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Why I Switched

      Humanity has been blessed with the gift of free will or libre arbitre as we generally refer to it in a variety of latin derived languages. This conceptualization thus explains my reasoning for changing from windows xp pro to GNU/Linux OS on October 12, 2003.

     I was born a unix user, which is to say that I have always used unix in some capacity since I first started my online adventures in 1993. As time had progressed and the dot com boom erupted I found myself more and more active in the security aspects of the world wide web. My greatest annoyances had been java, javascript, IE, web ads and bugs, and first generation adware, spyware for example programs developed by Cydoor. I started online using windows 95 then progressed to 98 with my limited 150 hours per month internet time, fortunately for me I never used AOL and thus depended on free isps with banner ads for my internet surfing; though in all honesty I cheated them by hacking their software. Since my early days I have never used IE as my primary browser and thus depended on netscape then opera for my primary browsing, and at last mozilla and now firefox as my backup secondary browsers.

As the dot com bomb continued there was a mass increase in the general usage and deployment on a variety of advertising fueled programs most notably gozilla and other ad supported programs. Prior the internet had been a place of porn, chain mails, cookies and such quite timid by todays standard but with the proliferation of hot money everyone joined in to take advantage of every marketing space possible. It was at this time that I began my grand experiment against all adware/spyware programs prior I was only concerned with my own system security now I decided to expand my horizons to understand and undermine all attempts at showing me annoying pop up ads. I began by creating pseudo online identities scattered on servers worldwide, these clones as I called them, were used to deploy servers, establish accounts, and generally served to route my data transmissions globally in order to hide my real online location. Thanks in great part to my paranoia I was able to secure all public records which were sold by various phone companies thus removing or faking the records that had been sold to online webpages and ldap servers. The truly funny part about all this was that the very same methods employed in the past have secured me today; that I still use the very same old programs to take out all the latest and greatest software available and attack programs of today.

     To present day October 2003, my university in a spectacular attempt at protecting the network instituted RU Compliant, a program developed to proactively scan and report back to the main servers the security compliance of all network hosts before you were allowed access to the network. In theory the results of this program would only be seen by the university however having my entire harddrive scanned by a third party program was not my idea of a smart security and privacy protocol. At this time I had xp pro on my new pc for about 3 months since I was a late xp adapter, generally I only use a M$ product after it has been released for at least 1 year also windows 98 had always served me well. On my floor in the university residence hall was a Redhat user, prior to this I had known of Debian, Redhat and Slackware and had read up on them but never actually used them since I mainly was use to working with BSD. At this point a decision needed to be made and thus I decided I would rather have a GNU/LINUX OS as my desktop than subject myself to third party scans of my system. It was on that faithful Sunday night that I installed a second harddrive after my friend and I had added some thermal paste to my cpu heatsink. I borrowed the redhat 9 shrike cds from the LINUX OS user on my floor and installed redhat with him giving a few suggestions; at the completions of the install he showed me a few commands accompanied by the ubiquitous read the manual and google. I played around with redhat for about 3 weeks before I had had enough, especially due to the fact that I spent most of my time solving dependencies or in my case compiling them. Prior to this I was use to dealing with dependencies however with the rpms for redhat installing the dependencies did not always solve the problem so custom compilation was the quickest and best way to go about it, adding to this was the fact that redhat was approaching EOL: end of life. It was at this point that I began my grand distro testing I tried Mandrake, Debian Woody, Debian based Morphix, Gentoo, then Slackware. Eventually I decided to use primarily Slackware and Gentoo with Debian Sarge being added just recently in March 2005 since my primary Debian usage was confined to Knoppix and I felt like dedicating my new harddrive to having all three as my primary desktop OS. Since October of 2003 the only time I have booted my banished xp pro partition has been whenever I have had to trouble shoot IE CSS /HTML problems and of course to test the results of installing various windows security patches for my job. Thus continues my great GNU/LINUX OS adventure.

“Microsoft executives, meanwhile, are trying their best to diss open source software, with its volunteer developers and 'general public license' copyright.

Such software, Bill Gates tells customers, might not be “interoperable” and could be more expensive to run than Windows “if you look at the entire software stack”.

And “do you really want to have your security issues discussed by the Linux developer community on a public bulletin board,” queries Alistair Baker of Microsoft UK.”(BBC News May 10, 2005)

Windows Xp Pro $239.99 M$ Office XP $269
Gentoo Linx $0 Open Office $0
Slackware $0 Open Office $0
Debian $0 Open Office $0
You Do the Math
SOURCE: www.amazon.com