In Which My Twelve Year Old Brother Reviews GNU/Linux and Ubuntu

By Christine Lemmer-Webber on Fri 23 January 2009

So a few months ago, I installed Ubuntu on my younger brother John's computer. A couple of days ago he sent me a rough draft of an essay he was writing for his English class. He asked me a few questions, and I answered those, but this writing is all his. I'll let you read it for yourself.

Have you found a document that is in a format that your word processor doesn't recognize? Are you bored of the games you have? Do you have a computer? If you are or have any of these things, Ubuntu Linux is the thing for you! It's great for computer geeks and people who just use the computer. It even is good for people who have little patience or can't tell when the computer is about to crash. It's a user friendly form of Linux.

Linux is nearly virus free. As long as you only download open source programs, there is little to no chance of viruses. This is thanks to real computer geeks and programmers. If it is open source, programmers can look at a code and find any virus ware imputed on the code, they then delete that part of the code.

How can one word processor understand so many formats like .doc or .odt? And how are there so many of them? Each format has its one unique code. If you open a .odt in .doc format, the writing will look like gibberish or a bunch of numbers. That's because it interprets the information differently. Luckily a group of people were clever enough to make a word processor that can type in all the formats and read all the formats. This is free open source and comes with Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is for geeks and laypersons alike. For the geeks who know how to navigate the command line and through it, manipulate virtually any part software of the computer. You could even use Python, the very easy yet complex programing language of Ubuntu and really all of Linux, is used in the command line. It can be used to create new tools. These new tools can then be used to create more complex tools. Python is complex and flexible enough to keep geeks with many years of practice involved while still allowing laypersons to create a simple tic-tac-toe game with one or two days of brother-to-brother or sister-to-sister lessons.

There is one special thing called a split hard drive. A split hard drive allows you to have four operating systems on one hard drive. You can download Ubuntu with a free CD. You can make this simply by going to Ubuntu's website going to the downloads page, pick the latest version, and then follow the instructions. After you copy the image on the CD, restart the computer. Just follow the instructions and go through the installation processes. Within 30 minutes to an hour you're ready. If you need help, ask your neighborhood geek. Printers are instantly installed, and it comes with a built in multi-instant messenger.

Ubuntu Linux is the practical solution to your virus problems. Windows, mac, or other non-open source operating and system is still recommended due to certain things not being compatible with Linux. This, as mentioned before, can be fixed by making your hard drive into a split hard drive. If you're a geek there are millions of possibilities. If you're a layperson who likes the user friendliness of Windows, Ubuntu still has this with out the slowness of Windows. Go on and get Ubuntu free today!

As you could guess, I'm brimming with pride. There are some errors, but I don't even live in the same city as my brother, so this has mostly come out of his own experiences after a bit of guidance from me. And obviously there's more to learn but for a twelve year old who has only been running GNU/Linux for a few months I'm just plain impressed by how much he gets it.

In sum, I'm excited both for my brother and for the increasing accessibility of free and open source software, both in product and in spirit.

Edit: John gave me his final version of the essay, so I replaced the old one with this one, as promised.