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Open-Source My Life

Here in the last several months, I have begun to embrace the open-source. I have gone off the corporate teet, one might say. I no longer support the big boys just because they come standard and they’re the most well known and popular. Just because they’re the most well known does not always necessarily mean they are the best. And since I have stopped supporting the big guys, my life has gotten markedly better. Allow me to explain.

You see, there are some products out there whose brands have become synonymous with the product they’re selling. Kind of like how everyone says, “Hey, I have some chunky green snot with some hard furry flakes in it, can you pass me a Kleenex?” Facial tissue would be the proper term for it, without applying the brand name. Another popular one is “Hey guys, let’s set up some plastic cups on the Ping-Pong table so we can see them chicks’ boobs!” Table tennis is the brand-detached term for the game.

But there are also a lot of software applications that have begun to destroy the relative terms and take over with their brand names. And these are the ones I am now actively avoiding. And by actively, I mean fervently, and with a virulent passion I am seeking to remove them permanently from all computers in my life (as well as everyone’s I know) and have furthermore begun hating them and what they stand for with a fiery disdainful heart. Yes. Every time I see Adobe Reader on a computer my blood starts pumping hot and my eyes light up with fire.

Allow me, please, to elaborate. Adobe is now the standard default for everything PDF viewing. Every site that has a pdf document for download also offers a link to Adobe’s download site. Convenient. People have now begun to believe that they absolutely must have Adobe to view pdf files. YOU DON’T! The reason Adobe sucks so bad is because they’re number one. Because they’re the most popular, most well known reader, they have gotten cocky and arrogant. Seriously? Do you really need to start up with my computer? Four separate processes running at all times just for a pdf reader? Dude, that’s so preposterous it makes me want to destroy something. And hey Adobe, let me remind you: your stupid reader does ONE thing: it reads pdf files. You don’t need to send updates to it every other cobbling day! And furthermore, your stupid ass updates require reboots because there are services that have to start with the computer! Ridiculous! And absolutely unnecessary! Let’s not act like opening pdf files is some big rocket science ordeal. And let me also point out that when I do open one – even with pre-loaded processes running in my tray – with Adobe, it takes longer than it takes to boot the damn computer! It has to load and register all types of stupid DLLs and other gay ridiculousness because it’s so bloated with unneccesary hogwash. F you Adobe!

I would like to introduce my readers to Foxit. This fully functional pdf viewer is absolutely awesome. It’s just as free as Adobe, but when you click to open a pdf, it opens the pdf – lightning fast! See, startup processes are supposed to have preloaded the program files into memory when you boot, so that when you go to open a pdf, or whatever, it just snaps it open. Adobe preloads all that schlit, but it still doesn’t open any faster! I hate you! Foxit doesn’t preload anything but it’s lightning fast. Please, people uninstall Adobe and click here to install Foxit. You will thank me for it. It will change your life!

Nextly on my list is Microsoft Office. I’m not going to go into a big whole bunch of details about this, but rather, let me lay out the benefits of using Open Office for you. MS Office Suite can cost as much as a thousand dollars, depending on which programs you get in the suite. But for the basic, which is Word and Excel, you pay $150. Open Office is free. Open Office reads and writes (and is completely compatible with) all the same file extensions as MS Office. And it does the same things, has the same features, and does the same things. And it’s free. And it does the same damn thing as Microsoft’s ridiculously expensive software package. And it’s free! Click here to change your life.

Internet Explorer? Gone. All those Active X controls they run that make it so “neat” are just security holes wide enough to drive a truck through. Use Google’s Chrome instead. It’s terribly quick, a lot faster than FireFox and IE, and it’s safe. And if you happen to have downloaded Microsoft’s newest version, Internet Explorer 9, you’ll notice they copied Chrome’s interface almost to the T. It’s actually sad to see, because you’re like, “Really? Can’t you guys come up with any of your own original ideas?” It’s very blatant. And if Google weren’t a bunch of great guys, I’d say they should sue the schlit out of Microsoft.

