Category Archives: Discover Linux

Ubuntu’s LTS releases explained

You may notice certain Ubuntu releases are accompanied by the letters LTS. This post will take a look at what exactly an LTS release is and reasons you may or may not want to opt for one over other releases.

ubuntu_ltsLTS: Long term support

A new version of Ubuntu is released every six months, which is crazy fast. You can upgrade to each new release if you’d like, but it’s not necessary. Each release is officially supported with updates for a year and a half.

In order to provide more stability, Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) singles out every fourth release and promises to provide security updates for it for a longer period of time than normal releases. Recently, these have been 10.04 and 12.04, and the next LTS will be 14.04. In the past, LTS releases were supported for three years on the desktop (server versions were supported for five). Read the rest of this entry

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Meet the ‘Buntus – Ubuntu, its official variants, and how to choose between them

Ubuntu is arguably the most visible Linux distribution out there for home users. For many, it’s the first—and maybe only—distro they use. Dell has sold (and currently sells) computers pre-installed with Ubuntu, Google uses it for its employees, and Valve Software is developing a Linux version of its hugely popular Steam gaming platform for it. Ubuntu’s prominence within the tech world at large and its user friendliness make it an excellent starting point for beginners.

Ubuntu is developed by Canonical, a company that makes money by providing technical support to businesses that adopt its freely distributed OS. In addition to the regular version of Ubuntu, which sports the Unity desktop interface, Canonical officially recognizes a handful of variants that each put their own unique spin on the OS. In this post, we’ll take a look at the Ubuntu family of distros, what makes them different and why you should choose one over the other. Read the rest of this entry

Beyond lightweight…

Tux no longer has to go on a diet for Launch into Linux. In the future, expect to see more posts about more heavyweight distros, starting with Ubuntu 12.04. (Image part of public domain)

Although this blog is titled “Launch into Linux,” I could probably call it “Launch into Lubuntu” given the amount of posts I’ve dedicated to the LXDE-based variant of Ubuntu. (See for yourself.) The reason I’ve focused on Lubuntu so much is because its lightweight nature makes it run much better on older hardware than vanilla Ubuntu would. Since many people come to Linux in an attempt to get some extra life out of older computers that can no longer run Windows, I figured that it would be best to introduce them to a distro that would make the best use of their aging hardware.

To be honest, though, the other reason I’ve focused more on the lightweight end of the spectrum was because my Linux test box was a 7 1/2 year old Dell Dimension desktop that ran on a Pentium 4 processor and had a less-than-stellar onboard graphics chip. That being the case, my options were quite limited as far as what it would run well. For instance, I could run Ubuntu 12.04 on the machine, but Lubuntu (with its lightweight desktop environment) ran far more smoothly. Since this “test box” was in reality a computer that was being used by my parents on a daily basis, I had to go with what worked best. Read the rest of this entry

Distributions and tigers and bears, oh my!: Making sense of the wild world of Linux

What’s a distribution? Why are there so many of them? Which one should should I choose? These are some of the questions the newcomer to Linux might ask when confronted with the dizzying amount of options. This post will help you make sense of the seeming chaos, and hopefully leave you with a better idea of which distribution is right for you.

With all the choices out there, beginners can have a hard time figuring out where to begin when it comes to Linux. This map takes a humorous look at the world of Linux distributions. (Image © Dedoimedo.com, used with permission)

First off: What the heck is a distribution, anyway?

If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll certainly have come across the term distribution. That’s not a word most average computer users are familiar with—at least not in terms of operating systems—so you might have been left scratching your head. What is a distribution, exactly? Read the rest of this entry

Five reasons you should ditch Windows and switch to Linux

So you know a little bit about Linux, but you’re still on the fence. You’ve used Windows your entire life, and you’re worried you might have no idea what you’re doing if you switch to Linux.

This post is designed to ease some of those fears and provide you with specific reasons why you should switch to Linux from Windows.

#1: It’s free.

A new copy of Windows will easily cost you over $100, and that’s if you find a deal on it. And if you have an older computer that’s running slowly already, upgrading to the latest version of Windows will only compound the problem.

Linux, on the other hand, is completely free. The only thing you need is access to the Internet and a CD burner. Even if you’re uncertain about Linux, you don’t have to worry about sinking lots of money into it only to find that you don’t like it. Read the rest of this entry