The latest release of Ubuntu is due out on Thursday this week.
Ubuntu is an operating system (ie a replacement for Microsoft Windows) which is free to download from the Ubuntu website. It is free of charge and mainly free of licensing restrictions so you can copy it to friends and install on more than one PC.
This release changes the user interface to “Unity” so the desktop looks quite different to a typical MS Windows installation. It may not be to everybody’s taste, or be fully functional on all computer hardware, but it is intended to be easy to learn and use, and to make the best use of screen area especially on netbooks or small laptops.
Ubuntu is the Operating System and it comes with MS compatible office software, PDF viewer, photo management, web browser, media player etc plus a Software Centre with literally thousands of software packages available to download for free (like an “apps store”).
The download can be run as a “Live CD” or from a memory stick without changing your PC. You can then install Ubuntu alongside Windows and switch between them when the PC starts up.