new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white
Thanks to all of you! | by Victor W.
Back to photostream

Thanks to all of you!

Haven't been around much, my apologies to all of you.


Had a few problems with the computer a while back, (December last year!), some desperate attempts were made on my part to resurrect the beast.......mostly to no avail.


Finally got the machine up and running although now minus the old graphics card plus the 2Gb RAM I used to have, (all failed probably due to the original power supply fault!). So now according to 'windoze' I have a rubbish PC and my copy of vista doesn't run very well on it. (That's an understatement if ever I heard one!)


So what to do with my four year old machine, (flip, that's ancient isn't it?! can you imagine, four years old! I don't keep up with the times do I? - Sarcastic chuckle), now with 1Gb memory and cr*p graphics card - easy, buy a new one.......if that was a financial option that is. I've never been one to throw money at my problems, (and really don't understand people that do), so I looked around for an alternative which turned out to be Linux.

Linux? That's rubbish isn't it? Just to quote something I've read or heard whilst going through this process. Well it wasn't as hard or as 'rubbish' as I was led to believe it was going to be.


Enter Ubuntu and what a simple process it was to install that free bit of kit. Free? Must be rubbish.....except that it isn't. The usual arguments I've heard are that it doesn't operate like 'windoze' or look nice like a Mac OS - Really? Would that be because it's a different operating system? "Different", "New", can't be doing that now can we, stuck in our ways we are old chap. It didn't take as long as I expected to get used to a new OS and now that I've had it for a couple of weeks I'm afraid there's no turning back.

Why? Well because it runs great despite 'windoze' thinking I now have a cr*p PC. Fast boot-up, fast internet connectivity, multiple desktops, (which you'd never believe you'd need until you have it!), no anti-virus software required, (Really?! Oh yeah, you'd better believe it!), and just about every piece of productivity software I've needed is absolutely free. "Free", such a nice word.


But how can all this come about and especially for 'free'?

That'd be the reasoning behind the title to this image, it's thanks to all of you. Yeah, I know, some of you have never stumbled onto Linux or avoided it or never taken part in any of it so it can't be thanks to all of you. How can it?

If you bought a PC with 'windoze' or a mac you damn well paid for the OS too, you only have to take a look at the licensing conditions of your OS to see the restrictions imposed upon you. Not only that, but once your machine gets bogged down with all the 'updates' required you're along that rocky road of stumping up more cash for a newer version of that OS when it arrives. That's why alternatives can look so promising, especially for free and freely re-distributable. (Trying explaining that one to Mr. Gates when you've installed 'windoze' on multiple machines without double checking the software license - "Honest M'Lud, I didn't know I was 'stealing' anyfing" - Ignorance is no defence of the law I'm afraid.)

All this came about because we got stuck in that rut of buying these OS's that promised so much, offered little and got so used to being shafted we plod on merrily. Except that some people aren't happy with that and rewrote the 'rules'.


So the main thanks has to go to those people that had enough of bending over and taking it up the proverbial. All those 'geeks', 'coders', 'software engineers', whatever you want to call them banding together across the world and producing wonderful software like Ubuntu amongst others. I couldn't have done it, the great thing about open source software is that no one single person had to do it either, it's a collaboration, a joining of minds, skills, ideas, you name it all coming together to produce wonderful stuff. Humanity as a whole, not a dream but actually here.


If you disagree with that, then that's fair enough, after all most of us live in a 'free' country, don't we(?)


However, try explaining that to the school in Africa or some other far flung country who had several computers donated to them plus the means to run them but unfortunately no license or money to buy an expensive OS. Or the cash strapped education centre that can't afford the license conditions, or the updates, or the new releases, or find out they're breaking the law because someone donated a computer with an OS pre-installed, (look up your re-distributable terms again).


Yet here is an OS that is not only free but freely distributable as well, install it on one machine, install it on many, give away copies free to anyone you know who wants it. Great isn't it?

But what good would it do installing these free operating systems and especially for education centres. Heck, the rest of the world are using 'windoze' and mac products so it'd do them no good would it? Yeah, next thing you'll be telling me that you can't take photographs unless you have a Canon, or maybe a Nikon helps you take photographs like no other camera can? You can't produce a financial report unless you're using a bona fide copy of 'microsloth windoze office'? Perhaps we ought to give them pencils and paper.......or just perhaps the productivity tool that a computer can be with no other restrictions.


Oh, and of course there's me, had enough, not paying any more even if I could and loving the move to free :-)



The image contains some examples of the open source software out there and believe me there's a whole world more than that available. Some links if you want to find out more:


UBUNTU - The operating system. You can burn this to a 'live' CD or even a memory stick and run this first without upsetting your original configuration or OS. Try before you b.......erm you don't have to buy it ;-)


LINUX (.com) and LINUX (uk) - For more wonderful Linux goodness.


AUDACITY - A free audio editor that most of us have probably already stumbled upon.


GIMP - Another one we may have heard of, pretty good package too and improving all the time. Ideal for all your photo and image editing purposes. Of course there's not as many 'tutorials' as there are for 'photoshop', so you can carry on using your expensive, (or stolen), copy if you really must ;-)


LIBRE OFFICE - Free office tools, write, report, database, the usual stuff and for free.


FIREFOX - Probably already heard of this one too, the free web browser.


7 ZIP - Free data compression tool. Yep, free again.


If you like any of that, go and let someone else know about it too!



For some reason flickr won't allow me to reproduce 'free' and so I'm stuck with an attribution licence on this image. Don't bother attributing me, none of the logos are mine so it isn't really my set of images.


5 faves
Taken on March 18, 2012