When it comes to PC Operating Systems we are not as well served as mobile OS’s. There is only three main players Microsoft, Apple and Linux. In the general scheme of things going into a PC store you will be confronted with desktops and laptops running Microsoft’s Windows OS. It’s very doubtful they will have a Mac on display unless you go to one of the big retail outlets. And extremely unlikely that you will see one running Linux even in one of the big retail outlets.
So how do you get Linux?
The easiest or quick answer is visit Distrowatch which carries the biggest library of Linux distro’s on the web. You will see the term ‘distro’ many, many times and it is short for ‘Distribution’, that simple.
So which Distro should you choose?
You could go in head first and choose one of the well known distro’s like, Ubuntu (pronounced U bun to), LinuxMint or Fedora but, if you’ve never tried Linux before then, one of the easier to navigate yourself around would be the best place to start.
Next you have to look at the Desktop user interface which are very similar to the launcher on any Android Smartphone or Tablet.
Here you have a few choices with the main contenders being Gnome, KDE, Xfce, LXDE and now Unity which is Ubuntu’s variation of Gnome 3. This particular topic will be discussed separately later, as it is a personal decision just like which launcher you use on a Android Phone/Tablet.
As for the Distro I’m going to choose Pinguy OS, 12.04 LTS (Long Term Support) which is downloadable from DistroWatch.
Antoni Norman has announced the release of Pinguy OS 12.04, an Ubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution with a customised GNOME Shell user interface: “Here is the final release of Pinguy OS 12.04 LTS. We have fully embraced GNOME Shell here and wanted a modern, updated site to go with the new look of the desktop. In this release we have: Linux Kernel 3.2, GNOME 3.4.1, WINE 1.5.6, Skype 4.0, TeamViewer 7, XBMC-PVR 11.0 Eden, GNOME Shell Extension Updater and everything else that was present in the previous beta release. The GDM login is now themed to match the desktop. The Distro comes with two menus – Cardapio (Default) but also includes the Axe menu that is disabled.” Read the release announcement which includes notes about known issues, including one about a problematic VLC player.[/pressrelease]
Here is what Antoni has to say about the origins of PinguyOS:
I started out by listening to what my friends and family wanted to use their PC for. I then found the most user friendly programs for the task required. After a while I got a good idea of what most people use their PC for and what programs were the easiest to use. Like using Shotwell for easily uploading images to Facebook, gtkpod for putting music, photos and video on a ipod/iphone and Arista for converting the video to an iPod friendly format.
As time went on my version of Linux gained popularity amongst my friends and family, with regular positive feedback coming from everyone. So I decided to take the plunge and release it as an official Linux distribution – from then on, PinguyOS was born.
PinguyOS is a Linux distribution that is built on the Ubuntu framework. PinguyOS was created by Antoni Norman and Antoni is still the lead developer of the project today. The ethos of PinguyOS is very simple, to look good, work well and most importantly to be simple to use. PinguyOS is very much designed for people who are new to the Linux world, many people coming from both a Windows or a Mac background will find plenty of familiar features along with some new ones that aren’t available in either Windows or Mac.
Thanks to two good friends on twitter @lrvysan and @HughMcVea for pointing me to PinguyOS as I wanted a lightweight Linux for my old laptop and, now I also have it on a 8 year old desktop PC that was languishing in the corner. I’ve been using it for about two weeks now and I must say I’m loving it.