Walk down the street and chances are good that you’re going to come across one ad, whether that is on a billboard or the side of a bus. You’re also just as likely to see ads watching TV, surfing the internet or using an app on a smart phone. Ads whether you like them or not are everywhere and it seems as though companies are looking for newer ways to display their messages.
Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux recently made a decision that many find quite controversial. Much like Windows 7, Ubuntu has a search bar that can be utilized to locate folders, files and apps that are installed on the computer. What Canonical would like to do is to throw in Amazon search results whenever you search for anything using their search bar. Keep in mind this search bar is built into the operating system itself and is not a toolbar for a web browser. So say one day you’re doing a search for a document, you type in the name of the file in the search bar and press enter. In addition to seeing the document you were looking for you’ll now also see search results for Amazon. Mark Shuttleworth, the head of Canonical has come out and stated that these are not ads since they are not making any money off of displaying the search results, they only make money should someone purchase something from Amazon when using the search bar. I personally think that there should be an option to opt into the service rather than to opt out since I don’t shop on Amazon and have seen many people saying the same thing that if they want to shop on Amazon they’ll open a web browser and access the website.
Unlike Ubuntu, Windows 8 will have full screen ads within some apps. Similarly to Android smartphones and tablets, ads will be in apps. With Microsoft developing Windows 8 to be the same across all devices, this could mean that ads are going to be in apps that we use on our desktop or laptop computers in addition to phones and tablets. Now Microsoft won’t receive any of the ad money so this will be purely up to the developers of the app on whether or not there will be ads and how large they are. In my opinion, when I’m downloading an app on my phone, I don’t mind seeing a couple ads, since the developer probably wants to make a few dollars for his work; however seeing full screen ads on a large monitor just seems a little obtrusive.
I’ve reached a point where I’m willing to accept a certain amount of ads in my daily life but when do ad companies go too far?
With the explosive growth of smart phones recently many more people are being introduced to the world of Android. Android is built off of Linux, which is a full operating system that can be used on many different computing devices, including desktop and laptop computers. Due to Linux being open source there are many different variations called “Distributions”. Many of these distributions cater to very specific markets. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is one such distribution. It is geared toward companies and enterprise environments, and they require a subscription plan for their technical support to ensure everything runs smoothly. There’s also Ubuntu which is currently one of the most popular distributions available and is targeting the average computer user with a home pc. Ubuntu is one of the more user friendly distributions available and has software included that most people will find useful.
There are also distributions available that are aimed at being more of a tool than a full time use operating system. One such distribution is SystemRescueCD. This one is useful for repairing operating systems that are unable to boot and also for recovering data from a crashed system. This can be booted as a live cd which means that the operating system is loaded into memory only. The great thing about this distribution is that it’s capable of repairing not just Linux but also Windows and it is capable of reading NTFS and FAT file systems.
The list could go on and on for all the different distributions available and what they’re capable of but this is a brief overview of what Linux is and what it offers. There are many different flavors and many different tools which can lead to difficulty in finding the perfect fit, but do a little research and you’ll find there is a wealth of information out there.