Many moons ago, computers and computing were thought of as
a vital, expensive activity upon which the viability of society
depended. Today, cheaper computers and computing has been sold
to the public as "entertainment". This is fine, unless
you mind being "entertained" by viruses, spam, popups,
trojans, spyware and out-and-out system failures
when you are trying to get some work accomplished.
For most medium to large organizations the frustrations
of the computer workstation "desktop" are but an annoyance
and a fixed overhead. This is because they have a computer staff
and resources to fix these system intrusions and failures
before they become catastrophic. But what of the small shop
or individual business person who uses computers for their
most basic tasks? How do they cope with the ever increasing
"entertainment" of watching their work, files, communications
and databases being lost or worse, available to anyone on the
Internet smart enough to tap-in to their machines? Do they
have to pay and pay again to hire someone to fix the same
problems over and over? Is there no relief or choice for them?
In fact, there is now a choice.
For about the last twelve years a large group of computer
engineers (united by the Internet and alarmed by the shoddy
and badly executed computer systems offered to the public)
have teamed together on their own time to create both a system
and many sets of computer applications of a quality that is
staggering, both in applicability and scope. More than this,
these programs are available for NO or little cost, most, simply
by download from the Internet. This loose group of engineers is
called the "Open Source" movement (for reasons beyond the scope
of this article) and the system is called "Linux".
Much may be said about Linux, but here I would like to interject
just a personal note: I have been using Linux on my personal
computer desktop for the past seven years. This is easy for me
as a computer professional because I have had the skill to maintain
the system. For years I have wanted to export the benefits of
this fantastic system to my many non-technical friends. The main
barrier to doing so has recently been overcome and I'm happy to
share this information.
You may be asking yourself, what benefits?
Okay, how about no viruses? No spyware, no system crashes,
robust system security, complete compatability with the computer
servers that actually comprise the backbone of the Internet. How
about no need for expensive virus-blocking software that must be
constantly updated and slows your computer. How about a system
that can keep itself up-to-date and run unattended without rebooting
for YEARS! How about a compatible application Office Suite
that duplicates and rivals the well-known commercial product
and which comes already installed with the system? Lastly, how
about the fact that the desktop looks like and is similar to
the commercial operating system software you're probably already
Alright, you're interested. Now what about the technical barrier
I mentioned? The difficulty was with the installation and
maintenance of software applications. It was simply too complicated
with too many choices and sources for the average non-technical
person to obtain and load the software that is available. A
fellow named Michael Robertson founded 'Linspire' a San Diego
based company a couple years ago to handle this problem and bring
Linux to the average person's desktop. Using a shoestring staff
and despite being attacked unmercifully (by a certain commercial
interest) he has solved the final barrier. His system uses a
central "warehouse" or software repository that contains a huge
catalog of available software. A novice can simply select the
software he wishes to install with a mouse click and it will be
downloaded and installed onto his computer...just like that.
Don't want it? Another single click and it's un-installed.
How do I get this on my computer?
Well, go to: http://www.linspire.com and click on the
'Get Linspire' tab. This will give you a lot of information.
If you'd like to talk with me, email me at:
I am a Linspire consultant and a 30-year computer professional
and would be happy to answer your questions.
Next issue: Running Windows® applications under Linux.
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