ubuntu as the desktop operating system

Ubuntu as The Desktop Operating System
Ubuntu as The Desktop Operating System
Ubuntu as The Desktop Operating System
Ubuntu as The Desktop Operating System
Ubuntu as The Desktop Operating System
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Ubuntu as The Desktop Operating System

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  • UBUNTUASTHEDESKTOPOPERATINGSYSTEM

    ABBASABDULWAHABDeg.PLANNING(GCAD),M.ScGIS(UPM),AMNFederalDepartmentofTownandCountryPlanningPeninsularMalaysia

    abbas.abdulwahab@gmail.com

    BACKGROUNDOn 19 June 2002, the Government of Malaysia1 endorsed the paper "Proposal on OSSImplementation in the Public Sector of Malaysia" that encouraged the adoption of OpenSourceSoftware(OSS)inthepublicsectorandgovernmentagencieswereencouragedtoshifttowardsthisnewdirection.ThislaidthefoundationforawholenewworldintheICTindustryforthepublicsectorinparticularthedevelopmentandapplicationofOpenSourcesystemsandapplications.

    In 2004, Tan Sri Samsudin2, the former Chief Secretary for the Government of Malaysia in hismessageatthelaunchoftheMalaysianPublicSectorOpenSourceSoftware(OSS)MasterPlansaidOneofthemainconcernsfromtheimplementation(ofICT)istheescalatingandhighcostduetothestructureof licensing feesandconstant upgrades. Risks tonational competitivenessarising fromsoftware vulnerabilities and potential lockin through proprietary software have prompted theGovernmenttoconsideralternativesolutions.TheemergenceofOpenSourceSoftwarewherethesourcescodedareavailablefortheuserstouse,modifyandredistributeprovidesvastopportunitiesfortheGovernmenttoleverageOSStechnologiesforthebenefitofitsITimplementation

    TheadoptionoftheOpenSourceSoftware(OSS)hasnotbeenimplementedwithanironhandandleftmuchtotheinitiativeofgovernmentagenciesandthishasnotbeenfollowedbymuchsuccessinsofarasthedesktopoperatingsystemisconcernbecauseusersarecomfortableandcomplacentwiththecurrentoperatingsystemwhich isMicrosoftWindows.AstheprincipleagencypromotingOSS, it is therefore not surprising to note that in March 20083, the Malaysian AdministrativeModernisationandManagementPlanningUnit(MAMPU)officiallyadoptedapolicytomigratetotheOpenOffice.orgon19.3.2008inlinewiththeimplementationoftheMalaysianPublicSectorOpenSourceMasterPlan.MAMPU4alsoscheduledtouninstallallcopiesofMicrosoftOfficebytheendof2008.ThismarksaseriousmovetowardstheeventualuseofOSSatthedesktopleveleventhoughforastart,itinvolvesOpenSourceapplicationsworkingonaWindowsplatform.

    Although it canbearguedthat there isnot reallyamigrationtoOpenOffice.orgwill not producesubstantialgainsincetheproductivitytoolisstillthesamemerelypresentedinadifferentform,thiscannotbesaidthesamewhereitconcernstheoperatingsystemsinceitrepresentsplatformbywhichall otherapplicationswill run. Inthisrespect,onecanexpectmuchimprovement inuseof theseapplicationsiftheoperatingsystemischangedinstead.Thereisnootherbetterwaytoexperiencethedifferenceandgains fromabetter typeof operatingsystemuntil onecarriesout apersonalcomparativetestparticularlyonthesamecomputerusedrunningunderWindowsbecausetheproofis in thepudding. Still, this paper introducesandpromotes theUbuntuoperatingsystemas thealternativedesktopoperatingsystemwhichusersbestmigrateto.

