Poor countries saving money by using Linux

Today in Open Source: Poor countries and Linux. Plus: Linux and supercomputers, and unfaithful distrohoppers

Poor Countries and Linux

Nadeem M Qureshi covers the benefit of Linux for poorer countries in an article on the Frontier Post.

I don't blame them, it makes total financial and technical sense. Linux has so much to offer, with little or no cost. There really isn't any proprietary software that can come close to it in terms of value versus cost.

Many countries and governments - rich and poor - have realized this and have already initiated serious programs to switch all their computers to Linux based systems. Here are just a few examples of many: The Chief Secretary of the Malaysian Government justified the switch as follows: “the general acceptance of its promise of better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility and lower cost”.

The Turkish Government has created its own Linux distribution called ‘Pardus’, as has Cuba, whose distribution is named “Nova”. Iceland announced in 2012 that it will switch to open source software in public institutions.

All schools in Iceland have already switched to Ubuntu from Windows. Brazil has 35 million students in over 50,000 schools using over half a million PC’s all running on Linux. Russia announced in 2007 that all its school computers will run on Linux. The list goes on, and on.

As a poor country Pakistan cannot afford proprietary software.

More at Frontier Post

And yet the use of Linux is not restricted to just poorer countries. The article also notes that the US military is the largest user of Red Hat Linux. So we're seeing Linux taking its place even among what many regard as the wealthier or more developed nations.

But cost is only part of the equation here. Choice is also a big part of this. Proprietary operating systems like Windows or OS X also impose certain things on countries that Linux does not. A nation that implements Linux also gains almost total control over the computing experience in a way that is simply not possible with proprietary software.

It's an exciting time for Linux fans to watch it being adopted by so many people around the world. The real value of Linux has become apparent, and I think we'll see a lot more of this in the days ahead.

Hey, if Linux works so well for super computers, then the case becomes even more compelling for using it on the computers of individuals who don't wish to become tied down to proprietary software.

Linux and Supercomputers

Speaking of costs, SJVN has a good look at why Linux is so popular and so widely used for supercomputers.

Certainly there are technical advantages such as being easily able to adopt Linux for a particular supercomputer, but there are cost advantages as well that make running proprietary operating systems far too costly.

Let's face it, no country these days - rich or poor - has an unlimited budget for operating system expenses (among other things). Fat has to be trimmed out of the budget, so why pay for a proprietary operating system if you have something that works even better that doesn't have that cost attached to it?

The Linux Foundation believes that this has happened because of two reasons. First, since most of the world’s top supercomputers are superscalar research machines built for specialized tasks, each supercomputer is a standalone project with unique characteristics and optimization requirements.

Thus, it's not affordable for anyone to develop a custom operating system for each system. With Linux, however, research teams can easily modify and optimize Linux to the one-off, groundbreaking designs that characterize the modern generation of supercomputers.

And, just as importantly, "The licensing cost of a custom, self-supported Linux distribution is the same, whether you’re using 20 nodes or 20-million nodes." Thus, "by tapping into the vast open-source Linux community, projects had access to free support and developer resources to help keep developer costs on par with, or below other operating systems."

More at ZDNet

Are Distrohoppers Unfaithful?

Linux Insider has a look at distrohopping, and who is and isn't doing it. I've long been a distrohopper, partly for my own amusement, but also because I write about Linux a lot. So I need to use different distros for review purposes.

Distro hoppers are few and far between in the Linux blogosphere today if bloggers' tales are anything to go by, but in the past most have been around the proverbial block a few times. "I used to be," admitted consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack. "I started with Slackware in the 90s but then moved to Red Hat and even tried SuSE before settling on Debian and staying there.

More at Linux Insider

I took a look at distrohopping a while back in two articles: The Psychology of a Distrohopper and the Dark Side of Distrohopping.

Distrohopping to me is one of the best things about Linux, as each distro has its pluses and minuses. You can always find one that suits your needs at the time, and if it declines for some reason, there's always another one you can switch to that will get the job done.

I do understand that distrohopping isn't right for some people, and that's fine. If you find a distro you love, stick with it. We use computers for certain needs, and if yours are being met then you've found distronirvana.

But it's still nice to be able to hop around, checking out new features and different flavors of Linux. You can't do that with Windows or OS X, or any other proprietary operating system.

Are you still distrohopping? Or have you settled down into a happy distromarriage? Tell me in the comments.

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