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Ubuntu Linux - Frequently Asked Questions
All software, whether it's the operating system itself, or an application that is installed, are all downloaded via the Synaptic Package Manager. And official distribution Live CD images (ISO files) are obtained directly from www.ubuntu.com. The package manager is what is used to install/uninstall/update software on your Ubuntu Linux PC. This restricts all software and its updates to come through one highly scrutinized source. Or in this case one "repository", which is exclusively hosted and monitored by Canonical Ltd, who is in charge of maintaining and upgrading the Ubuntu distribution (About 2000 to 2500 different applications are part of the officially supported programs in the distribution). The odds of getting a virus through this tightly controlled source of data is virtually zero. About 95% of the viruses in the world today are directed to cause harm to Microsoft Windows computers. So just by definition, simply not using Windows at all will give you a much more secure experience.
It is possible for software to be downloaded from other sources outside of the officially supported selection of software that is included in the repositories. In situations where there is software that is downloaded from a third party, there is typically a server that acts as a checkpoint for authentication of original copy and version, as well as for updated versions. There are over 20,000 different programs that can also be downloaded outside of the officially supported software sources. Support for these programs is a matter that falls between the individual user and the distributor of that particular program. In most cases, third party software such as this are in Beta phase, which means they probably work decent, but may be a tad bit buggy. Often times software of this nature is intended to be used by advanced users, and is not necessary for beginners.
If you have a question about Ubuntu Linux that you would like to see answered here, please e-mail Dave with your question. Any opinions expressed in this FAQ are the sole opinions of the original author. All registered trademarks mentioned in this text are the property of their respective owners and are hereby acknowledged.