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SignagePlayer Desktop for Ubuntu

Why run your SignagePlayer on Ubuntu ? Cause it’s reliable, performs great and... free; and you know how we just love FREE software == Linux 

Ubuntu is an open source operating system with the intention of supplying an up-to-date, stable operating system for the normal computer user. In addition to stability Ubuntu try to target ease of use and installation. Ubuntu can be used on almost anything including Desktops, Business PC’s, Notebooks, Digital Signage Players and many others that are able to support x86 CPU or ARM CPUs.
One standard, but remarkable (because it outdoes Vista) feature of Ubuntu is the Compiz Fusion 3D desktop, which has enables some really cool effects. Of course, for this feature to function you need a 3D accelerated graphics card.

In terms of ease of use, Ubuntu outshines Vista without a doubt. But it is arguably limited when it comes to software. Most applications written for Windows have not been ported with Linux, and therefore you may not be able to get your favorite, programs running on Ubuntu. However, I don’t think this is much of a problem, as there is a whole world of open source out there, which sometimes provide even better functionality. And if you intend to use your new Ubuntu box for Digital Signage, no problem. Ubuntu is packed with applications which will allow you to do anything you want to your Ubuntu OS for the purpose of a dedicated Digital SignagePlayer. These apps include VNC (so you can remotely console to the box), Uncluttered. (so you can clean the desktop), free firewall and others.

Long gone are the days of having to compile your own kernel in order to run the open-source operating system. Ubuntu, a free Linux distro from Canonical, provides a near Microsoft Windows-like experience for those new to Linux. We're reviewing this particular Linux distro because PC manufacturer Dell now ships some new models with Ubuntu already installed. But before we extol its many virtues, we should note there are also steep trade-offs when using Ubuntu. Linux is not Windows, nor is it Mac. Programs written for those other operating systems will not run under Ubuntu. Instead, be prepared to abandon your Microsoft applications in favor of equally fine although less well-known open-source products such as OpenOffice (included within Ubuntu), Evolution (e-mail), and Ekiga (VoIP). That said, some popular software, like Firefox and Opera, are written for Linux as well. If you only use your computer to check e-mail, surf the Web, and in our case run a Digital SignagePlayer, Ubuntu might be just right for you. And if you're an advanced computer user, by all means, try Ubuntu; Linux is designed for you.

In general, Ubuntu is the OS of choice for MediaSignage as we are advocates of free software. We support the GNU foundation and contribute to the open sources ourselves. And since it is free, it means you can deploy your Digital Signage software without shelling $80-$200 per OS license.


With this free operating system, you get the basics--utilities, graphics, built-in search, a calculator--and a lot of extras, such as VoIP, an entire office suite, a variety of multimedia applications, and a ton of free games. This alone is enough for most people to thoroughly enjoy Ubuntu without ever having to install another application. Should you want more, the Add/Remove Applications feature compiles downloads, including those from third parties, sparing you the effort of searching online. Ubuntu makes adding software convenient.

One of the first applications you should install from Add/Remove Applications is Firestarter, a firewall supported by the Ubuntu community. It's unclear why this interface to the firewall compiled within the kernel isn't included within the basic Ubuntu install. Once installed, we found we didn't need to tweak Firestarter much. For protection against malicious software, the Ubuntu community recommends Grisoft AVG, a free antivirus application. While threats against Linux are rare, they're not unheard of, so you should exercise the same caution as you would on Windows or Mac OS X.

In general, a safe operating system is one that runs in a nonadministrator mode. Like Windows Vista's controversial User Account Control, a security feature that freezes the desktop screen and asks for a password in order to access administrator-protected features, Ubuntu also darkens the screen during its security prompts, calling your attention to the admin password request prompt. Unlike Windows Vista UAC, Ubuntu asks for an administrator password only once, allowing you to tweak several administration features without additional prompts. Mac OS X also prompts for administrator access.
Like the upcoming Leopard version of Mac OS X, Ubuntu lets you create different desktops and switch them for different work environments. Windows Vista does not offer this feature. Say you have a work environment with productivity applications, a home environment with entertainment, and a gaming environment. Ubuntu Spaces lets you switch among these.
Running other operating systems in virtual environments is gaining popularity, and included within this release of Ubuntu is paravirt-ops. This is a layer that allows Linux to run better under VMWare on other operating systems (such as under Parallels on Mac OS X). Paravirt-ops is designed for the more technical users. If you're already running Ubuntu, paravirt-ops won't do you much good. Instead, KVM allows you to run Windows and other operating systems as guests under Ubuntu.

Another new feature in Ubuntu is a better graphical environment for the desktop. It is optional, depending on which graphics card you have installed. Microsoft spent years developing the Windows Presentation Foundation so they could roll out translucent windows within Windows Vista and 3D stacking. Ubuntu has this, along with a way to make windows "wiggle" when moving. We disabled the wiggle effect after a short time.

Ubuntu is a wonderful Free Open Source operating system which we admire and support.






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