Life without Windows or OS X

GNU/Linux is quite possibly the most important free software achievement since the original Space War, or, more recently, Emacs. It has developed into an operating system for business, education, and personal productivity. GNU/Linux is no longer only for UNIX wizards who sit for hours in front of a glowing console. Are you thinking about switching to Linux and want to learn how to use it? Have you been using GNU/Linux for some time and want to learn even more? This is the place for you.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Review: Balance 14.1" Laptop

Need a low cost note book PC? Then set your eyes on the Balance 14.1" Laptop, 1.0 GHz VIA C3 Processor From for only $ 498. Thats right a modern note book for under $500.
While it won't be a high-performance gamer's hot rod, you can do word processing, Bloging and e-mail. You can burn or rip Music. For more taxing tasks, you will more than likely need to get more memory. 256MB and 512MB SODIMMs are not very expensive, so I recommend getting one when you can. Installing a new memory chip is not very difficult on this computer.

You get:

-Linspire 4.5 Linux is an easy-to-use, full-featured desktop operating system that is totally familiar for Windows users of all experience levels. Linspire comes with everything you need to browse the Internet, instant message, e-mail, share and write documents, work with digital photos, listen to music, play games and much more Easy and comfortable graphical interface with clear menus and icons
-Voice-narrated tutorials provide step-by-step instructions on dozens of subjects

-Complete Microsoft Office file-compatible office software suite lets you easily create and share written files (.doc), spreadsheets (.xls) and presentations (.ppt). Even create PDFs and export presentations to Macromedia Flash
-Web browsing including pop-up ad blocking and Hot Words search technology
Powerful email software includes built-in spell-checking and fights spam
-Instant Messaging, Chat and free Internet phone calling
-Contact management with address book and calendar
-All-in-one digital photo manager, featuring tools to import, organize, edit, crop, enhance, and share digital photos. Hundreds of digital cameras supported. Even use your photos as a screensaver and make video CDs!
-Complete music management with Lsongs to import, organize, play and burn CDs of your favorite music Networking PCs and Printers: Share files and printers between Linspire OS and Microsoft Windows systems Plug-n-Play peripheral support.
-No floppy drive

VIA C3 processor 1.0 GHz
14.1" panel
128 MB memory
30 GB hard drive
CD-ROM drive
4 cell battery with a 3.5-hour charge time to 100% capacity (while computer is off
5 hours charge time to 100% capacity while system is on
Battery delivers more than 1.5 hours of usage time
4 USB 2.0 ports
Linspire version 4.5 (I recommend getting Linspire version 5.0 when you can)
AC adapter, power cord, battery pack

Great price for people who just need a laptop for basic functions (i.e. internet, word processing, email) "Cant Beat The Price"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


The open source software (OSS) movement started as a result of discontent with the proprietary software world. It is a worldwide proposal that is correcting a seriously broken system in which vendors are taking undue advantage of consumers and depriving the consumer of choice. It seems the electronics retailers are hogtied to Microsoft status quo. Because of this monopoly real people pay the price. Windows problems with viruses, worms and malware live because consumers failed to say to Microsoft that they have had enough. Instead of people making their dissatisfaction known to the company that could do most to solve the problem, they’re contented to complain to each other. Many retailers in the IT world have roles in blockading Linux. There are barriers placed before Linux adopters. I shop at CompUSA, Best Buy, Circuit City, Fry's Electronics and other major consumer electronics retailers. I know that do not offer Linux pre-loaded PCs for sale. These stores do sell some PCs that will work with Linux, if consumers download Linux themselves; they only sell PCs bundled with Microsoft and Apple operating systems. The aforementioned stores don't carry peripheral hardware suitable for use with Linux. This forces the consumer, who wishes to use Linux to shop elsewhere, like online. Clearly, these stores have made a decision that they are not interested in having Linux users as customers. Why? “Fear AND Money.” It seems there are many commercial arrangements that are made behind closed doors so as to keep Linux out of the public eye. Such difficulties stop many from using Linux and it only tends to get adopted by the very persistent. In conclusion: Major retailers are not interested in giving customers a less expensive, more reliable PC platform. They more interested in not damaging the relationship with Microsoft. We are the consumers. We have the right and the responsibility to make our wishes known. If enough consumers speak up, retailers will pay attention. Choice in electronics stores will always make things better. If you like Windows and want to see it more stable then demand alternatives. If enough consumers speak up, Microsoft will jump to attention faster than you can imagine.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hard Choice

While there are certainly many versions ("distributions") of Linux to choose from, picking one that is right for you can be straightforward as long as you know your needs and are willing to do some research.
- The balance act: Red Hat Linux, Mandrake Linux, and SuSE Linux offer reliability, flexibility, and user-friendliness. They are the most popular Linux distributions.
- Simple and easy: Lycoris Linux, Xandros Linux and Linspire are good first-time choices.
- For those who are willing to give up convenience to experience the natural, unspoiled simplicity, stability, and security of original Linux distributions: Slackware would be a logical choice.
– Want to try Linux but don’t want to deal with the hassle of installing a new OS? CD-based distributions may be your answer.

