Time for a Change

All of this is to say there are no obstacles to moving to Linux. But what compelling reason is there to move? Just one: Your children.

Top to bottom, Linux is based on a philosophy of community, exploration and learning, equality and respect. It is open to investigation and improvement virtually without limitation. You can encourage your children to explore a computing environment that’s safer, more open and largely free of charge.

Whether your child is a geek or not, there is no more powerful learning tool currently available to families in Vanuatu than a Linux computer with an Internet connection.

[Originally published in the Vanuatu Independent newspaper.]

I don’t usually like to advocate for particular products or technologies. There’s no shame whatsoever in having an opinion and – in this space – it’s my job. But there’s a difference between arguing for a particular approach to something and arguing for a particular thing.

It’s time to make an exception.

The Linux operating system has a well-earned reputation as the software of choice for uber-hackers and propellor-heads the world over. That’s because it is. It runs the majority of the world’s servers right now, from giant supercomputing clusters to Google to the Dow Jones stock exchange.

So what, exactly, is this Linux thing? At its core, it’s a suite of very basic utilities that allow a computer to run. Because it’s so easy to configure and customise, it runs on everything from supercomputers to your wireless router. Google’s new Android mobile phones are built on it, as are many of Nokia’s.

Nearly two decades after it took its first faltering steps, I can say with some assurance that Linux is good enough, easy enough and – this is important – safe enough for you to pick it up and use it without really breaking a sweat.

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