Sunday, May 24, 2009

How I Obtained A Free Computer System

by: Joe Gillis

About four years ago I quit my job in order to start my own business. I was committed to starting and operating my business while incurring as little debt as possible. I decided that one area that I could easily save a significant amount of money was with computer systems. In case you haven't heard of it before; Linux is a completely free operating system that can run hundreds of free applications. It was during this time in my life when I was freeing myself from my corporate job in favor of owning my own business, that I also decided to free myself from Windows in favor of Linux. I simply couldn't justify not only paying for basic software, but also all of the third-party anti-virus and spy-ware applications that are required to keep Windows running efficiently.

The first thing you should know about Linux is that it comes in many different “flavors” or “Distributions.” You see, Linux itself is just the core skeleton of the operating system. This is the part that user never really sees, but is the engine behind the scenes that gets everything done. A Distribution, is simply all of the different packages and applications that are bundled on top of that core system that make it more usable for the average user.

I will tell you right now that while I was committed to using Linux full-time, I still had some reservations about Linux's ability to fulfill all of my computing needs. Therefore, I chose to set up my computer as a dual-boot machine. This means that I installed Linux on a section of the hard-drive next to Windows. Then every time I started the computer it gave me the option of booting into Windows or booting into Linux. Over time, as I became more and more comfortable with Linux, I used Windows less and less.

I first started tinkering with Linux about ten years ago. During that time I have tested many different Distributions and have come to the conclusion that Ubuntu is the best Distribution for me and the average Windows user. You see, Ubuntu has a very simple installation process, many different completely free applications that are easily installed and very good hardware driver support. Ubuntu also adheres to a strict six-month update schedule which provides completely free upgrades every April and October.

So how did I get the free computer mentioned in the title of this article? I simply let it be known to friends, co-workers, acquaintances that I was willing to dispose of any “dysfunctional” Windows PCs that they may have. Almost all of the time there was nothing really wrong with the hard-ware of these machines. Windows had simply become unusable for one reason or another. By installing Ubuntu, I was able to resurrect the machines while spending zero dollars. Now I have an office with six Ubuntu machines and the kicker is that people also throw away perfectly good printers, so I have four of those as well.

If you are unsure whether or not you can live without Windows but would like to give it a try, you can visit and get a 19 page illustrated step-by-step guide to setting up your PC as a dual boot machine. If you are already a Ubuntu user you can utilize this script ( ) to fully enable new Ubuntu installations.

You too can achieve complete computing freedom and a completely free PC with Ubuntu.