Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How Much Do You Linux?

Written by DomCan2 aka 1ROXTAR

My journey with Linux began in 2009, one week before the release of Ubuntu 9.04.  I was a long-time Windows user who knew of nothing else, but what Microsoft had to offer for my computer.  Years of frustration culminated with me clicking away on Google to look for an alternative, if there was even one.  Boy, did my eyes fill with wonder as I found out about Linux, in general, and more specifically Ubuntu.  I read and read about it and came to find out that I could test drive it right from the cd itself.  It works! It really works!  I was ecstatic.  I was free from the shackles of Microsoft Windows.

Ubuntu 9.04 made it's way onto my computer and I have not looked back since.  From that time on, I have come to realize that Linux was all around me and I didn't even know it.  With my personal education furthered, I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to support anything Microsoft made.  I wanted everything that had Linux in it.  As a side note, I don't want to buy or use any Apple products either because of their patent wars, bullying and strong-armed tactics.

I want to support Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), Linux, and anything Linux compatible.  So I got to thinking.  How much Linux can I Linux in my personal life?  In this article I want to show you what I use and support and through your posted comments, I would like to know how much do you Linux?  I am not a wealthy man, so much of what I use falls under the lower to middle range as far as cost goes, but I am more than happy with each of these items.  They make my life productive and fun.  Plus, I feel the satisfaction that I am supporting Linux in it's various forms.

For My Computers:  UBUNTU (11.10)

 Ubuntu was my portal to the world of Linux and I will always have a sweet spot for it.  Although coming from a Windows only background, the transition was quite easy to make.  Ubuntu was easy to learn and fun to use.  My appreciation for Canonical and Ubuntu borders near fan-boyism, I have to admit.  The reason being is because I seem to be one of the few where everything has always gone right using Ubuntu.  If I ever borked a computer it had to do with my tenacious curiosity to tweak and experiment, thus breaking it sometimes.  Problems have been minor as the majority of my hardware was many times supported out of the box.  Being a local computer tech in my small town, I have turned many of my customers to Ubuntu and I have never had anyone want to switch back to their previous propriety operating system.  I am aware of the many other great distros that we have and I support people using what works for them.  We have so much freedom and choice and I believe that is more our strength than a weakness.

 My Smartphone:  ANDROID (LG Optimus C)

For my smartphone needs I have the LG Optimus C from Cricket ($199), powered by the Android operating system.  Android is the Linux based operating system for both smartphones and tablets.  Unlike the tightly closed nature of Apple's iOS, Google releases Android code as open source (under the Apache license) and is free for OEM's and developers to use.  I know that many people can argue just how open it really is, but the fact is the code is available for developer's to work with.  Android has taken the mobile scene by storm and can be considered by far the biggest mainstream success for Linux.  Who can argue with over 300,000 apps available, 10 billion downloads (as of Dec. 2011), over 200 million devices in use and 700,000 daily activations?

 The Kindle Fire is a 7" tablet that runs a modified version of Google's Android operating system (2.3 Gingerbread).  This nifty device is closely integrated with Amazon's App Store, it's video and music streaming services and Kindle's e-books.  My favorite is the very affordable $199 price tag.  Despite getting some tough reviews, I find my Kindle Fire to be a joy to have around and use everyday.  I am an Amazon Prime subscriber and I do a lot of my shopping from Amazon.com, so having a tablet that ties in so closely on a mobile device is very, very convenient for me.  Plus the user experience is not really as shabby as some reviewers make it out to be.  I am more than happy to own this device.  It's not supposed to be an iPad so it is unfair and pointless to compare it to such a product.  In my opinion, it does what it's supposed to do and I say it does it darn well.

My Router:  CISCO LINKSYS E3000

I just recently discovered that my Cisco Linksys E3000 ($98) also runs Linux.  This router is so good looking and performs amazingly well.  The E3000 delivers true dual-band, Gigabit Ethernet, fast throughput, a long range and NAS functionality.  It streams online media smoothly and is easy to set up and use for novices.  I am stoked to know that the router that feeds wifi to my computers, smartphone and tablet runs Linux.  

My Streaming Player:  ROKU LT

This my newest toy and I love it!  The ROKU LT packs so much punch for such a small device.  It is very small, yet it delivers HD videos (720p), built-in wireless, 350+ channels, Live sports, and free movie selection from Crackle.  I get my Netflix and Amazon video streaming with the Roku LT, as well as Hulu+ and Pandora.  What makes this so hard to beat is the price $49.  Take that AppleTV!

When you surround yourself with Linux, you can breathe so much better.  Linux is powerful, fast and secure.  Just because it is also free does not make it inferior by any means.  I know it has been an uphill battle to capture the minds and hearts of mainstream desktop users.  Nevertheless, at this day and age, when someone says "show me what Linux can do", we have many, many excellent devices and software to put before them with confidence.  My computers are fast, powerful and virus free.  I can edit audio and video.  I can rip cd's.  I can convert and burn dvd's.  I can play any video and audio file.  I can surf the web, create  and edit documents, video chat, blog, upload photos, connect my mobile and media devices and stream media.  I can do this and much more.  With Linux I have so many choices and I am free to enjoy my computers and devices again.  This is how I Linux.  How much do YOU Linux too?

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