Monday, March 16, 2009

Back from [a L-O-N-G] Hiatus

It's been quite a while since the Linux Proponent has updated this blog. But several happenings of late have been compelling enough to hop back in the saddle again and start updating this site with fresh material. The Proponent will be adding new stuff very soon...


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

So, how do you pronounce it anyway?

In this day and age, many still mispronounce the word Linux. Is it pronounced LYN-ux, or LIH-nux?

If you fall into the category of doubtful pronunciation and admire phonetic correctness (as I do), hear it straight from the source: the creator of Linux, Mr. Linus Torvalds himself. Click here to obtain various versions of the sound file where he says the name of the operating system for you.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Microsoft Sued Once Again... But then again, what else is new?

Once again, Microsoft is in hot water. This time, they are a defendant in a class-action lawsuit related to their implementation of Windows Genuine Advantage, or WGA, in order to gather data on a user's computer to determine whether the installed version of Windows is legitimate.

Per the lawsuit, the implementation violates consumer protection laws in two states. More information can be found here.

NOTE TO MICROSOFT: Stop being sneaky and paranoid. These problems could be avoided if you would open source Windows (yeah, right...)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

So Many Choices, Even Greater Confusion
(UPDATED July 7, 2006)

In an earlier piece in this blog, we discussed how to test Linux using a live CD. This would allow you to evaluate the OS without destroying the contents of your hard disk.

Let's supposed you've tested a live CD and liked what you saw, but wanted to research further which distro is the most suited for your needs. The Linux Distribution Chooser will help you. We tried it under a couple of scenarios and it seems to do the job okay. At worst, it will guide you better as to how to prioritize your needs when selecting a distro.

UPDATE: If you still need more guidance, has a page discussing the most popular distros, accessible by clicking here.

Friday, June 23, 2006

How to Test the Waters Without Destroying Your Only PC

Let's suppose you've read the contents of this blog and other websites on Linux, and you want to test it, but one of the following circumstances apply to you:
  1. I don't have a spare machine to destroy to my heart's content.
  2. I like the idea, but I get cold feet thinking that all my hard work on my hard disk may get wiped out.
If you happen to have a PC equipped with a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, you're in luck. You can download a "live CD" version of a Linux distro. Once downloaded and burned to a CD, you boot your machine from the CD. The distro will autosense as much hardware as possible and allow you to run Linux without touching your hard disk!

Two of the most popular distros capable of doing this are Ubuntu and Knoppix. There are many more listed on Linux Online to suit your particular situation. If you like what you see in Ubuntu, you can also install it on your hard disk once you feel comfortable and have a PC on which to install it on a "permanent" basis.

Visit one of the links below to check out the distros. Enjoy!
  • Knoppix 5.0.1 (multilingual site, select flag representing language you wish to see)
  • Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (select Desktop CD)
  • Linux Online (for other distros; select Live CD from the "Category" pull-down; "Language" and "Platform" selections optional, preferable if no check mark placed next to Include unmaintained?)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Microsoft Wants a Font Fight

In 1996, a project named "Core fonts for the web" was started by Microsoft with the intention of allowing a select group of fonts to be used for free on the Internet. Among the fonts to be given said privilege were Arial, Comic Sans MS, Courier New, Verdana, Times New Roman, and Webdings.

In 2002, Microsoft did an about-face and stopped the project, stating most users have access to the fonts already via Windows XP and Mac OS X, the latter group when using Internet Explorer. They also stated there was abuse of their EULA when companies would repackage the fonts as their own.

Now a font fight has started between the behemoth of Redmond and the CTO of Opera Software. Check out the details by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Your Windows Is Vulnerable to Malware... And Microsoft Knew About It!

Microsoft has made public statistics on how many pieces of malware it has tracked on PCs since January 2005. The information can be found here.

According to the article, the company has a new "security czar" whose first, second, and third priorities are Windows Vista. There are several problems with this line of thought. First, Vista is not yet available as of this writing in production form, so no immediate benefit will be gained by the user community. Second, the hardware requirements for Vista--discussed elsewhere in this blog and here--are not economically reachable by all users. Third, Microsoft is apparently ignoring users of Windows 2000 and XP, probably stating "you'll need to upgrade" even though PCs running these earlier OSes are otherwise perfectly usable. Note to Microsoft: only techies might upgrade for the heck of it, but mainstream users can't afford that, since they don't have the "cash problem" you have (check out this article for more information).
A Laptop for the [Young] Masses... But It's Not Running Windows!

The One Laptop Per Child initiative recently showed off a working prototype of the so-called $100 laptop, to be distributed through participating countries to children. Pictures can be found here.

The prototype is running Fedora Linux. The price of $100 is expected to be reached as production ramps up, sometime around 2008. In a Microsoft world, $100 will not buy you even a piece of the operating system. Even if the OS were "free" (fat chance M$ will do that even through Mr. Gates' foundation), the hardware platform on which the OLPC laptop is based would have to be greatly enhanced, raising the price and making the unit less attractive to those in need.

A Wiki discussing the laptop can be found here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Why Attack Windows and Not Mac?

First of all, the title of this blog does not mention Macintosh nor Apple. Second, Apple made a wise decision when they designed OS X: it is based on a real operating system; namely, BSD Unix. Hence, the reason for its stability.

Not that Linux is unstable, which it is not. You certainly do not see a blue screen of death in any distro! But other than this comment, you will need to look elsewhere for blows to OS X--or to any Unix/Linux-based OS, for that matter.
Thin Windows Vista Client? Fuggedaboutit....

