I Love U Live Linux!

Live Linux CDs have been out for a few years now, but it still amazes me what you can do with this great tool. Today I had a situation where my main computer had no OS and a colleague had some difficulties with the laptop on which she was planning to run her PowerPoint presentation. A good solution to this was not at hand and in the end she just did the presentation from printed handouts. Even though it was, practically speaking too late, I wanted to see if I could boot my half dead laptop from Ubuntu Live and then use OpenOffice to read a PowerPoint file from my USB memory stick. Amazingly it worked!

I’m sure there are many out there who are not surprised by this, still, taking a machine that is mostly useless in its current state and getting some utility out of it is pretty cool to me. More to the point, these live Linux CDs are incredibly subversive! I say subversive because while I’m sure that the folks at Microsoft could create a live Windows CD, they never would because it undercuts the way they make money. I can make as many live Linux CDs as I like and use them on as many computers as I like without paying a cent for the privilege. Microsoft, however could not have people running around with CDs packed with Windows XP and Office using them on whichever machine they wanted to. Even if people paid full price for the CD and its software, the portability would just kill Microsoft’s revenue stream or at least seriously threaten it. That’s because Microsoft and other companies still depend on people buying new software when they buy new computers. Live CDs would make it too easy to just keep using what you’ve got on a new machine.

Admittedly, most folks would probably keep doing the same thing even if Microsoft did create Live Windows XP and Office CDs. But they aren’t likely to take a chance. Now there may be Live Windows XP CDs in the wild, but of course it is totally illegal to distribute them, but with such offerings on the Linux side of the fence, why bother?