Disclaimer to linux gurus and open source experts: You may find this article too noobish
My first tryst with Ubuntu, one of the most popular flavours of Linux operating system, was about a year back based on the recommedation of my brother-in-law. For the uninitiated, Ubuntu is a 100% free, operating system that is much more stable and secure than the farthest Microsoft can get. And thats not an exaggeration. I can tell you that after seeing successive versions of MS Windows getting more unstable, more resource hoggy, while offering no significant performance/ utility improvements. Guess what – you need a license to own a piece of porous operating system which gets heavier and buggier with every bundle of patches.

Ubuntu comes to you as a free download. You can even order a free installation CD, and i have read they deliver it in India too! You can have a fully functional trial of the operating system, by simply booting from the “Live-boot” CD, as it is called. The operating system, including key software like Open Office Suite, runs from the CD itself, without affecting your existing windows installation.
If you like the experience, you can go ahead and install ubuntu on your hard drive on a separate partition, and run a dual boot with windows.
Teething Troubles
The first version i used was Ver. 7.10 nicknamed, the Gutsy Gibbon. Ubuntu versions are named cutely after an animal preceeded with a rhythmy rhymie adjective. (Hardy Heron, Feisty Fawn are some other names i recollect). I had initial teethers to get used to the new file structure and with the fact that for installation of some software i had to use command prompt.
Inspite of being a total newbie, with a decent level of computer literacy, i was able to find my answers on the forums.
Ubuntu clearly gave me freedom from viruses, and visibly faster internet browsing speeds. (most of the virus writers are busy proving microsofts security claims wrong, and find it tough to crack linux )
Jackalope is here:
I was happy to find the latest release of Ubuntu – 9.04 aka Jaunty Jackalope, which has better wifi abilities among various other improvements. This development came just days after i upgraded my home PCs to wifi . I had a preview of the latest release through the live CD.

Open office suite thats bundled with the operating system seems to be much more convenient than the badly screwed up Microsoft office 2007. It contains most of the features that i use in MS Office (older version than 2007, thank heavens) I am itching to make the Jackalope jaunt on my machine.