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!
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
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.
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.
- GPL License: A user (or customer) is allowed to do almost whatever they like, as long as in doing so they don't take away other peoples freedoms.
- BSD or OpenSource License: A user is allowed to do whatever they like, and they can restrict the freedom of others at a later date.
- Proprietary License: The customers rights are severely restricted.
For more information, we suggest reading Why "Free Software" is better than "Open Source".