And aren’t we all sick of Apple’s bullsh? Really? You guys are going to charge more for your device (that has less space than a competitor’s similarly priced product), and then on top of that, tell me how I can and cannot use it? I bought the damn thing, right? So if I want to root it and install other goodies on it, tell me why the hell it’s any of your business? I already paid you the money, asshole! And furthermore, any company that builds a killswitch into its device, so that at any given time they can change their mind about an app they sold you and just remove it without your even knowing it… Yeah. F you, Steve Jobs. And F Apple. Once I’ve paid for something and it’s on my device (which I have also paid for), then it’s mine. That means you don’t have the right to touch it. Arrogant cobblers. I’m not even going to get into their DRM. Dude, it’s really not your job to make sure I don’t pirate the tunes I bought from you. Duh?! I paid for it. It’s mine. If I want to burn copies and ship them to all my friends, and risk the penalties, who’s business is that? Mine.

So I bought a Sony Walkman. Love it. And I got 16 gigabytes of space for $129 bucks. a 16GB Apple product is over $300. Oh, and iTunes? Oh, I have to register all this schlit and can only use one account on five computers and – wait, wait, wait… Are you (once again) telling me how I can and cannot use the files and songs that I own? I welcome you, Steve Jobs and Apple, to go fornicate with your own anuses. I installed Songbird. Go check it out and let me know if you don’t think it totally smokes iTunes. And yeah, it even looks similar, so it won’t take long to get used to. Oh, and what’s that? There are Add-Ons for it? Wait. You’re not familiar with these shiny new options because Apple doesn’t want you to do anything but buy through Apple itself. :rolleyes:

Sigh. Okay, I need to calm down. I’m getting angry thinking about how all these companies are trying to control our lives by forcing us to use their crap the way they want us to use it. I say it’s changed my life. In reality, that’s not far from the truth. Not having to reboot and click Install Update and crap every second or third day, not having to worry about activation codes and being legal, making sure I convert the songs I bought from the iTunes store into a useable format… All of these things added together really have improved my home computing experience markedly.

The funny thing is, I’ve been in IT for about fifteen years, and have been everything from a Network Engineer to an Internet Systems Engineer – and everything in between. I know my way around a computer. But when I get home, I’m no more than a simple user. A power user at best. I built my own network and computers, and maintain it all, sure. I build awesome music libraries and share them on my NAS so everyone can listen to music all over the house. It’s great. But when it comes to just simply using the computer – I don’t really do a lot. But when I do, I expect it to just work. And not annoy me with update reminders. Oh, I hate you Java. Go lather up with some AstroGlide and see to yourself!

And soon, I’m going to get off Windows entirely. I will start using an Open Source product like Ubuntu. Free. Does everything Windows can do, but more efficiently, more quickly, and more stably. And let’s not forget: with far less viruses. You know why? All the guys who write viruses are nerds! They all use linux! They don’t write crap that infects their own systems. But I kind of see their point: let’s make people aware how crappy Windows really is, and how much it costs to use it legally, and how much of a pain in the ass it really is. Dude, I just want simple, non-invasive computing. Is that really too much to ask?

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Siege

    You can’t see my profile thing up in this piece anymore, so I’ll iterate again my quote.

    “Don’t be a victim of ‘vendor lock-in’ at life”. -Siege

    This is part of what it’s referring to. Nerd platforms are where the term came from, but it applies to the rest of life too. You have to take the time to figure out what works best for you, as an individual. If you don’t, then how do you know you’re getting the best bang per buck, or whatever your criteria is?

    Also: welcome to the club

    And in conclusion: NERD.

  2. Haycomet

    I knew Siege would be the first person to respond to this column.
    Siege, on behalf of our hundreds of thousands of readers, thank you for using restraint and not writing how strongly you feel about Linux. ;)

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