Computing for Less Than £160
How much would it take to get yourself up and running with a modern, sophisticated and capable computer setup in 2015? Well, a decent 2-5 year second hand Macbook will likely set you back by between £400 – 500. How about picking up a second hand ex-Windows machine for £150 and installing the free GNU / Linux operating system? That’s what I’ve done and I’ve never looked back. I mentioned in one of my earlier articles, that I am able to access all of the software that I need to run my Web Design business, so in fact, I’ve saved more than my initial purchase, because I don’t need to invest in expensive propriety software to carry out my tasks.
Before I discovered the wonderful world of GNU / Linux, my current setup and costs were:
- £500 second hand Macbook Pro
- £35 propriety cabled needed to connect my external monitor
- £50 per month for software subscription (creative/design software suite)
- Total cost after 1 year: £1,135
After discovering GNU / Linux:
- £150 second hand Lenovo T400
- £9 for standard VGA monitor connection cable
- £0 per month for software
- Total cost after 1 year: £159
You might be wondering why go to all the trouble of installing GNU / Linux on the ex-Windows machine, when I could have just stuck with the version of Windows that came pre-installed. Firstly, I would be committed to purchasing later versions of Windows to ensure I have the latest security protection and to ensure that any software I am using continues to work. With GNU / Linux I’m free to install new versions if I choose, but many distributions stay up-to-date automatically, leaving few security worries. Second is performance. My GNU / Linux setup boots, shutsdown, installs and un-installs applications in seconds, not minutes, uses less memory and can handle more running applications without a drop in performance when compared to the same machine running Windows 7/8. Third is that I can’t guarantee that all of the free / open source software that I need will run on Windows. Finally, if I want to ensure maximum protection from security threats whilst running Windows, it is recommended to purchase and install a third party security and anti-virus software package. Due to the way GNU / Linux is designed, there is much less risk from these threats, so in my opinion, there is no need to seek the extra protection (disclaimer: businesses owners should have any computer setup (regardless of which operating system it is running) checked by a security expert to ensure you have appropriate protection)
The decision therefore to use GNU / Linux to power my business was not hard. I’ve saved myself the best part of £1,000, stand to have a much higher return on investment and have the freedom to control my computer, not have my computer control me. If you would like some advice on what hardware and GNU / Linux distribution might best suit you, feel free to get in touch.