An Agnostic Objectively Reviews Ubuntu Christian Edition 3.3

Introduction:

I’ve been wanting to review Ubuntu Christian Edition (CE) 3.3 with intentions of giving it a good review. After all, it is Ubuntu, with a little Praise Jesus on the side. I enjoy using Ubuntu, and if someone can put some Jesus in an operating system and I like it, surely it’s an operating system that is worth using.

The Good:

1. The Bible Verse Toolbar which is integrated into the Firefox menu bar is a fantastic idea. Every Christian should have a toolbar that automatically shows random Bible verses.

Honestly, I kept clicking the toolbar and getting tidbits of the Bible, which was about as good as opening a Chinese fortune cookie, without the carbs.
Bible Verse Toolbar

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2. The Daily Bible Verse on the desktop using gDesklets is very slick. It downloads an RSS feed, updated once a day with a new Bible verse. Smart, very smart. I enjoyed the simplicity of this method, yet also the elegance required to not want to update it 30 times a day.screenshot-http-wwwwhatwouldjesusdownloadcom-pacman-mozilla-firefox.pngscreenshot-gecko.png

3. There is a Games icon installed by default in Firefox – this is cool. I spent about 30 minutes playing games when I should have been writing this article. Ah well, I love Pacman.

The Bad:

I can hear a collective “WHHHAT? I thought you said objective!”. I found three additions to Ubuntu that I consider good ideas. Everything else is either exactly the same as original Ubuntu, or can be installed with a few clicks. Mind you, the three good things I list can be configured easily, but those ideas are great for a Christian-oriented distribution, and in the case of video games embedded in Firefox, is a good idea any day.

1. The statements about UCE on their website actually give some fairly blatant lies right out of the pearly gates. For example,

“Firefox proxy settings are locked down to keep users from bypassing the filtering.”
Unblock Ubuntu Christian Edition Dansguardian Firefox Proxy

This is simply not true. This is an outright lie. Bypassing Dansguardian filtering is pretty simple, it’s just like turning off any other proxy configuration:

In Firefox, simply goto Edit > Preferences > Network > Settings > Manual Configuration, the enter an asterisk (*) for the “No Proxy for:” and

within ten seconds, Dansguardian is completely disabled as far as Firefox is concerned.

So much for being Firefox being locked down.

2. The Bible Fox theme is garish and uses religious symbols which makes me think it’s a joke. A crucifix replaces the default stop button. That seems wrong to me in a few different ways. I can’t imagine what someone would be thinking when they created the theme, to be honest.


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3. The “WhatWouldJesusDownload.com” search bar replaces the Google Search by default. The WWJD Toolbar is actually created by the same person who created Ubuntu Christian Edition, strangely enough.

Searches made within this toolbar are redirected to the WWJDownload website, which has sponsored results, which are much more difficult to identify as such as compared to similar results from Google.com.

When clicked on, these advertisements put money right into the pocket of the developer of Ubuntu CE. Hmmmm… ok.

Also, the same website contains a as many ad units as possible, the blog even violates Google’s Adsense policy, with about 20 different ad units on one page. It’s pretty obvious the creator of Ubuntu CE is trying to make money off Christians who use the operating system without being completely upfront about it.

4. Politically Oriented RSS Feed Favorites… RSS feeds built into the WWJD Toolbar. It is strange to me is that this website also seems to have a political slant to it, FoxNews RSS feed right at the top. I wonder if the webmaster is a Republican?

GodTube.com is another RSS favorite by default, and strangely has no videos about Democrats, other than a video entitled “Christians Cannot Be Democrats” – interesting.
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5. Nowhere does the WWJDownload toolbar let you know that it is sending usage statistics, as reverting search settings to default. Hopefully it’s not sending URL data back to these folks – I’ve been surfing porn all day! That’s embarrassing.

6. There is a couple more things that seem out of place – GnuCash Financial Management Software installed by default. I guess it all boils down to the developer just being a wealthy christian who simply needs to keep tabs on how much money he’s making from Adsense.
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7. Also bundled is Automatix, which has been shown to cause problems when upgrading to newer versions of Ubuntu, and is to be avoided if possible. This kinda shows that Ubuntu Christian Edition is showing some age, after all, Fiesty Fawn is about to be all but gone in less than two weeks. Automatix also shows a interesting disclaimer when opened, which is debatable if it is actually needed or even true:

8. Lastly, why is the the Bible Toolbar disabled? It allows searching for a Bible verse easily and quickly in Firefox. This thing is phenomenal, but not turned on by default, for unknown reasons.

Summary

I really hate to say this about a distribution that includes the likes of Pacman, Asteroids and Frogger embedded right in the browser, but…

I do not recommend Ubuntu Christian Edition, believer or not.

If you want a tacky Firefox theme, and someone “upstairs” making a quick buck while possibly watching what you search for and browse on the internet, by all means, go and download it. Otherwise, you’re simply wasting your time – this is not a distribution for Christians, it’s a distribution written specifically for the developer with religious, political, and monetary motivations for creating it in the first place.