Tux, the Linux penguin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was less than a year ago when my friend Saurav at LinuxBin introduced me to Linux. Now I can proudly say, both my PC and laptop run distributions on Linux. So what it is about that Linux that made me and many other (not so) loyal Windows users to flock to it.
It is completely free as in free speech and as in free lunch. You don’t need to pay for anything even though there are a few paid enterprise editions and you can customize it any way you want. From a programmer’s toolbox to a kid’s digital playground, it can be anything you want it to be. It can even be a gaming machine (well, most people don’t agree on that). More about Linux gaming later.
It is always up to date. Most Linux distributions receive a major update every 6 months or once an year. Bug fixes and security patches are released almost every week. There are also rolling release distributions which need to be installed only once. No need for regular clean installs every 6-12 months.
Did I mention it was free? Well, not just the operating system but mostly everything that comes with it. There are a ton of free and open-source applications available for Linux based distributions. Even if you can’t find your favourite application’s Linux version, you can still try many alternatives available for free. If you would rather use the Windows application, that is possible too. You can run almost every Windows application using a utility called ‘Wine‘ on Linux. That’s what I use to play my Windows games.
Linux is considered to be the safest operating system by a large number of people. It is safe from Windows viruses and it doesn’t need any anti-virus software.
I know a lot of people have preconceptions about Linux being all command-line-based or as a friend of mine said, ‘Isn’t it like just boring green text on a black screen?’ NO! It is more than that. It is user-friendly if you want it to be, it is a hacker’s tool if you want it to be, a server or maybe even a gaming machine. There’s just no bounds to Linux.
Visit Ubuntu’s website and have a look.
1 billion users around the globe are surfing the Internet every month. In North America, 70 out of 100 surf the Internet. But in some parts of the globe, some governments are trying to deny their people their right of freedom through speech, while many others due to but have some kind of surveillance or censorship. They censor web content and prohibit flow of free information.
Countries with Internet Censorship
- North Korea
- South Korea
China having a population of 513 million internet users (which is more than the entire US population – 311 million) is the greatest enemy of the Internet according to me.
- Bloggers cannot use aliases or choose to maintain anonymity or their blogs will be shut down.
- The government removed all references to ‘Occupy Wall Street’ from the Chinese internet.
- It is currently impossible to use the word ‘occupy’ with the name of a Chinese city.
- Keywords like ‘Egypt’ or ‘Jasmine’ have been banned.
Iran comes a close second to China with being the first country in history to give citizens death penalty for their online activity.
- More personal information information is needed to log on at an Iranian cyber cafe than for an average Indian citizen to get a passport.
- Cafe managers are required to install cameras at their premises.
- The government also demands client names and a list of websites visited from the managers.
- Iran currently has a task force of 250000 cyber policemen.
- Tweets and blog posts are censored by the government
- Authorities suspend Internet and mobile services in areas where protests are taking place.
- Twitter accounts were created to send fabricated tweets with keywords that directed users to sports scores or tourist photos to confuse and distract the masses.
- Soleiman Saleh Abazaid was shot and killed for running the Facebook page ‘Liberated People Of Horan’
These are just the three of many such enemies of the Internet.
With the temporary ban on SMS messages during the Assam riots and discussion about censorship in the parliament, India might be on the verge of being added to this list soon.