by Margaret Wilson on


Let’s start this off with an introduction of Ubuntu. Have you ever heard of the linux-based operating system? Well, Ubuntu is one of the many thousands of distributions available free-of-charge to anyone who wishes to use it. According to distrowatch.com, Ubuntu is still the most used distribution used by both enthusiasts and general users. Ubuntu.com sums up their operating system far better than I could ever:

“Ubuntu is a community developed, linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains all the applications you need – a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging and much more.”

In the past I have dabbled with many different linux distributions such as Suse (now known as OpenSUSE), Red Hat (now known as Fedora), Mandrake (now known as Mandriva) but none of them captured me quite like Ubuntu. What was it that made Ubuntu my ‘flavour’? It was the combination of:

  • easy transfer from Windows (even easier with the upcoming release of 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) towards the end of April
  • amazing support forum where other users will gladly help you with any problem you may encounter
  • extremely easy repository system and easy installation of any open-source software you could imagine
  • fantastic, albeit sometimes time consuming, device support
  • extremely secure and safe environment
  • open-source movement has produced some amazingly professional pieces of software (you would be surprised at some of the free software available even for Windows)

I have been using version 6.10 (Edgy Eft) and before that 6.06 (Dapper Drake). I am very excited for the next major release 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) towards the end of April. I’ve been lucky enough to be run a beta version of this operating system and feel like it will convince many Windows users to switch over. Not only is Feisty coming out in April, but another edition Ubuntu Studio (based on Feisty).

“Ubuntu Studio is aimed at the linux audio, video and graphic enthusiast as well as professional. “

I feel confident that Ubuntu Studio will replace my Windows Vista operating system as my primary desktop environment.

Ubuntu is something that I am very passionate about and I encourage anyone with questions to email me at . Let’s get to the second part of this article and the reason why Beryl may be the answer to the future success of linux!



In techno-jargon, Beryl is a compositing windows manager for the graphical system within various linux distributions. Beryl is completely free, open-source, and has an extremely active peer-support system similar to that of Ubuntu. Beryl is installed within the operating system. Installation is extremely easy with Ubuntu and even ships as the default windows manager in other distributions.

I imagine many of you have no idea what I’ve been talking about the last few sentences. Basically, Beryl is what brings the eye candy to linux. In the past many Windows power users understood how efficient and secure linux was; however, the desktop environment was never comparable. Well, everything has changed! Beryl absolutely blows away any of the effects of the Vista operating system and even manages to build on and beat the effects of Apple’s OS X. The effects include wobbly windows, pull-and-peek windows, the amazing multi-desktop cube and many more. Talking about the effects is nothing like looking at them! Please click the images below to see the full screen image.

Wobbly Windowsz

Pull and Peek

Close Window - Flames

F8 Organization

Inside Cube

Outside Cube

Now, most the images are much more impressive in video form. Rather than create a video myself I figure I would provide a link. This video shows the visual effects of Vista then those of Ubuntu+Beryl. The music is not that bad so I urge you to watch the entire video. Trust me, you do not need a high end computer to get those effects. My nearly 4-year-old laptop can perform all of these.

If any of you ever want to “geek-out” and talk about operating systems, open-source software or anything tech please fire me an or IM. I would also appreciate any feedback regarding this article and suggestions on future tech-related articles you would like to see on Shift+Backspace.


Written by: Margaret Wilson

Hi, my name is Margaret Wilson and I am an engineering student. This is my personal blog and I try to solve different problems regarding mobile phones and PCs. Stay tuned!

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