What if your computer fails and requires OS (operating system) crisis management? Perhaps it will be exposed to a computer virus or other malicious software. Either way, you will decide whether to pay and wait for professional assistance, install diagnostic software from the web or conduct your own surgical hardware analysis procedures. What about all the valuable and unrecoverable data files and software installed? Will you have access to full system backups? Will an entire operating systems disk be repurchased to restore default functionality within your latest deadline? What if you had Linux?
Those unfamiliar with Linux operating systems probably did not notice the extreme unavailability of Linux and compatible software sold in their favorite computer stores, both locally and on the web. This is not an error but intentionally decided by commercial supply and demand principles. Linux distributions (distros) are predominantly FREE operating systems for your desktop, netbook and portable devices and can be easily downloaded online at zero cost to users. There is strong demand within the Linux community for totally free software packages that rival their commercial counterparts.
Sample Software Categories:
Office Suites (Spreadsheets,Text Editing, Database, Presentation and more)
Computer programming development environments
Web Browsers, File-sharing.
Much, Much, Much, Much More !
Linux software became alive in 1991 and, with few commercial software exceptions, are free to the general public. Linux is possible due to collaborations of programmers, designers, kernel managers and other essential professionals worldwide. Only decades ago, global collaboration projects such as Linux had a chance of success only with government-sized financial support. Now, individuals around the world form valuable online communities to accomplish great feats such as the Linux OS distributions.
It’s an open-source OS, with the source codes of the kernel and add-on packages available for viewing and modification. Many distribution sites have links available to their source files. How many operating system companies welcome you to view and edit their source codes that you paid for to run on your computer?
Approximately 100 primary distributions, each with various versions, are available for free download. Many distributions are only about 600MB in download size and utilizes very few computer resources. Although they would would run fast on modern computer systems, older computers would really experience new life. Actually there are several downloads of only 50MB-100MB. Tiny-Core Linux is a very minimal install at only 10MB. Imagine the speed gained there. Many can be installed and booted from a USB drive or CD,run resident within your computers RAM memory and independent of your current OS and hard drive. Note that you must enable USB drive priority boot sequence in your computer BIOS setup, entered usually by pressing the F2 function key during the computer boot sequence (Be careful, as BIOS is not a novice environment and incorrect settings can cause problems). Many enjoy full hard drive installations of their current favorite Linux distribution, subject to change at a personal whim. Essentially, you have nothing to lose by installing Linux OS distributions and testing several of them per day.
Linux users are less vulnerable to computer attacks. Some argue that they are immune from sustained damage due to computer attacks. There is justification among those who boot from a fixed CD-R/ DVD-R read-only installation, such that a computer restart will clear RAM memory and restore the operating system function to its clean, default state every time. The popular LIVE rewritable installations capable of editing files and adding packages (programs) to them and storing those changes for future user sessions are theoretically very secure, as unwanted executable files may find their way on a Linux installation but will have difficulty doing harm without user-approved execution (this is my current understanding). There are simply too many built-in security features to explore here.
LIVE USB and CD installations enable you to carry your entire operating system and personal files with you for added convenience. USB, however, has the advantage of added versatility as some netbook computers now lack CD drives. However, essentially all modern personal computers have some level of USB support. Also consider that USB and CD Linuxes enable you to boot up your computer during a crisis to recover vital files from Linux, Windows, Mac or other hard drives installations. So, you can still boot up, scan and clean those viruses and other pesky malwares. In fact, Linux grants you full access to system data on a drive, including boot and other hidden system files. Did you know that the Linux WineHQ add-on package enables execution of varied Microsoft Windows programs? No? How about that many distributions can be loaded virtually inside Windows? You get free application packages and future upgrades via the internet.
If you just want a lightening fast portable Linux distribution to review, install and boot PuppyLinux from a USB drive and you will have a free OS that loads in less than a minute with full wi-fi, ethernet networking support and much more. Try Adriane-Knoppix with Compiz-Fusion rotating 3D desktop alternative and the built-in screen reader for the visually impaired. The Adriane-Knoppix distribution was named in reference to the developers’ wife, Adriane, who is visually impaired and contributed to the project – what a wonderful story. SugarLabs provides a child-friendly educational environment for learners between five and twelve years old. Ubuntu, suggesting humanity and community, is a very popular “distro” with African roots and colors. Note that donations for the various Linux distributions are welcomed.
It is the opinion of the author that Linux has enough material and global interest to sustain television broadcast level production. Imagine: the history of Linux, comparisons and contrasts of the Linux distributions, benchmark and feature comparisons with other operating systems, meet the developers and other contributors, “featured Distro of the Week”, GUI versus CLI, how-to questions and answers segment from received email/phone/video conferencing, specialty distro versions for the eeePC, terminology education, what is “sudo?”, live training for installation modes and use of common features, about the Linux community, stories of those converted to Linux, how to get involved, future evolution of Linux, the Linux collaboration model extended to address and retire undesirable human-created global issues, etc.
There is an enormous population of qualified guests for broadcast segments. Segment locations can vary globally. If cautious, start out with a weekend test segment on a popular technology channel or program. If needed, there are grant and good-will sponsor funding sources out there! Does anyone out there get my point?
Nevertheless, this article is revealed not only to further promote Linux and the multitude of volunteers that help make it an overwhelming success. Linux is featured here as a real-world example and model for what humans can achieve globally in the absence of competition for money and profits. Surely, the contributing programmers do compete informally as a matter of personal pride to produce the best user experiences or to create specialty tools that require minimal resources, but all of humanity becomes the beneficiaries in a non-competitive environment. Humans must evolve to eagerly provide goods and services based primarily on the needs of the people instead of profits and influence.
Under this volunteer model, Linux continues to grow as programmers and other contributors offer their expertise during spare time, away from paid employment. So then, what becomes the capacity for the entire human race by someday extending this model to include collaborations of local computer diagnostics and repair, food, water, housing, education and knowledge? Similar lifestyle collaboration and cooperation models could actually solve deficiencies in food, medical, shelter and information resources worldwide. Humans need only to identify and remove root causes of their own suffering – entities and systems that discourage and ignore obvious paths for sustained global human advancement such as through cooperation and collaboration.
At your convenience, download, install and review the myriad of Linux distributions as evidence of what humans can achieve in the absence of monetary motives. Upon becoming comfortable with your new free resources, you are encouraged to ponder about the human calamities just waiting to be solved and retired using similar cooperative models.