What does Linux have in common with StarrySkies.Com? Not only is the web site housed on Debian GNU/Linux Linux, it has in large part, been created on Debian Linux. Now, a word about Linux. Linux is a free operating system originally created by Linus Torvalds in 1993. With the help of volunteers form all over the world, Linux has grown to a complete operating system rivaling the best of the best! We like Linux for many reasons: it's stable, more efficient than microsoft, far more reliable. We once had a linux computer up for over 200 days straight, and even then we only shut it down for an upgrade! Best of all, Linux is real computing freedom!

Did You Know?


Most ms generated files (such as word, and excel) can easily be opened in various Linux programs such as Oen Offic, Word Perfect, Star Office, Applix and others.

One of the very best word processors, Open Office Office, is available with many Linux distributions, or free to download and install on your linux machine. Kathy uses Open Office for most of her writing.

GIMP, and image manipulation program, rivals Photoshop and is also totally free.

Web browsing on a Linux machine, the choices are abundant - Netscape, Mozilla and Konqueror to name a few

Debian Linux is free and there are also other flavors of Linux, both free and commercial. Chuck prefers Debian Linux because it is easy to upgrade. Kathy uses Libranet, a Debian based distribution, because it is easier to install, configure and use. She also finds it more fun to customize the desktop. She used to use Redhat on her desktop and co-wrote a book for Prentice Hall. If you want to first just try out Linux before taking the plunge, try a Lnux distribution that runs off the CD, it won't hurt your existing setup, try Knoppix. So, try these links:

Debian Linux
Everyday Linux: note the publication covers Redhat 6.2. Some of the content is still very useful, but some of the Redhat specific functions have changed with newer releases.
Knoppix Linux
Libranet Linux
Red Hat Linux
SUSE Linux

As consumers of software, we all want to use the best tool for the particular job. Sometimes the best tool is proprietary software, but in the long run that particular piece of software may not be the best tool for the job. Experience has shown that upgrades and the continual process of proprietary upgrades are expensive. If you are locked in to one piece of software from one vendor and they stop supporting the product or the upgrade doesn't go as well as the vendor led you to believe, what are you going to do?

The software included in Linux distributions uses various licenses, we prefer to use software using the GPL. We could write books on the intricacies and issues of software licenses. Here is a boiled down explanation of the differences in terms of rights to the consumer.

For more information, we suggest reading Why "Free Software" is better than "Open Source".

Copyright © 1995 - 2008
Kathy Miles, Author, and Chuck Peters, Systems Administrator
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