Can we run PC Pro on Ubuntu?

9 Feb 2011

On Thursday PC Pro is going to put its money where its mouth is. To coincide with the release of the new edition of PC Pro – which features our Ultimate Guide to Ubuntu on the front cover – we’re going to attempt to run the magazine and website exclusively on Ubuntu-based PCs*.

You can follow our live blog on running PC Pro on Ubuntu here

From 8am tomorrow, when the news team clock-in to bring you the early morning website news, to the time we switch off the last PC late in the evening, there won't be a single blang of that Windows jingle heard here at PC Pro HQ.

Why? Over the past year we’ve been won over by the maturity, reliability and sheer quality of Ubuntu. Our recent Windows vs Ubuntu feature extolled the virtues of the Linux OS for business users, and the feature that goes on sale tomorrow reveals just how easy it is to install, configure and even run everyday Windows software on the cost-free OS.

So whenever PC Pro staff send an email tomorrow it shall come from the Evolution mail client or browser-based Outlook Web Access; whenever they write an article they shall do so in the bundled OpenOffice; whenever they edit a photo for the website, they shall crop and tweak in The Gimp rather than Photoshop or Paint.Net.

In other words, we shall be putting our business on the line for a day – and letting you know how we get on (warts and all) with a live blog throughout the day and regular updates on our Twitter account, using the #ubuntupro hashtag.

Now to explain that little disclaimer asterisk at the end of the first paragraph. While we’re going to make every effort to commit as fully as we can to our Ubuntu experiment, there are simply some business-critical applications that we can’t run on Linux (at least, not for a day’s experiment). Our production staff and designers use Macs to lay out the magazine with Adobe InDesign, for example, which can’t be transferred to Ubuntu. Short of sending them to the pub for the day, there’s nothing we can do but allow them to continue working as normal.

Likewise, our reviews team may need to test Windows applications, or devices with Windows drivers, which they obviously can’t do in Ubuntu (using the WINE emulator could potentially harm performance, which wouldn’t be a fair test). So they too shall be a granted an exception, strictly for reviewing purposes only. They will still be running Ubuntu on their desktops for writing copy, updating the website and all their other day-to-day duties.

So join us tomorrow on the blog to find out how we get on, and follow our progress on Twitter, using the #ubuntupro hashtag.

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