Close Windows, Open Doors
Picture courtesy of Free Software Foundation (CC BY 3.0 US license)

Two days ago, Microsoft introduced new version of Windows operating system and many seem to be excited and interested. Microsoft did some changes to the user interface and added what seem to be a cool feature, running Android apps, but, after all, it is same old Windows.

New versions of Windows might change the UI or underlying components, but they don’t change the only thing important to know about Windows: it’s nonfree software. Windows is closed to everyone, a proprietary operating system that neither users nor independent experts can view the system’s source code, make modifications or fixes, or copy the system.

This puts Microsoft in a dominant position over its customers, which it takes advantage of to treat them as a product. A nonfree operating system, just like any nonfree software, puts the developer in a controlling position over users’ computing, unlike free operating systems and programs that respect people.

Windows is privacy-violating, discriminatory, and a spyware. However, since a long time ago a group of hackers and a community of freedom-minded people are using and continuously developing a free (as in freedom) and privacy-respecting operating system named GNU, and most of them are using the Linux kernel.

By contrast, free software like the GNU+Linux operating system is developed by professional and volunteer communities working transparently, freely sharing their work with each other and the world. Users have meaningful influence over the software development process and complete choice over what code they run.

This means the software usually treats them with respect. Even if a free software developer took a page from Microsoft’s book and began abusing its users, it would have no way to keep them locked in — when this happens, independent experts copy the source code, remove the offending bits and help people switch to the user-respecting version.

Avoid Windows and install a free and privacy-respecting operating system. Close Windows, Open Doors.