Shannon Taulbee works at Savannah's newest computer store, building computers. But unlike in most computer shops, you won't find any Microsoft products at the Open Store on Abercorn and 33rd Streets. The store deals exclusively in Linux, an alternative operating system users say is easier than the dominant Microsoft Windows.
"Linux just doesn't complicate everything like Microsoft does. So it's a lot easier, so it's easier to learn," said Taulbee, who's actually just learning himself.
"My background is in Windows," he said. "I've done Windows for years. It's just I get tired of having to redo everything in Windows. Every six months, your computer's getting too full, or you have to reinstall because you've had an error. It's just too much hassle."
The worldwide Linux community is constantly working together to improve the software and keep it free of the kinds of problems that plague Windows, from crashes to vulnerabilities that leave your computer open to attack.
Contrast that the to tightly controlled, closed-source environment of Microsoft, which closely guards its Windows software as corporate property.
Linux is what's known as open source, freely available on the internet. While only Microsoft developers can create new Windows software, any programmer in the world can legally develop and release Linux-based products.
The Savannah store to retail and service these products was Matthew Conley's idea. "Came to me while sitting in the bathtub," he laughed.
He wanted to open a store, since Linux users had no real-world location for sales and service. "If you want a Windows machine, you got to Best Buy or Wal-Mart or whatever. You want a Linux machine, or you want to try something, even look at something, you've got nowhere to go except online."
Until now. The store sells hardware and software, and also provides tech support.
And Conley says that one of the great things about Linux is that, because everyone's allowed to work on the software, bugs are fixed fast in the first place.
"Not as likely to have viruses," he said. "Since it's open source, if there's a problem found, it's usually patched within a couple days, cause people round the world are working on it. They find a problem, they fix it."
And if you're curious, the store--like the software--is now open: visit www.theopenstore.net for details.