A Month on Ubuntu

A little more than a month ago I stated that I was running about 60% Ubuntu. Since then, I've made the mistake of accidentally blowing away the OS X installation on my MacBook and taking Ubuntu full time. What have I learned in the intervening weeks of using Canonical's OS full time? It's a powerful platform with a lot of potential that really could be used by anybody still harbouring a Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8 installation at home. Heck, considering how most of the corporate tools are designed at the day job, I'd go so far as to say that my employer could completely eliminate Windows from 90% of the workforce and nobody would need any sort of retraining in order to be just as efficient as before.

Ubuntu is a really nice platform.

This isn't to say that Ubuntu is perfect, though. There are still a few areas that need some attention, particularly when it comes to drivers and core applications, but this is something that can continue to be tackled as more people give Linux a try. One example of the driver problems I've run into is a lack of Bluetooth on the MacBook Pro. There are a few resources online that talk about how to resolve the issue, but I've yet to get any to work. That said, this is something that will be resolved with time.

There are a number of tools that I do occasionally miss from OS X. Pixelmator, 1Password, Hindenburg, Coda 2, and Rested are five that immediately spring to mind. Aside from 1Password, I doubt any of these will see an Ubuntu-friendly port anytime soon. This does leave the market open for people who would like to take on the challenge of making similar full-featured applications. But there's the problem …

With drivers, I expect something to happen in the future. With software, I hope something will happen in the future. Ubuntu is a great, human-friendly version of Linux with a great deal of potential, but a small developer base. In order for Ubuntu to continue to grow, it needs to attract more developers. In order for developers to target Ubuntu, there needs to be more people. In order for there to be more people, there needs to be more awareness. What makes Ubuntu better than Windows or OS X for the average person? I can think of a number of answers that appeal to me, but I have yet to convince any "normal" person to give Ubuntu a try when they look over my shoulder and ask about the software I'm using. People hear "Linux" and immediately stop listening, as though the mere mention of the word is a trigger to ignore everything after.

I still strongly feel that Ubuntu has a great deal of potential and can fulfill 99% of people's home requirements with a basic installation. We just need to get people to keep listening after the word "Linux" or, better yet, describe the operating system as a viable alternative to the commercial operating systems in the world. My mother doesn't care what operating system she's using so long as there's a browser for Facebook and YouTube. I'm willing to bet a lot of people who don't rely on very specific software for very specific tasks might be in a similar boat.