GNU/Linux
The Anti-Fascist Operating System


Why we should use Linux Open-Source Software
instead of Microsoft Windows

Note: The true name of the Linux operating system [OS] is GNU/Linux. Linux is the OS kernel and device drivers, and GNU is the set of basic programs that enable the kernel to be used for creating and structuring file systems, writing, compiling, loading and running programs, etc.

1. Freedom, not government censorship

Microsoft has written software called "Palladium" to implement total government censorship of the Internet. The SSSCA/CBDTPA bill by Senators Fritz Hollings and Diane Feinstein, and the INDUCE bill by Senators Orrin Hatch and Barbara Boxer, both require the use of such "digital rights management"[DRM] software on any computer connected to the Internet. The use of the DRM software will be enforced by your Internet service provider[ISP], by means of an unbreakable cryptographic handshake when you connect to the ISP.

With DRM your computer will not display any web page or document, won't read any e-mail, won't play any audio or video file, etc., without first getting permission for that particular website, document, etc., from a government-programmed DRM server. Needless to say, permission would be denied to view websites like this one.

Can You Trust Your Computer?

2. Software designed to work, not to gouge you for money

Microsoft violates world standards for websites, word-processor documents, programming languages, etc., so that people using Microsoft software will create websites and documents that can only be viewed by others if they buy and use Microsoft software as well. This destruction of standards is called "embrace, extend, extinguish".

Microsoft also leaves defects in its software for years to induce people to buy the next version in the hope that they will be corrected. Microsoft's Windows, Internet Explorer, and other software spreads viruses and spyware, and often stops working (crashes) and has to be rebooted. Heavily used Microsoft servers don't stay up for more than a few hours without crashing in some cases (e.g., a certain TV schedule website that only works during primetime when workers are on duty to constantly reboot its servers).

Ironically, the desperate hope that Windows will be fixed in the next version is one of the reasons why Bill Gates is the richest man in the world.

Instead of profit, Linux and other Open Source software is created for personal satisfaction and to help everyone in the world, and is distributed free of charge. It conforms to world standards, and has its defects corrected as soon as possible, since defects are only annoying, not profitable. The Linux operating system and most of its software can run for months and even years without crashing. Some servers running Unix (Linux is a type of Unix) have been accidentally sealed behind walls for years, and lost, because they never needed rebooting or maintenance, thus people actually forgot where they were. The machines had to be tracked down by tracing their cables into the walls!

3. Honesty and value, not lies, extortion, corruption and sabotage

From Windows 8 onward, Microsoft has required that computers be manufactured containing a system called UEFI/Secure-Boot, which prevents any OS but Windows from running on them. Of course the purpose of this was to kill Linux.

UEFI/Secure-Boot Criticism

Microsoft killed the competing operating systems OS/2 and BeOS by threatening to withdraw permission from computer manufacturers to sell copies of MS-Windows with their machines, if they also sold OS/2 or BeOS (which were better than Windows).

Microsoft forbids PC manufacturers from advertising that their computers can run Linux, and forbids them from loading Linux on the computers along with Windows. Microsoft also threatens to withdraw its profitable ads from computer magazines if the magazines run favorable articles about Linux.

Microsoft contractually forbids manufacturers of peripheral devices -- scanners, printers, etc. -- from creating the driver software that would allow their devices to operate with Linux. Programmers have to decipher the devices on their own.

Microsoft gave 100 million dollars to a corrupt company called SCO to finance bogus legal attacks against the makers and users of Linux (claiming that it included software stolen from another variety of Unix). But they made the mistake of attacking IBM in this way, and that company -- whose OS/2 operating system had been killed by Microsoft years ago -- has defended Linux and defeated the legal attacks. Every legal claim by SCO and Microsoft was shown to be a lie.

Groklaw

Microsoft secretly paid tens of millions of dollars to public relations companies to carry on lying propaganda campaigns against Linux, in which their paid agents pretended to be ordinary citizens and wrote anti-Linux letters, articles, etc. Microsoft also secretly pays newspaper and magazine columnists, and right-wing organizations like the Alexis de Tocqueville Institute and the Independent Institute to publish lying anti-Linux / pro-Microsoft propaganda. The company is often the largest contributor to these organizations.

