The purpose of this is to ask people to try Linux as an alternative to Windows. -- Linux: A free operating system for personal computers created in an open process with many contributors For over 10 years, Microsoft has dominated the operating system market. Nearly all new computers are preloaded with a version of Windows, and hardware and software support for major commercial products is often focused on Windows. However, the Windows family of operating systems have a relatively insecure architecture, restrictive DRM protocols, lots of viruses and spyware and a general lack of customizability or openness. Until a few years ago, the alternatives for the average user was Mac OS X, which was expensive (due to hardware lock-in), largely unsupported and even more restrictive than Windows. Linux was perceived as hard to use and only for "geeks". Linux has significantly matured, and it is quite easy to use, very secure (virtually no successful viruses or exploitable security weaknesses), the majority of the world's servers run it and almost never need to be restarted, and of course it is COMPLETELY FREE in both senses of the word. Most software for Linux is also equally free and covers all daily needs while having familiar interfaces similar to expensive commercial programs such as Microsoft Office. Many of this is included in a standard distribution, for instance Ubuntu Linux comes with Firefox (internet), OpenOffice (office), Evolution (e-mail), GIMP (images), Totem (multimedia), GNOME (Desktop environment) and Gaim (chat) as well as many others with nearly 20,000 more packages available for download from a secure repository that automatically updates your computer's software. http://www.phoronix.net/image.php?id=688&image=ubuntu_feisty_05_lrg Linux is also much faster and more responsive than Windows in many applications due to unnecessary processes being removed, such as a registry. It also does not slow down over time. When running Windows applications under a compatibility layer, they are often faster than they ran on Windows. Ubuntu Linux has or can have many of the features that you would have to expensively upgrade to Windows Vista for: instant search, optional windows transparency and gadget sidebars, while having unique features such as easy package management, multiple desktops, AppArmor, LiveCD and a powerful terminal. http://www.phoronix.net/image.php?id=688&image=ubuntu_feisty_09_lrg The open and free philosophy of Linux means that interfaces and protocols are well documented and so several free programs for each purpose are available, some easier to use and some more feature-rich. It is possible to entirely change the look and feel of your desktop as well as its subsystems and applications in five minutes due to the stable, modular architecture. Everything on the desktop is continually updated with new features as well as bugfixes, not just security patches only for Windows components like Windows Update. -- Microsoft has abused its monopoly position in the software market to be slow in releasing features, creating security problems and making customers pay a lot of money for a restrictive and slow operating system. The solution is to use alternatives, preferably free and open alternatives including Linux, BSD or Solaris. Linux is ready for the desktop in every way bar problems caused by secretive and Windows-focused corporations not making good hardware drivers or software ports. This can be avoided thanks to open-source developers coding thir own drivers and applications that are just as good or better, and if more people adopted similar operating systems the software market would be a more open and competitive place. As a computer user, you should try Linux. It's zero price tag means there is no issue with installing and then removing it if you don't like it. Above all, don't be afraid of trying it due to the false hard-to-use image. It's just not true and I've found it easier to accomplish many tasks in Linux than Windows. Remember, you can dual-boot Linux and Windows so you needn't lose data. As a starter, first choose a distribution. I've found that the easiest to start with is Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com). Download the latest version of it (ussually a .iso file) and burn the image to disk using an image burner such as InfraRecorder (http://infrarecorder.sourceforge.net/?page_id=5) (normal CD writing will not work). Once you've burnt the image, use your motherboard BIOS accessible when the computer first starts up to set the "boot priority" to CD so it loads the CD when you turn on your computer. Restart the computer with the CD in the drive and it should show the install screen. Follow the instructions (You may load a "Live" desktop and need to install it using an icon on there) and it's done. Alternatives to Windows programs (Ubuntu centric) Microsoft Office - OpenOffice.org (Included), KOffice Paint - The GIMP (Included), Inkscape Internet Explorer - Mozilla Firefox (Included), Opera Outlook Express - Novell Evolution (Included) or Mozilla Thunderbird MSN - Gaim (Included), now Pidgin Windows Media Player - Totem Movie Player Notepad - gedit Visual C++ - KDevelop Flash/Java/.NET - Flash/Java/Qt, Gnash/GNU Classpath/Mono Security programs - Not needed, but many available Add/Remove Programs - Synaptic Package Manager (Included) Windows Aero - Compiz Fusion Most Windows Applications - WINE [Windows Compatibility Layer] -- To summarize, Linux is: - Free to use - Free to modify - Free to distribute - Easy to use - Fast - Secure - Stable - Updated often - Supports all media - Has free replacements for most applications - Has a longer battery life on laptops due to less overhead on applications and the OS. -- Linux here refers to the Linux kernel with GNU components and a GNOME desktop. The author dual-boots Ubuntu 7.04 "Feisty Fawn" x86 and Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium.
Ubuntu. Linux for human beings.
If you are interested in trying Ubuntu or Linux in general, PM me and I will answer your questions and help you install it if you wish.