Computer operating systems

We'd like you to meet Linux. It's a free operating system for computers. It powers most of the Internet. It works behind the scenes in Hollywood blockbusters. It's the engine behind Android. It shares the same heritage as MacOS. It's fast, clean, light, secure and powerful and best of all, it's about freedom. Your freedom!


People power.

MacOS and Windows are commercial products, with a focus on generating profit. Part of the cost of any new PC is the operating system, so you've already paid, even if you didn't notice. Technically you bought a restricted license to access your own computer. You're only renting space in that machine and you're certainly not in charge! You cannot examine the program code and nobody outside of Apple and Microsoft really knows how their products work. So can you trust them? Do they care about you more than money or government interests? Do they protect your privacy and security? Maybe... but you just don't know! Do they let you make changes? Not likely!


Linux runs your computer. You can customise it endlessly.


On the other hand, there are vast communities of volunteers making different flavours of Linux, which are free and transparent. Nobody truly owns them, or more accurately, everybody owns them -- and they're every bit as good as the paid products. In many ways even better. MacOS and Windows have plagiarised plenty of good ideas from Linux over the years and vice versa.

Security is a major feature of the Linux system, from the bottom up, and you are entirely free to take the code, read it, change it and share it with the world. Because anyone can inspect the code, bugs are squashed quickly and nobody can hide malicious surprises in there. Problems get spotted and fixed. Free updates and patches are standard practice. This makes Linux safer and more secure. It has millions of global users and developers, who help out because they care, about Linux and the community. That's open-source software!


(The Linux symbol is a penguin.)


Take a test drive.

If all this is alien to you, it's understandable. Apple and Microsoft would prefer you to swallow their versions of reality. However, we recommend exploring the shared world of Linux and taking back control of your computer. A great flavour for newcomers is Ubuntu. (Threats: Facebook, Google Analytics, Twitter.)

It's easy, works out-of-the-box on most machines (including older or slower computers, from most manufacturers) and it's quick to lock down securely or adapt for your own purposes. You can even run it from a USB stick or DVD, if you don't want to take the plunge and change your system. So there's no harm in trying it out!


Traditional paper support is available from typical magazine stockists! Just look for the penguin.


Linux does the same basic job as MacOS or Windows (literally, operating a computer) but without the extra corporate gunk and in-house advertising. It runs media players, web browsers, business software, creativity tools and scientific programs, among others. Most of the apps are free and yes, you can play games. It's exactly what you expect from a computer, only cleaner and more pure. Your files still work with Mac and Windows, compatibility isn't a problem. You'll probably become more efficient and productive too, if you embrace your revamped PC!

We're genuinely in love with Linux, in all its many varieties. Sure, it's has quirks and there are glitches and errors sometimes because that's computing for you (these are delicate instruments people!) but there's always a feeling of being empowered. It's your computer, your OS, your rules. Don't like something? It's your right to change it. You're allowed to fix problems in Linux world. Nobody wants to stop you. Most folk will encourage you, giving advice or pointing to a helpful tutorial! (Threat: Google Tag Manager.)


Where to get it.

Big manufacturers like Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo all make new PCs with Linux already installed. They're supporting Linux but these guys are dedicated specialists:

  • Entroware (Threat: Google Analytics.)
  • System76 (Threats: Google Ad-Services, Google Analytics, Quantserve, Twitter.)
  • ZaReason (Threat: Google Analytics / APIs.)

See here for some of the many varieties of Linux. (Threats: Amazon Ad-system, Google services.)



Also see:
Commercial Linux games



What's with the "gunoo" and do I have to say "slash" every time?
Historically, the full name is actually "GNU/Linux" but it's a mouthful. The casual term "Linux" is commonplace and brings joy to millions of people! Just don't be surprised to see gnus appearing next to penguins!