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.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two years of RebelSaid...

Hello and welcome to my web-log...

Its been nearly two years since I started this site. For years, supporters of open-source software have touted the Wildebeest symbol known as GNU and Linux with its universal yellow-beaked penguin logo as the next operating system to challenge Windows on the desktop.

If your your seeing this site for the first time. This is not a place just for geeks. Its for those who like computers or computer software. I've been working with computers for a little while. In that time I've used a variety of environments. There is a learning curve in windows and there will a learning curve in Linux. Also This site is NOT anti-Microsoft or anti-Windows. It is just about the different world.

What is this different world? “Gnu/Linux”

What is Gnu?

GNU is a Unix-like operating system that comes with source code that can be copied, modified, and redistributed. The GNU project was started in 1983 by Richard Stallman and others, who formed the Free Software Foundation. Stallman believes that users should be free to do whatever they want with software they acquire, including making copies for friends and modifying the source code and repackaging it with a distribution charge.

What is Linux?

Linux's kernel (the central part of the GNU operating system) was developed by Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki in Finland. To complete the operating system, Torvalds and other team members made use of system components developed by members of the Free Software Foundation for the GNU Project.

In the last year I have seen that some of the biggest names in computing are pushing harder for the GNU/Linux open-source operating system as an option for desktop PCs. And with that analysts say the moves show that Linux and other open-source software products are finally ready to compete on the desktop. Research firm IDC says just 3.8% of desktop PCs shipped last year had an open-source OS, almost always Linux. It has started shedding it’s image of being hard to use and even without tons of applications or the right support for hardware sometime, people are switching over everyday. Things that used to be a nightmare in Linux are for the most part solved.

I have done my best in my small world to let others know there are choices out there and I will say here and now that those other choices dont fit everyones needs in all cases. A Linux has lead me just about anywhere in the digital world I have wanted to go. They are packed with features: a full Internet suite; a complete office suite; digital photo and music managers; advanced notebook and wireless capabilities; and a lot more. You may be used to regularly defragment your hard drive under Windows. Under GNU/Linux, however, the file systems in use are extremely resistant to fragmentation so that this is completely unnecessary. I mean the 2.6-series kernels are simply amazing . The kernel design is modular, so that the actual OS code is very small yet able to load whatever functionality it needs when it needs it. Other operating systems which slow down the computer and waste memory by loading everything all the time, whether it is needed or not.

last word...

If you're coming from a Windows background, like I did, and most people are in the world, you probably have some Windows programs that you really want to keep using even when you're using Linux. Sad to say Windows programs will not run natively on Linux, but you can find a few solutions to run Windows apps under Linux or within a Linux session if you really need to do so. Virtualization is one option for running your Windows applications under Linux. Virtualization software will allow you to run a full instance of Windows under Linux so you can run almost any Windows program unmodified on top of Linux, within the Windows environment. 90% of windows based programs will run under Virtualization but you need a retail copy of Windows to make that work. Another option is CodeWeavers CrossOver Linux which is based on Wine, but unlike Wine, is not entirely open source. CodeWeaver includes features not found in Wine to make it easier to set up and run Windows programs under Linux. Only maybe 5% of Windows written programs will work well under CrossOver's implementation of the Windows API, but no copy of windows is needed.

NOTE: In the long run, you might prefer to find a native Linux program as a really good substitute for your Windows applications.


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