In world where user interface designs of Operating Systems are rapidly changing, I’m finding the interface of Ubuntu 12.04 LTS very re-assuring and almost familiar. You don’t have learn any gestures or get fingerprints all over your screen. Here are some of features and functions of the Precise Pangoline release of Ubuntu that Windows users will find reassuring:
1. Power Buttons. The Windows world has been rocked by the lack of a traditionally placed start menu button in Windows 8. But, in my alternative Linux reality, there is a button in the upper right corner that handles powering the machine down, system settings, software and OS updates, and other functions. At the top of the application launcher bar on the left side of the screen, users will find the “Dash Home” button. It brings up a transparent window with your recently used applications, files, and downloads. It’s quite intuitive.
2. Ease of Wireless Network Login. If you have a wireless network in your home, it doesn’t really matter what kind of device you bring to the party. With my Network password, I was able to log in and start surfing without any problems.
3. Cut and Paste. I still don’t know how to cut and paste on my Nook Color, but left clicking, highlighting to select text and Control-C and Control-V work just fine on an Ubuntu machine.
4. Browsers. We’ve all been bouncing from browser to browser for years depending on who was fastest, most secure, or perceived to be the coolest. Ubuntu comes with the familiar Firefox browser that everyone knows. To get flash, you simply install the Chromium browser which is the open source project that underlies the Google Chrome browser.
5. Traditional Menu in LibreOffice. If you are still befuddled by the “ribbon device” that Microsoft introduced with Office 2007, there is no need to worry. The free Open Source office suite LibreOffice has a fairly traditional menu system and you’ll quickly pick it up.
6. Ability to Recognize Thumb Drives. I was pleased that Ubuntu recognized all of my old thumb drives. It made it easy to backup and transfer files and documents from Windows over to my new operating system.
7. Recognition of Windows Files. The Ubuntu operating system is able to recognize and work with Windows file format. Linux office was able to recognize, use, and save to Microsoft Office file formats. It’s re-assuring not to lose your financial spreadsheets and Word documents when you switch from Windows.
With an application launch bar on one side and intuitive icons, experienced Windows users will have little trouble navigating around in Ubuntu Linux in order to surf and perform basic functions. Ultimately, the switch to Linux is not that radical.
Other articles by this contributor:
Book Review: the $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
Retro Gaming Review: Why We Bought a Coleco ADAM
Notes from a Linux Novice 1: Why I Chose Linux Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Over Windows 8