Monday, April 25, 2011

Sabily : Looking at a Muslim-oriented Linux Distribution of Linux:

Sabily is an operating system, like 
MS Windows or Mac OS X. Without an operating system, a computer is unusable, and Windows is not the only OS available!

As Sabily is free,and already includes all software one needs in one's everyday tasks, and its customized specifically for Muslims. And though one doesnt buy licensed Windows (as is the case most of the time in the Philippines,One should not use pirated copies because then it means supporting Microsoft by adding to the impression it's the only OS available.
Where is Sabily Based?
Its dervied from the  
Ubuntu operating system as a groundwork. Ubuntu is a GNU/Linux distribution whose goal is to provide an easy-to-use, up-to-date, stable and free system, also for companies. Sabily customizes Ubuntu by removing, modifying and adding software, and also customizes the graphic design to make a system adapted to Muslims.
There might be a question as to if there is company like Microsoft which develops Sabily?
Since it was built by a community of voluntaries coming from all over the world (France, Tunisia, Egypt, Indonesia etc.). The maintenance of this software depends on this community, but one can as well participate, as a developer, a graphic designer, a tester or if simply just to share ideas.
What are the main features of Sabily?
The main software are: 
Zekr and Mus-haf Othman (Quran study tools), Minbar and Firefox-praytimes (prayer times applications), Monajat (application that popups prayers every predetermined time), Hijra (islamic calendar) and WebStrict (parental control tool). Arabic language is also well supported. And of course the graphic design is also customized (see screenshots).
What other software are included in Sabily?
OpenOffice (word processor, spreasheet, presentation), Firefox (web browser), Pidgin (instant messaging), F-spot (photos management), Gimp (image manipulation program) and other multimedia software (video/audio). All of this in included in the "small" version of Sabily, but the "full" version contains dozens of other software! (educational software, tools and entire Quran recitations.

One simply has to download the ISO file and to burn it on a DVD, then to start your computer from the DVD. You will have the choice to test or to install the system. In a first time it is advised to test it because it is safe for the computer, nothing will be written on the hard disk. Sabilycan be even tested directly from Windows, by using a Virtual Box image.
It used to be called Ubuntu Muslim Edition but the name was later changed perhaps due to the feedback of some of its users.

Here are some of the features available on its 10.04 series (following the standard *buntu release system:
F-Spot replaces the GIMP
PiTiVi video editor added
GNOME 2.30
New themes: Ambiance and Radiance
New wallpaper
Linux kernel 2.6.32
New nVidia hardware driver
Gwibber social media application
Faster boot time, with a different look and feel on the bootsplash screen
Ubuntu One adds contacts and bookmark sharing
Ubuntu One music store integrated into Rhythmbox
Ubuntu Software Center 2.0

For those who aren’t familiar with them, Zekr and Thawab are Quranic study tools. The parental controls use Gnome Nanny to filter the web, email, etc. Based on what I saw of it, Gnome Nanny looked like a reasonably good parental filter. Muslim parents will have to be the final judge of whether or not it’s really enough to make the Internet safe for Muslim children.

It stumbles a bit though when it doesn’t always provide native language translations of some of the Arabic content.
Since it’s based on Ubuntu, Sabily is fine for beginner, intermediate or advanced Linux users.
For Muslims who have computers and have children around, one definitely give Sabily a download.

Summary Table:
Name of distribution:
Ubuntu Muslim Edition (Sabily) 10.04
Web Site:
Excellent selection of software, including some very useful Islamic applications. Beautiful selection of screensavers, as well as attractive Islamic wallpaper.
Leans too heavily on the Arabic language and doesn’t always provide English translations in applications for those who don’t read or speak Arabic.
Suitable For:
Beginner, intermediate or advanced users.
Sabily 10.04 is a fine update for anyone looking for a Muslim version of Ubuntu. It takes all of Ubuntu 10.04′s new features and gives them an Islamic flavor.
Above average

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