People that read my blog with any regularity will roll their eyes at the next statement...I believe I've made the point before:
I don't write because I think what I have to say is important...I write to draw your comments.
That's when I begin to learn...to understand.
Has my blog been a soapbox? You bet. The biggest, bestest one I could build. But through it all, it has existed as a learning tool for me.
That being said, the Deja Vu article drew some notable comments. I wrote it to state that I had the same revelation the "Linux Sucks" author had recently, only several years before. One comment in particular stood out and I thought I would share it verbatim, as a feature article. Thank you Magice for sharing your knowledge and thoughts. I believe they are important.
My question to this kind of suggestion would be "then what?". Assume that we succeeded in "unifying" the effort and experience, and GNU/Linux achieves significant market share in desktops, then what? What have we offered to the world but Windows-with-Linux-kernel?
The real meat of GNU/Linux is not about speed, or stability, or usability. These are the result of the real meat, side effects at best. If you wish those that much, you can go for Macintosh just fine. Or some specialized version of Windows. GNU/Linux is not about these. I still put the "GNU/" part there to remind myself that GNU/Linux is all about personality and freedom. That is what this system offers to the world.
True, it takes time and effort to put together a GNU/Linux system. True, it may be weird and inefficient from time to time. But so what? It is, for God's sake, MY GNU/Linux system. It's different from yours. It's unique. It's like how your parents feel about you: you are not the best, but you are theirs, period. They love you, enjoy spending time with you, nurture you, not because you are the best, but because you are theirs.
Same goes of "joy of computing. It's not about showing off, or speed, or stability. It's PC, personal computer. It's mine. It took me a month to put everything together, and it sort of works. However, you know what, I love it. It's mine. I can sometimes even feel its working for me, restlessly overcomes any mistakes I made along the way. It's personal. If I don't like such and such component, well, dead with that. I will switch. I hand-pick the part that I trust and love. My fingerprint is all over the place: it's my personal computer.
Can Windows ever achieve that? Can Macintosh can ever achieve that? Windows Vista is flashy alright, professional alright, but it's someone else, it's something I bought, not built. It's just impersonal, cold, and fake at best (cruel at worst, if you are talking about the EULA).
GNU/Linux is different, that's the main point. It takes time, effort, and sometimes money. It can frustrate me from time to time. But it's like my little kid.
And that's what GNU project offers to the world: a taste of freedom, of possessing your own system. It's the meat of the whole project, and later the whole free software movement. Linux is adopted to be a part of that. Thus, it is best that GNU/Linux stays what it is, "an alternative to the mainstream" (quoted from forgotten source).
If we change, if we "standardize" the system, we just prove one thing: that Thomas Paine and his bunch were wrong after all; or any freedom worshiper for that matter. It is best to have some "developers" to control your system; it's best to hand over your computer to someone else; it's best to not doing anything; it's best to be under control, to be slave, to not think. Freedom, personality, possession are too effort-intensive, too time-consuming. Is that what GNU/Linux about? Oh, sorry. Is that what Linux is about? Is that PC? A brand, sounds good, connote nobility, but denotes nothing but an empty name?
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 9:23 PM