Linspires’ one-click web based software installation is quick and easy. An annual fee is charged for accessing Linspire software pool.

Xandros Linux is a great choice for beginners who don’t mind to fork over a few dollars to get a worry free product. It is refined and reliable but with proprietary components that prevent re-distribution. No free download.

Mandrake Linux has become very popular in recent years, especially among new and home users. Installation is particularly user-friendly, and it runs by default the KDE Windows-like graphical desktop environment.

SuSE Linux is a serious alternative for Windows users, with solid, user-friendly installation and configuration tools. Its popularity is held back a little only by somewhat “un-Linux like” business practices, such as not providing ISO installation images for free download. They do, however, offer free FTP installation.

Lycoris is designed to be a user-friendly Linux distribution with particular emphasis on transitioning from Windows operating systems. Good choice for beginners.

Knoppix provides an excellent run-from-CD solution, with its powerful hardware detection features and pain-free set-up. If desired, the system can be optionally installed on the hard disk to improve performance. It also comes with plenty of software. It's also Free in the sense of giving you rights of Software Freedom.

Slackware Linux is a good opportunity to learn about the Linux operating system. It gives you back a long-lost sense of control and empowerment. No longer will you be at the mercy of graphical set-up wizards and mysterious background demons.

Ubuntu The current Ubuntu release supports PC (Intel x86), 64-bit PC (AMD64) and PowerPC (Apple iBook and Powerbook, G4 and G5) architectures. Ubuntu is Free Software, and available to you free of charge. It's also Free in the sense of giving you rights of Software Freedom. Unlike many of the other commercial distributions in the free and open source world the Ubuntu team really does believe that Free software should be free of software licencing charges.

Red Hat Linux
is perhaps the best-known distribution of Linux. It has been around for a while and has acquired a reputation for consistency and reliability. It may not be the easiest to use or the most cutting-edge distribution, but it provides the type of high-quality support that is valued by companies, which made it the de-facto standard in corporate America.

Friday, October 14, 2005

unlucky 13: office

It is too bad developers will miss the planned version 2.0 release on Oct 13th which was to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the open source productivity suite, due to a last-minute bug. Instead, a third release candidate will be made available for final testing. But thats a good thing. No point of saying a program is stable when it is not. There is a bright side, two bugs will be fixed in the Mac OS X release of 2.0 as well. The delay has also given time for developers to fix a minor issue with printing under certain user interface languages. According to a revised schedule, the final 2.0 release is now slated for October 20, but developers acknowledge that date could change depending on feedback from RC3. "And its free to download." Star Office 8 came out not too long ago. It is not free, however it is far cheaper than the leading office program. If you're designing documents for output to PDF or for print, StarOffice 8 is a superior choice to Microsoft Word 2003 because of its extensive selection of paragraph styles and PDF export abilities. The ability to export to PDF was already in StarOffice 7, but version 8 adds hyperlinks, document outlines and notes, tables of contents, PDF controls, and tagged PDFs. probably has over 40 million users. Although that can not be proven,they had at least so far 49 million binaries downloaded. That does not include binaries distributed via the Linux distributors, alternative servers, CDROMs, or even P2P. It also does not include direct hits to their servers. So the number of users may be far larger or even smaller.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Fear not:Change

It's a hard fact that people fear change but there is one way to overcome this issue and that is education. Education means a little reading (imagine that). In addition, the training curve may not be as bad as you may suspect.Finding the right Linux distribution is not as difficult as you may think. Many distributions make the transition simple by providing the tools and interfaces with simple and recognizable formats.The first step in bringing your plan to life is to choose a distribution, the term used by Linux vendors to identify their particular packaging of Linux that fits your needs and will have the most flexibility to leverage the investment in hardware and software. You don't want to make a hasty decision and choose an operating system because it may be a name you know; choose a system that has the most flexibility and features that will benefit you .
Linux is arguably far more secure than Windows--something of concern to PC users everywhere. The Linux community regularly releases patches for security issues almost the same day that bugs are reported. Linux users also proudly claim that, to date, not a single virus outbreak has ever targeted this operating system.
The world of Linux is filled with free software some cool, some very forgettable. Generally speaking, Linux has a reasonably good equivalent to every major Windows package. While a Windows user might edit images in Adobe Photoshop, Linux users turn to The GIMP.Then theres Microsoft's word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation applications from the Office suite are mimicked quite well in OpenOffice and StarOffice on the Linux side.
There are still problems.Without more fixes to smooth the operation of apps and more support from the major hardware makers (many aren't writing Linux drivers for their products), Linux's mainstream use continues to be uncertain.But as more people to make the switch there can be more more spit-and-polish and Linux could become a top-tier operating system.
If your happy with WINDOWS and OS X, that is fine, they are great operating systems. However, if your looking for friendly, easy, affordable licensing plans (per family vs. per computer),this will save you hundreds of dollars as you purchase only one operating system for multiple desktop or notebook computers.
Last but not least, I will say that you can get every conceivable utility for Linux, most at no cost, but many can't match the best Windows or Mac apps. Premier Linux apps like StarOffice, and The GIMP still provide only a subset of the features found in Microsoft Office, and Adobe Photoshop. What they do offer is more than adequate unless you need one of the missing features.
So if you really need to install your favorite Windows productivity applications and plugins in Linux, then look to cross over office from CodeWeavers.


