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Free Software is not about price, but some times it is about cost.

20120330 (2012 March 30 Friday)

It was only £200, that is not much!

Two weeks trying to get a Microsoft licence.
Two weeks of poor productivity for new member of staff.
Several days of other people’s time to purchase licences.
A one hour telephone call, that did not result in acquisition of licences.
Being forced to do an on-line test just passing with 70%, to become a partner.
Trying to get authorisation for purchase.
Trying to arrange payment, finding someone with company credit card.
Two more weeks of waiting.
Manual install of software.
Typing in product keys.

I would have paid £1000 (per seat) for a Free-Software alternative such as Debian or Ubuntu. Don’t let the price fool you. You can get Debian or Ubuntu for £5 or the price of a download. But do not let this low price fool you into thinking it is of low quality. Studies have shown it to be better quality than proprietary Unixs. And Unix is the OS that no one could afford in the 1980s, so they bought MS-DOS then MS-Windows. Because now you can afford it, you think it can not be any good.

Give it a go download the CD, run it from CD for a few days, don’t install it, just try it. Or install in in a virtual box.

http://www.debian.org/ The most stable Gnu/Linux distro. It used to be just for techies but is now easier to install than Microsoft’s Windows.

http://www.ubuntu.com/ A bit less conservative than Debian, so more up-to-date software. However it is less concerned with your freedom, so it is much more easy to install non-free software. Use the LTS Long Term Service releases, unless you have a good reason to use the frequent release versions. LTS is supported for 5 years with updates and can automatically update to the next LTS when it comes out.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris Aldridge permalink
    20130111 (2013 January 11 Friday) 11:43

    Hi Richard, Thanks for this. Did you tell me that there’s a FreeSoftware website that consolidates access to various software topics?
    Thanks. Hope to see you again soon.
    Chris A.

    • davesdad permalink*
      20130117 (2013 January 17 Thursday) 15:56

      I am currently writing a series of blogs posts (5), on the subject. Part 0 is here https://richarddelorenzi.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/free-software/ they will be published at one month intervals.

      Some useful sites to get software:

      (most people talk about Open Source, but I talk about Free Software. They are different ideas. Open Source is harder to explain, and misses the most important point of freedom. All you need to know about Open Source is that most “Open Source” software is “Free Software” and visa versa, so the turn Open Source is useful to type in to my search engine. But Open Source is not what you would guess from its name, its definition is not “software where the source code is available”, this is one of the reasons I don’t like the turn Open Source. A summary of the definition of Free Software however is “Software that gives you freedoms”, free at in freedom, not as in price. )

      Info:
      http://www.fsf.org

      For windows:
      http://osswin.sourceforge.net/
      http://opensourcewindows.org/

      Gnu/Linux:
      (note I could have another rant here about how must people call Gnu/Linux just Linux, but if must people do it then that is what it is called. However this leaves the problem of what we call Linux. Yes Linux is not the thing that people call Linux and I call Gnu/Linux, it is a component of Gnu/Linux — a kernel. It is also the kernel of Android and several other systems. It is also not the only kernel of Gnu. But again it may be of use when doing searches.)

      http://www.debian.org/ (I use this one)
      http://distrowatch.com/ (A big list)

      And another think. These distros such as Debian, they come with everything. Core stuff gets installed with the operating system: word processor, spread sheet, web browser. Then you use the package manager to select and add what you want. You don’t have to go it this site or that site to find stuff.

      Hope this helps,
      Richard.

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