Software Rabble-Rousers

When I left my academic teaching position, I also had to leave my office’s Apple desktop computer, and the institution’s technical support staff.  This was particularly hard for me because at the time most of my computing was done in my office and not on our home computer, a desktop with Windows.  Even though my spouse is very computer savvy, grew up using DOS, and is familiar with the Windows operating system, I dislike Microsoft and especially their operating system – to put it lightly. On numerous occasions, my spouse has saved our home computer and me from some pretty major computer-related meltdowns.  So it was an understatement to say that I was reluctant to return to using Microsoft Windows, its glitches and inevitable three-year crash, that Microsoft so kindly provides to its costumers.

I am slightly cyberphobic and Microsoft products create more fear and frustration than I want to deal with; I dreaded the idea working with our home computer.  I would have liked to purchase an Apple, but at the time spending several thousands of dollars for a Mac and appropriate software seemed foolish, especially since our income was going to drop to less than half.  I needed access to a computer, especially if I wanted to become a self-sufficient artist, so I didn’t know what to do.

During my last semester of teaching, the brother of one of my students started Orange Computer Solutions.  This business specializes in providing affordable computing solutions and promotes open source software.  At the time, I was vaguely aware of open source and the counter culture that exists around it.  I visited Orange Computer Solutions and was introduced to a Ubuntu: a free, open source, Linux based operating system.

I have found Ubuntu to be user friendly and intuitive.  The system provides all the needed utilities you would find on Windows or Mac OS, including a compatible office suite from OpenOffice.org, graphics programs, games, and numerous other open source software options.  As a result, for the first time in my life, I am excited about my computing potential and possibilities, and I am becoming much less cyberphobic.

This is not to say that I don’t get frustrated with my computer, I do.  My wife continues to help me with my software usage problems and issues, which is invaluable to me.  In addition, Orange Computer Solutions provides unbeatable customer service and has helped me keep my computing needs in good working order, the latest being installation of OpenOffice.org  3.2. I believe that  OpenOffice.org’s PowerPoint equivalent, Impress, will solve my presentation needs for all those artist workshops I hope to give in the future!

I also strongly believe in the grass roots nature of open source software and Ubuntu’s mission.  It seems to fit into my own life philosophy: humanitarian, socially liberal, environmentally conservative or sustainable, live creatively, and speak out.  My heroes tend to be artists, rabble-rousers, eccentrics, and, people who walk softly on the planet but loom large in character.  Ubuntu and open source organizations are electronic/software rabble-rousers.

Related Links

Open Source Defined

Ubuntu Website

Ubuntu Philosophy

Getting Started with Ubuntu 10.04 Manual Project

Orange Computer Solutions

*Open source rabble rousers, Ubuntu, OpenOffice.org, and Orange Computer Solutions did not pay me to say nice things about their products/services.

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