For those not in the know, let us first discuss what Linux is. It is not an application program; it is an operating system, in the same class as Windows or Apple’s Mac OS. An operating system is the piece of software that makes it possible to run any other application or user software on a computer. The operating system manages and provides the ability for programs to access the computer’s hardware, and it provides security mechanisms such as password-protected accounts that control user access. Operating systems have evolved into highly complex, multi-layered conglomerations that are essential to the operation of a computer.
Now then, your question essentially is whether Linux is a viable replacement for Windows. As usual, the answer is “that depends”. Specifically, it depends on what you want to do with the machine, and how much time you’re willing to put into learning about Linux. Where Windows is a vendor-built and supported operating system, Linux is open-source. That means the code base is public, and not supported by a company. Instead, it is supported by the community of users who contribute to its development. Since nobody “owns” Linux the way Microsoft owns Windows, it also means that multiple “flavors” of it exist – at least six or seven depending on how you count them.
There is no customer-service to call with such questions or when something goes wrong, but there is the Internet, and Linux support groups are very easy to find. A secondary advantage is that it runs in a far smaller footprint, and far more efficiently than Windows. That means that it can indeed breathe new life into that old system you were going to toss.
So what won’t Linux do? Well, it will not run Windows software, for one thing. Outlook, Office, Internet Explorer, certain games, etc. are all designed to run under Windows. The upside is that there are Linux-specific versions of just about any application software you need, so you’ll have ready access to a choice of web browsers, Office Automation Suites, photo editing utilities, or whatever you normally run under Windows — you just have to find them online, and then learn and get used to a new version.
A LINUX ENGINEER has built the first smartphone based on a Raspberry Pi computer, and has cleverly named it the Piphone.
Liz Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation lauded the device in a blog post on Friday, largely due to the fact that it cost just $158 to build. What's more, the Piphone is constructed entirely from off the shelf components, which means "there's no soldering required, and no fiddly electronics work," she said.
At the start of this quarter we looked at how 2013's graphics developments were more incremental than revolutionary, perhaps with the need for LTS stability in mind. Things are looking quite different this year, with several major changes quietly under way.
Last time, we identified XWayland's upstream status as a potential barometer of Wayland's desktop future. We'll look at what has recently landed and what's still to come.
When Korean consumer electronics giant LG purchased HP’s mobile Linux WebOS operating system in Feb. 2013 with vague plans to incorporate it in future “smart TV” designs, it seemed more like a death knell for the well battered distribution than a rebirth. After all, so-called smart TV platforms, such as LG’s own Linux-based Netcast, were minimalist affairs, and there didn’t seem to be much hope for innovative open source development on such a platform. Yet, not only has WebOS emerged as a potent contender for Internet TV, but LG has begun to release portions of the platform as open source.
The significant savings gained by using free and open source software in the school of the Swiss town of Villmergen are used to enhance the curriculum. Switching to free and open source has led to an increase in computers, motivating teachers to create their own courses. "Ubuntu Linux PCs are very easy to use and maintain, giving teachers more time to work with their students," says Martin Lang, the school's IT administrator.
The move to hassle-free software has created a virtuous circle, Lang says. Since most of the educational-applications created by the school are browser-based, teachers encourage students to bring their own computers. This again increases the number of PCs per classroom, making computer-aided teaching more attractive.
All teachers at the school can work with Ubuntu Linux, says Lang. "Changing their computer habits takes some effort, but they are motivated because of the increase in teaching possibilities."