Do your own work
With Unix you can write your sermon, your bulletin, your Bible class handouts--whatever you do with Windows. My primary theological application has always been my word processor--WordPerfect. You can get WordPerfect 8 for Linux, and it's completely free with many Linux distributions, or $50 for a shrinkwrapped copy with a printed manual. Check out the home page, or read this review if you're not convinced. If you're looking for something more complete, you can now get WordPerfect Office 2000 for $100 or so, and it includes Corel's easy-to-install distribution of Linux. You purchase one package and get the operating system plus a top-quality office suite, saving hundreds of dollars over the cost of Microsoft software. It's hard to go wrong with this one!
Another popular office suite is StarOffice. StarOffice lets you read and write Microsoft Office files, if you need to do that. Learn more about StarOffice here. StarOffice is available not only for Linux, but also for Solaris, OS/2 and Windows, all free for noncommercial use. You can get StarOffice for Linux with many distributions, and you can download StarOffice for any platform. StarOffice isn't just a word processor, either, but also includes a database, spreadsheet, presentation and graphics programs, email and file managers, and more. If you're worried that you won't be able to do your word processing or office work if you move to Unix, WordPerfect and StarOffice will take away your concerns.
Even computer geeks can do evangelism. Most people in the world, even in the U.S., do not have PCs of their own. In the meantime, millions of older 486 and 386 based computers go unused and are even thrown away. These PCs could easily be rejuvenated and given to those who need them. The internet is much more accessible when it doesn't include the initial purchase cost of a computer to use it. Simple email would be welcome to those who are separated from family and friends, who are lonely without much human contact at all. Someone who wants to learn computer programming to improve job skills, but can't afford a computer to learn on, would welcome even an older PC.
While older PCs may come cheaply or free, who can afford to spend $80-100 per computer to load Windows, simply as a giveaway project? Current versions of Windows cost too much, and doesn't work well enough on older hardware. However, Linux and FreeBSD are free, and run very well on older hardware. Christians could affordably load an older computer with one of these versions of Unix and give it away. Unix PCs connect to the internet quite easily. For those who can't afford even internet access, Juno offers free email, and the Juno client program has been shown to work with Wine under Linux. Free versions of Unix provide countless free programming languages and tools for those who wish to learn them.
Christians can afford to give away older PCs loaded with free Unix and configured to suit the needs of the user. Members of any religion, even unbelievers, can do that. But free Unix gives Christians an opportunity to share something no other religion has--freedom in Christ. People will wonder why they're getting a free computer. Christians can tell them not only about Christ's love, which moves them to action, but about Christ's sacrifice and forgiveness.
Back to main page