I know many of you are not Linux Hobbyists like myself, so let me give you the bottom line: Ubuntu CE (Christian Edition) has some great ideas. Indeed, there are a lot of things standard on this distribution that don't come standard on other Linux distros, but if you're looking for a life-changing experience, you won't find it in Ubuntu Christian Edition.
You can read more below:
I currently run Ubuntu 9.04, code-named Jaunty Jackalope. Ubuntu is an amazing piece of work. Very easy to use and it has all of the bells and whistles you could want. Honestly, I'd put it up against Windows any day and have a good run...just ask my wife how I feel about it!
Unlike Microsoft or Mac OS X, where we have to design software to help protect us from unwanted, unChristian intruders, someone got it right over in the world of Linux. As the blog DistroWatch states: "The goal of Ubuntu Christian Edition is not to bring Christianity to Linux but to bring Linux to Christians." Instead of creating Christian software for computers, the developers at Ubuntu CE created Linux for Christians. What a concept!
So I downloaded the newest release onto my old desktop, which heretofore had been carrying Ubuntu 8.04. Ubuntu CE runs on top of the Ubuntu 9.04 distribution. There's some technical information that you can get from other locations regarding how that works, so let me just deal with the workability of CE.
One of the first things I learned about was Dansguardian. I was doing some research on domestic abuse, and because of some of the returns on Google, Dansguardian automatically killed my search. This happened a few other times as well. This, alas, is the primary difficulty regarding filter software. Namely, that the programmers have to decide how wide or narrowly to cast a filtering net. Do you cast it wide, and potentially restrict harmless or even valuable internet activity, or do you cast it narrowly and potentially endanger someone? I will happily and freely admit that I did not test the program to its fullest extent. I'll let someone else worry about that. In the meantime, I have to play with the settings a little.
Another thing I found valuable was Gnucash. Now, if you already use a Windows-based program, then maybe this financial software won't help you any, but it is available for download in Windows format also. It looks very capable, so if you need it, look it up.
I also enjoyed Linbread, so named I assume because it is for Linux, and it's your daily bread, thus Linbread. This pops up at startup, so you get your morning (or afternoon, evening, whenever) verse upon seeing your desktop for the first time of the day.
Finally, I was thoroughly impressed with the Xiphos Bible software. There was a veritable smorgasbord of options, like which translation of the Bible I wanted, what commentaries, etc. The thing that really impressed me, especially since Linux is used extensively overseas, was a warning for those in closed countries. If you're in one, be careful how you use Xiphos, but you already know that, right?
WINE also comes standard with Ubuntu CE, which is just funny to say really since a large number of Christians don't believe in drinking. I'm not very experienced with Wine because I don't mix my Linux and Windows. It's just not right.
Yet there were some disappointments. For example, Ubuntu CE did not come with Open Office, my favorite non-Windows Office software. I use it for everything, so I had to go get it right quick via the synaptic package manager. This process only took me 10 minutes to be honest, so really it wasn't that big of a deal, just seems like it should come standard.
The other main disappointment is the simple fact that, via Synaptic Package Manager, I could get all of the programs standard in Ubuntu CE for my standard Ubuntu 9.04. I'm all for creating a distribution that is geared towards Christians, but it will need some more work before I wholeheartedly recommend it. That being said, I will continue to run it on my other desktop. In fact, I typed part of this blog post on that computer!
Here's my thoughts. If we want to have a truly Christian edition of any form of Linux, then we need church administration software. Right now, somewhere around 7% of church outlays are for technology. Now, we won't be able to stop the need for projectors, overhead screens, etc, but we can reduce the need for churches to upgrade hardware computer systems and purchase office and administration software if we have a solid Linux system. In my opinion, this is where we need to move forward.
So if you're a Linux person, and you've given Ubuntu CE a try, let me know. I'd love to get your take!