Incidentally, today’s the national day of my country, Romania, but, more important, I’m proud to announce that I decided not to wait until Sloterdijk’s Spheres will be translated into English too and I got rid permanently of Microsoft Windows from the computers I’m using:
I installed Ubuntu Linux on my laptop, Debian Linux on my PC, and that after already using FreeBSD on my other PC for personal Internet services at home (like mail, website, blog), and already using mostly cygwin for the things I was doing.
All these operating systems are free as in speech and as in beer.
Ubuntu installed like a breeze on my laptop (a Toshiba Sattelite Pro for which I paid more because it came with a default WindowsXP installation and I had no choice in the liberal turbo-capitalist Romanian serfdom) and it’s most up-to-date.
On my PC,Debian got all the drivers right after it needed a kick to pass the boot stage (I have an Intel DQ965 motherboard and I had to say
install pci=nommconf at the boot prompt, that’s because Intel doesn’t follow the open-source principles). The ntfs-3G driver (free also) was needed to read-write my external NTFS formatted drives.
On my server, FreeBSD does exactly what I told it to do, not what some corporate wanker decided it should do for me.
The usual applications one has on its desktop are also free: Pidgin for instant messaging (as in speech and beer), Skype (as in beer) for VoIP, Firefox for web browsing (speech and beer), Thunderbird for email (speech and beer), OpenOffice (speech and beer); I won’t mention the development tools, the list would be too long.
I have now the clear feeling of a nice and functional desktop based entirely on open-source. I’ve been waiting for a long time for this to happen and now it did.
So goodbye Windows, goodbye Microsoft, goodbye bloated applications with unjustified bloated prices. I only regret the Microsoft Sans-Serif fonts. I opened my apartment’s windows for the
corporate stench to go away.
Your country’s public administration should do the same transition, now it’s not only technically possible, but advantageous in any meaningful way. Bill Gates has a wealth of tens of billions, add to it the wealth of the other corporate slaves at Microsoft, it may be the size of an usual financial corporation public bailout, and guess where the largest part of that is coming from: from the licenses your government pays so that all the secretaries can play Minesweeper, there’s a free Minesweeper in these free desktops too.
Whenever you go to a public office (governmental, EU level, UN level) and see a Windows installation on the public clerk’s screen, or an Adobe pdf-related application remember that you’re actually paying for that, not just the clerk’s salary, but also your share to Microsoft’s profit and other proprietary software companies’, like Adobe. Tell those public offices to switch to GNU, FreeBSD and Linux, before Microsoft, Adobe and the likes would get
too big to fail.
All these free operating systems/software distributions wouldn’t have been possible without the GNU base and without the only global army that matters today: the open-source developers, these people are writing more than fiction: their writings are authentic speech.
So now that I’m left with some money to spare, I’ll make some donations (although the idea of donation is wrong, these are social infrastructure public services, so they explicitly deserve a part of the taxes we pay, you and me, wikipedia belongs to the same category): 100USD goes to GNU, 100USD goes to FreeBSD, 100USD goes to Debian Linux (I don’t have the right to work yet, here, but I have the full support of my wife on this, so you guys can have a non-free beer, this time it’s on us). I hope I’ll be able to provide these meager resources yearly if I won’t have the time to contribute as a developer.