Monthly Archives: December 2011

What is Linux?

Over the past couple months I have been writing about something called Linux quite a  bit, and while one could easily go on youtube and watch a video about it, I realize that unless you are really curious that you are not going to. So I decided to talk about what Linux is and why I like it so much.

Well, no doubt you are aware of an operating system called Windows which has pretty much been around since the early 1980’s. This was when Microsoft (the company that produces Windows) decided that to really encourage more people to have computers in their home, they needed to be better able to interact with it. So they developed what is known as a GUI (Graphical User Interface)  this meant that instead of it just being a bunch of text on a screen (BORING!) there would be pictures to work with.

Now enough talk of those guys! Lets talk about Linux, which was started in 1991, by a student from Finland by the name of Linux Torvalds it was originally a hobby of his that grew beyond his wildest expectations for it.

One of the reasons why the people that use Linux (including myself) are so passionate about it is because it allows an alternative to Windows that allows you to customize your computing experience however you like it.

I recall that when Windows Vista came out there was uproar as to the problems it had caused it was viewed by some as being half-baked. And really as the result of that Windows XP despite being nearly a decade old was the version of Windows people stayed with.  Whether it was for the sake of sticking to something they were familiar with or not they stayed put.

Now in the world of Linux, you have much more choices made available to you. So if you don’t like one distribution you can go to another and try that one and to put the icing on the cake you can do this for free! At least hundreds there are to choose from. Isn’t that wonderful!

Would you rather have more control as to how you use your possession or have someone else assume else make those decisions for you? Oh, wait! I almost forgot to mention that when you purchase a product from Microsoft you don’t actually own it, what you are actually purchasing is a license a right to use it that is limited as to how many machines you can run it on. And if your friends or family like something you “purchased” you can’t just give it to them. They have to go and purchase the product themselves. Not so with Linux as the vast majority of programs and other software are available for the whopping low price of……….FREE!

Say for example you want to type some documents you have choices, do you want to pay to get Microsoft Word, or would you rather get something just as good if not better that is free such as LibreOffice.  Which by the way is compatible with Word, and quite a few other document formats? Oh and is not just part of a suite that you would have to pay even more for, but is the whole thing.

Based on this you can see that there are significant savings here:

#1.  The operating system was free maybe Ubuntu, or even Linux Mint

#2. The word-processing suite was free so instead of paying for Microsoft Office you got LibreOffice

These are just two ways you can save some serious money and time to get done what you want.

So with all this said I encourage you to check out Linux, you’ll be glad you did.

Here are two common distros: 1st Ubuntu

And now Linux Mint 12


It may be small but watch out! It packs a punch

Abiword is a very simple word processing program, its name even reflects sharing since the name “AbiWord” (pronounced “Abby Word”) is derived from the root of the Spanish word “abierto“, meaning “open”. I have found it to be very easy to use. And something I am quite fond of. And just why is that the case? Because it  loads up really quickly which makes it more efficient to use when you are in a hurry. I find it useful for writing notes and simple do do lists etc. I found out about this program a few years ago totally by accident, and I have been very happy with it ever since.

AbiWord screenshot

Something else that I like about it is that is is free, now truthfully there are other programs that are also free, but they are also more complex and so therefore they take a lot longer to set up than I like.  The current version of Abiword is 2.8.6 which isn’t all that important but it is updated pretty often which shows me that there is an active community of those that enjoy program as well. It is cross-platform which means it can be used whether you use Windows Mac or Linux so once again there is freedom with that. There is even a portable version for use on USB devices.

Now don’t let its small size fool you for Abiword can pack quite a punch and a simple search on google will blow your mind as to what is available. So by all means check it out. You will be happy you did!!