Try it.

Ubuntu is an operating  system for your computer, laptop or netbook which is free of charge, free to modify, and free of viruses. You can download it from Ubuntu.com and even try it without installing it on your computer  – you can insert the live CD and boot from that (and it will load in RAM and run a live demo without installing on your hard drive).

Many people “dual boot” their computer, having both Ubuntu and Windows on the hard drive so you can boot up in whichever one you want.  Ubuntu can also read  and write to files on the Windows partition of the hard drive.  Alternatively you can install Ubuntu on a flash drive or second hard drive and boot it from there.

One interesting use of Ubuntu is recycling old computers which do not have enough brains or RAM to run the latest windows.   A basic computer for surfing the net and doing email is often ideal for an older user who does not want to spend a lot of money on a new system where they also have to spend time fighting viruses.  There is even a more basic version called Xubuntu which runs well on machines with much less RAM.

Ubuntu is available in 24 languages so far and part of its philosophy is to make it available in everyone’s own language, so you can always contribute to this project.  Open-source software like this is also a big help in the developing world because organisations do not have to pay licensing fees of any kind, whereas with other systems they have to pay licensing costs for each machine.  Such unnecessary licensing costs are a huge expense in local government – Ubuntu can save your taxes too, so why not ask your government to go open source?

And of course because it is an open-source Linux based system you can see the code and modify it if you want.   But you don’t have to be a geek to enjoy this collaborative miracle – it is a great everyday tool and you’ll love it.  We do.