Spring, A Season of Changes

Fedora Linux Desktop

Spring is definitely here. If the tropical breezes didn’t give it away, the yellow swarms of pine pollen should have. Beyond warm weather and insects, March’s winds have blown a few changes my way.

Having guest blogged about my Word writing environment at Motivation for Creation, I was reminded by a commentator of a program designed specifically for writing. Scrivener has been around long enough to have a loyal following as well as developer and community support. Mac and Windows versions of the software are currently supported, but there is also a Linux version in beta.

If you haven’t heard of it, Linux is a UNIX-like operating system that is freely available (as in $0.00), secure, and has broad community support. The source code for many of its applications is also available under licenses that allow modifying the programs to suit users’ needs. I’m sure that’s more than most of you want to undertake to simply write a novel or send an email. I’m not a software programmer either, but I have used Linux off and on for 15 years or so. In fact, there’s a good chance Linux powers the web servers that host many of your blogs. But while it has made advances onto the desktop, there are many reasons (which I won’t go into here) why Windows and Mac are still default choices for personal computing.

I have long wished to move more of my computing to Linux. The reasons are practical as well as philosophical. The Open Source nature of the system means initial downloads and upgrades are free. Obnoxious and legally questionable licenses (EULAs) are mostly non-existent. And many devotees of the Open Source Software movement favor programming in and using Linux. There are some ill-natured and overly zealous community members, but overall the worldwide user community is dedicated to improving and extending the reach of this operating system that began as a college project.

My Win 7 powered laptop has served me well for years, but an LCD cable issue has recently surfaced. The screen blanks occasionally when it’s moved. It’s a totally fixable problem, but I decided it was a good time for a changing of the guard.

So last week, I purchased an Acer netbook. A few hours later it was sporting Fedora Core 16, the operating system that Red Hat uses to test cutting edge features that eventually migrate to its commercial Linux versions. I’ve loaded the latest Scrivener beta which I expect to update sometime this week. After a short introduction video, I moved my current WIP. Although switching operating systems is not always a simple procedure, my Linux background made it a fairly unremarkable task. And since Scrivener is cross-platform, expect a review after I’ve spent some time with it.

Of course I’ll continue to use Windows and Mac, but it’s nice to have another choice.