So I think I am finally at the breaking point. I have learned a great deal about computers and programming from school and have actually started to experiment with Linux more seriously. What is the motivation on this? I guess you could label it paranoia, but I prefer to think of it as preemptive precautions.
Microsoft has dropped the gauntlet finally on home users without a genuine copy of Windows. The new policy hasn’t become enacted quite yet, but it would be foolish to assume that it will simply “go away.” The plan is to require digital verification of genuine MS software before any non-security updates will be allowed to be downloaded through Windows Update. I’m not sure what will constitute non-security updates, but I would figure that anything that is not directly responsible for stopping a specific virus or backdoor issue would be unavailable to non-legit users.
What does this mean to Joe Public who doesn’t have the $300+ to spend on an OS? Well, you can stick with the baseline releases that you can download via torrent/p2p and hope MS doesn’t see you. I would not advise this as word on the street is that MS has taken an active interest in torrents pertaining to their software. So beyond making a copy of someone else’s disc and then using www.astalavista.com to get a crack or key-gen you are pretty much obliged to become a legal citizen and buy software. In all honesty, I would figure paying for the most critical piece of software on your computer shouldn’t be a big deal. If the price was lower I’m sure it would be more feasible for people.
Anyways, what I wanted to get across here is that if you want to go legal but stick to an invisible budget, it is time to explore what open source can offer you. If you want to just dable in a bit at a time, try using some open source products that have been compiled for Windows and see if you can honestly see yourself using them. OpenOffice is a near clone of MS Office and has gotten better with each release. FireFox is stealing away users of Internet Explorer in droves and sports some excellent plugins for ease of use. Gaim can handle all of your chatting needs for all protocols that deserve recognition. And if you want to do programing, you should be aware of gcc and the limitless possibilities of developing on a Linux system.
Everything is there except for one thing. Experience. I swear, the only thing that stops me from using Linux and never looking to windows again is lack of experience. I don’t know how to do what I can do in Windows. When it takes me 1 hour to pull off a 2 minute task in Windows, I get angry. But no pain, no gain. The only other thing (and this is SUCH a pansy reason) is that I have become spoiled. MS has a very clean and elegant interface and I like pretty icons. Alot. So much so that I get annoyed in Linux that things aren’t “pretty” enough. I’m sure thats from my lack of experience… but meh. It’s time to start moving over since I’m not going to cave to MS and play the game their way.