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VINUX - Accessible OS Windows Alternative

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VINUX - Accessible OS Windows Alternative

Linux is a Free Operating System that many people are using to replace old Windows XP operating systems as they become obsolete.

Vinux is a Free version of the Linux OS designed for the Visuall impaired.


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Linux, alternative to Microsoft

For those who are permitted to use alternatives to Microsoft, there's Linux. If Microsoft is required for your employment or some other reason, say there's a specific software package you must use that only operates on Microsoft that you are required to use, then Linux may not be for you. Keep in mind though, there are a myriad of alternatives available in Linux that are equivalent to Microsoft packages and many that are compatible with Microsoft systems.
Linux is simply the core, or kernel of the operating system, much like DOS is, or was, the core of the Microsoft system. The number of 'User Interfaces' that have been built around Linux stands at well over 400 commonly used UIs. Some of these are so complex that it truly requires a degree in Linux computer science to operate them. There are others that are just as easy, and many say, easier to use than Microsoft. Linux is in very common use, though most people don't know it. The Android system on many smart phones has a Linux core. Most of the smart TVs have a slim UI on Linux that offers the familiar menu interface. Linux is used by most high security seeking establishments all over the world for servers. The New York Stock exchange as well as the European Stock exchange use Linux servers. The Federal Aviation Administration uses Linux to monitor air traffic. The unmanned submarine used to search for the downed air liner near Australia uses Linux. The US military used Microsoft on it's unmanned aircraft until shortly after Iran hacked down a drone, then the military switched to a Linux build for security reasons. Most automotive and airline entertainment systems use Linux. The experiments with autonomous, or self-driving cars use Linux.
At some point, odds are that you have used Linux and haven't realized it.
I use a build of Linux on my desktop and laptop called Linux-Mint. Mint also has five distinct desktop styles. There is Xfce, KDE, Mate and Cinnamon in a user-friendly Debian-based build. There is also a pure Debian version of Mint called LMDE that is for more advanced Linux users. This is probably pure Greek to anyone reading this, but once you investigate and learn, it will begin to make sense. I use the Mate style. It is very similar to the desktop styles you are familiar with in Microsoft XP, Vista and Win-7. The program names of course are totally different than the default Microsoft programs. If you have ever used the Firefox browser in Microsoft, you have used the default browser for most Linux builds. If you have ever used Libre Office, you have used the default Office package for most Linux builds. If you have ever used the email program Thunderbird, you have used the default email client of most Linux builds. If by chance you use all of these, a transition to Linux would be with a near zero learning curve.
Linux developers have many advantages over Microsoft and even Mac developers. The Linux operating system is known as Free Open Source Software or FOSS. It is not proprietary. It is not under any restricted copyright coverage. It is Open Source. The over 400 builds that are available have been created by developers who were looking for some certain features in their User Interface. One major step further, anyone who is skilled can even take the Linux kernel and change it to suit their specific needs. 98% of the world's super computers, used for scientific research such as astronomy, physics, medicine and what-not use the Linux core modified either by themselves or by the Linux Foundation to perform the required chores on highly developed hardware. Because there are no copyright or even licensing restrictions on developers through the FOSS agreement, developers all over the world work on Linux at some level. Due to this, vulnerabilities, which do exist in Linux, can be much more easily found, reported and fixed. This is just one feature that makes Linux much more secure than Microsoft. Another feature that makes Linux more secure than Microsoft is the method used for file permissions. On Microsoft, it's deadly easy for silent, hidden drive-by downloads and installations to take place because of Microsoft's lax file permissions. There is no possibility of any silent, hidden installation of anything with Linux! I have an anti-virus program on my desktop that I use to check the few third-party package installations I use. On my laptop, on my wife's desktop and her laptop, there is no anti-virus program. It simply isn't needed.
For several friends and relatives that were suffering through the demise of XP, I've either given them installation disks of Linux-Mint Mate or I've shown them how easy it is to install by yourself by installing for them. If you are in the pickle of needing to upgrade from XP, consider Linux Mint. If you've ever installed Microsoft you know that it takes around three hours, and then there's those updates and restarts. Then you have to download and install your favorite programs. It can easily take more than a day to perform a complete, customized Microsoft installation. With Linux-Mint, a dual-boot installation, that's leaving Microsoft on your hard drive and putting Linux on as well, can take about one hour, yep, one hour. A clean install, replacing Microsoft, will take about 20 minutes. If you have a decent internet connection, updates take about another 20 minutes. If you're upgrading from an earlier version of Linux-Mint, you could have and should have made a software list backup. Not the software itself, but a list of all the software you had installed. You can then have Mint restore that software simply from the prepared list. Depending on the number and size of the packages this could take another 20 minutes. Restore your personal files, pictures, documents, music, movies, whatever in another 10 minutes or so and you can fully install Mint with your files and be working in less than an hour and a half. If you're installing a dual-boot alongside Microsoft, then it will take about two hours because Linux has to move the Microsoft system all together to make room for itself. In a dual-boot installation you are presented with a new menu when you start your computer. It will present the options of starting either Linux or Microsoft as well as offering startup options to test and repair each system.
Now, how about accessibility? There are dozens of projects all over the world taking Linux to the disabled. One project that I'm familiar with is the Vinux project. In England, a lecturer for the Royal National College got a brainstorm and started making a Linux build for the visually impaired. He started with another build that is very user friendly and replaced difficult to access programs with accessible friendly programs. He added assistive aids programs. It worked! It was taken over by his volunteer crew of visually disabled developers and there is a build of Linux that is not only accessible, it can be installed by even someone who is deaf-blind as long as they have a Braille display device. Screen readers and Braille display drivers are included on the installation disk and start up automatically! You can test Vinux from the DVD as often and as long as you want, then, if you want to install it, the assistive aids will take you right through the entire process. You don't need sighted assistance to install Vinux! You also don't need your wallet. Vinux, like Linux, is free. The screen readers, the screen magnifiers, the Braille display capability, the browsers and all other programs are free. All you need is a good working computer and if needed, a Braille display device. If you know someone who needs to upgrade their XP but can't afford to, let them try Vinux or Mint.


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