Ubuntu Christian Edition 5.0 (Beta)

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.

Download Here
Installation Instructions Here

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 support@ubuntuce.com.

God Bless, Jereme
Project Lead
GUI,

Obligatory Disclaimer
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:

Manic Geeks
Newbies Linux
Random Electrons

There you go. Now you have something else to read if a religious themed distribution offends you. Enjoy. :smile:

Screenshot

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.

Here’s a list of new stuff in this release:

– 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:

Graphics
GIMP
Inkscape Vector Graphics Editor
XSane Image Scanning

Internet
Firefox
Evolution Mail
Transmission Bit Torrent Client
Pidgin IM
Ekiga Softphone

Office
Abiword
GnuCash Finance Management
Gnumeric Spreadsheet
OpenSong 1.51
Project Management

Others
Wine

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:

Bible Trivia
Linbread
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.

eswordinstaller

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.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

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.

banned

Summary Table:

Product: Ubuntu Christian Edition 5.0
Web Site: http://ubuntuce.com/
Price: Free
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.
Rating: 3.5/5


Comments

  1. wijnand anonymous says

    Sorry, Jim. But you lost me a the first sentence of the second paragraph. How could it be great. A Frodo theme, ok. StarTrek or StarWars could be nice. Action-figures. Maybe a theme about animals or science-related. Nudes do good, especially if the photos are made by good professional.

    But why the F### would we want Linux to be used to indoctrinate people with ideas of having to obey imaginary friends. What´s next, a muslim theme, a jewish theme or shall we make one about WACO.

    BTW all links to your site have been removed from the sites i assist. I told them that I would replace the links when you got ride of the crap. But they probably ain't gone let me. They ain't that forgivable about mixing freedom and anti-freedom-movements (eg: any religion)

    I considered the info you gave on your site informative, but now i´ve to consider it as biased. :sad:

  2. says

    Hi Zach,

    There actually already is a Muslim edition. I reviewed it back when I worked for ExtremeTech. That review is at:

    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,234716

    They did a great job making it Islamic. I know that it's not your cup of tea but other people do appreciate it.

    I think there's plenty of room for religious distributions as well as non-religious ones. One of the nicest things about Linux is that there's pretty much a distribution for everybody.

    Freedom and choice are wonderful things. :smile:

  3. zachary says

    Awww c-mon! Gaurdian!!?? Blocking software? For the love of all that is open! This is GNU/Linux, people. Now that is what I call blaspheming. At what point did someone decide religion has a place in operation systems. The only possible place were religion could possibly be more irrelevant is in science class. Thumbs down to Christian and Satanic Editions. Furthermore a premptive thumbs down to the imminent Wiccan, Muslim, Ganesh, and what ever magical mythology edition you kooky philosophers can come up with. :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:

  4. says

    Greg wrote:

    I wonder when will Ubuntu Christian Edition change its name to something other than Ubuntu like all other flavors did, including the Muslim Edition.

    There are no plans to change the name. The idea has always been to be a special edition of Ubuntu.

    Jereme

    Ubuntu CE Project Lead

  5. Greg says

    I wonder when will Ubuntu Christian Edition change its name to something other than Ubuntu like all other flavors did, including the Muslim Edition.

  6. Jereme says

    Revision needed wrote:

    @ Praxis:

    Figured someone should clarify this ambiguous comment regarding child pornography. The developer of this Christian version of Ubuntu found a hard drive in the trash and reported it to the authorities after discovering its content had violent (info on school shootings) and pornographic content. So, I would like to encourage this project and all the other awesome Ubuntu related projects going around.

    Yes, thank you for clarifying that for those who did not know the full details. It was a disturbing and very traumatic event for me. I do not appreciate Praxis taking it out of context and using it against the project. I shared the event with those on the forums because I have always lived my life like an open book. I also wanted to explain what was going on.

    Thanks again for helping to explain the situation.

    Jereme

  7. David Kuntadi says

    To install e-Sword, you have to disable dansguardian first as it would prevent you from downloading exe file. May be I would try to automatically dsable dansguardian when launching e-Sword installer.

    The dansguardian setting are default setting from dansguardian packager. May be I would change the default setting if people think ti is more appropriate.

    Now I am thinking to make it easy for user to share internet connection to the LAN with filtering on, using transparent proxy and dhcp. May be I will come to that for karmic release.

    As for openoffice, I really want to keep it, but as I put 700 mb as the limit, it become imposible for me to keep. Unless we move to DVD iso image.

    For church administration software, it should be build on LAMP, not desktop. The solution is I am thinking to build a live cd "light desktop" based on LAMP, so that I could include the church administration software. But may be this would be release under "Ubuntu CE server version". And people would be able to install server right out of the box, with church administration and even church webhosting ready. But again, it is still just a dream, not a confirm plan yet.

