Archive for July, 2009

Free Software and Open Source Software

July 14th, 2009 | Category: Uncategorized

I’ve been reading a fair bit about the new Google Chrome Operating System, which I find strange that they are using the name of their browser instead of a new name for it, but that’s neither here nor there, and am glad to see another Linux based operating system hitting the market. I’ve been using Linux as my primary operating system for 11 years now (started with RedHat 4 ordered from Cheap Bytes) and am always interested in installing and tinkering with new distros.  I currently use a Macbook that is more or less on permanent loan and although the command line is close to Linux, there are enough differences that it can be annoying. I’ll write about my love/hate relationship with Apple some other time.

olpc-xoAlthough I don’t do any sort of software development, I do choose to support companies and organizations that support the F/OSS community.  I was in on the first Give 1 Get 1 from OLPC and use that little green laptop pretty regularly.  Sure the keyboard is a bit cramped for me and it is not the most powerful computer I’ve ever used, and it’s tiny solid state hard drive can be frustrating, but it’s all about using your devices for specific purposes and identifying them.  I’d never expect to run Half Life 2 on my OLPC, but when I just need to check email, chat, dump some images from my camera, or watch a movie on a plane, this netbook, actually the netbook, seeing as how it created the market, excels.   I’ve also heard some talk that Chrome should run just fine on the OLPC, which would be a treat.  Currently I run a specialized version of Ubuntu on my little green laptop that I installed following these instructions, running off of an 8GB SDHC card.  It boots quickly and is quite responsive, although it’s a bit more sluggish than the native Sugar, it’s far more user friendly for when I need to actually accomplish something.

My other fun Linux device is my OpenMoko Freerunner smartphone.  Again, I ordered this as soon as it was available, although luckily I missed out on the Neo1973 which has more issues than the Freerunner.  I’m not saying that the FreeRunnerFreerunner is without flaws, no sir, but it has fewer and is a rather stable device.  I do not use it as a full time phone just yet, although as soon as it is returned from SDG Systems it should be more usable as it will no longer have the evil buzz.  SDG Systems has an amazing offer going on until July 15th where you ship them your early revision Freerunner and they’ll fix the buzz (a hardware fix) and if you wish, they’ll even install Koolu’s version of Google’s Android for free, and they’ll ship you a new battery back with your phone, all for just the cost of round trip shipping.  Not too shabby.

I once had lofty goals of being a programmer, and had those hopes mostly dashed in University by being miserable at it, and have now accepted that I love using Linux, I love tinkering with it and tweaking it to work how I want it to, getting it working on other (more or less supported) hardware, and seeing it grow and prosper.  I use my money to support the community that got me into my career as a Linux SysAdmin since I don’t have the skills to code for them.  It’s nice to recognize your own strengths and play to them.  I just hope that Linux and the F/OSS worlds continue to thrive in a world where DRM and excessive EULA’s dominate.

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