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Sadly, they kept the Ubuntu 12.04 Unity desktop. With all that Ubuntu does well, and they do so much, Unity is the worst idea ever. I say that while looking at my Macbook Dock, so take that with a grain of salt. Still, what Apple does extremely well, the developers at Ubuntu have not. Unity is bulky (especially on smaller screens) and while it has some customization, it is so far out from what the traditional Linux desktop looks like (whether you talk about KDE or Gnome) it's almost disgusting. Using something like Mint's Cinnamon desktop, or xfce, or honestly anything that looks more traditional would have been a blessing, but aside from the desktop, it's a good system.
Ubuntu Christian Edition has been accused of just slapping some Bible study tools onto a Ubuntu platform and marketing it as a different distro. Go to that review if you're interested in CE and read the exchange between the developer and the reviewer. Very impressive. The review is from a very early version of CE. Hopefully this review helps update the overall process.
The reason I bring up Ubuntu's Unity desktop and that old review is because of where this review is headed. Christian Edition got some very important things right. First, they made Bible software very easy to get. I tried once upon a time to replicate CE on Fedora, and it just isn't the same. Putting everything together on the Ubuntu platform was brilliant. The second thing they did extremely well is the install process, which I chronicle for you below:
Installing the OS was easy. Ubuntu, and therefore Christian Edition, has always been an easy install screen, as pictured above. Things obviously went well as it's basically the Ubuntu 12.04 install process. Nothing is really that different until it's finished with the basic install. Once the OS is installed (I did so on Virtualbox), a wonderful thing happened. A terminal window (shown below) opened and asked if I wanted to install updates.
Hit any key...I dare ya! Just kidding. Please hit any key. It gets you started on the process. After it spends about 15 minutes retrieving and installing any updates that your computer needs, it will ask you if you want to update the media files, as shown below. As with the above example, all you have to do is hit a key and it will do so. If it took a while to retrieve and install the previous updates, then you might have to input your password. No biggie. Put it in and the installer takes care of the rest.
As soon as your Skype install is complete, it will ask you if you want to install Dropbox. I'm a huge fan of Dropbox. I use it all of the time. Because of that, it's even more important to me than Skype. Obviously, it was a no-brainer for me. I allowed CE to install Dropbox.
Dropbox is the last thing to install on Ubuntu 12.04 Christian Edition. Once you've finished that, it will ask you to exit the terminal, which will lead you straight to the desktop. This is the base configuration for Ubuntu CE. As you can see from my screenshots, you have everything on the panel to the left. Included in the base install is Chrome browser, Xiphos, formerly known as GnomeSword, and a small array of other programs. As with it's parent, Ubuntu CE uses LibreOffice for all word processing, spreadsheets, database work, etc. Actually, to be forthcoming, you'll have to go download Base, which is LibreOffice's database program, from the software center. The icon for the software center is the 9th Icon from the top at the left hand side of the desktop pictured above.
Here's the skinny on Ubuntu 12.04 Christian Edition: I hate the desktop, but I don't like Unity no matter what else is running it. It's one of those things you either love or you hate. It is what it is. That, however, is the only negative I can see from my tinkering around. What is absolutely impressive is the ability to fire it up and have a host of programs that aid me as a Christian. It's ready and working out of the box. The distro is perfect for any church that is running older equipment and can't afford to upgrade all the way to Windows 8, which is a pathetic system anyway. You'll have to learn a new Operating System, sure, but you'll have to do that with Windows 7 or Windows 8 (or Mac OSX for that matter), so a pastor or church staffer shouldn't use that as an excuse. The bottom line is that it's ready to go for anyone who needs a complete load-out for Christian-related work as soon as the install is complete.
Because I'm so convinced that Ubuntu 12.04 Christian Edition will work for Christians and churches on a budget, I'm willing to help you get set up and running if you get stuck. If I can't answer your questions, I will find someone who can. Despite the obtuseness of Ubuntu's Unity desktop, which is just a preference problem on my part, the OS will help any church save money, which can then be better used to fund ministry and missions.
Well done to the Ubuntu CE team. Keep up the good work!