If you are ready to make that move to Linux, but don't know where to start, the Open University's new ten week short course Linux: An Introduction might have caught your eye. First though, a bit of disclosure, my day job is with the Open University (but don't take my views and comments as representing them) and I'm an open source enthusiast. I met up with Andrew Smith of the Maths, Computers and Technology Faculty, who is the academic behind the course, to find out more. I had many questions for him, including some from colleagues and those of you who follow me on Twitter.
I've been using Rockbox, which is an open source replacement firmware for various MP3 players, for some time and really like it. My Apple iPod Video was a treat to myself, somewhere to put my large-ish music collection so I could enjoy it on the go. After a while though it seemed to get slow, it lost its shine a little. It was time to give it a fresh lease of life with some open source firmware that would bring new features (including the ability to play OGG format files), more customisation, and easier file transfer. Rockbox is available for many MP3 players and older iPods.
This week I have been off work using up a bit of leave, but the weather has been rather autumnal, so it has been perfect conditions to stay in, take a break from work stuff and play some computer games. I thought it would be nice to explore a bit open source gaming on my Ubuntu powered Acer Aspire Revo nettop, not the most powerful machine, but it does feature the Nvidia ION chipset so should theoretically be capable of outputting some decent graphics. Putting open source and gaming together might seem an odd concept, after all modern computer games take vast teams and big budgets to produce, but there are some decent games out there. Additionally, for those interested in games development, open source games provide a unique opportunity to learn from existing code and adapt games to new uses.
Wow! From the look of this thing you would be forgiven for thinking the Kubuntu team have spent six months spitting and polishing this fine operating system to make it a really smooth user experience. I have just installed the 64bit version onto my aging Acer laptop and it has taken remarkably little time to get everything up and running.