Notes from Cafe Rozella: Linux and Windows
One of the unknown duties of running an independent cafe is maintaining a wireless network. Unlike Starbucks, we have no IT department to turn to when we have computer problems. We have to learn to manage our networks much as we do the espresso machines. Not that I mind, I love tinkering in the bowels of these neat machines. In addition to maintaining the WiFi, we also keep a terminal for use by the community. (So stop by if you need to check your email.)
Like nearly everyone else, we were running our computers on the Microsoft Windows operating system. About two years ago one of our machines bit the dust. In an effort to salvage what I could of the computer’s remains, I switched out some parts and decided to load the Linux operating system on the old pc. Techy customers had told me that Linux consumed much less resources and was much more reliable. I took the plunge and loaded the Mandrake version of Linux on our public PC. The system worked great! Reliable and, unlike Windows, it never crashed.
Next I tried Linux Ubuntu on one of my pcs. I was hooked. I liked it so much that I had the Ubuntu folks send me a bunch of disks (they normally run about $2) and I distributed them to interested customers. In the interim I became much more adept at Linux and its particular foibles (some of which can be maddening). I have to say, I am a convert. Not only can you do anything on Linux that you would on Windows — it’s all FREE and more reliable.
So, if you are interested in dipping your toe in the open source operating system world, try out Linux. It will load on top of Windows so you can play with it without actually burning it onto your hard drive. I recommend Ubuntu but there are other very user friendly interfaces. And they are almost all Free. So give it a whirl and maybe you won’t have to shell out $500 for an operating system next time you need to upgrade.
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