With the current economy; is the way forward Open Source and Linux?

Just to give some background on my experience first. I first used linux back in 1994 and for many years got the slackware distribution. I remember the first distribution I got (not sure if was slackware also) I downloaded onto about 95 HD floppy disks.. Good thing was that I was at Uni at the time so wasn’t a dial up ūüôā

I then got the first CD distribution Yggdrasil Linux again back in late 95 or so. I still have the CD box somewhere around in my cupboard draws.

Now… Back in those days installation of linux was difficult. You could sit for hours choosing the components you wanted to install then a few more hours recompiling kernals, etc. I was truly only for the tech¬†community. I know I loved it but at the same time trying to get my ethernet network running bugged me for a while. And I had a script (from Pipex) to connect to my dial up with an awk script to kill once finished. That all said; it run so lovely compared to windows and there were some open source stuff to play with.

Fast forward to today and current misconceptions some have. I think first misconception is that Linux is still very difficult to install. This is no longer true, in fact in my thoughts its easier to install.. So, for anyone that has not tried. First thing you do is download the iso file and burn to a disk. Second thing is boot from disk (like you would if doing a windows install). Choose partition, etc (again exactly same stuff as if doing windows install) then click go. In some cases you may need to choose an install profile like gamer, developer, etc but this is just so as it pre-installs extra software.

So, what is that easier? Well; on install it basically installs your drivers etc. OK windows does that to.. but I have found on some older systems that windows will not install some drivers (specifically in one case the wifi drivers) and linux did. Install of linux just worked.

So, install is free. Install is easy and setup is a breeze. Infact using something like grub it will even setup your dual boot. There are even newer linux installs (like Ubuntu) that will install in windows as an application.

So, open source software. What is it? Well; to keep it simple its free software.Free?? Yes, there is no cost to pay – you simply download and install. Infact for a lot of it its made simple in that most distros of linux include an installer you run, search for software, click install and it downloads and installs.

“Ah, but does open source mean buggy software” you ask. In most cases no because there are more developers in most cases working on open source software than commercial (this is coming from my experience as a commercial developer).

“but what can I get” is your next question. Virtually anything. You want video edit software,¬†kdenlive¬†as an example. Games? Yes tons of them. Office products. yes. Yes, yes yes for your next lot. You would be¬†surprised¬†if never looked at what open source as to offer.

So, free OS. Free software. Why would you look at Windows? Well only if intended to play games. But then again check out Crossover for Linux by Codeweavers. Or even Wine for linux if want something to run windows applications for free.

The debate continues.. but spending less may mean better support for Linux and Open Source…

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Posted on March 20, 2012, in Technology Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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