    DK

  8. Revision needed says

    @ Praxis:

    Figured someone should clarify this ambiguous comment regarding child pornography. The developer of this Christian version of Ubuntu found a hard drive in the trash and reported it to the authorities after discovering its content had violent (info on school shootings) and pornographic content. So, I would like to encourage this project and all the other awesome Ubuntu related projects going around.

  9. Cool as Ice says

    Wowww…….. I am not an Ubuntu user, but now I will install Ubuntu CE

    Are there someting similar for Mandriva? I only found gnomesword

  10. allan says

    quote: ". I would like to see a little more, like maybe some good church administration software, Open Office pre-packaged vice Abiword, and some other things."

    Yes, that is correction, in addition to the default customization and applications it would be also important to include lyrics projection software like Openlp( openlp.org ), the version 2 of the project was under development and was based on QT thus cross-platform. Church administration software would be great. I really love E-sword, unfortunately no native Linux version. Current version of wine cannot run e-sword. A show-stopper if you used e-sword heavily.

  11. Mel Haun Sr says

    I ran it, I like it. It is a keeper, and I am not *bumtu fan <

    Just have to learn to tweak the "Guardian".

  12. Jai ho says

    Nice review jim.I appreciate you in selecting distros which are nice and at the same time different for reviewing.One such distro is PARDUS linux.A new version of it is released in this july 18.Please do a review of PARDUS 2009.

  13. Temporary Saint says

    Let me get this straight – Linux Christian Edition features an app called Evolution? This can't be a very well thought out distro…

  14. says

    Praxis, I did a review of Ubuntu Satanic Edition for ExtremeTech a while back. Google and you should find it. I will look at it again when it has another major upgrade.

  15. says

    As a Christian and a Linux hobbyist, I was hopeful that CE 5.0 would be the answer to my yearning, but not quite. I would like to see a little more, like maybe some good church administration software, Open Office pre-packaged vice Abiword, and some other things.

    Hopefully, in time it will be something Christians can really rally around. I would like to see it to be honest. We'd have less technology outlays in the church if we could get a solid Linux system up and running. CE just isn't quite there yet without the administration software. I'm hopeful though!

    I should say that despite these comments, I am running CE on my desktop at home and I'm enjoying it.

  16. Praxis says

    I guess I'm pleased that the CE found a new developer after the project was crippled for a year after the police seized the original developer's computer during a child pr0n investigation: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=685387

    Personally, I prefer the Ubuntu Satanic Edition, myself, Linux for the damned.
    http://ubuntusatanic.org/news/

    Check out their latest release, Ubuntu Satanic Edition 666.6 (Jesus’ Jugular).

    I understand the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is working on a release, as well, all hail his noodly appendages.

    Thank Dog I'm an atheist.

  17. Caraibes says

    I applaud this project, as there are many Christian FLOSS users/enthusiasts, who get to feel lonely as such a project was missing/discontinued… Kudos to David Kuntadi !

    As of Dansguardian behaving "not so well"… One has to tweak the whitelist in "advanced settings"… Or disable it if it is too much of a burden…

    Very good Xiphos & very good Wine e-Sword !

  18. Brian Masinick says

    One other thing, Jim. Since the last time you reviewed UbuntuCE at ET, Jerome has added a lot of graphics and MANY cool tools. In his last release before the sabbatical to work on the Jesus TV project, Jerome added some cool apps that he had spread across the Firefox toolbar, and he also had GodTube hooked up, which is now Tangle.

    The Bible Trivia is new; that is pretty cool. I love being able to read a quick verse as soon as I login, and if I am ready for more right then, I can dig in with one of the study tools, or I can start up the study tools when I can specifically set aside some quiet time for study.

    Overall, this system is worthwhile for someone who wants a readily prepared desktop system with Christian based software tools. The addition of Dan's Guardian, in spite of the over zealous default settings, is a great thing to have available. You can shut off the filtering if you need access and do not have the time to fool around with it, then you can enable the filtering and/or tune it up when you have the time to hone it. You can also filter at certain times of day and not others, so it is a handy tool if you invest a little time in it.

  19. Brian Masinick says

    It may have been me that commented on UbuntuCE 9.04 regarding Dan's Guardian. You do have to loosen it up a bit if you intend to use Beehive software. Since I was testing this one in the Virtualbox OSE, I did just that.

    I happen to love that picture, and I also enjoy having convenient Bible verses and tools available to me. I install some, but not all, of the same tools on my main system.

    I found this particular release to be a bit rough around the edges; nothing terrible, just not quite up to the refinement that I enjoyed in the previous release before Jerome took a break to work on other projects.

    I think this particular release is OK, but I really liked the last one, old as it had become. I finally replaced it not too long ago on my old Compaq/HP D530 test system.

    I think this one could be a keeper for those who already like Ubuntu systems. For me, I will wait to install it until the guys have refined it a bit more once again; meanwhile, I will play with it in Virtualbox OSE.

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