MICROSOFTS_WAR_AGAINST_LINUX

Microsoft's Dirty Tricks

So people have had to learn of the existence of Linux, and the refutations of all of Microsoft's organized lying propaganda, by word of mouth or from the Internet. And they've had to install Linux by themselves instead of having the computer manufacturer or distributor do it for them as is always done with MS-Windows. These days, Linux is easier to install than Windows, and Linux user groups will install it for you, for free!

Because Linux was not produced by only a single company that Microsoft could drive out of business, and is instead a cooperative group effort by caring people all over the world, it has survived and is thriving, and being adopted by many new people and corporations every day, and even by some city, state, and national governments.

4. Achieve your full potential!

(Note: Linux hardware detection and configuring is now all done automatically by the installation program. But I love that cartoon!)
Get the good stuff, for free, and join a world-wide revolution!

If you want an alternative that works better than Microsoft (and will run many Windows programs, including some video games), doesn't support fascism, and costs nothing for the operating system and the application (and development) software -- web browser (Firefox), office software (Open Office), graphic program (GIMP -- replaces Photoshop), audio/video/CD/DVD players (Mplayer, VLC, etc.) and creator systems, database software (PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQLite), web server (Apache), and thousands of other programs -- then contact the Linux User Group near you. They'll install Linux on your computer for free (call first), retaining MS Windows for Windows-only games and other software, if you wish.


Linux Distributions

Various organizations and companies package the Linux software (including hundreds of application programs) into convenient sets for installation. These sets are called "distributions". All of them are free and can be downloaded from their respective websites.

Desktop Environments

Every Linux installation uses a Desktop Environment [DE], which is responsible for organizing what you see on the screen -- program windows, panels and their contents, the taskbar, multiple virtual desktops, etc. KDE3 is the most powerful DE; Gnome is a less powerful alternative. Some Linux distributions allow you to choose among two or more DEs for your installation; in fact, you can install several and select the one you want when you start your session.

Virtual Desktops

A virtual desktop is a display-screen containing whatever program windows you choose to place in it. With Linux, you can have as many as 20 virtual desktops, each devoted to a type of task, such as Mail, Music, Website, etc. In each desktop, you can set up the programs you use for accomplishing that type of task, and leave them running. You can switch between desktops simply by pressing a button on the desktop-pager applet which appears in all of the desktops. This greatly reduces the amount of work by the user in performing multiple tasks on the computer, because you don't have to start, stop, hide, or unhide programs when you switch to another type of task.

The desktop environment that best combines power and ease of use is KDE3. KDE4 bears only a superficial resemblance to KDE3, and has severe disadvantages (which the KDE4 developers have shown no interest in fixing), the worst being that the desktop names are not readable in the desktop-pager. Thus in KDE4, the entire virtual desktop system is unusable.

Unfortunately, most Linux distributions have switched from KDE3 to KDE4. However, OpenSuse Linux allows you to choose KDE3 instead, and for some other distributions a new version of KDE3 -- Trinity Desktop -- is available:

http://www.trinitydesktop.org/


Some Linux Distributions
  • Open SuSE

    Over the years, (Open) Suse has been the best-designed and -maintained Linux distribution; it's the one I use. In the last few versions, Open Suse has switched its default DE from KDE3 to KDE4. But as of the latest Open Suse version (12.3) it is still possible to stay with KDE 3.5.10. I use some KDE4 programs along with KDE3, including konsole, klipper, konversation, and system monitor, because they've been improved over their KDE3 versions.

  • Debian

    Debian is a very popular non-commercial distribution.

  • Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution and uses the Gnome user interface.


Security Updates

All major Linux distributions, provide timely security updates. If vulnerabilities are discovered in the operating system or any of the application programs, fixes are immediately made available and can be installed at the touch of a button.

Live CDs/DVDs

In addition to the usual download files for installation, most Linux distributions provide a "live" CD or DVD image which you can burn to a disk or write to a USB memory stick (thumb drive). You can then boot this up and run Linux without modifying any data on your hard drive, so you can try it out.


Linux User Groups (LUGs):

Linux Links - The Linux Portal
http://www.linuxlinks.com/UserGroups/

Open Directory: LUGS
http://dmoz.org/Computers/Software/ Operating_Systems/Linux/User_Groups/

Linux User Groups in the Yahoo! Directory http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Software/ Operating_Systems/Unix/Linux/User_Groups/