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Making Technology Sustainable
Ditch the big tech parasites for public, open-source options
Every year, the USA throws away more than 30 million computers and 100 million phones. It is a stunning amount of waste, and totally unnecessary, as George’s old computer proves.
George’s old iMac is really old for a computer, about 21 years old, in fact. We bought it back in the day when Apple still made decent products, before it became a phone company. As a software engineer, Apple was my operating system of choice back in those days. The Apple/Mac computers were faster, required fewer system resources and other things than the Windows alternatives, which ran on Windows, the dominant system by far, even though it was loaded with crappy commercial add-ons that bloated the size of the system and made it run slower. At the time, I considered Microsoft to be a crap operating system. Microsoft had the better marketing game, however, so were the awful system that everyone had, even though there was a much better option available.
Unfortunately, over the years, Apple became more like Microsoft, not the other way around.
OK. Technically, that is not true. Microsoft copied many of the better functions of the Mac. So Microsoft products began to look and work more like the Mac. But, from a business perspective, Apple became more and more like Microsoft and they began doing things that looked overtly (at least to many of us technology people) like what they call “planned obsolescence,” where technology people intentionally cause their products to “break” or render them unusable in the future to make you have to buy new hardware and software. Planned obsolescence is a cash cow for them, but is a waste of time, money and resources for the rest of us, and it is destroying the planet on top of that.
George’s old iMac demonstrates this perfectly. At the time we bought it, it was a pretty high-end computer, high-end graphics, fast processor and 8 gigabites of internal memory, which was practically unheard of back in the day. Today, the current MacOS won’t run on that old computer. The computer does not even have the system resources needed to install the current MacOS, much less for it to run reasonably. As a result, George has had to opt out of any system updates for years, and key services, like his Mac Mail, stopped working. The old Mac Mail is not compatible work with many of the standard email systems of today, like Gmail.
The solution to the problem was not throwing away a perfectly good computer. It was to throw out the junk software that was rendering the computer unusable.
Until a few days ago, George’s old iMac was the last computer in the house still running on a commercial software platform. Now, it is running Linux (Mint 21.2 Cinnamon, for the tech geeks reading this). The transition was shockingly easy and the new, open-source, free software requires only 1/4 of the resources his computer has. So, it runs like a dream. Email, calendars and other things synced immediately and easily. It found our network printer as if by magic. And, it runs like a brand new computer, in spite of it being a couple of decades old.
Linux runs well on this old computer because it is free, non-commercial open-source software that has no interest in making you buy more new computers. And, it includes a host of other free open-source applications to meet the needs of just about anyone.
Learn more here: https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php