The Open Disk 5 December, 2008Posted by aronzak in Windows, XP.
Tags: foss advocacy, msdn, msdnaa, Open disk, Open Source Adoption, Windows, windows xp
Microsoft is getting slightly desperate. Smart students can use Linux for free, making universities a free software heartland. In response, they run a program called MSDN academic alliance, allowing Computer Science and Software Engineering IT people to give out free copies of XP Professional, Vista 32 bit and a whole lot of other Microsoft tools. These departments have to pay $2000 every three years, and can give out as many copies as they like. Effectively it’s free, paying for itself with ten copies of XP, which could be given out in no time.
Installing my free, and indeed legal copy of XP was easy. Unlike with bootleg versions, I haven’t had any problems. In fact, my desktop’s mainboard had a driver CD that means that I actually have working integrated 3D graphics, something I haven’t managed in Linux.
The first thing that you will notice when you move from Linux to Windows is that Windows comes without any useful software (whatsoever). Though it has just enough to make your computer usable. To do this, open up Internet Explorer, go to firefox.com and proceed to download. This is IE’s most useful feature. Next, Download 7-zip, and download the Open Disk.
The Open Disk is a CD that has a collection of useful open source software for Windows, including Firefox and OpenOffice along with Inkscape, the GNU IMP, and a whole lot of others. This makes it a great tool for yourself, but the best thing is that you can burn a whole lot and give them out.
While, according to NetApplications, Linux has less than 1% OS market share, Firefox has 20% browser share. If you credit some figures, that’s as much as 30% in some areas, such as Europe. When people hear about cool software, they are more likely to install an application than install a whole OS. I think using the Open Disk for FOSS advocacy will be more successful than trying to give out whole Linux distributions. But that’s just me.
One final thought, what about all of the others like me that are installing Windows using MSDNAA? They are a prime target for FOSS advocacy, as they probably already know about Firefox, and don’t have much software on their computers to start with. I think this page should be used as a hit list.