Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Open Source Goodness: Reasons to Use Linux

So I know it's been a while since I posted something in regards to computers and what not. This will be my post for the week regarding the open source issues of activism. Also stay tuned because a regularly updated comic for the web site is on the way! Construction is still on going in terms of making this it's own hosted website. Unfortunately for all the Linux networking goodness that is my tech background. I have ZERO web construction experience and can't even format proper html. So if you have any web coding experience and would like to help out please let me know. Well here's your open source post for the week, enjoy.

This week I'm going to talk a little bit about some reasons why you should use Gnu/Linux instead of other operating systems like one that comes from Redmond. Some of the reasons are certainly are the personal side, but most are technical reasons that should be hard to ignore.

1. Linux is free. Really free. You not only don't have to pay for the software or the updates, but you can modify and use the software however you like. While that may be out of reach of anyone without solid coding experience it's still nice to know. It also means that many people already have. As a result there is a distribution for every taste and the vast majority of them don't cost a dime.

2. Linux is stable. Way more stable then other operating systems that make you pay. Gnu (which stands for Gnu is not Unix) is modeled after the Unix platform which has long been considered the most stable, secure, and powerful platform availible. Just like Linux, Unix comes in many flavors but they are generally propitiatory, closed source, expensive, and designed to work only with certain hardware. One notable exception is FreeBSD, a version of BSD that is open source and free to download. It's use is not for the faint of heart, however, and it generally requires far more system knowledge to use then modern versions of Linux do. (Ever wonder why MacOS is generally more stable then Windows? MacOS is a prime example of pay to use software based on BSD)

3. Linux is Secure. Of course there are still viruses and there are still security flaws and bugs. Just not like certain other operating systems that can hardly keep up with hackers. Oh yes, they don't keep up. Part of the reason why Linux is more secure is because less people use it making it a less valuable target. Of course this logic fades when you consider that Linux is the OS of choice for many networks, scientific computers, super computers, and development platforms. The other important factor is that unlike in a closed source project, bugs are discovered and fixed by the community (with an oversight process of course), this causes updates to be released far faster as well as more issues being discovered within a shorter time frame. You should still run anti-virus software and take other security precautions.

4. Linux is fun. Yeah it really is. The days of terminal only distros has long come to an end. Check out Compiz sometime and see how much fun it is to play with. Better yet try "The Mana World", "Super Tux", "Frozen Bubble", or "Metal Blob Solid" and see just how much fun Linux can be. These of course are just a handful of games available for Linux. There are hundreds if not thousands more, many of which are just as capable as similar games would be for Windows or MacOS. Of course any Windows based game you just can't do without can generally be run with Wine (Wine is not an emulator) which simulates the Windows APIs, registry, etc. and with some minor tweaking will allow you to run most popular games within Linux.

5. There's a Penguin. His name is Tux. He's awesome. He has games based on him (SuperTux, SuperTux Racing, etc.) and he's just darn cute.

6. With freedom of information comes freedom of society. Using open source software and operating systems contributes to a society that survives without restrictive patents, and copyrights that take information out of the hands of the masses. Information really is power and Linux helps us to take it back.

7. If you want to try Linux and you're concerned about the install I'll help you. That's right. If you're getting on this on the listserve and you live nearby drop me a line and I'll install and configure Linux for you free of charge. Pretty good considering my normal tech support fees hover around sixty dollars and hour, but in the name of true freedom I'll do it for free. Now you really don't have an excuse not to try it.

So there you have it. Seven good reasons to use the ultimate open source operating system. Join the Open Source Revolution.

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