Use a Free Operating System

I do not recommend running Microsoft Windows. I believe you are likely much better off running a Free operating system. You might want to try Ubuntu: Linux for Human Beings. (For dutch people: Some articles to convince you to switch to using Free Software (in Dutch):

Zie het artikel Waarom Open Software belangrijk is, ook voor jou door Johan Vromans en het sprookje over kleurpotloden en P'tit-Doux door Hans "Paai" Paijmans.

Some articles on the issue in English: Internationally renowned security technologist and author Bruce Schneier recommends using Open Source software, both for security and for privacy-related reasons. In his Crypto-Gram newsletter, he wrote on 2006-05-15:

There are all sorts of interests vying for control of your computer. There are media companies that want to control what you can do with the music and videos they sell you. There are companies that use software as a conduit to collect marketing information, deliver advertising or do whatever it is their real owners require. And there are software companies that are trying to make money by pleasing not only their customers, but other companies they ally themselves with. All these companies want to own your computer.


You can fight back against this trend by only using software that respects your boundaries. Boycott companies that don't honestly serve their customers, that don't disclose their alliances, that treat users like marketing assets. Use open-source software -- software created and owned by users, with no hidden agendas, no secret alliances and no back-room marketing deals.

Computer security expert David A. Wheeler gives a truckload of reasons to consider Free / Open Source Software. His study Why Open Source Software / Free Software is aimed mainly at people using software in a professional environment. However, in the last section of his study, he has some notes of relevance to users of Windows who are looking for desktop software.

If you're considering choosing MS Windows Vista, please read A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection and check the BadVista campaign website before deciding. Some other articles of interest: A Vista vs. Linux Matchup: comparing Vista with Ubuntu Linux, by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols and What's wrong with Microsoft Windows Vista? by John Sullivan.

Software for Microsoft Windows

This is a collection of links to software which runs on Microsoft Windows and is actually usable.

You might be interested in TheOpenCD, a collection of high quality Free and Open Source Software for Windows. Er is ook De Vrije CD, een Nederlands equivalent project, van LOSC Leiden.

Security and popular Operating Systems

Links to websites in Dutch: De Nederlandse overheid heeft twee websites ingericht met informatie over hoe je computer te beveiligen als je een systeem als Windows draait: Digibewust en Waarschuwingsdienst. Nederlandse ISP XS4ALL heeft een handige Checklist gepubliceerd, met voorzorgsmaatregelen die je moet nemen voordat je je op internet begeeft. XS4ALl heeft nog meer informatie over Veilig internetten in het algemeen.

Als je niet geinteresseerd bent in het beheer van je PC, maar als het "gewoon moet werken", dan ben je misschien blij met de dienst van Norbert van Nobelen en zijn EduSupport collega's: Lin-Lin (de Lin-Lin website op is zonder Flash-speler niet te bekijken). Lin-Lin levert sinds juni 2005 veilige en betrouwbare beschikbaarheid van populaire desktop applicaties thuis.

Security specialist and MS Windows user Bruce Schneier has tips on how to keep your MS Windows desktop secure:

I am regularly asked what average Internet users can do to ensure their security. My first answer is usually, "Nothing--you're screwed."

But that's not true, and the reality is more complicated. You're screwed if you do nothing to protect yourself, but there are many things you can do to increase your security on the Internet.

Read more on Bruce Schneier's 2004-12-13 blog on Safe Personal Computing.

Another article worth reading is the underground economy: priceless, written 2006-12. It explains why full control over a compromised PC with internet connection costs less than 5 cents.