Can you use Ubuntu Linux for daily use?

Ubuntu is a famous operating system based on Debian Linux that is free and open-source. The initial release was in the year 2004 and now after more than 15 years, it is a mature OS with multiple editions for desktop, server and internet of things, which is called Ubuntu Core.

Few years ago, despite having some enthusiastic and interested users and a good fan base, the software selection of Ubuntu Desktop was not as diverse as Windows or Mac. Ubuntu was and still is a very good and mainstream choice for servers, but you had to rely on other operating systems for your desktop and certain tasks.

The years have passed and the community is even bigger now. There are more open-source software and solutions available in the market and it rises and old question; can you count on Ubuntu for day to day usage now?

If you are curious about what has changed and whether Ubuntu is a good match for you and your daily needs, you are in the right tech debate!

Ubuntu Desktop

You may have heard that Ubuntu is secure, fast, stable, open-source and a lot of other good things, but if you can’t find the right software for your needs, at the end of the day, you still need to use Windows or MacOSX.

Imagine you have an Android OS on your smartphone without any app store or 3rd party apps for messaging, news, shopping and games. Will you continue using it?

Android is a very popular Linux based operating system for mobile phones, but it’s the apps and games that drive this OS. So, I guess it’s better to review the available apps for Ubuntu Desktop first.

Default Software

A default installation of Ubuntu contains a wide range of software that includes LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Transmission, and several lightweight games such as sudoku and chess. Many additional software packages are accessible from the built in Ubuntu Software, as well as any other APT-based package management tools. Cross-distribution snap packages and flatpaks are also available, that both allow installing software, with a just a few clicks.

Browsers & Email Clients:

You have Firefox, Chrome and even Microsoft edge, thanks to its new chromium engine! So, no worries about the web browser at all.

You can use Thunderbird or Geary E-mail Client to read, write and send emails.

Productivity:

OnlyOffice is a free, open source set of productivity apps for Windows, macOS and Linux. This open source Microsoft Office lookalike resembles Microsoft Office and works very well with files made for it.

You also have LibreOffice and OpenOffice to work with word files, spreadsheets and PowerPoints, although these days a lot of users prefer online solutions like Google Docs and Zoho.

Messaging:

You can use Skype, Viber, Slack, Telegram, Cawbird Twitter Client and also Discord.

If you use the popular Telegram messaging service on your smartphone, you can install the official Telegram Desktop app too. The cross-platform client has a user-friendly layout, encrypted chats, and enhanced privacy. All the messages you send, read, and receive are perfectly synced with your mobile, too. If you use it for a while, you will realize how limited the competitors like Whatsapp are, in terms of features.

You can also use Ramme to browse Instagram on your PC. It even lets you upload pictures!

Image Editor:

GIMP is a free and powerful alternative to adobe Photoshop that is available in Linux and also Windows and Mac. It does not have all the fancy Photoshop features, but being a free alternative for a pricey software like Photoshop, it offers amazing features.

Video Editor:

Kdenlive is one of the best open-source video editing software for Linux. If you need to edit a video, it has all basic and also advanced features like keying, rotoscoping, keyframe editing, cool transitions, and useful export profiles.

You can also use Lightworks, OpenShot, Shotcut or the famous DaVinci Resolve which is a very professional video editing software.

Audio Editor:

Audacity is a free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application, available for Windows, MacOS and Linux. You can also use Waveform Free which is a digital audio workstation and band editing software.

Players:

The versatile VLC media player needs no introduction. VLC will play almost any media format you throw at it, video, audio or something in between! As well as playing DVDs, VLC can access DLNA shares and online streams, and even transcode video from one format to another.

Lollypop is a feature-packed music player and an alternative to Rhythmbox, which is Ubuntu’s default music app.

Shortwave is an internet radio app that makes it easy to find and listen to internet radio stations. You can also use Spotify to access your favorite albums and podcasts for sure.

Ebook Reader:

To read eBooks with ePub format on Ubuntu, you will need to install a dedicated eBook reader app. There are options like Bookworm, Easy eBook Viewer, Buka and Calibre Ebook, but Foliate ePub Reader is one of the top choices.

