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January 2019 - page 2

The Golden Age of Linux

in The Tech Slant by
*“Do you wanna run up to Egghead with me?  The new version of Netscape is out and I want to get it before they run out again.”

Egghead – for the uninitiated – was a brick and mortar retail store in your town that sold software released on floppy disks or CDs and packaged in colorful shrink-wrapped boxes.  Netscape was the first widely-used web browser; in 1996 it cost $49 and had to be installed separately.

The biggest difference between then and now is that we don’t buy or own software anymore; like beer, we only rent it.  Fortunately beer doesn’t prompt us to log into our mountain fresh account by tapping a secret code on the can before being enabled to enjoy the product we’ve paid good money for, or force us to wait while the beer is infused with updated hops, or require us to agree to ‘terms’ so one-sided as to actually be jocular – except that it is not funny.

The days of spacing out and alternating software purchases to help stay within a budget have gone the way of the floppy disk.  Monthly and/or yearly subscription fees for specialty software used for image editing, audio/video creation, publishing and developing can quickly add up to hundreds every year.  Once MS moves its Windows operating system to a subscription plan the average household can be looking at annual fees of between five hundred and a thousand dollars per year just to check email! Keep Reading

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