Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It just Works for Free

I remember the first computer that I ever owned. The operating system was Windows 98 and it was given to me by my brother. I remember my amazement the first time I surfed the Internet. With so much information easily accessed through the Internet, it was difficult to see any downside to it. Then, I started reading about Microsoft and their attempts to monopolize every aspect of computing, from file formats to accessory programs needed to enjoy Internet content as well as computing productivity for work. If you did not have the money to pay Microsoft an exorbitant amount of money for using their product, content and workability were denied to you. I will not even begin to talk about all the hours that I have spent the last decade trying to fix glitches in my Windows operating system, as well as all the time spent downloading and installing the infinite number of program patches to make the damn thing secure. Thank heavens, those days are over.
A few years ago, the same brother turned me on to Linux. To my amazement, as soon as we installed Kubuntu on my computer, it came with all the drivers for my hardware and it worked without spending 45 minutes downloading updates [or uploading my personal information to Microsoft]. Suddenly, the computer world seemed a far better place than before. I no longer felt that I, as well as others, were being forced to use and pay for an operating system that, in my opinion, was always less than secure, both from hackers and Microsoft. I have depended on Linux for two years now, and I have never had to worry about worms, Trojan horses, or viruses. As a matter of fact, I don't run any anti-virus program because Linux is a more secure, stable, and, because of it's price [free], a more satisfying operating system to work and play with than Microsoft's. It is even more satisfying when you know that the operating system is created and maintained by diligent volunteers. That's right, people who care enough about freedom and liberty to sacrifice their own time to build it!
As for me, I will NEVER go back to using Microsoft's products. This is especially true when I see all the release problems that Vista has had, which has forced many users into paying Microsoft so that they could revert back to XP. While, Window's users are going backwards, the Linux community is growing and leaping forward. For myself, it is rare that a problem arises with Linux in comparison to my Windows days. I no longer spend time trying to fix/patch up the problems with windows. Linux just works.
For those of you wishing to learn more about Linux and the open source community, I suggest these sites --

1 comment:

Fred J. Stephens said...

Clear and concise presentation of some of the primary benefits of using Linux and Open Source. Very well written.

I would make two points though:

1)Perhaps more emphasis should be made of the freedom aspect as opposed. Free as in gratis is good, but free as in liberty is also important, and becoming more so as important public documents are locked up in proprietary formats. Privacy is also a growing concern with commercial software.

2)Though Linux was originally developed by a worldwide developer community and largely still is, it has lots of corporate support today.
IBM, Dell, HP, Sun, Google and Novell to name a few. Some of the main developers work for major companies and are paid to work on Linux. This underscores the point that Linux is certainly now a viable alternative to Windows. If it's good enough for Google's million servers, they must be doing something right!