The Friday night topic has been on a bit of an unplanned hiatus lately because, let's face it, the FNT had been working too much and needed a little bit of "me time" to recharge its batteries and regain its composure. The FNT is sure you understand.
Anyhow, the FNT is back tonight, and it has a bit of homework to assign. Your mission is to grab Wubi—it costs nothing and is just an 8MB download—and install it on your PC. The Wubi installation wizard will run, ask you a few questions, and then download everything else it needs to—install Ubuntu 8.04 on your system. Only 5GB of hard disk space and 256MB of memory is required, and Wubi is compatible with Windows 98, 2000, XP, and Vista. When the installation is complete, you'll be able to dual-boot into Ubuntu at will. If you don't like it, you can just remove Wubi and Ubuntu via Add/Remove Programs in the Windows control panel, and it's gone.
It doesn't get any slicker than this, folks.
And the question of the evening is: Has desktop Linux finally reached a tipping point? Ubuntu is pretty darned good, and it comes with a host of fairly impressive free software applications, including Firefox, Pidgin, OpenOffice.org, and a Terminal Services/Remote Desktop client. I used Wubi to install Ubuntu on my laptop because I pretty much use it as a Remote Desktop client 98% of the time. Might be a good place to start with it, if you have a laptop.
I may share more of my own impressions of Ubuntu 8.04 in the comments, but I'd like to hear what you think, especially if you've not tried desktop Linux in the past few years.
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