Those of you who have been regular readers here know that I have little love for the Microsft Corporation or its products. I have always tried to use products and services that are free, not only in cost but in how they are licensed. Microsoft seems to think that their products are so good that no one, other than their in-house programmers should have access to the code or make any changes to improve that code.
Well, I beg to differ with that opinion. Realize that I am not a programmer or a computer geek by any stretch of the imagination. My main criteria for any computer product, whether software or hardware, is that it works easily and with a minimum of hassle. That, in my opinion, excludes Microsft products. They tend to be overly intrusive and suck resources like a starving kitten at it’s mother’s teats. The only good thing about Miscrosoft products, if you are using Windows as your operating system, is that they are easy to install and configure.
There are two major alternatives to Windows: Apple’s MacOS and a Linux distrubtion. However, two of the majort objections that I have to Windows also apply to MacOS: it is even more expesive to buy an Apple computer than a Windows PC and Apple software is even more proprietary than Windows, which limits your software options greatly. Mac does make it, from what I’ve read and heard, fairly easy to use some Windows software.
Both Mac and Windows only offer their latest OS in one flavor and there is linited customization of the desktop available, unless you are willing to pay extra, of course. Being able to customize my desktop to suit how I use my computer, as well as customizing my desktop to suit my hardware restrictions, is important to me. I have vision restrictions that make most standard desktop themes very difficult for me to use, and the so-called “accessibility” themes offered with Windoes are boring and ugly!
Linux, on the other hand, comes in a bunber of flavors and each flavor offers multiple desktops with multiple themes that have varying degrees of customization – all for free. The problem that most non-geeky vomputer users have with Linux is that, given the fact that most PCs are designed for Windows, is in configuring Linux to use their hardware optimally. How difficult this configuration is, and I mean by difficult, how geeky you have to be, depends on the Linux distribution you select. I found one that is very easy to use – as easy as using Windows. That distribution is Ubuntu.
I strongly urge you to visit their site. Read their mission statement. Read their Code of Conduct. Then go read the crap at Microsoft’s site. If you are a moral and honotable person, as I assume you are, you will be quite impressed by the Ubuntu philosophy as opposed to what we all know about Microsoft.
I was impressed so much by the Ubuntu philosopy that I installed it on my computer at the beginning of April. I have played around with the various desktops available and finally settled on the Xubuntu desktop – their light desktop, mainly because this computer has limited resorurces, especially in temrs of RAM and processor capabilities.
With the Xubuntu desktop, I use less than half of the RAM available to run the computer, yet I have an email client, three web browsers, media player plus a Linux music player similar to Apple’s iTunes, a full office productivity suite akin to Microsoft Office, a text editor, an HTML editor, an IM chat program, a graphics manipulation program like Photoshop, as well as numeour utilies installed – all for free. And I have customized my desktop so that it is both accessible and attractive. Not too shabby for something that cost me nothing.
But there’s more! You get the disks you want for FREE! Ubuntu will send you whatever system disks you want for free. It takes a couple of weeks but there is no vharge, not even for shipping. Micrsoft won’t send you diddly-squat for free;. And your computer manufacturer will charge you at least the shipping for any replacement system disks more often than not.
Also, when there are software updates, even a whole new version of Ubuntu, you get them for free. Last I heard, Windows was not giving away free upgrades to Vista.
Lastly, not not the least important feature, Ubuntu is not a corporation in the sense that Microsoft is Ubuntu is a community in the best sense of the word. It is Ubuntu users who manage and amintain the software. It is Ubuntu users who write the documentation. It is Ubuntu users who provide the majority of support for other users. I have joined several of the user groups – mailing lists – and have found the people in these groups, the users of Ubuntu, to be friendly and helpful.
The Ubuntu community is divided into various teams and there are teams for any type of expertise – programming, writing, graphic design, etc., as well as teams for each of the Ubunut distributions. I have jpomed the general users group. the Xubuntu users group, and the Ubuntu marketing team. I have also requested membership in one of the documentation teams, which is pending at the moment. I evem have my own profile page and my own wiki page [You have to be a registered Ubuntu user to view those!]. I don’t think Apple or Microsoft offer their registered users anything like that.
Microsft has the lion’s share of the operating system, which they got through illegal business practices. They have a huge marketing budget. Ubuntu has a small portion of the market, but they have something that Microsoft only dreams about – a community of dedicated users that lvoe the product and are willing to give of their time and talent to promote Ubuntu. As of today, that communty grew by one. I am making my commitment to marketing Ubuntu public here and now. I guarantee you will see more posts like this here in the future until the Microsoft monopoly is broken for good.
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