The magic behind Ubuntu

Published: December 26, 2014
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Packed with blazing performances, fulfilling the needs of a user and at nil prices, Ubuntu is definitely worth trying. PHOTO: TWITTER

Ubuntu, the latest LTS version 14.04 operating system (OS), is definitely worth trying. My statement is backed by the fact that Ubuntu won the operating system of the year award from W3tech not only once but three times consecutively, followed by admiration from major players in the market and an inclusion of major organisations such as Lenovo, Dell, HP, IBM, and Asus etcetera.

So here is my analysis of some of the features Ubuntu incorporates to get you in on the hype:

Unity search

Unity search brings results in the form of applications, files and folders, with the inclusion of recent items, all the while giving search results from the internet including, references, news, weather updates etcetera. You can also filter results by selecting your preferred categories and sources.

Photo: Ubuntu

A similar search feature is also offered by Apple in the form of ‘Spotlight’ and by Windows in the form of ‘Windows search’. If you want to know who came up with the idea of the universal search option, the answer would be, according to the facts and timeline of events, Ubuntu.

Virtual desktop (workplace switcher)

In terms of productivity, virtual desktops are a better way to organise your applications and files while running them. Some people also use them for preserving different parts of their virtual life; like using one workplace for work, a second for games, a third for networking and social media, and so forth. By default, there are four virtual desktops on Ubuntu which can be customised according to the user’s preference.

By the way, Windows is also introducing virtual desktops in Windows 10, in 2015, which was evident from the technical preview that they provided. It is worth mentioning here that in the technical preview, there was no option to shift applications and files from one virtual desktop to another. If you have opened some programs, let’s say on virtual desktop number three and now you want to bring the same programs in their current state to virtual desktop number one, you can’t. You have to close down the programs and open them up again on a desktop. While in Ubuntu, you can easily shift apps and files between different desktops in their current state.

It is possible that this issue will be addressed in the final release of Windows 10, as experts will be taking feedback on how to improve user experience, but then again, who knows whether this issue is addressed at all or not. Even if this issue is addressed, will Windows win the performance battle?

Integration and connectivity

Everything gets lined up in one place; you can chat and display your online status from one place. If you have also connected your smartphone with Ubuntu, you can answer calls and get notifications from the smartphone directly on your desktop screen.

Photo: Ubuntu

A new style of the minimising and un-minimising feature

Ubuntu also lets you select the animation effects for minimising and un-minimising the files, folders and applications. Animation effects include curved folds, fade, magic lamp, glide, horizontal folds, sidekick etcetera.

Animation effects such as the glide, curved folds, and sidekick are excellent while the magic lamp feature is rather amusing; the window actually un-minimises like a genie coming out of lamp and vice versa. The performance is not compromised at any point in this animation effect. As soon as you rub the lamp, click the minimised app, the genie comes out instantly.

Other notable features include hot corners (at one gesture, all of the open applications are spread on the screen to switch or close), beautiful shadows and a round edged lock screen, a launcher (the colour of which automatically changes according to the wallpaper), smooth working (without any glitches or hanging), a resizing and snapping feature which gives you a quick preview on what the window will look like when you resize or snap it on one of the corners.

Available apps

Thousands of great free and paid applications and games are available on the Ubuntu Software Centre, just one click away. The only downside is that there is a possibility that some of the applications that are available on the Windows platform will not be available on Ubuntu. To circumvent this issue, alternative apps can be downloaded and used on the Ubuntu Software Centre. However, if no alternative applications are found, the application and programs of the Windows platform can be installed on Ubuntu using the Wine application available at the Ubuntu Software Centre. Convenience is key and Ubuntu seems to have nailed it.

Photo: Ubuntu

At the end I would say that being highly customisable, Ubuntu is a beautifully designed operating system that adds an artistic touch to everything it possesses. Packed with blazing performances, fulfilling the needs of a user and at nil prices, Ubuntu is definitely worth a try.

Ali Ghalib

Ali Ghalib

A student of ACCA with an immense interest in technology. He describes himself as an enthusiast of life who believes in changing the world by his vivid ideas and initiatives. He tweets as @a1ighalib (twitter.com/a1ighalib)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.