    1http://www.oscc.org.my/content/view/177/183/2www.oscc.org.my/documentation/Masterplan.pdf3http://www.oscc.org.my/content/view/189/128/4http://www.oscc.org.my/content/view/189/128

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  • HISTORYOFUBUNTU

    Briefly,ayoungMarkShuttleworthsoldThawte,thesecondlargestcertificate andInternetsecuritycompany on the Internet to Verisign in 1999. He was also a philanthropist and founded theShuttleworthFoundation,anonprofitorganisationbasedinSouthAfricatofund,developanddrivesocialinnovationinthefieldofeducationin2001. During that period, heasked Debian, GNOME and GNU developers to create a better type of operating system and Ubuntu was founded. Ubuntu, aSouthAfricanconceptmeans humanity towards others emphasizing community, sharing and collaboration and over a span of four explosive years, has now established itself as a rapidly popularserveranddesktopoperatingsystem.

    UBUNTUOPERATINGSYSTEMTheUbuntuoperatingsystemcomesfromtheLinuxplatformandmaturedwiththe8.0.4version in2008.Thecurrentversion is9.0.4.Ubuntuuserfriendly featuresmade it popular and resulted in a wide international community. The MalaysianUbuntucommunityisquiteactiveintheUbuntuForumathttp://www.ubuntu.com.my

    The general comment one receives from a person who has converted his/hercomputerfromWindowstoUbuntuplatformisthateverythingisfastereventhoughthesameCPUisused:thereweremerelyabout10questionstoanswerduringtheUbuntuinstallation,installationtimeonatypicalPentiumIVcomputerincludingtheUbuntuoperatingsystem,OpenOffice.organdotherapplications incurs lesstimethanWindows,evenstartingup,movingthecursor,scrollingpages,internetsurfingandsavingfilesevenshutdownarecomparativelyfasterthantheWindowsoperatingsystem.

    Ifthatisnotenough,thereisnoneedtoscandiskordefragmenttheoperatingsystem.Next,UbuntuoperatingsystemisinvisibletoWindowvirusandspywaresothereisnoneedtoinstallorupdateantivirusor antispywaresolutions. It is alsoaccepted that a Unix or Linuxoperatingsystem iscomparativelymorestablethanWindows.

    Forpricecomparison,thecurrentretailpriceofaWindowsXPProfessionalEditionoperatingsystemandtheMicrosoftOfficePro2007arerespectvelyRM500andRM1,000.TooperatethatsystemwithoutanantivirussolutionwouldbeunthinkablesoRM200isneededtopurchase,forexample,Trend Micro PCCillin. The cumulative price is RM1,700. Under a government tender, it is notsurprisingpricesarejackedupbyanadditional15%roundingthattoRM2,000.Incomparison,theUbuntuinstallationCD/DVDcanbeobtainedbydownloadingacopyfromtheinternetorrequestingacopyfromthemaindistributorinU.K.Botharefreeofcharge.AnalternativewouldbetorequestakindsoulattheMalaysianUbuntucommunitytoburnacopyandcollectitatanagreeablevenueasdone by the author. It is noted the Ubuntu community is generally helpful in wanting to shareknowledgewithothersinterestedinthisalternativesystem.

    NautilusexplorerisnodifferentinfunctionandusefromMicrosoft'sWindowsexplorer.

    GIMPisanimagemanipulationprogramalternativetoPhotoshop

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  • MozillaFirefoxisthedefaultbrowserinUbuntu BraserooffersCDandDVDburningaseasyasABC

    OPENOFFICE.ORGOpenOffice.org isamultiplatformofficeproductivitysuite includingapplicationssuch as a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation manager as well asdrawingprogramwithauser interfaceandfeaturessimilar toMicrosoftsOfficeSuite. It is the product of Sun Microsystems, the established organisationresponsibleforthecreationofJava,anITlanguageaswellasinternetsoftware.

