Monday, October 5, 2009

Support Linux?

Sorry for going quiet. I am attempting to satisfy all the family and their demands for my services. I like them but they are an unreasonable bunch. They just expect too much of me. I am a keen photographer and the dawn of the digital era was a gift to me. I can take photographs and only show those I want to. No longer do I need to dash from the darkroom clutching my most recent prints to a quiet spot, avoiding all human contact on the way. I do not like people to see the shots I am not happy with, most of them. Having been on the annual family jaunt to the coast I had taken a few (hundred) photographs. Now they wanted me to print them. Seeing them on my laptop is not a substitute for getting hold of paper copies I am told.

Why have I not printed them? Well not only do I moan but I am a miser. The cost of printing these photographs is getting astronomical. What can I do? Somebody suggested I get a book printed. There are lots of companies who allow you to print your own 'photobooks'. Yes, you can produce your own books for the coffee table. It all looks interesting. It costs about the same as printing the photographs but this is a new way. A new challenge.

Off I went on my search to find a suitable company. Many companies allowed you to compose your books on the internet. A good idea as you have to send the photographs to them. For me these remotely hosted applications are awkward so I avoid them. I made notes of those I liked but carried on the search for some software I could run on my desktop and demonstrate to the rest of the clan on my laptop.

My search uncovered many who offered software for Windows. Most even offered Mac OS software. I found only one offering that allowed me to use Linux, a requirement for me. I have therefore used fotoinsight to print my book. As a Linux enthusiast I have to show support for any company that supports my platform. In fact there are at least a couple of options, the software is written by cewe and their offering also uses the software.

I am not complaining about the minimal support for Linux. This is what is expected for a system used on so few computers. Most enthusiasts have access to Windows should everything else fail, this limits the minimal damage for companies. Why do I mention it? First I want those who do support Linux to know that I appreciate their efforts. Then I want to let others know that I do use commercial software when required on my Linux system. I have about 4 paid for applications on my Linux systems, that is more than my Windows using friends own on average! Linux users are not the people who make illegal copies of software, after all that is one of the points of the GNU license.

Those who follow free software do so because they care about copyright, supporting them could be worthwhile. I think you will get a better percentage of legal software take-up than on other platforms. What you will have to do is take a bit of verbal knocking from those who think that all software should be free (as in speech). If you cannot handle that then do avoid the Free Software world. If you can then we all attempt to do the right thing. But there is another option! Why create your own software? Why not put out a request to the Free Software world. Give them a specification and see if there are any takers, you may be surprised. Will this be Free (as in beer)? It should not be. The idea of Free (as in speech) is that we should all support via our support for the community. What the community will do is surprise you in the quality of their efforts.

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