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Why not break free?

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Open-source software was for techies who didn't want to be slaves to the commercial big boys. But, as Barry Collins discovers, it is now leaping into our homes

Danny and Linda Lee, who are both in their mid-50s, know as much about computers as they do about gangsta rap. Yet Mr and Mrs Lee's computer at their home in Bedhampton, Hampshire, doesn't run Microsoft Windows. Nor is it a newbie-friendly Mac. "I gave my parents a machine running Linux, and they know no different," says their son Wayne. "I showed them where to click to start the internet, and they got on with it. It doesn't faze them at all."

Wayne and his parents are among the growing legions turning their backs on conventional, commercial computer software and, instead, trying open-source programs.

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