Earth Day (and Open Source) Thoughts

The Elizaphanian has a post up collecting his theological responses to the environmental issue of peak oil. (h/t Dean Knisely)

Too, one of his recent posts deals with switching away from Windows.

This is pretty high on my list. My Linux machine is down at the moment but its a result of age finally catching up with it. The hardware was at least ten years old—if not older. Nevertheless, it ran Xubuntu just fine with no serious time lags. So (here’s the Earth Day tie-in—tenuous though it be…) I could get away with using hardware from the previous century without having to constantly junk and consume to keep up with ever-voracious demands from the Windows OS.

No, Xubuntu/Ubuntu, OpenOffice, Firefox, Eclipse are my new core suite. Since I do corporate computing I can’t entirely wash my hands of Windows and Office, but I can at home.

As much as I hope Open Source will catch on, however, I fear it will continue to find a home in a niche population than the true mainstream. M, for instance, will still retain a Windows machine. She’s not a computer person and hates when I tinker with things or when everything doesn’t work just as it ought. Many of the Open stuff still isn’t terribly user friendly—and some of it deliberately so, I think… Until that changes she’ll probably stick with Windows.

7 thoughts on “Earth Day (and Open Source) Thoughts

  1. Nicholas+

    It really shouldn’t matter what operating system you use. What matters is that you can get your data to move easily between the systems you choose.

    I use Apple, not because I like the GUI (though I do) but because it’s trivial to move info back and forth. (I’ve had computers die on me and been able to slap together a linux desktop to get to my calendar, etc. while I wait for the repairs.)

    The question of getting access to data is most of the reason that we’ve switched away from Exchange here in Phoenix and gone with Google Apps. (Besides the fact that it’s free…)

  2. Derek the Ænglican

    You’re right about access to data—but I’m also aesthetically and technologically opposed to code bloat.

    I’m also opposed to a business model which turns paying customers into beta-testers. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with a Windows OS—as long as you don’t buy it in the first 1.5-2 years of initial release…

  3. Fr Chris

    You’re probably right about Linux remaining a niche thing, although that niche has certainly expanded significantly since I start using it a decade ago. (For reference, I’m typing this on a Dell laptop that *shipped* with Ubuntu — a nice jump from when I was tinkering with RedHat 4 on old hardware in high school.)

    That said, there are some open source products that are basically ready for prime-time. OpenOffice and VLC come immediately to mind. I’ve had to install OpenOffice (or versions of it, like NeoOffice) on three separate computers for my wife and others to use in recent weeks. No complaints so far — it seems pretty usable from minute one.

  4. Michelle

    You just can’t beat an Apple. They are hardier machines and with the exception of the advent of OS10 the conversions between editions of OS hasn’t required a whole new suite of programs.

  5. Anastasia

    I don’t know…I’ve lived nearly my entire life around professional software engineers and none of them will touch apple.

    that said, it’s more difficult to genuinely screw things up when you aren’t allowed to perform certain operations. It’s easy to use and it’s also relatively safe for inexperienced users.

    PH is working on transitioning me to linux. our desktop is running it these days (ice weasel!) so I can learn it.

  6. bls

    I don’t care, and given my occupation I probably should have some sort of opinion on this. I don’t, though. Windows has its good points and bad. Same for the others.

    Whatever, I always think….

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