Lubuntu might be the best Linux distro for Windows XP users
In today's open source roundup: Lubuntu could be the best replacement for Windows XP. Plus: A review of Portal 2 for Linux, and an interview with the creator of educational distro Ubermix
Microsoft will soon end official support for Windows XP, and OMG! Ubuntu! thinks that Lubuntu could be the perfect replacement. Lubuntu is a lightweight spin of Ubuntu that provides a more traditional desktop environment and might work well for Windows XP users.
So let’s say you’re running Windows XP right now. You like it; it does what you need. But, at the same time, you don’t want to gamble on security. It’s a wise and sensible thing. But what to do?
Lubuntu is a free, Linux-based operating system that supports a wide range of computers and hardware. It’s fast, safe and secure (Linux doesn’t require virus software, for example) it’s also really easy to use, and there are thousands of applications available for it.
Not sold? Let’s take a look at some of those points in a little bit more detail.
Image credit: OMG! Ubuntu!
I think Lubuntu is a terrific choice for Windows XP users for all of the reasons pointed out in the article. It's very easy to use, and it doesn't require a huge amount of system resources to run. This is very important since a lot of Windows XP computers are older machines that probably cannot run a more demanding operating system very well or at all.
Lubuntu also probably comes the closest in the Ubuntu family of resembling Windows XP (minus the Fisher Price colors) in terms of desktop organization. The panel at the bottom of the screen will seem instantly familiar to Windows XP users, they'll know exactly where to go to start launching applications.
But as much as I like Lubuntu, it is not the only good spin of Ubuntu for Windows XP users. Xubuntu is another option that might work very well. Xubuntu uses the Xfce desktop environment and is also considered a lighter-weight distribution than regular Ubuntu.
The Xfce desktop is also much closer to Windows XP in terms of design and usage than Ubuntu's Unity desktop. Comfort and familiarity can play a big role in helping Windows XP users transition to Linux. So it's definitely worth a look at Xubuntu if you find that Lubuntu isn't quite what you're looking for in a replacement operating system.
Image credit: Xubuntu
There is a slight difference between Xubuntu and Lubuntu when it comes to the placement of the panel on the desktop. Xubuntu's panel is at the top of the screen, and Lubuntu's is at the bottom. So Lubuntu is just a tad bit closer to what Windows XP looks like, but I don't think this is all that big of a deal. I doubt most Windows XP users would have much of a problem with it.
If you are a Windows XP user and you aren't sure whether you should go with Lubuntu or Xubuntu, my advice is to install VirtualBox on your computer. Once it's installed you can download Lubuntu and Xubuntu and then start using each distro. This will give you a chance to see how each of them is set up, and how well they might meet your needs.
At some point you'll feel comfortable enough to make a choice between the two, and you can then do a full install on your Windows XP computer (after backing up your data of course). Frankly, I don't think you can go wrong with Xubuntu or Lubuntu. Both of them are great Linux distributions, choosing between them is really just a matter of personal preference.
Portal 2 beta review
Softpedia has a review of the Portal 2 beta, and thinks it's coming along nicely.
Portal 2 is a lesson of what can be achieved with a minimalistic approach and a lot of dedication. This is not a big game, by any standards, but the quality of the work and of the gameplay surpass many big-budget titles.
You know that you have an amazing game when people are playing it just to hear the crazy robot or to create levels that will be played and enjoyed by others. The strength of Portal 2 is not in just one catchy feature, it’s the entire package.
Portal 2 for Linux is still in the Beta stages. I have yet to find any bugs, and if you don’t own the title yet, you really need to get it. There are very few games that offer the same array of fun stuff, and there is nothing that can even come close in term of voice work.
Image credit: Softpedia
I was somewhat surprised to see a review for a game that's still in beta, but I'm glad to see that Portal 2 is coming along nicely. It looks like it's going to be a terrific option for Linux gamers when it's in final release.
Interview with Ubermix creator Jim Klein
Opensource.com has an interview Jim Klein, the founder of educational distro Ubermix.
How are we going to teach the next generation about open source and Linux? More importantly, how can we get the right technology into classrooms to empower our educators to teach our children the open source way?
The opportunities that open source presents to education and academics is growing each day. Opensource.com highlights individual tools like Scratch and TuxPaint that are starting to make an impact—but, what about an entire education distribution? How do we make it easier to get an entire toolset into the hands of school systems, teachers, and students? How can we really move the needle and present a revolutionary open source operating system designed for kids and education?
Image credit: Opensource.com
Ubermix looks like an interesting alternative to Edubuntu. I'm always pleased to see Linux distributions that help teach kids about open source software. These kids really are the future, so it's very important that they are exposed to Linux and other open source software at as early an age as possible. Kudos to Jim Klein for helping to make that possible with Ubermix.
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.