I will be the first to tell you that I hate code. I think that writing it, and entering it is wasteful and time-consuming and just inelegant.
However, for those out there who love writing code: thank you. Linux is an operating system created by just such people, people who create a program and share it with the world, expecting nothing but recognition.
Ubuntu, the brand of Linux that I put on my Frankencomputers, is an elegant and easy to use operating system made for the masses, free for anyone who wants it. Why did I take two perfectly good computers and load them with this? Well, I wanted to teach the kids about software. Most kids think that a computer is like an X-box or a Gameboy, that it just comes loaded with what you want out of the box, with all the programs there. The easiest and most secure way that I could show them what an operating system is, was by installing one they had never used before.
The process was easy.
1. I went to Ubuntu.com and downloaded the operating system for free. This is perfectly legal since it is open-source.
2. I burned the image onto a CD—any CD-writing software can do this.
3. I put the disk into the computer and restarted it.
4. I was given a choice:
a. Run the operating system off of the CD without changing or installing anything.
b. Erase and install Ubuntu onto the computer
c. Allow Ubuntu to be installed next to windows, and choosing each time if I wanted to use windows or Ubuntu.
5. Since I wanted a fresh start, I went with choice b.
The kids are now having a great time installing the open-source games, office applications, and more onto the computers. They are setting up internet, installing printers, and re-learning how to use a computer. By extension, they are learning how all computers work. And, if things go wrong, they know that they can put in that handy disk and start over again.