Ubuntu in Your Home

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Ubuntu installs a special set of preselected software packages onto your hard drive; these are suitable for small office/home office (SOHO) users. This option provides a wealth of productivity tools for document management, printing, communication, and personal productivity.

The standard installation requires nearly 2GB of hard drive space but should easily fit onto smaller hard drives in older Pentium-class PCs. The install also contains administrative tools, additional authoring and publishing clients, a variety of editors, a GNOME-based X11 desktop, support for sound, graphics editing programs, and graphical and text-based Internet tools. You can customize the selection to include or sidestep installation of unwanted software. See Chapter 3 for details.

Connecting to the Internet is extremely easy, and Ubuntu supports modem dialup and other broadband connections, such as cable modems or digital subscriber line (DSL). See Chapter 18, "Network Connectivity," for more information. When you do connect, you can do so in relative confidence because attacks from malicious intruders and other attackers can be thwarted by running firestarter or by using a dedicated firewall client. Chapter 18 also looks at how to set up a local area network for use either at home or at work.

If you have a digital camera, run the gThumb or F-Spot clients to download, organize, and manage your digital images. You can then fine-tune your pictures by editing them using one of the finest digital image editors in the world: the GIMP. See Chapter 11, "Image Manipulation and Digital Photography," for information about editing graphics.

You can use Ubuntu for a variety of purposes, and every user has different needs. Some of them might be esoteric. For example, I use Ubuntu to manage an extensive collection of comics, record and mix music for use in home videos, host wireless (802.11a/b/g) printing for several workstations, manage digital recording of my favorite TV episodes, provide secure remote access via a firewall, and listen to my favorite music playlists via a server.

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