The best things in life aren't always free, but they should be. Air, water, love, PC operating systems. All of these are essential to basic human survival. Yet every breath we take is toxic, the only potable water in most cities comes from plastic bottles, prenuptial agreements are basically unenforceable, and Microsoft wants $400 for a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate. Well, folks, I can't do much about the first three problems, but I can offer a healthy solution to the fourth:
Those of you whose eyeballs are already rolling wildly around in their sockets, hear me out. I've been running Linux in one flavor or another since the first Slackware distribution hit the net in '93, and I'll be the first to admit it's had its flaws. Even many current distributions remain all but unusable for most people. But as this grassroots OS has grown up, it's made remarkable strides in functionality, usability, and hardware compatibility, all while building up a massive catalog of free apps for everything from basic business to pro-quality graphics. Don't believe me? Download Ubuntu and call me a liar.
Dell's recent decision to offer its consumer PCs with Linux pre-installed is a clarion call to the PC world to take this open source OS seriously. Sure, this isn't the first time a major PC maker has sold Linux machines. But for the first time I can recall, one of theeditorial world's most mainstream manufacturers is making ready-to-run Linux boxes that any schmoe really can boot up and run. Couple this with the spiraling costs of commercial operating systems and software, and we may just finally see the freeware revolution come to pass.
This post marks the launch of a new editorial blog for Maximum PC, dedicated entirely to the world of Linux. In it, I'll be cover the rapidly growing world of open source software and Linux operating systems of every stripe. Here's what you can expect to find in future posts:
News – When something big happens in the world of Linux, you'll be reading about it here.
Reviews – I don't just talk about Linux. I run it, too. So you can expect a healthy dose of hands-on reviews of new apps and utilities and new distributions, as well as reports on hardware compatibility.
Advocacy – I don't run Linux just because I'm a cheapskate. I'm also a believer in grassroots technology and freedom of information. At every turn, you can expect this column to speak up for the open source community.
Community – Linux could never have become what it is today if Linus Torvalds had chosen to go it alone. Likewise, this column is a community resource. If you've got ideas and suggestions for coverage, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you won't find here:
BS. Max PC won't stand for it, and neither will I. So I'll be serving up the straight dope in this column. I have no patience for half-assed utilities or botched distributions, so don't expect any cheerleading for sloppy software. If your pet distro gets a bad rap here, it will undoubtedly have earned it.
Narrow-minded fanaticism. I know that Linux ain't for everyone. Most users would be lost without the relative stability and hand-holding comfort of a mainstream, commercial OS. (In fact, many are lost even with it!) While this column is written by and for the Linux enthusiast, I will always try to keep the larger view in perspective.
There's never been a more exciting time to be a Linux user. Whether you're an old-school coder building your own kernels or a new enthusiast contemplating your first Linux download, the world of open source software is bustling with opportunity. So bookmark this site (if you haven't already) and come back often for a fresh look at all things Linux.