People hear me talk about free and open source software, and one of the first questions that usually is asked is: “How do the software developers expect to make any money if they don’t get paid for what they create?”
It’s not about making money. It’s about community and community support. Let’s say that I have a need for a particular software application, but I can’t seem to find one out there that exactly suits my needs. Perhaps I find one that is similar to what I want. If the application is an open source application, I can download the source code, modify it to suit my needs, and when I have all of the bugs worked out of it and it works just the way I want, I can release the source code to the rest of the world so that the application might benefit someone else. How cool is that??? Community supporting community. No corporate greed involved.
The use of Linux operating systems has intrigued me for some time now, but it has only been within the last two years that I have fully embraced the use of Linux in my own life. Fedora Core3 was my first Linux distro, which soon lead to Fedora Core4. After that, I decided that I would learn more by completing a full and custom Linux build with Gentoo. After playing with Gentoo for a while, I briefly tried out Fedora Core5, Mandriva, Blag, Open SuSE 10.0, Damn Small Linux, Basilisk, Knoppix, and PC-BSD (as well as a few others). After reading about Ubuntu, I really liked the ideas that stand behind the project, as well as what the word “Ubuntu” means, so I decided to try it out. No turning back now; Ubuntu offers everything that I want and need in an operating system, and then some! Because most of my hardware is not state of the art, standard fare Ubuntu or Kubuntu do not run so well on my machines, so I run Xubuntu (which uses the light-weight XFCE desktop manager). One of my older machines runs Fluxbuntu, which is based off of the older “Dapper” version of Ubuntu, and uses Fluxbox as the window manager. I have also used nUbuntu (for the network savvy), which is a fun thing to play with if you are into arp-poisoning and packet injections. Oh, and for those of you who have kids, you should check out Edubuntu!
Anyway, I am a “less-is-more” kind of guy, so if my operating system can come packaged with only the very basics, then that is great. I’d rather install everything that I want, and not have a bunch of extra stuff that I don’t plan on using. Xubuntu serves this purpose to the T. So, my point with all of this jibber-jabber is to encourage you to try Linux. In today’s times, depending on the Linux distribution you choose (there are hundreds, possibly even thousands of them out there), many of them are as easy to use as Windows or Mac’s OS-X. It’s really easy to install on your computer. If you are not comfortable with making the jump and possibly ruining your main computer, get yourself an older computer and try it out. Of course, you have to understand that certain Linux distributions tend to work better with older hardware, but if you can find a reasonably decent machine, load Linux on it and give it a try. For Xubuntu, there are over 20,000 FREE software applications, libraries, etc. available for me to download. With Windows and Mac, you have to purchase all of the software. Hey, wise up! Linux is not all that difficult to use, and it allows you COMPLETE FREEDOM. Many of the various distributions can be used as a LiveCD so you can try out the operating system without causing damage to your existing system.
– To find a specific Linux distribution, you can check out www.linux.org and click on the distributions link.
– To try Ubuntu or one of the other “buntu’s”: Ubuntu | Kubuntu | Xubuntu | Edubuntu
What tools do you need? Once you download your Linux distribution, you will need to burn the .iso file to disk as an image; this is not the same as just burning the file to disk. The only tool that I have used under Windows to burn ISO images is Nero Burning ROM. If you are already using Linux, it’s really easy to burn an image. Here is more information in burning images: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BurningIsoHowto Once you have burned the image, place the cd into your cd-rom drive and turn on your computer. If the Linux distribution that you are using offers a LiveCD, you will get to try out the OS before installing it. Otherwise, follow the instructions packaged with the CD on how to install. Most distributions come packaged with some sort of convenient installation setup. Anyway, it’s pretty easy. Just try it. Have fun!