As most of my close friends know, my hard drive crashed on me a few months back, completely destroying the data and more importantly the windows program on my computer. You see, I'm using an IBM thinkpad t40 for the past 4 years now, and as IBM users will know, there's a pretty neat function called "Restore to Factory Settings" which would wipe everything out of your com and restore it to just Windows.
Well, so much for Windows now. I've decided at that time I should try something new, something exciting, something revolutionary. That's when I saw the come of one of my lecturers, he uses Linux. I remembered that I read an article about Linux sometime back in secondary school but heard nothing else since then. I thought they were just gonna succumb to Window's domination of the Operating System(OS) market.
I was SO wrong. Not only did they survive, they even evolved. Just for starters, there are so many distributions of Linux out there. And a lot of them provides very nice frontends and desktop environment.
For those who don't understand what desktop environment is, take a look at your Windows. That's a desktop environment.
Here's a screenshot of my desktop.
Now why do you think Windows has triumph over all the other Operating systems? Because they have such a nice and easy to use interface, and that's what the desktop environment is about.
Linux's strength isn't in this though. It's in the kernel, the supposedly powerful kernel that is customisable to do anything to your liking. While I'm not at the pro-level yet, I could already feel the power of the kernel.
Just think about this. You can run any program, any function, integrate any type of programming language into this thing. This little baby is a monster I tell ya. MONSTER!!!
An example of me running R(a statistical program) in it.
Basically there are two major types of desktop environment you can choose if you want to run Linux: GNOME and KDE. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. I chose GNOME because its name appeals to me more(:D)
Also there are so many distributions of Linux out there and the best thing is that they are all free.
The bad thing about it is they are updated so often, and you can choose to use the latest available version (what we call the bleeding-edge version). I personally use SUSE Linux 10.1 but if you're a beginner, there's a distribution called Ubuntu, which is very user-friendly.
So why am I writing this article now you ask?
Well, I've been browsing around looking at new things and I came across this other FREE but not open source OS called Solaris 10. Solaris is developed by Sun Microsystems, the same company that brought java to us and changed our lives forever. Apparently Solaris 10 uses a java-based desktop environment, which could be interesting. A screenshot for all of you, introducing Solaris 10, using a GNOME environment too I see, well bits of it.
Anyway, if you're interested in testing this out, go over to their website here. Place an order and they'll deliver the DVD-image to you FREE!!! ANYWHERE in the world. Oh did I mention Ubuntu is doing this as well?
For more info why they deliver it for free, read this article by Jonathan Schwartz, our tai ko in blogging.
p.s. Jonathan Schwartz is also the CEO of Sun Microsystems. Yea baby, Sun Microsystems you have my support :D
p.p.s. WINDOWS I'M NOT GOING BACK TO YOU, NOT IN THE NEAR FUTURE.