What exactly is Ubuntu Linux ?

In short, Ubuntu is an operating system, similar to Windows or MacOS. It essentially manages and runs the computer and its devices. Ubuntu supports several hardware platforms such as Intel X86_64 (normal PC), Apple, ARM, RISC, S390, etc. Developed as an open-source product, Linux does not cost you anything to purchase nor licence. Most often, the company providing the Linux distribution may ask for donations to assist in the future of the distribution.

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution based on Debian Linux and composed mostly of free and open-source software. Ubuntu is officially released in three editions: Desktop, Server, and Core for Internet of things devices and robots. All of the editions can run on a computer alone, or in a virtual machine. For our purposes, we will focus on the Desktop edition.

Ubuntu is one of the most popular choices of the current Linux Distributions. Backed by Canonical, a global software company and the number-one Ubuntu services provider. In other words, if you are worried about getting problems resolved, many executives prefer to see a fully supported product. Canonical is able to provide you with that level of service.

In general, however, most people who install Ubuntu use the community forums such as Ubuntu Forums to get problems resolved. Other self-help groups are available or you can call experienced experts such as Aldersoft to resolve your problems.

What is a Desktop Environment ? Does Ubuntu have one ?

Over the years, different developers have built Environments to meet their specific and general needs. Ubuntu actually has eight different Desktop Environments commonly used in the Linux world. These include: Gnome, Unify, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, LXQT, Budgie and Mate.

This is perhaps the most confusing concept for Windows or MacOS people to grasp as they have only ever had access to a specific single Desktop Environment. Welcome to the flexibility of Linux. You should stick to a fairly common one like Gnome and get a good idea of what it provides before trying others.

Each Desktop Environment has different specialties, advantages and disadvantages. For example Gnome is very popular as a general purpose one size fits all desktop environment. Where as XFCE or LXDE provide a Desktop Environment that is very light on resources and are best used on older computers that have limited memory or processor speed.

Will Linux support all of my current applications ?

In general, software companies develop their products to run on multiple Operating Systems these days. If they don’t provide a Linux version, chances are very good that you can find a suitable replacement amongst the thousands of open-source packages available to you in Linux. Examples of direct replacements include: Google Chrome (web browser), Mozilla Firefox (web browser), Mozilla Thunderbird (email), Microsoft Edge (web browser), LibreOffice, GIMP (graphics), Spotify, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. Some specialized products like Sage 50 Desktop, AutoCAD, Adobe are not supported by their company on different Operating Systems. The good news is that there are excellent open-source replacements for these products.