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Monday, January 17, 2011

What Does the Cloud Mean for Linux Users?

The cloud and Linux

I love Linux, and I love Open Source software. However like most people I can't rely solely on Linux and open-source software for all my needs. While most can be met by Linux there are just some things I can't do without either running a virtual machine or booting back into windows.
Some people's gripes and cause for switching back to proprietary software whenever they attempt to go Open-Source only are justified. Things like a lack of open-source replacements for Popular music and editing software make sense. If you rely on Pro Tools or AVID for your day to day work then your gonna have a little trouble being a Linux only user, without jumping through some hoops.

However I feel that most basic users can now be serviced by Linux based on the simple fact that a large number of computer users are connected to the internet. In fact I think it's safe to say that a majority of today's computer users are connected, and as such aren't really getting much out of their Windows or Apple OS machines than they would if they were using Linux.

I like to use my girlfriend as an example here. She like most people is a Windows user. Not by fanatical choice or anything, just because that's what came installed on her computer. Now I watch her every morning boot her PC up, wait for it to start and then mash that Firefox button and go to Facebook (it's even her start page). So I asked her one day, if she used anything besides the internet on her computer. Turns out the only other thing she uses besides the internet are some basic word and spreadsheet programs and a typing game.
So I told her about open office, let her try it out, but she didn't like the interface, so I instead pointed her toward her live account and showed her how she could make her files on there and save them to her computer. She really liked that. I am now proud to say she's on the cusp of becoming a Linux user and she is probably one of the least tech-savvy people I know (keep in mind most of my frineds are geeks in some way). But I belive that most average users are like my girldriend and don't really need all the bloatware that comes with Windows or an Apple OS. I think most users can get along just fine using Linux.

The cloud can set you free

This brings me to my point. I believe that the fact most companies are moving toward a cloud based approach to data, that it's a lot easier now than it ever was to switch over to Linux and set yourself free from the bad customer support and overpriced OS's.
The problem still remains for gamers and media editors, there are no cloud solutions as far as I know for creating and editing music and video that can compete with the more advanced feature sets of the ones available for Windows and Mac. And there are no decent open-source alternatives either. So I guess there gonna have to get to hacking or wait until someone does.
But for the rest of the world. For the common user there is no reason you should be sitting through those long boot times, there is no reason you should have to fear a Virus wiping out all your data. You can set yourself free and enjoy the quick boot times and virus free world of Linux.

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