I'm completely confused. I mean, there are discussions comparing Ubunto to W7 to MacX (or whatever it was called), yet Ubunto is free (I hope I'm not making this up)?
I'm building a computer and I have the components at $495+monitor (depending on what I get: $70-100)+extra fans (will look into price. Depends)
But how will Ubunto run for my desktop PC? Does it just boot up like any other OS? I honestly have never used this OS and I was a little...confused that they didn't list prices but just had the *download* option immediately.
Also, can it perform well? Can I use this OS to play games? I probably sound like such an idiot to Linux users but I don't see a reason not to have this OS.
Last Note: If it's ease of use, I don't have a problem learning a little about the OS. So I don't care about user-friendliness so much.
It is not JUST like Windows or Mac. It's Ubuntu. It does things differently that's all. But yes, you press the on button, and it boots. The only thing you may see is the GRUB menu but do not be afraid, it will do everything for you.
It should install flawlessly on any modern hardware. Only exception might be ultra-new hardware but at $495 you don't have that.
Without knowing your system specs we can't really say for SURE how it will run, but unless you're buying a real hunk of junk, it will run fine. Ubuntu itself is getting a little hefty and of large girth these days, so if you find it slow and clunky, you can always try one of the slimmer variants: Lubuntu or Xubuntu. There are also several hundred other distros you can try.
You may well find a Linux distro runs better (faster & more stable) then Win7.
As for games... what SORT of games? Facebook games? Web based games? Or modern Steam games? I will be pretty honest: if you like traditional PC games Linux is not for you. You CAN game under Linux (I will start up something under WINE just to prove to my husband I can, but it's a pretty shoddy experience most of the time). It's NOTHING like gaming under Windows and if being able to play the games you want without jumping through hoops and occasionally offering sacrifices to the WINE gods, you do not want Linux.
Although (regarding gaming), if you're on a tight budget (sounds like you are) you can always download a Linux distro of your choice, install it and use it to see you through while you save up for a copy of Windows. Since Linux costs $0 you won't lose anything. You won't be able to game so well (or at all) during that time but you will still have use of the computer.
Ubuntu and Fedora are operating systems based on the Linux kernel. There are many operating systems that use the Linux kernel (sometimes these are called "Linux distros"). I recommend either Fedora 17 or Ubuntu 12.04.
OK thanks for the replies. Yeah, I was referring to Steam games. I actually wish I could have gotten my laptop with Ubunto from the start to save some money. Oh well. Still, it's nice to know that I can DL an OS for free and can still have a functioning computer without paying for the OS. Thanks for the help. I understand what Linux is now And it's not really that my budget is so tight. It's just that I'm trying to save some money. In all, the set up gets to around $700 with a good monitor. It'll do what I need from it, though. I'm glad I can buy W7 for $100 from here or $75 from Ebay. I almost fainted when I saw $200. My lord.
If you want Windows then don't buy Win7! If you can find them buy and old Vista or XP OEM licence then upgrade to Win8 in October, the prices being quoted are $40 for the upgrade. In the mean time you can use the Win8 consumer preview, it seems to be stable by most reports and is free as it's Beta software.
Of course by October you'll see why you should just stick with Linux but at least you'll not have spent lots of money on Windows ;-)
If you are a heavy gamer, Linux is not for you. WINE works...sorta...your FPS will be crap even with a higher end GPU from what I have read. The issue with Linux is that popular things like games are only compatible with windows or mac. Its kinda like some years ago where games were compatible with windows and not mac. Things are starting to come around for mac, but now linux is in that boat. Until gaming companies start making there stuff work for linux without things like emulators and/or WINE, you should stick with windows.
In addition to the advice you got here already, if you still want to give Linux a try, I suggest the following:
1. Download a Linux Live distribution! For example Ubuntu desktop, or Linux Mint 13 (Maya).
2. "Install" the Linux ISO you downloaded onto a USB stick. The Ubuntu or Linux Mint webpages explain how to do that within Windows, or Mac OSX, or Linux if you had one. An alternative is to Google for pendrive linux and go to their website. There are many Linux distros ready to run on a USB stick, together with an installer running on Windows that helps you prepare the USB stick.
