Ubuntu: A Good Windows Alternative


Ubuntu, a free open source computer operating system, recently released version 13.04 of its operating system. It seems the software has evolved into a serious Windows alternative for consumers as well as businesses.

The software, which owes its name to the ancient African word for ‘humanity to others’, aims to bring free everyday software into the lives of ordinary computer users.

The latest version of Ubuntu called Raring Ringtail is presented as a user friendly operating system for businesses. It’s rather easy to install Ubuntu 13, as well as upgrading from an earlier version of the software. The installation takes around twenty minutes, most drivers are pre-installed which should allow WiFi and other important functions to work directly. Mp3 files are not supported in the standard settings, but there is an option during the installation process to make this file format available.

The biggest problem to Ubuntu I encountered before was that the Google Chrome browser couldn’t be used. In Ubuntu 13 the open source version of Chrome, Chromium, now works fine however.

Standard Ubuntu 13.04 has a Unity 7 interface. This interface looks great and responds fast. Ubuntu users that appreciate the Unity-style will really appreciate the design of the OS. For those that dislike the Unity design Ubuntu has different types of user interfaces to choose from. In contrary to Windows and Apple, Linux based operating systems distinguish the back-end from the front-end.

Even though Ubuntu claims version 13.04 is faster than previous versions I didn’t notice any big improvements in terms speed in applications.

To gather more users Ubuntu 13.04 supports social media, cloud storage and game platform Steam. There is also a new feature called Photo Lens, with which you can view pictures from social media as Facebook, Google Plus and Picasa on one place.

(Search apps)

The built-in search functionality is fast, which is really helpful and also contains search results from the web (just like Windows 8.1). The disadvantage to this is that there are also results from Amazon. Users are able to shut this function down, but than other online search results disappear as well.

Software can be downloaded from the Software Center, which is also a good development for app developers which now have a feature they can use to port their apps.

The Unity Bar is one of the main features of the OS, similar to the start-menu in Windows 8. The first button in the bar shows the most used applications and is a tool to search for other apps. The second button shows your documents followed by the browser, text editor, spreadsheet program and more.

Changing icons, the background and other features are not that easy for Windows users since it requires users to change things in the configuration screen or even type in command lines. The Software Center does contain certain software that allows users to tweak features more easily, but not all Windows users will be able to find out how to change certain features right away.

(Libre Office text editor in Ubuntu)

All with all Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail is a great operating system, having a user friendly interface, many options for the experienced user and everything a basic computer user would need to have. The advanced computer user that needs to work with many types of file types and software and is used to Windows would be better off using Windows 8. However if you’re a computer user that has few money and needs a operating system for basic / professional computer tasks (such as text editing and surfing the web) than Ubuntu 13.04 is your operating system.

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Rowan Gonzalez

Founder & Chief Web Editor at Computer Stories
Rowan is the founder and Chief Web Editor of Computer Stories. He studied Communication and Multimedia Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam from which he graduated in 2013. Rowan's passionate about computer technologies that make the world and our lives a little better.