I have some free time, and I like playing around with software. It’s fun to try different programs, and find what I consider the best tool suited to the task. I don’t cover Windows software, even though some of the things I do review may run on Windows. This is not another “convert to free software” rant, because if you know me, you know that I don’t really care what you use. The opinions presented here are mine, and if I can expose a few people to some software that they end up enjoying, that’s great. Comments are welcome, and encouraged.
Yes, I use Linux exclusively.1 Yes, I think that most people are fully capable of doing so, if they can overcome their fear of change, and the perception that Linux is difficult to use. My 9-year old brother uses Debian and has no problems with it. Both of my younger sisters use variants of GNU/Linux, and they aren’t especially tech-savvy (then again, they aren’t idiots, either).
If you think I’m delusional and that Linux is not ready for the desktop, go ahead and call me a dreamer. There’s a funny thing about dreams: If you keep accepting it as nothing more than a dream, that’s all it will ever be. Only by accepting it as a potential reality can we begin to make it one. In decades past, cynics dismissed the concept of a computer in every home as nothing more than a dream. An industry of so-called ‘dreamers’ believed it could be a reality, and look where we are today.
My dream is that users will no longer be bound by the chains of restrictive licensing. No one will consider sharing software with your friends an “immoral” act, and young programmers will have access to the code for all of their favourite software to learn from, and build on. We will assess software quality not by corporate investment in it, but by communities built around it, and the people interested in bringing quality to that software. And finally, we may step away from the greed-driven mindset our culture has adopted, and let society evolve from the “how can I use what I know to help me?”, to a more altruistic “how can I put my skills to use in such a way that they will benefit the most people?”. Is it a dream? Maybe, but if we don’t try to make it a reality, it never will be one.
Again, the purpose of these reviews is not to offer a deep analysis of the software. Instead, they serve to draw attention to software that is worth using (or at least looking at).