Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Open Source: Cool in that Uncool Way

I know this is a bit of a pre-emptive post given that I am kind of talking about stuff for tomorrow's seminar but I sometimes feel the need to have a little geeky rant about The Wonders of Open source and this is definitely a perfect oppurtunity! Plus reading the chapter for this week got me thinking about linux, openoffice and everything that's all alternative and cool. Yeah, I'm so cutting-edge.

But seriously, I was just wondering who had used linux (and open source software such as OpenOffice), and how they found it? I personally find it really good for a lot of things. I used to dual-boot my old laptop with linux so I could have two operating systems on there (And let's face it, my old laptop was Windows Vista, not Windows 7, who could blame me for cheating on my OS?)

The only problem I tend to find is as I stated above in my oh-so-scathing tone, is it is always somewhat of a specialist/ alternative thing. I don't really know people who use linux as their sole operating system, and it does always hit compatibility snags. However, my first linux that I ever used was Ubuntu (Version 8.04 "Hardy Heron") and I have continued to be a fan of Ubuntu ever since because it is a lot more user-friendly than many other linux distributions.

I must also proclaim my love for OpenOffice. FREE, as well as easy to use, it definitely is a good idea if like me when I had my old laptop, you don't particularly want to use Microsoft Office. I direct you to this old, but still true article: http://releasenotes.org/node/10

And now I will go back to my less horrendously geeky self, but only after I ask you about your experiences of open source? It would be great not to just get the tumble-weed here, as i hope some of you have tried it too!


  1. I have used Linux since kernel version 0.9, must have been about 1993 or so, when it came on about 20 floppy disks (anybody remember floppy disks?). In those days it was mainly command-lines, rather than GUIs, but you suddenly had the raw power of Unix available at home, when the alternative was a totally unusable MS DOS, which wasn't making the best use of your computing resources.

    For years I had Unix as my main OS, but found that housekeeping took a lot of time, and when Mac OS X came out (which is also based on Unix) I jumped ship in 2006 - now I have a full Unix system available, AND a nice graphical user interface, AND things just *work*.

    i was still using Linux to drive my TV, running MythTV on a second-hand PC as a PVR, but it is so much hassle getting it set up, and it doesn't recognise my TV cards properly, so that I have finally decided to give up and by a (linux-based but 'closed') receiver box.

    Open software guru Richard Stallman expressed that he wasn't sad for Steve Jobs to go, as he represented evil Apple and promoted 'unfree' software. But when you spend a lot of time with computers you begin to appreciate the lack of choice. freedom to choose is fine, but not if you spend most of your time making decisions (often based on guess work due to lack of documentation), so freddom *from* having to choose is sometimes preferable. I'd much rather spend £200 on a receiver that works, than spending endless weekends trying to set up my MythTV system, even if I can change the background colour of the on-screen menu if I wanted to...

  2. (apologies for typos in above comment - I'm writing this on a mobile device, and editing facilities are not quite as good as on a laptop)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.