8 free alternatives to Windows and MacOS

Also in today’s open source roundup: Why you should begin with the terminal in Linux, and MATE 1.18 has been released

free price tag
Credit: Alan O'Rourke

8 free alternatives to Windows and MacOS

Windows has its virtues, but many people simply don’t like it and don’t want it running on their computers. Nor do they wish to pay the Apple tax and buy a Mac. So what other operating systems are out there?

A writer at MakeUseOf has a great roundup of eight free alternatives to Windows and MacOS.

Christian Cawley reports for Make Use Of:

Perhaps you’re looking for a new PC and perhaps it’s too expensive. The immediate consideration is switching away from Windows, but MacOS also involves an expensive purchase.

So what can you do?

The smart money would be on Linux, a free and open source alternative that offers many different (albeit similar) operating systems. But in fact there are many free alternatives to Windows, operating systems that are capable of performing all standard computing tasks.

If money is a problem and you need a free alternative to Windows to keep your PC running, or you just want a change but don’t want to splash a grand on MacOS, take a look at these options, all available to download and install today.

1. Linux

2. Chrome OS

3. FreeBSD

4. Syllable

5. ReactOS

6. Haiku

7. MorphOS

8. AROS

More at Make Use Of

Why you should begin with the terminal in Linux

Linux has a ton of different GUI-based desktop environments to meet the needs of almost any user. But much can be said for using the command line in Linux as well.

A writer at LinuxInsider explains why you should begin with the terminal in Linux.

Jonathan Terrasi reports for LinuxInsider:

Once you have a sense of the vast potential of Linux, you may be eager to experience it for yourself. Considering the complexity of modern operating systems, though, it can be hard to know where to start.

As with many things, computers can be better understood through a breakdown of their evolution and operation. The terminal is not only where computers began, but also where their real power still resides. I'll provide here a brief introduction to the terminal, how it works, and how you can explore further on your own.

Although "terminal," "command line," and "shell" are often used interchangeably, it helps to learn the general distinctions between these terms. The word "terminal" comes from the old days of Unix -- the architecture on which Linux is based -- when university campuses and research facilities had a room-sized computer, and users interacted with it by accessing keyboard-and-screen terminals scattered around the campus and connected to the central hub with long cables.

Today, most of us don't deal with true terminals like those. Instead, we access emulators -- interfaces on Unix-like systems that mimic the terminal's control mechanism. The kind of terminal emulator you're most likely to see is called a "pseudo-terminal."

More at LinuxInsider

MATE 1.18 has been released

The MATE desktop has been updated to version 1.18.

Marius Nestor reports for Softpedia:

…the entire MATE desktop environment is now based on the latest GTK+ 3 technologies. GTK+ 3.14 or latest is required to install MATE 1.18, which is no longer compatible with the GTK+ 2 series. All the included applications and components were successfully ported to GTK+ 3.

Prominent new features of the MATE 1.18 desktop environment release include support for the libinput library for handling touchpad and mouse input devices, updated Caja file manager with support for mouse-based back and forward navigation, notifications when external drives are safe to be removed, and copy pausing/queue functionality.

The accessibility support was greatly improved to help visually impaired users have a better MATE experience, the MATE Panel gets StatusNotifier support, Menulibre support, as well as support for desktop actions. Moreover, the lock screen is now capable of loading the user's desktop wallpaper instead of the system default one.

Furthermore, it looks like MATE 1.18 updates the notifications with support for action icons, the upower-based hibernate and suspend functions were replaced with their ConsoleKit2 equivalents, support for TTC fonts and a brand-new font browsing mode were added to the font viewer, and the MATE Calculator app makes a comeback.

More at Softpedia

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Open home page to get caught up with the latest news about open source and Linux.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?