    Starting 1.4.2008, MAMPU adopted the Open Document Format (ODF), standard for all newdocumentscreated, ODFbeing the ISOopenstandard forelectronic documentsand thedefaultformatforOpenOffice.org.Withthat,acommonfearandhesitationtouseOpenOffice.orgaswhetheritcanopenaMicrosoft filethensavesitunderMicrosoftdefaultextensionbecomesanonissue.However,ausercanstill interchangebetweenthedefaultODFandMicrosoftextensionsetting.AsecondfearwhethertherewillbealossofaccuracyinpageformatandsetupwhenaMicrosoftfileisopenedunderOpenOffice.orgthensavedinMicrosoftextensionalsobecomesanonissue.Stilllikeallsoftware,upgradesareconstantlymadetofixbugs,furtherimprovetheapplicationandrectifyshortcomingsbasedonfeedbackfromusers.OpenOffice.orgachievedmaturityandmuchpopularitywhenthe2.0versionwaslaunchedsometimeago.ThecurrentOpenOffice.orgVersionis3.1.

    Withouthavingtorelearntheapplications,aregularuserofWindowsOfficeSuiteshouldnotfindany difficulty using OpenOffice.org especially when approached with an open mind. If the userconditions him/herself to simplify moves and uses certain Microsoft shortcut key strokes andcommand,onemayfindOpenOffice.orgawkwardasdifferencesmayoccuralthoughnotinfunction.Assuch,somefamiliarizationofOpenOffice.orgisrequired.

    OpenOffice.orgbeingavailableinbothWindowsandOpenSourceplatformmakesittheidealOfficeSuite application to encourage a smooth transition from Windows to Open Source platform.Alternatively,ifthereisstillaneedtoworkwithinaWindowsenvironment,atthetimeofpurchasingacomputer, a user can further reduce expenditure by installing instead, the Windows version ofOpenOffice.org.

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  • OpenOffice.orgopensaMicrosoftWorddocumentandcansaveitintheMicrosoftextension.doc

    OpenOffice.orgopensaMicrosoftspreadsheetandcansaveitintheMicrosoftextension.xls

    OpenOffice.orgopensaMicrosoftPowerPointpresentationandcansaveitintheMicrosoftextension.ppt

    OpenOffice.orghasanimpressivedrawingtoolcalledDrawthatMicrosoftOfficeSuitedoesnotofferasimilaralternative.

    ISOPENSOURCETHEPERFECTSOLUTION?

    TheprincipleproblemassociatedwithanycomputerbeitWindowsorOpenSourceplatformisthecompatibilityofdriversfortheinternalhardwareofacomputeraswellastheperipheralcomponentstosynchronizewithaparticularversionoftheoperatingsystemused.Driversaredevelopedbythemanufacturer of the hardware and peripheral component such as a printer; scanner and somemanufacturers are more enthusiastic than others in securing a wider market especially where itconcernsthecompatibilityoftheinternalhardware.WhileperipheralcomponentsaregenerallyplugnplaywiththeOpenSourceoperatingsystem,adriver thathasbeenfinetunedforaparticularversionofanoperatingsystemwillcertainlyfunctionandworkbetter.Certainmanufacturerssuchasthe established Hewlett Packet and Brother have a strong Open Source support teamso theircomponentsstandabetterchanceofcompatibilitywithOSS.

    TherecentdevelopmentoftheOSSsincethemid2000sinthefieldofICThasshownthatOSSisrapidlygainingawideracceptanceanditwouldnotbesuprisingifthispaceweretoworryMicrosoft,amajorstakeholderindesktopoperatingsystems.ThemorepopularOSSbecomes,thegreaterthechancesofmanufacturersaccomodatingtheneedsoftheconsumerstocomeupwiththeappropriatedriversforOSS.Thattimeissoon.

    CONCLUSION

    Tothegeneraluser,thesystemandapplicationwhichcandeliverthejobfast,isreliableandcheapareusuallythemaincriteria inmakingthe finalchoice inwhichcost isacritical factorsincethedevelopmentofITi