Open Source... A Love Story

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Teaser pic link here


My good friend is switching from the closed Apple world to the openness of the Android market. Ain't life grand? I have a lot of respect for Joe A., who isn't in his teens but is still so young at heart! He decided to go into the Apple world to keep up with his Mac-users kids more than a decade ago but still has the courage and the intellectual curiosity today to explore a new system he knows nothing about. From what I heard, he is pretty much happy with the discoveries from the Android world. Joe, Respects!

In my early university years, the first year to be more accurate, I was 17 and thus legally not supposed to drive so I had to rely on catching cabs at least 2-3 times a day. By the end of the year, I had already managed to put aside the sum required for me to buy my first... laptop. Yes, you read right. Not a car. A laptop. Oh, we were a family that had a computer at home since 1987. It was an Apple Macintosh. We had upgraded a couple of times since then and had settled on the current Windows OS for our use. But I couldn't take the desktop with me to the classroom. I planned to take notes directly on the laptop, which would save me time in preparing for my mid-term exams and those at the end of the year. I have to say some professors didn't like the idea of me handing out my papers typed and printed out instead of hand-written but they had to get used to it: I wasn't doing anything prohibited or expressly not allowed by my university.

And so every year or two, I went on upgrading and buying a new laptop. I have tried all imaginable brands from Acer to Dell, Toshiba, Compaq, HP. I had finally bought my siblings a Gateway desktop with all its accessories for Christmas of 1999 and was toying with the idea of getting myself a Gateway laptop. True, it would be more expensive than the regular laptop, and anyway it would have to be replaced within a couple of years or so, depending on how fast the technology was moving forward. It was then that I was introduced to the IBM ThinkPad series. It was love at first sight! Sleek and simple look. No neon colors or the like. Sturdy hardware. And it was light! I was sold on the spot. This first ThinkPad of mine lasted almost 2 years before I upgraded it for the next one. After 2 laptops from the A-series, with integrated keyboard light please!, I leveled up a notch to get myself the T41. It was the first notebook with an HDD protection system. I was so excited about the slim looks that I even got myself an IBM ThinkPad mouse to go with my latest acquisition. I was thrilled to find out its light was blue, which happens to be my favorite color and not red like the other usual optical mice in the market. To date, this was the laptop that survived the most with me. Its lightweight, less than 2 kilos, its superb keyboard, and features were never matched in my eyes.

I have to admit, I'm a heavy user and I tend to use my things to the maximum extent. And those "little" black devices never let me down. Nevertheless, and as things would go thanks to technological advances, there came a time when I had to upgrade again and part with my great ThinkPad that lacked a DVD writer. I know I could have bought an external device and saved myself some money but my sister needed a laptop for university. To my time, I was a geek for carrying a laptop around to classes but in 2008 it was a necessity for any student to own and use one. That's how this T41 still runs in our family. Yes, you read right. The T41 is still used daily, probably much less than when it was in my possession more than 7 years earlier, but it still does. And yes, it has stopped operating under Windows for several years now. Its hardware is aging but as great as IBM is, replacement is available and some parts are interchangeable: from the newer T61p to the older or newer models, ain't that great? Not that we have changed anything with the T41 yet.

After all the trouble that I experienced over the years while using Windows, I had had it and wanted an OS that would give me fewer headaches. That was when I requested my younger brother to try and brief me on Linux which he happened to have discovered during his CCE studies and was so enthusiastic about. I was reluctant to go back to the Apple world. Its closeness and unfair practices were repulsive to my eyes. That doesn't mean that I didn't go on buying iPhones, or even a Macbook. The Apple products are not only beautiful in design, but they do also provide sturdiness and security. To come back to my Linux adventure that lasted for more than a decade, I tried several distros before I finally settled for Fedora that I will be using ever since the third quarter of 2006. I have never regretted this decision. I can't really say I miss blue screens or multiple reboots.

See, my freedoms need to remain unrestrained in whatsoever way. And the Open Source world gave me this freedom of choice. That's why I went for RedHat Linux on all computers for my company when the decision was to be made. And of course, all laptops were Lenovo T500 ThinkPads ;) This was not an easy decision to push through but I am glad I did because it allowed our IT manager to handle our requests pretty fast. Besides, and I told to the company's representative who asked me for an interview about my choice of hardware and software, "why would I go for proprietary software where I had to adapt my work to the programs and modules at hand when I could modulate the codes to my way of doing things?" Plus, this way saved me a lot of cash. True, I needed a very highly skilled person to handle our technical issues and requirements and I was lucky to have such a person on my team.

Yes, I am now writing this on my Macbook, my latest iPhone is next to the computer, and guess what? I am using my old Samsung S7 for research, chatting on WhatsApp, and checking my FB / Instagram / Pinterest accounts while trying to figure out a way to keep the hardware running smoothly with my updated software and hardware requirements. Let's stop here and notice that all airports for instance run on UNIX and some Linux distros: if ever you witness a restart to the screens on an airplane, you will see Tux, the Linux Penguin ;) It is worth noting that the Mac OS World was developed from UNIX-like NeXTSTEP. In short, even while using Apple items, I still long to be free in the sense that I have the choice to do what I want with My things, which remain My property and can be customized to My liking and not to what someone has forehandedly decided for me. What about you?


Link to the cartoons.


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It's always enjoyable to see people's reaction to Open-Source in general, and Linux in particular.
Specially that our current culture here is "Opensource = free = bad quality, Closed/Proprietary = $$$ = should be better huh?". Which is not true in most cases :-)

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