I never liked being on the side of the majority because often that means you are incorrect or at least misguided. I am certainly not in the majority when it concerns the software I run on my computer. Since 2007/8 I have run only Open Source software on my computers. My young daughters do not know any better and are not disadvantaged by it.

My first real awareness of FOSS (free and open source software) started in 1998 with a copy of BSD. I was soon introduced to Red hat Linux. My love affair with FOSS was briefly interrupted by medical training. As soon as I had the time I was back to my love and Linux has proven a valuable lens through which to observe the world. The FOSS community is not just about free software. It is about holding each other to high standards.

The major of us will buy a computer and believe that the only choices are Apple or Microsoft. That is a false choice reinforced by both companies so that they can steal from us. The truth is, a lot more choices are available. Neither company makes a product that is in the interest of the end-user. We all need to take control of our software and by extension our lives. The FOSS philosophy suggests that the end-user should not be restricted in the use of software. He should have access to, and be allowed to modify the source code. This would seem like a competitive weakness to creators of software, but it is not. If businesses would have to compete on the strength of their services and not how secret their process was it would be better for the end-user. In such a world the companies with the best service would have a chance to rise to the top. Today it is the companies with the right “buzz” that command the market. The end-user is too ill-informed to know otherwise and continues to get her pocket picked by big corporations.

Your old computer hardware is not dead because it is slow, you have a software problem. I have rescued many older computers from the dust bin and their owners marvel at the functionality of what was recently considered too old to use. Our consumerist society makes products and encourages us to dispose of them long before the useful life cycle is complete. This early retirement of completely functional hardware is driving most of us to be poorer and making a few richer. More of us need to step out from under the thumb of corporate exploitation.

Where should we start? I would suggest you start by not dumping that old computer. I would consider opening your mind and learning something new. I suggest you learn about Linux. What is Linux? It is an operating system for your computer. Replace Windows and OS X with an operating system that respects your freedom. Your freedom to control your computer the way you want to. The freedom to only run software for which all have access to the source code so security can be improved by the flood of eyes on the creators of the programs we use.
Free yourself, expand your bank account and donate to the independent programmer that is making your life richer.