Posts Tagged ‘open source’
Before I go any further, I want to tell you guys that I am no expert with linux. I am what you call a noob. I work in an industry that is completely dependent on Microsoft Products. Therefore, its no surprise that my work environment is Windows. For my home laptop, I have a XP Ubuntu Dual Boot setup. Since I paid for XP, I figured I’d keep it for those times when I need to be in a Windows environment.
I had used Ubuntu in the past when I was working at the Berkman Center for StopBadware.org. In fact, Berkmaniacs get major props to introducing me to Linux and all things Open Source. My passion for Ruby and Rails also stems from my ties with the center. At that time, I was using Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft). I started the switch to Linux first with my office computer and loved it so much that I installed in on my old huge HP laptop. I remember back then I had to dive into a lot of forums to get my wireless card working and getting few other things to work properly. While it was a pain, it was a good learning experience.
The hard drive on the laptop died sometime after I had moved to my new job and I never got around to fixing that. With new job and new things to learn, there was very little time to dedicate to projects. Once I got my new Inspiron 1525 (that came with vista installed, ugh) and started running into problems with few Windows only apps I was using, I decided to downgrade to XP. But as good as XP is, it is still Windows and I started missing Ubuntu again.
It took me a while to research the dual boot setup and because I was expecting something to go wrong, I had to wait until I knew nothing critical was due for few weeks when I decided to install Ubuntu. At that point, the latest release was Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron). To my surprise, everything went seamlessly and everything worked right off the bat. I was very happy, not only for myself but for the Ubuntu community in general. I was also very impressed by improvements made between 6.10 and 8.04.
I thought that was the end of surprises to me until tonight when I upgraded to Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) and once again, it was like clockwork. While I was not too nervous about the upgrade, I was keeping my fingers crossed for sure. But everything just works. I love the Pidgin integration to the user account. You can finally be connected to both your wireless and wired networks. The network update is heaven.
All in all, Ubuntu and Linux in general has moved forward in leaps and bounds. I think a major factor, besides the effort the Ubuntu core development team and the community puts in along with the vision of Mark Shuttleworth, was the fact that a major computer manufacturer like Dell started prepackaging some of their products with Ubuntu and few other flavors of linux. This definitely helps in the area of drivers and such. The fact that linux has evolved from a very geeky OS with a tough learning curve to sleek sexy easy to use OS that it is today is another key improvement.
The biggest hurdle definitely comes with regular users initial fear of the unknown. Once people get introduced to linux and learn that it is really not that hard to work with and has amazing security features as well as a great big world of free and open software available, I see no reason for users not to stick with linux. The only thing that’s keeping users at bay are the same old issues with drivers and certain windows only applications with not so great linux alternatives. The good thing is that this improvement is opening doors all over the world for people who want to use computers but cannot afford to pay for one. Keep doing what you guys are doing. Major props to everyone who is involved.