Edward Wittlinger

In today’s world, we need to be aware of all the technologies available and understand the benefits they provide. Ask yourself, “What do you use your computer for?” The majority of users surf the web, check email, pay bills, play games, or register for an event.

Windows operating systems have been under attack for years. Simply clicking a hyperlink provided by a search engine could jeopardize your computer and data in seconds. There are so many websites that display what appears to be legitimate content but that is not always the case. Websites like this run scripts that can access your computer’s vulnerability without hesitation.

Most people who run a Windows operating system are running the system with administrator account settings. So when a link is clicked, it is like unlocking your front door to a burglar. Just about anything you do with a Windows operating system costs money and to think about running your system without a virus protection software is ridiculous. With all that said, there is an alternative.

Linux is an open source operating system that millions of people use each day without needing to take classes or get excessive training. Most who hear the word “Linux” think of a technology that is only used by the technically savvy – and that is not true. Within my community of friends and family, I have migrated many over to Linux along with their data and they love it.

A question I am asked a lot is “How am I going to access my email?” and the answer is “The same way you did with Windows.” You will have access to thousands of open source software titles and I am not exaggerating. Linux functions similar to Windows and there is a small learning curve that is overcome quickly by simply running the system.

My background as a senior programmer/analyst has allowed me to research both Linux desktop and server systems. Linux was created in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, a former student at the University of Helsinki. Over the years, the system has evolved into one of the most reliable and well-developed operating systems around by technology enthusiasts and a range of diverse industries that participate in the open source community.

When people find out the software is free, most probably think “it must not be good” and that is a misconception that has been proven wrong by many who have taken the time to familiarize themselves with the software available. The open source community's rule is to provide great software to everyone for free. Microsoft does not want the public to learn about these open source systems.

Linux has many systems that are also known as “distros” and the one I recommend is called “Ubuntu.” Ubuntu is a South African noun that means “a quality that includes the essential human virtues, compassion, and humanity.”

Ubuntu includes many programs and one in particular called “LibreOffice” which would replace Microsoft Office. All of your Microsoft Office files are compatible and will open with a similar look and feel. When new documents are created, they can be saved with the default file format “.odt” or with “.docx” that allow the file to be open on another computer running Microsoft Office without problem. This is one of many programs Ubuntu includes that replace what you are currently using. It is like cutting the cord and starting over. Linux is developed so well a virus protection software is not needed.

When downloading the Ubuntu Linux system, always download the long term support version “LTS” that offers stability and best outcome. My recommendation is to run the following search criteria “Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS” or “LibreOffice 6.4.0” within “youtube.com” and watch an introduction tutorial for each technology.

Before you migrate an existing computer yourself, make sure to backup your data onto a remote backup device. The websites mentioned in the beginning of this article that take over Windows operating system, wouldn’t put a dent in a Linux system. Not only is Linux more secure, stable, and reliable, the technology is free.

A senior programmer/analyst working as a software developer for over 20 years, at one point Edward instructed at Cuyahoga Community College (UTC) in computer programming and program logic and design classes.

(2) comments

PostReader1

I tried Ubuntu in the early 2000's on an older machine because of the lower system specs required. However, one really needed to be a tech geek to do even the simplest tasks with it. Has it improved since?

Ewittlinger

Yes, Ubuntu Linux has evolved into a great operating system over the years. I started with version 7.04 LTS and am currently running 18.04 LTS. As I mentioned in my column, watch a few YouTube videos and see the system from a spectator's point of view.

You may consider pulling the current hard-drive and replace with either a new or a spare to explore Ubuntu again. If you don't like, put the old hard-drive back in and write it off as research.

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