Monthly Archives: September 2012

Linux and the truth behind the ‘post-PC’ era

Apple introduced its highly anticipated iPhone 5 yesterday. And as is to be expected with the introduction of any new iDevice, all the tech news sites went into an absolute frenzy. The major news outlets even caught a healthy dose of Apple fever, especially here in the U.S. Even in the midst of a presidential campaign, a new iPhone will always be the day’s top headline.

What interested me most about this entire ordeal was not the new iPhone, nor was it the fact that a small gadget can induce such hysteria. Rather, it was something that Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the introduction ceremony. Cook cited the popularity of the iOS device as proof we have entered a “post-PC world.” You hear this phrase quite frequently in the tech media these days. In fact, Microsoft is supposedly redefining the term PC to mean “personalized computing.” With the advent of tablets and smartphones, the traditional personal computer is being left behind. Or so they say…

In reality, the idea of a post-PC world is bogus if you take it literally. As others on the web have pointed out, iPhones and iPads are actually still personal computers. The smartphone you hold in your hand has more processing power than most computers had just decades ago. Sure, they come in radically different forms and sizes, but when you get right down to it, they’re still PCs.

When people talk about a post-PC era, I think they mean something different—if, that is, they realize it. Rather than signaling an end to computers, the popularity of devices such as the iPhone signals an end to openness and freedom in personal computing. Read the rest of this entry

Beyond lightweight…

Tux no longer has to go on a diet for Launch into Linux. In the future, expect to see more posts about more heavyweight distros, starting with Ubuntu 12.04. (Image part of public domain)

Although this blog is titled “Launch into Linux,” I could probably call it “Launch into Lubuntu” given the amount of posts I’ve dedicated to the LXDE-based variant of Ubuntu. (See for yourself.) The reason I’ve focused on Lubuntu so much is because its lightweight nature makes it run much better on older hardware than vanilla Ubuntu would. Since many people come to Linux in an attempt to get some extra life out of older computers that can no longer run Windows, I figured that it would be best to introduce them to a distro that would make the best use of their aging hardware.

To be honest, though, the other reason I’ve focused more on the lightweight end of the spectrum was because my Linux test box was a 7 1/2 year old Dell Dimension desktop that ran on a Pentium 4 processor and had a less-than-stellar onboard graphics chip. That being the case, my options were quite limited as far as what it would run well. For instance, I could run Ubuntu 12.04 on the machine, but Lubuntu (with its lightweight desktop environment) ran far more smoothly. Since this “test box” was in reality a computer that was being used by my parents on a daily basis, I had to go with what worked best. Read the rest of this entry