Simon Willison’s Weblog

Enter the hedgehog

The Ubuntu community have released Hoary Hedgehog, otherwise known as Ubuntu 5.04. If you haven’t tried Ubuntu yet, it’s an excellent Linux distribution based on Debian with a strong focus on desktop usability. Unlike most Linux distros, Ubuntu comes with just one desktop manager (Gnome) and one obvious default application for each of the essentials: Firefox for browsing, OpenOffice for office work, Evolution for mail.

That’s not to say that other applications aren’t available. Ubuntu’s package management inherits from Debian, with the Synaptic package manager making downloading and installing new software as easy as searching for what you want and hitting a button. The key thing is that you don’t have to start your journey with Linux by making random decisions (Gnome v.s. KDE for example). Ubuntu has more in common with Python’s philosophy (There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it) than Perl’s.

Best of all, Ubuntu has a Live CD similar to Knoppix which allows you to try out the distribution without installing a thing—just drop the live CD in to the drive on a x86 PC and reboot.

You can grab Ubuntu from a regional mirror. Torrent files are available for both the install and Live CDs.

This is Enter the hedgehog by Simon Willison, posted on 8th April 2005.

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Previously hosted at http://simon.incutio.com/archive/2005/04/08/hedgehog