I had a minor problem at work today, namely less that 90mb free hard drive space on my system partition. That, for those that don’t know, is a Bad Thing, and can lead to your computer slowing down dramatically (which is what happened) and even errors because Windows doesn’t have enough room to swing it’s virtual cats. The solution? Simple, repartition, reformat, load Windows XP. I know, I know, I’ve sold my soul to Bill, but when you work on a Windows network there really isn’t a choice.
At home it’s another matter. I won’t pretend that I have a Microsoft-free house, but I’m working on it. And the first part of that is loading Mandrakelinux 10 on a spare machine I have (a Celeron 1300 with 512mb RAM and 20gb hard drive, so it should run OK). No doubt will have to pummel my friendly Linux guy a lot before I have it finally set up, but my hopes are high. I actually had another flavour of Linux on a machine here about a year ago – Debian, I think. That looked good, and I’m hoping for even better things from Mandrake.
For those that don’t know there are a bunch of people all over the world who said “Why should we pay extortianate prices for software, let’s make it ourselves”. And so they did. The result is the wonderful world known as Open Source Software – software that is free to get, free to use, free to modify and free to update. In fact the browser I advertised in my last post is Open Source – meaning that anyone can add features and functions to it. And lot’s of people do, so many, actually, that the Open Source movement now has it’s own:
- Operating system
- Office suite
- Database software
- Graphics software
- Website development language
- Web server software
And before you think that these things are small fry, just look at the statistics: Firefox gaining browser market share in leaps and bounds, and Apache the most popular web server software. In fact the Wibsite wouldn’t be here today without Linux, PHP and MySQL. If you’re interested in trying out a piece of Open Source software this is a good place to start.