3. My favorite Linux distro is Linux Mint (use the mainstream LM 13 Maya version). Linux Mint comes with all codecs etc. that you need to view video or play music and provides a complete system with tons of applications for web browsing, email, documents (OpenOffice or LibreOffice for text files, spreadsheet, presentations, etc.), photo editing (Gimp), music player(s), video, etc., as well as some games. You can always download and install more applications. Actually, installing new applications under Ubuntu or Linux Mint is MUCH easier than under Windows. Just pick up the application you like and mark it for install, and let it install. The rest is done automagically (well, in most cases at least). Even updates are applied automatically or at the press of a button.
4. The best user experience is from getting a "persistent" live USB distro. The pendrive website should have some to try. "Persistent" means that you can boot Linux from USB stick, do whatever you want to do and save the documents/results on the USB stick. So when you boot again later, you have your saved documents on the USB stick. A regular (not "persistent") live USB distro allows you to run Linux from the USB stick, but doesn't save any settings or documents onto the USB stick, so after you reboot all changes are gone.
5. Once you created the live USB stick, you boot it via your computer's BIOS: Check your motherboard or PC/notebook manual on how to enter the BIOS. From there you need to change the "boot order" to point to the USB drive as the first boot option. Once done, save and exit the BIOS and reboot. The computer should then boot from the USB stick.
With Linux on a live USB stick, you can play around and see if you like it. Or download another free Linux distro and check that out.
Someone above suggested Fedora 17. This distro sure has some nice features and comes with many of the latest and greatest applications and features. BUT, in my opinion, it is much less "newcomer" friendly and has a steeper learning curve, particularly when it comes to customizing the desktop or installing new applications. It uses a concept called "selinux" for enhanced security, which can put some stumbling blocks to users coming from Windows.
Apropos customizing the desktop: This is one of the features (or perhaps burdens) of distros like Ubuntu or Linux Mint - you can customize almost everything, or choose from a range of different desktops (Gnome, Unity, KDE, etc.).
Last thing to mention: If you have a PC running more than 4GB memory, you should choose a 64 bit version of the Linux distro, else you won't be able to utilize the extra memory. It's the same as with Windows.
Warning: Since the title of the thread is a little misleading in that it suggests running Ubuntu and/or W7 on a laptop, I like to add this warning message.
Many new notebooks today are supplied with what the vendors call "Optimus" technology. Some modern CPUs such as the Intel i5 are equipped with their own graphics processor inside the CPU. Notebook vendors sometimes add a discrete graphics processor for better graphics performance. "Optimus" technology can use the CPU internal GPU to run the common graphics tasks and automatically switch to the discrete, usually more powerful GPU when needed (for example while playing games). This technology preserves battery life when running on battery while performing easy tasks (with regard to graphics), yet offer good graphics support for games but at the cost of higher power consumption and shorter battery time.
BUT, currently only Windows is able to utilize this technology. There are some work-arounds under Linux such as the Bumblebee project for Nvidia GPU support. But as I said, they are workarounds, not real solutions.
I've recently tried the Bumblebee workaround on a Dell notebook with Nvidia Optimus technology. It works, but requires the user to run a command from the terminal screen every time (s)he wants to run an application using the discrete GPU. While this is inconvenient, the actual performance is quite good.
So, I would caution notebook buyers who plan to use Linux from buying such Optimus notebooks (the same technology may also be employed in other notebooks under a different name, I just don't know), as long as there is no native Linux support for that. At least one should be aware of this issue.
Just to add to what others have said, yes, Ubuntu is free and does most of the things that Windows can do. Not only is the OS free, most of the software is free, and you can usually find programs to do most tasks that you need to do in Windows or Mac--web browsers, word processors, media players, etc.
Another great benefit of Ubuntu is that you never have to pay for upgrades. Since it is free, you can always keep your system up to date with the latest version.
Also, viruses are designed for Windows or Mac. There are simply no viruses for Linux. So security is something you never have to worry about.
That said, games designed for Windows or Mac will not work; rather, Ubuntu has its own games. Also, I am not a gamer, but my sense from the office programs is that Ubuntu programs tend to have fewer features and my guess is that games are probably not as good.
One caution before installing it on your harddrive, it will reformat your disk and wipe out your Windows installation (unless you install a "dual boot" system). Be very careful about doing this because there may be no going back. This is especially true if your machine did not come with a Windows CD, like many netbooks.
I would definitely encourage you to try it using a USB stick first to get used to it.