still… it's fun; if you – like me – enjoy that sort of thing. If I want get something done (like this blog) I use my Mac.
My Windows installation (via Boot Camp) might as well be called the 'Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter simulation program for Mac' - because that's all I've ever used it for. But that probably says more about me than the entire world of PC users so I'll refrain from sweeping generalizations and get back to work (on my Mac).