A Fistfull of FLOSS Freedom

There is very much more to the IT world beyond the very few proprietary systems and unix and linux… And all part of a wide brave world of computer freedom.

In a surprisingly matter-of-fact style for The Register:

Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy? Get weird, go ALTERNATIVE

… It’s hard to believe, looking at the modern computing world, but there is still more to life than Windows or Unix… and today, most of the alternatives run on vanilla x86 hardware and are free.

Most of them need considerably lower resources than the market-leaders, too, so an old PC is ideal for trying them out. VMs are fine, but you can’t get a real feel for an operating system until you’ve installed it on bare metal…

… Twenty-five different PC operating systems to play with that are quite unlike anything else, eighteen of them free and open source…

Go forth and FLOSS!


Jargon buster:

  • IT: Information Technology
  • x86 hardware: Computers based on “x86” CPU architecture as commonly used in PCs
  • CPU: Central Processing Unit
  • PC: IBM PC “Personal Computer”, a computer specification that gained dominant influence introduced by IBM in 1981
  • VM: Virtual Machine, whereby an imagined (“virtual”) computer environment is emulated/hosted by a physical computer system. The virtual environment can be used to isolate/abstract the hosted OS and software away from the real physical hardware. This allows great flexibility to run a VM unaltered on multiple different hardware systems that can support the VM. Further advantage can be gained for debug/testing, security, redundant availability, load balancing/migration…
  • bare metal: Describes the physical computer hardware
  • OS: Operating System – the ‘invisible layer’ of software that coordinates and controls the use of the computer hardware to support running (user) application software

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