Back in 2006, when I was writing for ExtremeTech, I reviewed a version of Ubuntu with a religious theme: Ubuntu Christian Edition. At one point it seemed as though Ubuntu CE had been discontinued but I was pleased to note today that it has apparently been brought to life again:
Great news!! Ubuntu CE is alive again! A huge thanks goes out to David Kuntadi who has taken on the task of developing the debs for the Dansguardiane-Sword Installer, Bible Trivia, OpenSong, linBread, etc. He is also keeping our new repository organized and updated.
The release of Ubuntu CE v5.0 based on Ubuntu 9.04 is now available for download as well as from our repos. This has been a request from the very beginning. We are excited that now standard Ubuntu users cans simply install Ubuntu CE using apt-get or Synaptic.
This release is a back to basics release and should be considered beta at this point. We are focusing on the functionality for now and will work towards the aesthetics.
The full package list can be found here.
I will continue to be the Project Lead and will be in charge of the iso builds and website. David Kuntadi is now the Development Lead and will be in charge of the deb packages and repos. We will be looking for a person who is willing to take charge of the themes, graphics, and artwork for the next release. If you are interested you can send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
God Bless, Jereme
Project Lead GUI,
As I did on ExtremeTech, I want to stress here that I do not endorse any particular religion nor do I endorse no religion. One of the wonderful things about Linux is that there are so many different distributions to choose from. Everybody can make their own choices and if a distribution with a religious theme works for somebody then fantastic. Good for them, I hope they get a lot of use out of it.
I try to review each distribution with an open mind and, despite some negative feedback from some readers in the past about these kinds of religious distributions, I intend to press on here on DLR and continue to review them.
If reading about a distribution with a religious theme bothers or offends you then you might want to stop reading here and, instead, head over to the Desktop Linux Reviews forum for some Linux conversation or try these other excellent Beehive-based discussion forums:
There you go. Now you have something else to read if a religious themed distribution offends you. Enjoy.
What’s New In This Release
Before I get into this review please note that the developers are officially labelling this a beta. So bear that in mind if you download it.
– Complete Ubuntu CE build based on Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope”
– New dansgaurdian gui
– New E-sword installer
– Added OpenSong
– David Kuntadi now Development Lead
Requirements, Boot Up & Installation
Ubuntu CE is a Live CD distribution so you can pop the CD into your computer and boot right into an Ubuntu CE desktop. Boot time is very fast and once you see your desktop just click the install icon to get started installing Ubuntu CE onto your computer. The install is typical Ubuntu so it’s very easy and you shouldn’t have a problem with it. It took about ten minutes or so for my Ubuntu CE system to be installed.
Note that the same general hardware requirements for generic Ubuntu also apply to the Christian version:
Bare Minimum requirements
* 300 MHz x86 processor
* 64 MB of system memory (RAM)
* At least 4 GB of disk space (for full installation and swap space)
* VGA graphics card capable of 640×480 resolution
* CD-ROM drive or network card
Recommended minimum requirements
* 700 MHz x86 processor
* 384 MB of system memory (RAM)
* 8 GB of disk space
* Graphics card capable of 1024×768 resolution
* Sound card
* A network or Internet connection
Desktop & Apps
One thing I was pleased to see when I saw the Ubuntu CE 5.0 desktop was a nice wallpaper of Jesus Christ. Why? Well one of the things I didn’t like about Ubuntu CE the last time I reviewed it was that it didn’t feel very religious. It just didn’t give me any of the feelings that one ought to get from religious imagery because it really didn’t have much. So I was pleased to see that the developers are starting to take that concern more seriously although it’s important to note that they regard this as a “back to basics” release and they will be adding more aesthetically pleasing things later on.
The other thing I noticed were two popups on the desktop. One had something from Phillippians 4:19 that said “But my God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” And the other popup was Bible Trivia that asked me the question “What nation had 185,000 soldiers slaughtered by an angel?” Well I had no idea so I just clicked the Answer button and found out that it was Assyria. Hey, you learn something new every day right?
I generally dislike popups but, as I noted above, I’m pleased to see the Ubuntu CE developers moving toward giving Ubuntu CE a more Christian feel to it. One thing I was pleased to note though that when I closed the popups they did not popup again. When I reviewed the Muslim version of Ubuntu, I was quite annoyed to have a prayer popup in the middle of the screen every so often. I’m glad the Ubuntu CE developers are not going down that irritating road.
Here’s some of the software you get with Ubuntu CE 5.0:
Inkscape Vector Graphics Editor
XSane Image Scanning
Transmission Bit Torrent Client
GnuCash Finance Management
You get a pretty good selection of software with Ubuntu CE. Of course the real attractions are not the general, run of the mill apps like Firefox or GIMP. For Christians the apps that really stand out in this distribution are:
Xiphos Bible Guide
Bible Trivia is an app that pops up one question per day. If you don’t know the answer you can click the answer button to find out. Linbread is another app that provides a daily bible verse. Xiphos Bible Guide lets you view your favorite scripture verse, compare translations, make personal notes on selected packages and even work in the original lanuages using Hebrew or Greek translations. Another important program is E-Sword, a bible study program.
The last important app that comes with Ubuntu CE is DansGuardian. DanGuardian is a content filter that can be used by Christians to help filter their Web experience or the experience of their kids. It can be configured to be more or less strict, depending on the wants and needs of the individual user and their family.
These apps are really what set Ubuntu CE apart from regular Ubuntu and will certainly be appreciated by most Christians.
Getting Help with Ubuntu Christian Edition
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum (registration takes less than a minute and you can login with your Facebook account if you want); everybody is welcome. You are welcome to post a message in the Linux Help section and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, but also many other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.
The best place to get help for Ubuntu CE is probably the Ubuntu CE forum. You may also want to read the brief Ubuntu CE FAQ. And you can always post a note in the Desktop Linux Reviews forum to get feedback from our community.
Problems & Headaches
One thing I noticed was that there were no games included. This isn’t a big deal to me personally but it might rub some people the wrong way. Then again this is a Christian edition so perhaps this was a theological choice? I’m not sure but FYI for the Christian gamers out there who it might care.
I also was not able to get E-Sword installed properly via Wine. I got an error message and was not able to use it.
OpenOffice.org was conspicuous in its absence.
One slightly funny thing I ran into was that I went back to the Ubuntu CE download page and DansGuardian had blocked access to the page. Apparently the extension .iso is banned by DansGuardian. I had to chuckle a little bit when I noticed this. Oops! I guess that filter needs a bit of tweaking.
Beyond that I didn’t have any significant problems with Ubuntu CE.
Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
Clearly anybody who is a faithful Christian that is in the market for a faith-based distribution should check out Ubuntu CE. I regard this release as a new beginning for this distribution and, hopefully, a harbinger of even better things to come. I’d like to see more aesthetically pleasing additions to this distribution in future releases including more Christian wallpaper as well as some Christian-themed music and perhaps even an original Christian theme.
Non-Christians that are not interested in exploring Christianity should probably stick with regular Ubuntu.
|Product:||Ubuntu Christian Edition 5.0|
|Pros:||New DansGuardian GUI, new E-Sword installer. OpenSong added. Christian themed wallpaper and religious popups.|
|Cons:||Doesn’t quite match the beauty of the Muslim version of Ubuntu.|
|Suitable For:||Beginner, intermediate or advanced Christian users or those who might be interested in learning about Christianity.|
|Summary:||This release is a new beginning for the Christian edition of Ubuntu. It now has a new development lead (David Kuntadi) and some nice updates to some of its earlier features.|