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The Ubuntu guide for displaced Windows users

Chris Hoffman | March 11, 2013
With Windows 8 pushing a "touch-first" desktop interface--Microsoft's words, not ours--and with Valve's Steam on Linux beginning to bring much-needed games and popular attention to the oft-overlooked operating system, there's never been a better time to take Linux out for a test drive.

Desktop hotkeys: For more Unity keyboard shortcuts, press and hold the Super key (aka the Windows key), and a cheat sheet will appear.

Your journey continues

This introduction just scratches the surface of what you can do with Ubuntu. We haven't discussed using the terminal (it's an amazing power-user tool once you get used to it), and we haven't looked at any of the many other desktop environments you can try if you don't like the way Unity works. Linux is so flexible that you can make Ubuntu look more like Windows 7 than Windows 8 can.

If you want to dig deeper and get your hands dirty in the terminal, or install an alternative desktop environment, you can--but you don't have to. Ubuntu's flexibility is refreshing after extended exposure to Windows 8's one-size-fits-all approach to the desktop, which takes options away from desktop users in order to unify the Windows ecosystem and (ultimately) serve Microsoft's bottom line. Linux takes the opposite approach, providing options and letting you make your own decisions.


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