Subtitle: For many, Windows is unavoidable. That doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with Microsoft’s other overpriced, crappy offerings.

A coworker reads my blog on a regular basis (lord knows why), and after he read the post from the other day about “Ignorance” he started asking some remarkably astute questions about Firefox and Open Source software in general. He downloaded and gave Firefox a kick at the can, and the next day he came back to work with that gleam of discovery look in his eyes. He gets it. I can safely say that the likelihood of him going back to using Internet Exploder is pretty close to nil.

He then started asking some more astute questions. The day after that he came back to work after giving Thunderbird and OpenOffice a whirl.

In two days I’d managed to take someone who had only heard the words “open source” as background chatter among geeks, and turn him into a convert.

Now, over the years, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage from Open Source projects and software. A huge percentage of my productivity software is open source. The software that drives this blog is open source. One of the three computers I use on a regular basis runs Ubuntu Linux. The other two run Windows XP and Mac OSX.

I’ve even donated money and bought promo merchandise from Open Source projects as a way of kicking back.

In the end, though, I think the biggest thing I can do for the Open Source movement is do what I did for my co worker. Inform. I’ve been doing it for years. And every year, I get to add a few more names to the list of people who “get it.” These aren’t geeks, or technically oriented people. These are everyday users, who just want their computers to work. Considering how much money even the average Joe puts into their computers and related costs (commercial software, net connection costs, etc), I really don’t think it’s too much to ask for.

Just make the damn things work.

And more and more people are realizing that some of the big businesses that have been flogging overpriced software for the past two decades have let them down. Plain and simple, the promises weren’t kept. The products have been buggy, unreliable, and full of security problems.

It’s for those reasons that some hard core geeks started putting time into the whole open source thing in the first place. They’re the techies, programmers, and university researchers who’ve created the software.

And it’s why second tier geeks, people like me, who take the available software and hardware and push their machines to the limit, just for the challenge of it, for the joy of messing about with stuff that most people don’t even know exists, have taken up the torch and started passing the knowledge along.

We’ve all paid the entrance fee. Made billionaires out of people who couldn’t even come up with their own operating system, so they cheated someone else out of it and stamped their corporate brand on it.

Now, let’s all pitch in, and if you know about it, start spreading the word. There are alternatives.

One Response to “Just a quick post on some Open Source Software for Windows.”

    LOVE it…. you know what Habari’s tagline is?

    “Spread the news” (another way to state “spread the word”) – because that’s what “habari” means in Swahili….

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