What the are benefits of using Ubuntu? I installed it just to try it out, but it seems a little complex (maybe I'm too used to Win7). What are some cool things I can do with Ubuntu? I hear that Linux is great, but I never understand why people say so.
I'm not personally a fan of Ubuntu, so I'm going to talk more about Linux in general than Ubuntu specifically. It all should apply though.
- Price: no licensing fees. On top of this, no activation BS.
- Resources: Linux tends to be pretty light-weight compared to Windows. If you don't have a brand new machine, it will probably run better (depending on configuration).
- Open Source: Enough said. None of that proprietary, sneaky, closed-source crap.
- Complete Customization: You can change literally anything. There's nothing you can't customize. You can tailor your installation to suit your needs and preferences.
- Security: Not only do you not have to worry about Viruses/Wares and their Anti-counterparts, but Linux itself tends to be much more secure due to the 'root' system that has been applied.
These are just a few reasons; there's obviously more.
If you're trying to switch just because people say it's cool, I think you need to re-evaluate your situation. You should definitely have a reason for switching other than "it seems like it'll be fun", because I can almost guarantee failure. I fully encourage trying out a few distributions however, as you have to start somewhere!
Well, it's just an Operating System. It's the programs that you run on it that do "cool" things. So the question is "what would you like it to do" (or, to put another way, "where do you want to go today"). Tell us that and we'll give you a few pointers.
One of the big benefits I always tell people just getting in (and a side from a virus-stress free environment) is their Software Channels, in Ubuntu for example you even have a whole "program to find programs" in a really fancy way, every thing from educational, entertaining, productive, etc, you name it, it will be there >without< the need of hunting them out, and without the worries of been legit, this to me break the assumption many have of "installing programs in windows is easier", I personally like to have more than one distro in my pc, one for finances and personal data, one for productivity (graphics) one for playing around and one for the kids to mess up, try to install that many windows os...yep thats cool
Being able to push graphics through an ssh session through X forwarding
tunneling traffic over ssh tunnels
ability to target sound from one machine to another using PulseAudio
being able to write powerful scripts easily that can perform many mundane, tedious tasks
being able to have those scripts email/text/call/submit webforms/etc.
having a system that is extremely flexible and customizable to your preferences, hardware, computer needs, etc.
having a system that runs on just about any remotely modern computing platform (mid-90s onward)
having a litany of simple, powerful, flexible tools that perform a limited task set well
being able to chain these tools together to accomplish much more complex tasks
having a cornucopia of choices for secure, lightweight servers of all job descriptions (mail, web, source control, etc)
sticking it to Microsoft and Apple
I could go on, but that's just the shortlist that springs to mind
That I do, at the same time I know what can be done. Just from a conceptual stance *nix has that inherent flexibility that seems to be missing from Windows. At the same time as somebody that remembers Beta testing Daytona with the 95 shell extensions I have to acknowledge and respect how far Windows Server has come. On the desktop it's horses for courses, most people don't use many of the features your list covers, if they do they tend to go for the GUI option.
For majority of users, Win 7 is more than good enough. As such, I recommend that you do NOT use Ubuntu for the sake of it (or because it's "cool").
Unless there is a specific program exclusive to Ubuntu you would like to use, and the lower financial (and I emphasize financial and not economical) costs of using, and maybe refurbishing an old laptop with a faster OS than Windows, there is no real gains to using Linux OSes