|The Post-PC era (Photo credit: henribergius)|
Computers are wonderful.
They are the best/fastest/least expensive way to create, find, modify and present information of many kinds. The personal computer has issues, however. At first it was barely affordable by the common man but, thanks to Moore's Law, competition among OEMs and the Internet, PCs have become within range of all but the most poor people of the world.
Early on, Microsoft caught the wave and expanded the monopoly granted by IBM. Fortunately, the price Microsoft likes to receive per PC with Microsoft's OS has become so conspicuous that even retailers are seeing that GNU/Linux will sell better at least on the low end. The other huge issues for PCs are interoperability and malware. The ordinary user sees struggling with interoperability and malware as huge negatives. Since Microsoft was not motivated by anything but greed, the world has suffered trillions of dollars in costs of IT quite unnecessarily.
Along came ARM and Android/Linux, a distribution with real salesmen. The river of IT was now diverting past the dam Microsoft had built to tax IT. Now the whole world knows that IT can be done better and more cheaply than Wintel and retailers can even sell it. The problem that remains for the PC in the post-PC world is that the number of users of new personal computers is growing much faster than ever while the proportion of people that actually know how to use computers well is stagnating.
Sure, even my grandchild at age 3 can use Android/Linux and GNU/Linux but she is primitive in her concept of IT. To her everything is something you click to run and if it is not visible it does not exist. Sadly, even adults today who have used IT for years on personal computers are scarcely more sophisticated. They might seek to install an application they encounter on a website but they have little use for IT except to create image files with a camera, browse news, weather and shopping sites, play multimedia and keep track of acquaintances. The infinity of other uses is beyond them.
The legacy PC boxes and notebooks and the new PC boxes, smartphones, tablets and other gadgets are terribly underutilized even as their numbers proliferate.
GNU/Linux can fix that.
With GNU/Linux one does not need to buy licences to do many things. The time between concept and reality can be just a few minutes rather than weeks or months. The client PC can be a server or database, on the web or the LAN, or just serving itself. The possibilities are endless when M$'s profit-motive and EULA are bypassed. It starts with installing an OS. With that other OS one must first buy a licence to be legal.
With GNU/Linux one can install on just about anything that computes because the licence that comes with a $free download gives the freedom to install as many times as one likes with no accounting.
Indeed, GNU/Linux is Free Software that includes a licence permitting use, examination, modification and distribution with very few restrictions. A normal person can reasonably download and install GNU/Linux on an old PC and have the latest software running in just a few minutes instead of buying a new PC because the old one has "slowed down" (bogged down with unnecessary processes and malware, more likely...). It continues with artificial restraint on what you can do with your PC (quoting Microsoft's EULA for "8"):
- "you can install one copy of the software on a personal computer and then you can use the software on that computer. The software is not licensed to be used as server software or for commercial hosting - so you may not make the software available for simultaneous use by multiple users over a network."
- "You may allow up to 20 other devices to access the software installed on the licensed computer for the purpose of using file services, print services, Internet information services, and Internet connection sharing and telephony services on the licensed computer."
|Robert Pogson, Technology Analyst|