Following is the conversation between Ruby and Mova (fictional characters). Ruby is a charming young girl (just in case you would like to picture 🙂) and Mova is random guy who likes to hang out on IRC networks 🙂 Ruby has heard of Linux but she is not clear and confident, with all the confusion surrounding Linux, Mova being a helpful guy (like me) is helping her out.
Ruby: So what is this Linux thing ?
Mova: Hmm.. Nice question. You can much search this question and get pretty much millions of results on Google. However, in plain english: "It is an operating system". Just like Windows is an operating system, similarly Linux is an operating system that is required to be installed on your computer before you can install your favorite music players, media players or any other applications.
Ruby: What is an operating system ?
Mova: Your computer system is a collection of a number of components(like the monitor, processor, cd drive etc). If you have ever lead a team(of any kind) you know that its your responsibility to keep the team together if you want to achieve your goal. An operating system works similarly to a team leader. It makes sure that the components of the computer work together to achieve the goal i.e. to get your work done. So to get any kind of work on your computer you must have an operating system. If you are reading this chances are you have Windows on your computer. Windows is an operating system, so is Linux, Unix and Mac OS.
Ruby: Okay I get that, but why Linux? I have Microsoft Windows(or Mac OS) on my machine and I am satisfied.
Mova: Yes, you are satisfied, but are you sure? Ever heard of something like V… Vir… Virus? Ever installed an expensive AntiVirus Software to protect your computer? only to find out you are not safe enough? Ever had an unresponsive pc, when you had to restart in the middle of your work and lost unsaved changes?
Now what if I say I can give you a "Magic CD" that would take care of all these? Interested??
Ruby: Sounds good but what is on the "Magic CD"? I hope its not too expensive.
Mova: Well you might have guessed the contents. The CD contains high resolution images of mine, that you set as your wallpaper and I will take care of your computer!! Naaa.. just kidding.
Of course the CD has "Linux" on it. And BTW if you are still wondering about the price "ITS FREE".
Ruby: What?? How is that possible? I pay so much for Windows. How can Linux be free? Is it substandard or under development stuff? If not where do the developers get their money from?
Mova: I m not joking on this one, most versions of Linux are indeed free.
Yes all this while you have been paying for Windows. If you are getting your first look on Linux now then, mmm.. you are LATE. Not very late though, because earlier versions of Linux were not very user friendly anyway. And let me get this across to you very very straight: "Linux is by no means substandard, or inferior just because you are not being charged for it", in fact it is much more stable than Windows.
Ruby: Oh yes now I remember I have heard about Free Software earlier also.
Mova: Wait wait wait.. the "Free" in "Free software" is often misunderstood. The "Free" that is mentioned in "Free Software" refers to "Freedom of use". When you think of "Freedom of use" think of "Freedom of speech" as there is in democratic countries. The "Free" in "Free Software" refers to this kind of freedom. It eliminates the restrictions on copying, redistributing, studying and modifying software. Now moving to the use of "Free" in monetary context, the "Free Software" may or may not be free money wise. Although it often is Free Monetarily also.
Ruby: I am confused now(with sad face)
Mova: Well I know its confusing, but I had to make that one clear, we Linux and Open Source enthusiasts don’t like to hide anything(pun intended!!). Just read it again and I am sure it will be clear.
Ruby: Ya I got it I think, but anyway enough of philosophy, I want to try it now, where can I get that "Magic CD" ?
Actually there are hundreds of such Magic CD’s available freely(guess used in which sense) on the Internet. Which one you want is a matter of personal choice. These are called Distributions(Distros) of Linux. But since you are new to all this stuff and looking at the present day scenario I would suggest you go ahead with Ubuntu without a second thought. You can download it here.
Ruby: Ubuntu? that sounds like an African Tribe.
Mova: Yes it actually is an African word meaning ‘Humanity to others’, or ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ubuntu distribution(remember I mentioned Distros?) brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the software world.
Ruby: Hmm.. philosophy again, but its showing that the download is about 700 MB that would take days on my connection to complete. I wish I could get it from stores.
Mova: At many places you can get it from stores also. Or else try ShipIt. They send you cds totally free of cost almost anywhere in the world. No shipping charges, nothing.
Ruby: Wow.. that’s cool.. I m really liking this whole setup, wish I could repay them in some way.
Mova: You surely can, the least you can do is help others around you who may be needing the cds or some help. You are free to copy the cds and distribute to your friends, students, colleagues.
Ruby: I have requested the cds, they say it can take 4 to 6 weeks to deliver. But in case I need more information where can I find it?
Mova: There are plenty of resources available on the Internet, try these:
Ruby: I will surely try Linux then and let you know my experiences. Bye for now.
Mova: Bye.. and yes, Welcome to the World of Linux.
End of conversation!! [Applause]
This is my first time writing Fiction 🙂 so bare with it.. And BTW I plan to continue. Comments are invited, let me know if you liked the style and would like to see more of such conversations and about which topics.