Image writer:

Etcher is a free, open source USB image writer for Windows, macOS and Linux. You can create a bootable flash memory or SD card from an ‘iso’ or ‘img’ file.

Programming:

Ubuntu needs no introduction for programmers. A lot of programmers migrate to Ubuntu each and every day.

Gedit, Atom, Sublime Text, Notepad++ and also VSCode are the available code editors.

You can create programs in almost every language and enjoy the robustness and speed of Ubuntu. Android Studio users know what I am talking about. Sometime even a simple C++ compiling can be way faster in Linux.

If you are a web developer, you can use Git, Node.js and NPM, Python, PHP and have access to databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL and MongoDB.

Virtualization:

You can install VMWare, VirtualBox and Gnome Boxes for virtualizing another operating system in your Ubuntu Desktop or manage things directly from the terminal using qemu or kvm.

3D Graphics:

Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software toolset that is being used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, motion graphics, interactive 3D applications, virtual reality and computer games.

CAD:

You can use FreeCAD, LibreCAD, Bricscad and QCAD for designing, modeling and rendering.

Screenshot and recording:

If you want to take screenshots on Ubuntu and add text, icons and callouts, you can use Flameshot. You can use Simple Screen Recorder to capture your screen.

Remote Desktop:

If you want to connect to a computer or smartphone remotely, you can use Anydesk, TeamViewer, KDE Connect, Remmina or VNC Connect.

Gaming:

Gaming on Linux is often termed as a distant possibility. At least, by some hardcore gamers using another platform to play games. Well you can play games on Ubuntu, but you cannot play ‘all the games’ in Linux.

By installing Steam, which is the de-facto games distribution platform for Windows, macOS and Linux, you have access to thousands of games, ranging from indie hits and retro flavoured favourites through to blockbuster and AAA titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, DiRT 4, and the various Warhammer entries.

You can also try Steam Play. It utilizes a compatibility layer to directly run a Windows-specific game on Linux. By enabling Steam Play, you can play the whitelisted Steam Games that only recently were only available on Windows.

Security

Canonical puts security at the heart of Ubuntu. It offers fast fixes, automatic updates, live patching the kernel without rebooting, 5 years of support for LTS versions, protected VMs, secured Snap packages and also imposes access control via AppArmor. It is trusted by various Government entities and big firms, thanks to its enterprise-grade and industry leading security practices.

You don’t need a conventional Antivirus software like windows if your distro is updated. Ubuntu also supports full disk encryption as well as encryption of the home and Private directories. You can also use its firewall, UFW.

Hardware Requirements:

If you want to install Ubuntu on your machine, the version 20 requires a PC with at least a 2 GHz dual-core processor, 4 GB of RAM and 25 GB of free disk space. For less powerful computers, there are other Ubuntu distributions such as Lubuntu and Xubuntu. Ubuntu also supports the ARM architecture.

Most PC OEMs install Ubuntu Desktop on their PCs and Laptops by default, mostly because it can showcase the hardware features, very easily and most importantly because it is free.

Ubuntu is released every six months, with long-term support releases that are called LTS, every two years. The LTS versions are usually supported for 5 years and receive updates for bug fixes, security patches and new hardware.

Conclusion

The experience of using Ubuntu Desktop is a lot better now with the new user interface and the apps and games available, but still, some users have difficulties executing commands in the terminal to do certain tasks.

Some apps are still not available in Ubuntu, or the alternatives don’t have all the features, but you can definitely use Ubuntu for day to day usage like internet browsing, office productivity, video production, programming and even some gaming! There are a lot of use-cases where Linux is better than Windows or even Mac.

if you haven’t used a Linux distro, you’re missing out on a lot of good things. Linux already powers all the top 500 fastest supercomputers worldwide, It’s free, more secure, compatible with old and low-end hardware and it’s not that complicated to use. Drivers gets installed automatically and you can customize it as much as you like.

Probably the best thing about Linux is the community of users itself. You can interact with people to get help on numerous forums.

You should definitely give Ubuntu a shot, install it and try these apps for a while to see how they handle your needs or if you like the experience or not.

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