Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Personal Journey: Ditching the shackles

For most people, it is not even thought about, far less discussed, far less considered but ditching MicroSOFT's Windows operating system has always been a major goal of mine. This objective has been mine as far back as Windows v3.1 when I bought my computer for $2500. It was a Packard Bell and my journey began shortly there-after.

I do not remember whether it was the constant recyling the power switch or the reloading of the OS whenever something did not work as it should have, or was it the sixteen CDs that came with the system that contain the same nonsense, repackaged a million ways but I was totally ready for a change by the time Win98SE came out.

It took a while: I migrated to WinME and played with WindowsNT unitl Win2000 came along; and then the odious 24 digit install number, which got so perplexing that I was forced to call MS to get permission just because I exceeded the allowable number of hardware changes.

I was also in a better financial position also, so I bought Abit's K7 RAID motherboard, a 700 MHz Processor and using bits and pieces that I acquired from flea markets and computer shows, I put my second computer together.

Installing GNU/Linux was not any more difficult than Windows. However, I was able to spread the entire OS over five hard drives; and the beauty of it was that my data is better protected. The system also proved to be easier to maintain after the system was up and running. I did not have to reboot after every system patch and my computer is not affected by the spyware and Spam that so readily infest windows machines.

My total cost of ownership has gone from buying hardware plus software to hardware only. I can buy bigger hard drives and better video cards: for instance, my system currently has a nVidia triple output video card, which is pure joy.

The handicap of not running the Windows OS are... sorry, I cannot think of any. I have the best browser and several email clients at my disposal. There is no annual tax for Norton or McAfee Antivirus and my system is always on.

I had a copy of WindowsXP but I never used it; in fact, I gave it away last year. I do not need it. My GNU/Linux box works fine. I have two word processors at my disposal to do my work, which is to become an author.

And my MS Windows system: it sits idly by as a reminder of monopolies work...

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