I find that most people say they like free stuff, but when I ask them why they run windows or mac instead of a Linux distribution, their responses are either: “What’s Linux?“, “Linux is communist.“, “Linux is free?“, or “Nobody uses Linux.“. Well, to get things straight, Linux is not communist, that’s just something that the windows CEO spread around with this idea that open-source is communism; another, yes, Linux is free, free as in you don’t pay, and free as in freedom; finally, it’s not that nobody uses Linux, it’s that barely any normal users use Linux. Most super computers run Linux, along with 80% of the servers in the world, you know what server runs Linux, here’s a list: Facebook, Google, YouTube, Yahoo, etc. If you want, you can go to this website <http://www.infobyip.com/>, and look at the field called “operating system” and check which operating system your router is running.
There are many different distributions of Linux, some of the most popular being Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora (also known as Red Hat), but there are many others, many of which are available at DistroWatch (here’s the link:<http://distrowatch.com/>), a website where people submit their distributions to make it easier for anyone to find them. There is also a search page where you can look for Linux distributions that fit what you are looking for, with many different choices of categories, such as: beginners, desktop, gaming, high performance computing, multimedia, old computers, scientific, security, privacy, education, and more; all for free (here’s the URL for the search page: <http://distrowatch.com/search.php>).
Debian, the distribution I am currently using, supports the most architectures, uses very little memory and processing power, runs rather fast, and supports the most amount of desktop environments. Now, for those of you who don’t know what a desktop environment is, it’s the style of the Graphical User Interface (GUI), that is most commonly known as the desktop to most modern day users who are technologically illiterate (no offense meant, it’s just a term), or in other words, how your desktop looks. For example, a windows GUI doesn’t look the same as a mac GUI. I am currently using the gnome interface, which is the default in Debian, but for beginners there are graphical interfaces that look a lot like the windows GUI or the mac GUI, such as Macbuntu (here’s a link: <http://lifehacker.com/5665765/macbuntu-makes-your-linux-desktop-look-like-mac-os-x>), or Xfce (here’s a link: <http://www.xfce.org/>).
Also, there is a Linux distribution from Argentina called Estrella Roja, which was maintained up to version 2.6. The people who made it are a communist group of hackers (reminder, there is a difference between hackers, crackers, and people that make stupid posts on your Facebook account while you are logged in and not looking) who made this distribution to be able to work on relatively old computers, that may not even have a hard drive. This is because they have written it to be able to run on a CD, all you need is a computer that can read CD’s and you can run it. This operating system is also hard to find, now that the group has left the project for another one called EcuRed, which is a project to spread open-source and free software (here’s a link: <http://www.ecured.cu/index.php/ALBASOL>). But there is still a place where you can find version 2.6 of the Estrella Roja distribution, here’s the link: <http://estrellarojagnulinux.wikispaces.com/>.
On other terms, when I went to school in Spain, they used a distribution of Linux called Guadalinex (here’s a link:<http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=guadalinex>), a distribution made by the Junta de Andalucía for schools to run on their computers. This distribution is meant for education and comes with many educational programs automatically installed. But when I came to the U.S.A. to study, I found that they used mac and windows, both operating systems which they had to pay for, but that’s not the part that gets on my nerves, the bad part is that then they ask the parents to donate money to the school, while I see a bunch of still working 5 year old computers going to the dump, just because mac/windows doesn’t make operating systems supporting its hardware anymore. I have told the teachers that it would save them a lot more money in the long term (and maybe even in the short term) if they switched to a Linux distributions, but their excuses are the same as always, and invalid, when they respond: “Yes, but no one uses Linux.“, “Yes, but we already use this, and it’s easier to continue with what we have.“, or “Yes, but this is what everybody knows.“. The one thing that really gets me about that last excuse, is that the school is the one always saying that they promote variety.
The main reason why I suggest schools to use Linux, is because then the students won’t be as repelled to try using Linux. Now, how is this a good thing? Well, first off, it will help the students become more technologically literate, allowing them to have an easier access to the command line, and more access to the computer itself. Does this mean that they might screw things up a little sometimes, yes, but then they will learn from their mistakes. Now, having this knowledge, they will be able to use Linux at home, this is important because that way students from poor families can get a USB drive that has down to 0.5 GB of space on it, and a really old computer (which you can buy for very little these days), and they will be able to boot into the flash drive running a very small simple version of Linux, such as Finnix, which I run myself on a USB that only has 0.5 GB, and the USB still over half of the space left.
All in all, I think that if we get the newer generations used to using Linux, it will help greatly in the future. Thanks for reading!