May 3, 2012

"I am what I am because of who we all are."

I have just installed Ubuntu 12.04 on a Dell Netbook and on an ancient piece of IBM Thinkpad... Yes, nothing to get excited about. Even a child can install Ubuntu. I am sharing all this for another reason: 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) is a long term support OS (5 years). It is FREE and easy to use. It is fast and stable. It uses a special interface- UNITY- which is clean, functional and gets out of the way after doing the job..
Locating a program, a file, a piece of music- anything on your hard drive or USB drives is very easy with DASH (Is it an abbreviation for Dashboard?). Okay, so Ubuntu does many things in a very efficient way- but what I like most is the software centre: You can review the available free programs, according to categories and favourable reviews- download them and start using them without rebooting or paying anything.. There are games, productivity tools, educational programs, graphics editors - like Gimp, which many people believe to be as good, if not better, as Photoshop.. This same software centre helps you remove a program without any hassles.. Just a click.

Among other things- its wi-fi, bluetooth and other networking modules worked out of the box. My wired broad band was recognised and used during installation itself. No- installation can take place even with out internet access. But, yes, later on, you would need it for system updates- which again is pretty automatic and keeps out of your face and hair.. You are free to focus on whatever you are doing- work or play.

Prior to this, I had used Ubuntu 10.04 LTS for two years. Before that, I think, I started using it sometime in 2008: Suyash was a volunteer to Samagra, who, very patiently taught me basics about Linux in the beginning of 2008.. Since then, Ubuntu has improved a lot. But I am aware of the constraints too. Some people who use very specific functions of high end Windows softwares- like SPSS or Adobe, may not be able to meet their needs through linux programs. In last four years, I have found that many common Ubuntu programs do the same- and at times, even more- than their window counterparts do. But yes, one has to be open to learning new information and skills.

For example sometime back, my regular laptop almost fell apart and the jack for wired broad band stopped working. Now, how to access Internet on this machine? Then, JP came along and showed me how to turn my little netbook (using Ubuntu 10.04) into wi-fi server. With that server on, I could access Internet on my old laptop, anywhere in the house. I could even grant my guests, access to Internet.  My excitement was same as when, many years ago, my senior colleague had allowed me to do a Caesarean section (of course, under her able supervision and after many months of assisting her)! I went through the same steps after installing 12.04 now, on my own, and it is working. Dont worry, it is password protected and my neighbours cant access it!

So, why am I going ga ga about Ubuntu- it is only an OS? Well, but... it represents TISA's philosophy and approach so well: Give controls back to people! Let them be their own therapist, counsellor, networking expert, Hardware engineer, problem solver, life coach etc etc.. And all this THROUGH a community action driven by a desire to share & serve- rather than for making PROFITS or controlling people. That is what Ubuntu means in African (Chichewa) language.

I dont mean to say that doctors, therapists, IT professionals can or should be removed from the face of earth. NO. I am only saying that- the innate right of a stammerer to help her/him self should be recognised and respected. The rights of a poor man to access fruits of IT revolution should be unshackled from commercial or academic constraints. So, let us use Ubuntu (and TISA) :-)
Long live Ubuntu and the team working for it!

PS: I am not an IT professional, but if you need any help in installing Ubuntu, let me know. Even better- get in touch with JP and his friend Manak- for help in this regard. They are really GOOD.
And dont forget - In Coorg, end of September this year, we are inviting Peter Graner and Jason Warner- the IT leaders behind Ubuntu revolution.. You better be there!

8 comments:

J P Sunda said...

Ubuntu does teaches us many many things. BTW did u like unity ? its TOO big a change for me personally! About inviting Peter Graner and Jason Warner, a great idea i must say :-)

jasbir singh said...

I am not an IT professional. Kindly tell in simple words what exactly is Ubuntu and how it is helpful to PWS.

sachin said...

@Jasbir - Ubuntu is an operating system like windows.. But Free, Open source and no risk of virus (Very very little..). It looks and feels like Windows but it is not. You can simply download it and install it on your computer for free. Every bit legal..
At a higher level- it is a philosophy of sharing..

Er. Umesh said...

Sir you are so much updated with world!! I still working with Ubuntu 10.04!!
Now I am anxious to change this :-)

Mohit kumar said...

I had used this Ubuntu 1yr back, it is multiprogramming but can't play any type of software, songs, videos, though it was an older version. But really Sir it was an awesome article, You just compare the IT phenomenon with stutters. Our life is sometime( or you can say like an hardware engineer, problem solver where we have to repair our problems by its own only.

sachin said...

@Mohit- This new Ubuntu will play almost anything- video, mp3, flash content, MS Office files- anything.
In some cases, you will have to let Ubuntu download certain "Restricted" drivers..which is quite automatic.
Yes, there is a parallel: We often use a lot of "work arounds" in IT because there is no direct way to do a certain thing at that point in time. Self help approach for many of us is just like that: since even costly therapies have failed to benefit us in the long run, why dont we give ourselves a chance thru self-help and community action? For me this has TRULY worked..

lalit said...

amazing , sir u know lot about ubuntu .
once a pws understand concept and benefit of self help then he stop search for new source ...then he search only for knowledge and information...

j jasbir singh said...

Thanks for education Dr. Sachin.