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.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

The return of the One Percenter.

The development of GNU, started in January 1984, and is known as the GNU Project. GNU is an operating system that is free software as it respects user’s freedom. The development of GNU made it possible to use a computer without software that would take away your freedom. On 14 March 1994, Linux 1.0.0 was released, with 176,250 lines of code. As 2017 version 4.12 has 24,170,860 lines of code.

Today there are many different variants of the GNU+Linux system (typicality called “distros”). And yes many of them include non-free software. Richard Stallman once wrote “If you run a nonfree program on your computer, it denies your freedom” he also wrote “If you recommend that others run the nonfree program, or lead them to do so, you're leading them to give up their freedom.”  I will say that I do not recommend using non-free/proprietary apps. Like smoking, it is very bad for your health. However some applications and drivers require firmware to function, and sometimes that firmware is distributed only in object code form, under a nonfree license.

I am not playing both sides. I just don't believe in hiding information from people because I don't feel that is true freedom. I believe in freedom of choice, even if it’s a bad choice. Using non-free software does directly translate into a loss of control over your computer. No question. We must fight any and all attempts of university administrations, to force faculty and students to use non-free software or to use university resources to promote that kind of software. Many proprietary software apps that people use can easily be replaced by free alternatives. Instead of Microsoft Office, use LibreOffice. Instead of Microsoft Windows or MacOS, use a GNU/Linux variant such as Trisquel, Dragora GNU/Linux-Libre or Debian.
It is not my intent to debate the Open source development methodology versus the free software social movement. Other sites do a much better job of that. I'm like Switzerland. I'm just here to pass along information.

Soon I will be talking about SteamOS, which is a Linux-based operating system developed by Valve. SteamOS is Valve's specialized gaming operating system. It's optimized for PC gaming but doesn't run some of the most popular PC games. I will show you  what parts are the best for SteamOS. For these builds, I am using the following components.

Note: I have no priceing for components because they change too often.

Note: Components in red are mandatory.

Full ATX build 
ASRock AB350 Pro4 (BIOS 2.60  6/9/2017) 
G.SKILL Flare X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) (F4-3200C14D-16GFX)

  • Cooler Master N400 NSE-400-KKN2 N-Series Mid Tower Computer Case
  • EVGA 650 B3, 80 Plus BRONZE 650W, Fully Modular PSU
  • AMD RYZEN 7 1700 8-Core 3.0 GHz (3.7 GHz Turbo) Socket AM4 65W  EVGA
  • 1050 2GD5/SC Samsung 850 EVO 500Gb 2.5 SSD (MZ 75E500B)
  •  + WB Blue 1TB SATA 6 Gb/s 7200 RPM (WD 10EZEX) 

Full MATX build

ASRock AB350M Pro4  (BIOS 3.00  7/18/2017)  
Patriot Viper Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4 2400MHz  (PVE48G240C5KRD)

  • AMD RYZEN 5 1600 6-Core 3.2 GHz (3.6 GHz Turbo) Socket AM4 65W
  • Or AMD RYZEN 3 1200 4-Core 3.1 GHz (3.4 GHz Turbo) Socket AM4 65W
  • EVGA 450 B3, 80 Plus BRONZE 450W, Fully Modular 
  • MSI N750TI TF 2GD5/OC
  • Seagate 2TB Fire Cuba Gaming SSHD 7200 RPM
  •  Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3 Computer Case (MCW-L3S2-KN5N) 

Note: The Patriot Viper Elite 8GB (2 x 4GB) and G.SKILL Flare X 16GB (2 x 8GB) will work in either Ryzen MotherBoard.

Note: Many are seeing the segmentation faults and/or crashes when running concurrent compilation loads on Zen CPUs.  I haven't encountered the issue on my Ryzen Linux boxes. However it seems there are a number of Ryzen Linux users who are facing problems.

The current system hardware requirements for default SteamOS installations include: 

• Intel or AMD 64-bit capable processor. 
• 4 GB (or more) RAM.   
• 200 GB or larger hard disk.  
• NVIDIA (Fermi graphics cards or newer), Intel, or AMD graphics card (Radeon HD 5XXX or newer)   
• UEFI boot support.


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