If the Beta 2 Version of Windows Vista is close to reality, you can seriously can any possibilities of using old hardware lying around the house (or office) to connect to a thin-client solution such as Citrix or Microsoft's Terminal Server.

A basic installation of the Beta Version of the OS--without additional applications such as Office productivity suites or other programs--requires approximately 10 GB of disk space. When a PC with 1 GB of RAM is used, that number increases to about 15 GB (for the swap file).

Proponents of the OS may contend hardware prices have decreased in recent years to point of commoditization. But for organizations with tight budgets and numerous client PCs to deal with, the piggybank might not have enough pennies to go around for the upgrade...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another Delay for Windows Vista Means An Opportunity for Consumers to Look Elsewhere

Microsoft will be phasing in the introduction of Windows Vista, first to corporate customers, then to consumers. The former group will be able to see a production version by the end of 2006, but the latter was scheduled to get a hold of WV in January, 2007. Now that date is in jeopardy, as discussed in this link.

With nearly seven months to go before Christmas, shoppers may want to consider what will they put under their Christmas tree if a computer is on their minds. Now may be the opportunity to kick the tires with Linux--perhaps by installing it on an old machine--and see how it drives. It would not be a surprise if some crusading consumers jump ship and declare alliance to Tux the penguin...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Just Give Me What I Want, Not What You Think I Might Need

When purchasing a PC with Windows pre-loaded from the factory, chances are you are getting software that
  • you will never use,
  • eschews hard disk space that can be used for something else, and
  • clutters your desktop with icons you do not necessarily care for.
Granted, there may be some software that you might need, such as hardware drivers for your particular installation, or software to perform a specific task. But you will also get trial software for office productivity, virus control, an ISP connection, among other useless things.

What to do?

If you would want to stay with Windows--my sincere condolences, by the way--you could purchase a brand new copy of Windows XP Home or Professional, depending on your current installation and/or needs, and blow away the current installation of the OS on the hard disk. That might also infer the need to surf the 'net on your own for hardware drivers to support your particular installation, but in the end, you will have a clutter-free desktop, although at a cost of two(!!) Windows licenses: one for the copy you purchase on your own, plus one for the version that shipped with your PC.

There are also those who may contend the same results may be achieved by taking the PC with the factory-installed OS and uninstalling programs not anticipated to be used via the "Add/Remove Programs" icon in Control Panel. Well, maybe. Unfortunately for the user community, the way those programs are set up at the factory, some are more obnoxious than others; in other words, some remove themselves cleanly, while others leave behind, among other things that you might not clearly see, icons for removal from the "Add/Remove Programs" list--even after selecting the program to remove it from the system! They will remain nameless, but there is a certain ISP who is known to do this time and time again.
How about attempting to wipe the PC clean with the System Restore CD that shipped with it? Don't press your luck. That will only re-create the image of the hard disk as the PC was shipped from the factory.

Current Linux distros let you decide what you want installed on your PC, through what is known as package management. Depending on the distro you choose, the mechanism varies, but all let you pick and choose what you want installed on your PC either when you're starting fresh, or later as your needs grow. It's your machine, so you decide what goes in.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why Linux?

There are several flavors of Linux, called distros, that are published by various companies and organizations. While some pay versions of Linux exist, most of them are freely available and downloadable. Distrowatch contains a list of distros available worldwide.

Like Windows, however, a PC offers little functionality if only the operating system is installed. Normally, in the case of Windows, applications such as word processing, spreadsheet analysis, and database management must be purchased separately. Unlike Windows, most flavors of Linux come with a slew of applications that can be installed at the same time the OS is installed, or at a later date.

Note that I said most flavors of Linux in the previous paragraph. That's because there are certain flavors of Linux more suited for so-called network appliances such as routers, telephone switches, and firewalls--yes, folks, Linux can do that!--and are less geared toward general office usage.

Nonetheless, the thought of an operating system shipping with fully-fledged applications right out of the box--er, CD if you downloaded your particular distro from the 'net and burned it onto CDs (or even DVDs!)--and having to pay zero to acquire it (other than media costs, of course) amounts to a bean counter's nirvana. Freeing up some cash for other needs in the organization is something to look forward to.
Welcome to No2WinYes2Lin!

Welcome to the no2winyes2lin blog. This site is dedicated to the forward-thinking computing user community who is not intimidated like horses with blinders and acknowledges the existence of alternatives to Microsoft Windows, such as Linux.
Enjoy your visit, and thank you for stopping by!

Windows Vista Hardware Requirements

Microsoft recently published the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Vista. The specifications can be found here.

While it may be true the amount of processing power a dollar buys today may be greater than, say, a year ago, not everyone--consumers and corporate accounts alike--has the disposable income needed to get the latest and greatest hardware just to run an operating system. It hurts even more when the hardware considered obsolete by Vista's standards is otherwise perfectly fine and operational.

After reading the requirements for Vista, many frustrated users will want to check out their alternatives before plunking down a huge chunk of change for a [currently] state-of-the-art PC whose operating system's developer will consider it as useful as a doorstop within a couple of years or so.

Among other things, Linux is known for its ability to run on not-so-state-of-the-art PCs. To paraphrase the old adage, "one OS's trash is another OS's treasure." For reference, here are links to hardware requirements of four Linux distros so you can compare them yourself to those of Vista. Of course, there are many more distros out there, but these specs will give you an idea of what can you do with certain hardware:
NOTE: We tried obtaining hardware requirements for the new SUSE 10 Linux, but were unavailable at "press time."