August 26th, 2007
Ubuntu is currently the most reasonable Linux distribution. I ran Slackware in 1997, then Redhat from 2001, then Debian from 2004, and they were all reasonable in their time; now Ubuntu carries the torch, and I wouldn’t install anything else until that momentum shifts considerably. Installation on reasonable hardware is remarkably straightforward, in some ways even better than Microsoft Windows (did you hear that Windows Genuine Advantage was out of service for 19 hours last weekend?). Package installation and upgrading is a snap with apt-get, and since it’s everyone’s current favorite, support in the form of internet forums is widely available. Even Dell is shipping a few computers with Linux pre-installed, and the distro they’re using? Ubuntu, of course.
You usually only need one Installation CD, which is pretty easy to download and burn yourself, if you can. If you don’t have a fast internet connection or a way to burn CDs, paying $10 for this complete DVD is very reasonable (assuming your computer has a DVD drive, and most computers made in the last few years do). Canonical, the benevolent semi-profit corporation that funds Ubuntu, will also send you a free CD, but they say it could take up to 10 weeks to deliver.
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