Monday, January 26, 2009

The Leap - actually just stepping off the curve.

We've talked about what Linux is and that it has a desktop (just like the other guys). For you it is the same point-n-click except things might be in different places under different icons. Why? Because MS and Apple get very upset if Linux had the exact same desktop as their copy-righted products. Look at all the various ink pens and cars that all do the same things (write and move your body). It is the same for operating systems, applications and computer hardware.

So when you are looking to acquire a PC/Mac your main concerns are cost and available applications. To yours truly, Linux offers the most bang for the buck and a wide variety of free software. The caveat is, learning to accept the Linux world. But the greatest of all compromises is Open Source Software. For the most part, Open Source Software is free and of course cross-platform. There are versions of applications that run on Linux and well as Microsoft PC's and some for Macs too. So, don't be pressed to switch platforms unless you really want too.

As you all know I am a digital art dabbler and in my present economic condition I can't justify paying for Photoshop or Paint-Shop Pro for that matter, just to have so-called professional graphics programs. Does this stop me from developing my interest and talents in pixel pushing? NO!! Of course if you are working in a commercial capacity, the industry standard software would be an advantage for you, if they required it. But who is to say what software produced a digital file if the format is one you can use. I have accepted the fact that when and if I need those MS Windows based professional programs, I can if I must, get them. A strange thing happens though. If you use GIMP as GIMP, without constant comparison to Photoshop, it becomes your favorite when you are using it. Sometimes a new brush (or graphics program) brings a new perspective on honed skills. If you are a big Photoshop fan, why is your life and livelihood threatened by GIMP? It is just that some are so stiff on using MS Windows and Photoshop. Are you convinced that Linux and Open Source Software based graphics is a futile dream or a form of social protest? And by the way, I do hug digital trees!!

I went on a noontime excursion to the local library. Rummaging through the Microsoft software books looking for signs of Linux life, I found a couple of new books. Linux for Dummies (at last). This is a very good book but it is not for dummies. It's more for tech savvy but don't know Linux type folks. I think the "for dummies" people try to explain too much at once. Then Ubuntu, How to Do Everything. I'm still flicking through this book, looks interesting and is closer to the Linux for Dummies idea. It shows how to do desktop stuff with Ubuntu Linux.

I am tipping my hat to the library people for buying more Linux books. We need more stuff on open source applications too. I am still waiting for a book on GIMP to grace the shelves. A few books on digital graphics that are not about photography would be a plus. Digital art, digital painting, etc. There are as many books on Photoshop alone as there are on MS Office software. Then if you flick through those books they center on photos and photo manipulation. There are none that explore drawing and painting. I guess some people still don't think of a computer as being an artist tool. Thank goodness for inter-library loans, we'd be lost without it!

Well if I absolutely must use MS based software for graphics I guess I can, but my aim is to explore, use and produce graphics with Linux software. Why? Because I can and I am. So, with Linux there is no problem making the art, but marketing and selling will take further study. We will see what develops!

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