Free at last…Thank God Almighty, Free AT LAST!

Unless you know me very well, you have NO IDEA just how excited I am right now. It’s 1:00 in the morning, February 9th 2007. I’m sitting in my office at church (yes, I know–I should be home now). But here’s the thing. Right now, this moment, I am typing this post on my laptop, connected to the internet via Firefox browser and wireless internet…

…and running nothing but EdUbuntu Linux.

I think this moment qualifies in my lifetime top ten. Not quite as good as wedding day or when Grady was born, but higher than graduation (high school and college both). Before you think I’m too crazy, there’s some history here:

1. I first blogged about Linux February 21st, 2004. This was before I even used much open-source software, or really even knew much about open source. But I was so excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities — and had no idea how technically demanding it would be. I got really frustrated and eventually gave up.

2. The second time I blogged about Linux was a year later, on January 5th, 2005. Here’s an excerpt:

In the Microsoft vs. Linux war, I regret to say that Microsoft is still winning (curse them). I had some limited success with Knoppix right after Thanksgiving, but didn’t have time to pursue it further over Christmas break. Oh well. Bill Gates can win a few more battles, but Linux will still win the war (I hope).

As you can tell, I’ve always described this whole deal as an epic conflict, nothing short of a war, or maybe crusade would be a better term.

3. Early in 2006, I tried a different approach. I knew I still couldn’t win on the operating system front, so I started finding all the open-source applications for Windows that I could get my hands on. I basically replaced every piece of proprietary software with something open-source…almost always an improvement. That was progress, but the big prize, the operating system, was still elusive. I was always embarrassed to advocate open source so passionately, while being so bound to Micro$oft at such a fundamental level.

4. I guess I have a yearly cycle. I don’t know why I renewed my efforts this week. The biggest challenge has always been getting linux to recognize my peripherals — most importantly my wifi card for internet access. Because with that, I can get online to support forums and solve the rest as I go. The great wall has fallen. There may be a few more skirmishes, but the tide has shifted. From here, instead of “mostly microsoft” and “occasionally linux” I move to the other way around. From here I practice what I preach.

This freedom has been many long years in coming. Thanks to Jeff Brown, John Kendrick, and Willer, who encouraged and helped along the way.

Good-bye Bill Gates, and no turning back.

I am open source.

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