HeliOS Solutions - A Bold Concept in Desktop Computing
Using a computer wasn't ever supposed to be this complicated.
Computers haven't changed much over the past 10 years. Sure the parts that make up a computer have evolved, but when it comes down to it, the same components used a decade ago are still pretty much the same. Hard drives have much greater capacity, your monitor is flat with stunning resolutions and the amount of memory you can stuff into your computer has increased dramatically. In all though, it is still the basic design and architecture it was a decade ago.
Having spent more years than I want to count in tech support, one thing stands clear. People are frustrated with their computers. And it's not just "computer illiterate" folks who are troubled by day to day hassles they face every time they turn on their machine. People with high computer skill levels feel the frustration. I've spoken with hundreds of "computer specialists" over the years and they all end up agreeing to one truth:
"Operating a computer doesn't need to be this difficult."
Why do you suffer so at the hands of these machines? My computer hasn't crashed, frozen, locked up or needed to be rebooted for months.
It's not your computer...it's your software.
Let me share with you something that I personally find troubling...Some of the problems you face are not "bugs"...they are by design.
It's Just Business
If you provide a service or a product for profit, it stands to reason that you want people to use or purchase your product as often as needed. However there are such things as fair trade laws that must be obeyed. The software industry is no different...on the surface.
When it comes to operating systems, the software that interfaces with your computer so you can use it, Microsoft has a near-monopoly on your computer. In fact, a few years ago, Microsoft was convicted of Monopolistic Practices and ordered to pay a huge fine.
The problem is, they made dozens of times more money BEING a monopoly than they did being fined for it.
So that brings us to where we are today. Microsoft is doing everything they can to stop the spread of Linux and Open Source Software. They've even made some deals with commercial Linux Vendors in order to control what goes on in the Linux world. Microsoft has given millions and millions to both political parties, being extra careful not to give one more than another. Some of the lobbying they have done in the Halls of Congress did not benefit you, the consumer, in the least...they simply lobbied to lock you into their product.
So how well they affect the Linux operating system?
As much as I've personally agonized over this, their effectiveness will be minimal. It's like you sticking your hand in a raging river, expecting to divert the flow and direction of that river.
They have no idea of the force they try to control. I do. There are 40 million Linux users world-wide. That is a strong force in itself. Once numbers like that unite behind a common cause, it is a magnificent force indeed. The people who produce Linux and the software included within Linux do it for you...not for a paycheck, not for a bonus or a new car. They produce the code that makes up Free Open Source Software so you can finally have a choice.
It is their gift to you. I cannot think of much else that represents such a selfless act of friendship. People you have never met, nor probably ever will meet, produce a product for you free of charge so you can experience digital freedom.
Many of you have asked some good and fair questions about Linux. It is our hope that this section of our site gives you the answers you seek. If not, you can email me personally and I will answer them for you. firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
"What is Linux and Just Who Owns It?"
Who owns Linux? You and I do.
The core of the Linux Operating System, or the "Kernel" was written in the early 90's by Linus Torvalds, an undergraduate student in Helsinki. His modest release to the computing community was truly a gift to the world...a gift that has grown to change the way entire governments function.
Linux has grown from that effort as software engineers, software architects, artists, script authors and computer technicians from all over the world contribute to Linux on an hourly basis. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, someone is working on some aspect of Linux to make it faster and more secure...not to mention easier for you and I to use.
Linux is released to the public under the GPL. The General Public License is an ingenious piece of legal maneuvering that makes sure Linux and the software written under it will never be taken over by corporate or political interests for profit and control. If Microsoft and other software companies had their way, you would be paying fore every line of code you use. Under the banner of "intellectual property", software companies have turned their software into nothing more than a leased commodity.
You never "own" anything you purchase from them...you "acquire a license" to use the software. This way, the software companies can make excuses to come into your computer and snoop around any time they like. (Think Windows Genuine Advantage) You think I'm kidding? Take the time to read the EULA ((End Users License Agreement). You know the one...the thing we always click on at the end that says "I agree"? I promise you...once you read it, you will never again click "I agree" without reading another one. You have just given your computer and it's use to Microsoft. Read it carefully for yourself.
Then come see us at www.fixedbylinux.com. You can do pretty much anything you like as often as you like with Linux. No one cares how often you copy it or who you give it to. Unlike Windows or Microsoft Office, you can install it on as many computers as you like without any cost at all. After all, you "own" it just like I do.
Whether you use our service or go it alone, we're glad to see you make the smart choice.
How can Linux Be Immune From Viruses
Let's be specific here because this is important. Linux is immune to Windows viruses. While there are viruses for Linux, there has not been a Linux Virus "in the wild" since 1994. Many will just repeat something they've heard...that the reason Linux doesn't have any viruses is becuase no one uses it.
