If you are a fed up with Windows and/or would like to try out Linux, one of the best and most popular free and open alternatives, then now is a better time than ever. Yesterday Dell confirmed that they would be pre-installing Ubuntu, one of the friendliest forms of the operating system, on some of their consumer PCs and laptops. This means you don’t have to deal with the most difficult part of switching to Linux: installing it.

I first used Linux in the mid 90s, before version 1.0—not because I was trying to be an elite geek, but because my supervisor (who was and is an elite geek) told me to. Of course, being a senior member of staff, he didn’t have to do his own systems administration; someone else installed Linux for him. As a student, I had to get my hands dirty. [Hovis ad music] Ee, back then installing Linux were reet hard work. Now it isn’t. Generally you just drop in a CD, follow the instructions and then tweak the final result until it’s the way you want it to be.

One of my machines is running SuSE Linux, which I think is one of the best commercial Linuxes; another is running the recently released latest version of Kubuntu, a variant of the free-as-in-“free speech” as well free-as-in-“free beer” Ubuntu. All the remote machines that host my own Websites and those I have built for clients are some form of Linux box. My Kubuntu machine at home has been running a whole variety of demanding programs, including various multimedia things, on a hodge-podge of old and new hardware that I put together myself for five days continuously now, without my having to reset or restart it.

I’m giving away a free Kubuntu installation DVD to the first four people to email me in response to this post.