I was just on the Fox News web site and I see a story By James Prendergast. But lets under stand who Prendergast master is. He is executive director of Americans for Technology Leadership, a coalition of technology professionals, companies and organizations that supports limited government regulation of technology. Microsoft Corporation is a founding member of Americans for Technology Leadership. Other founding members include Staples, Inc., CompUSA and Citizens Against Government Waste. So his whole writings on this matter is suspect. Im speaking of the plan that the state of Massachusetts has for finalizing a proposed move to an open, non proprietary format for office documents, a plan that involves phasing out versions of Microsoft's Office productivity suite deployed in the state's executive branch agencies.
Massachusetts has decided not to be locked in to any vendor in particular, because it has this idea in its head that citizens have the right to access their own documents without having to pay anyone and without restrictions as to what operating system they have to use or technical blockages to access not only now but way into the future. The OpenDocument format ensures they will always be able to open and read the documents. That is why it is a superior format for Massachusetts' governmental needs. On Friday, September 16, 2005 the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council called a meeting and at that meeting, Massachusetts very clearly told Microsoft exactly how to be included in the states new plan. Microsoft refused to support OpenDocument. When Microsoft refuses to play nicely with others, we know from history exactly what that means for us consumers. It means we get fewer choices in the marketplace. I say its time to take a stand.Guys like James P stay rich off "proprietary", thats why they will not be for anything that could save people money. "Massachusetts" keep showing others how its done.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


BY Eric Bryant:
I have been into computers for a long time. I have learned a lot through trial an error. They are coming out with superior programs every day. Nevertheless for some reason the rate is getting higher. Some find themselves going to the "Knock Off" bazaars; others break themselves or do without. I have found that computers have made the world a healthier place. The PC has caused humankind to have critical reflections of ideas. Families stay in touch, friends share pictures from thousands of miles a way, and students’ research term papers, thanks to computer and Internet innovations. It seems a growing computer industry requires that people periodically get faster and more capable hardware to keep up with the advances the industry makes. Microsoft does not make it a priority to maintain backward- compatibility with older systems when it releases new operating systems. The other windows versions may have lower system requirements, however, MS has chosen not to maintain any thing less then XP, so all you Win 2000 fan boys out there take heed. Windows Vista is the future platform. If you own more than one PC you better have a big bank roll, for Microsoft only allows a single copy of Windows to be used on only one computer. Starting with Windows XP, they use software to enforce this rule (activation). For me personally, I don’t plan to go into debt or bootleg for any new O.S. innovations. The day will came when my Windows XP will not be supported, but then the Win 2000 fan boys already know the deal. Internet Explorer 7.0, the next version of Microsoft's Web browser, will be available for Windows XP (Home, Pro, MC), Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. (So Pre-XP fans your screwed). So get out your credit cards and finance applications and prepare for “Windows Vista”. And still suffer the same problems that plagued you in the past although this time you will shell out extra for it both in hardware and software.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ubuntu (Free Linux OS)

Ubuntu Version 5.10, the Breezy Badger, the preview release is now here. The Preview Release includes both Install CDs and bootable Live CDs for three architectures. IF you didnt know Ubuntu is a free, open source operating system that starts with the breadth of Debian and adds regular releases (every six months), a clear focus on the user and usability (it should "Just Work", TM) and a commitment to security updates with 18 months of support for every release. Ubuntu ships with the latest Gnome release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off a single installation CD. Ubuntu is Free Software, and available to you free of charge. It's also Free in the sense of giving you rights of Software Freedom. Unlike many of the other commercial distributions in the free and open source world (Libranet, Linspire, Xandros, Red Hat) the Ubuntu team really does believe that Free software should be free of software licencing charges. Ubuntu is suitable for both desktop and server use. The current Ubuntu release supports PC (Intel x86), 64-bit PC (AMD64) and PowerPC (Apple iBook and Powerbook, G4 and G5) architectures.
Ubuntu is based on Debian, the grandpappy of noncommercial Linuxes, and thus inherits Debian's best-of-breed package management system, Apt. You can deal with Apt via the command line or the powerful point-and-click Synaptic interface. The amount of software available is staggering. We're talking about more than 16,000 different packages, once you've enabled all the official repositories.
If you'd like to give Ubuntu a test drive before you install it, you can download a "Live CD" version. This is a self-booting CD-based version of Breezy Badger that should give you a pretty good idea of what you'll end up with if you go ahead with a full installation.