The New York Stock Exchange, The United States Army, The Pentagon, the majority of Wall Street and thousands of Universities and businesses across the nation use Linux. Why?
Because some 14 year old kid with a compiler and a script can't break into Linux and turn the computer into a spam or porn server in 15 minutes. Even accomplished hackers shy away from linux machines...they are just too much trouble to hack. And regardless of how popular Linux gets, they won't be able to either. The strength of Linux lies in its file system structure and the permissions system of use.
I have used Linux for over 4 years without ever purchasing, using or needing anti-virus or anti-spyware applications.
Not only is it rock solid, it is so stable that you can go months without ever rebooting your computer. That's right...even after most software installs, you just choose the newly-installed program and go on about your business. You can save a couple weeks a year just in reboot time by switching to Linux. Many people are so sick of the reboot dance they do with Windows, they find this alone a great reason to try Linux.
But Isn't Linux is Hard To Learn?
There was a time when Linux was truly a "geek toy". Everything was done at a blinking black and white terminal and unless you knew what you were doing, it was pretty much worthless to the average computer user.
My how times have changed.
HeliOS Solutions has a charity program called Komputers4Kids. We are happy to build and provide computers for socially and economically disadvantaged kids in the Austin Texas area. It was during this initial building process that we discovered the need to hold "Linux Labs" for the kids and their parents. What happened next was a surprise to everyone.
Next door neighbors and people not affiliated with the families or our organization started showing up at the 3 day labs. We had to scurry to build extra computers for them so as not to turn them away. People were genuinely interested in what we were doing and wanted to learn about this great thing that would let them get away from Windows.
We found that parents and kids alike were taking less than an hour to familiarize with the new system. The time remaining was spent learning about the different applications in Linux and how to use them. There is no real difference in how any of the applications operate. If you use Picasa in Windows, it is there for you in Linux. If you prefer more advanced photo and picture editing programs and like to use photoshop, Linux has a program called Gimp that fairly well matches Photoshop feature for feature. You say you need Microsoft Office? OpenOffice is available to you for zero cost. MS Office is costing about 400 bucks these days.
Linux is no harder to learn than Windows was...you weren't born knowing how to operate Windows, although it may seem like it now. Linux is about freedom of choice and cost. If 12 year old kids are learning it in an hour or less...we think you will do just fine with it.
"Everyone seems to know someone to turn to when Windows messes up, Who will help me with Linux"?
One thing that takes most New Linux Users by surprise is the number of people that use Linux. See, Linux isn't advertised...at least it wasn't until HeliOS Solutions came along. Since it is free of cost, there is really no return on investment for an advertising campaign. When new users see the number of linux users on line and volunteering to help anyone with a Linux problem, it is a humbling experience.
You have chosen a "distro" of preference. Each distro has a help forum set up to field and answer questions you may have or solve a problem you may be experiencing. Many times, those questions are answered in real time but rarely do you have to wait more than a couple of hours for an answer.
You will find that even with less people using Linux, there are more people willing to help you than you ever had in the Windows world. Google is a superb source for finding answers as well. If you know you are going to need some specialized help or just want the security of someone to talk to during the learning process, HeliOS Solutions offers extended support packages to you at a fraction of the cost of other services. Just go to www.fixebylinux.com and click "Services". One of our staff members will be glad to begin helping you immediately.
You mentioned "distros". What are Distros?
When you step onto a car lot, the first thing that you notice is the sheer number of cars available to you. There are models in all colors, styles and makes...just ready for you to come and kick the tires. The automobile analogy works well when talking about Linux, so let's take it for a test drive. We should get great mileage out of it.
SorryWhen you first turn on or install Windows, you pretty much know how it is going to look, act and perform. That's a good thing, except when you want it to do something else...that's when you begin to realize the limitations you purchased with your Windows operating system. Sure, there are programs to dress it up and add features to it, but they are external programs that often cost you extra and to be honest, many of them really mess up the performance of the machine.
Linux "Distros" are different "models" of Linux. You want a fast, sleek racing machine that gets your work done without the clutter of multimedia and a ton of graphic programs? It is there for you just waiting to be downloaded and installed. Are you a musician or artist that requires software to do your work or pursue your artistic yearnings? Linux has a distribution just for you.
Now, just as you did on the car lot, you have an idea of what you want before you step onto the property. Linux has websites such as Distrowatch.com that have broken down the distros in order of capability, tasks and special needs. The beauty of Linux is that you can take almost any distro and add the programs to fit your needs with a few clicks of a mouse. There are distros that are specifically meant for "generic" use. For those who are click or time-challenged, there is a "distro" suited just for you.