Ubuntu: the ‘ethical’ operating system
Grant J. Kidney — In the so called ‘modern era’, the abuse of peoples to produce goods for multi-national corporations is an issue still largely ignored. Everything from the clothes we wear to the phones in our pockets were ultimately made by slaves working for gigantic, inhumane corporate powers.
In terms of electronics, perhaps the biggest abuser of human rights is Apple Inc. This trendy, über-hipster mega corporation is really nothing of the sort. Apple, through their subsidiary Foxconn, puts children as young as twelve years old to work building iPhones, iPads, and iPods for the over-privileged. Foxconn employees work long, exhaustive days and are even limited to a certain number of bathroom breaks during their shifts.
Preloaded on every Mac computer built by tiny Asian slaves is Apple’s infamous ‘OS’ (operating system). In the PC world, an entire range of computers are produced by many different manufacturers who also use slave labor. Almost every PC produced is generically loaded up with the Windows operating system.
For those who seek to lessen their support for transnational companies who build their merchandise on the backs of slaves, it would seem that there is no other option but to shut one’s self out of the digital world completely. Well, not necessarily.
Ubuntu is a free and open sourced, Linux based operating system. The word ‘Ubuntu’ is derived from an African philosophy which recognizes the value of human beings working together in a collaborative fashion. A more appropriate term could not have been chosen for an operating system built by a dedicated community of programmers with an ethical-bent.
Ubuntu can be downloaded for free on to any of your slave labor manufactured computers. Of course using Ubuntu does not amount to a full renunciation of inhumane practices in the modern world because it is merely an OS and not a type of computer. But at least by using Ubuntu, one is effectively running counter-current to the proprietary-based dictatorships that companies like Apple and Microsoft wholly represent.
Ubuntu features an impressive ‘app store’ full of totally free alternatives to extremely expensive software such as what is found in the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Premiere, Audition, etc.). The latest versions of the OS have come preloaded with Mozilla Firefox as well as ‘Libre Office’ which is an alternative to the proprietary Microsoft Office.
Many professionals have switched to Ubuntu because of the savings that it equates to in terms of software choices.
Unless one is able to find computer parts produced exclusively in first world nations by folks receiving a relatively livable wage- and from these parts, build one’s own computer running a Linux based OS- it is an unfortunate but necessary reality to have to use machines built by ‘machines’. And by ‘machines’, I mean the folks who only make a few pennies per hour putting this stuff together.
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