Monday, November 30, 2009

The Linux "Community"

So what is the source of the conflict I'm having with Linux?

In short, I'm getting something for free and bitch that it doesn't work as well as I think it should.

Is that fair? No, it's not.

I can well imagine someone who toils for free year after year to manage, create and improve Linux, just to have some jackass come along and bitch that it doesn't have a GUI to make it easier. "Hey, either contribute or go away. This is a community, not a give-away."

As some might put it, Linux is free as in speech, not as in beer.

Just keep that in mind the next time you decide you're gonna throw together a Linux system. Its an amazing thing, Linux. Despite all the Cum-By-Ya of Ubuntu -- its logo symbolizing people holding hands in a circle after all -- you will have to become not just a system administrator, but a member of The Community. You might not be contributing your time to write code, but more than likely you will be contributing your time to figuring out how to get it running again after each upgrade. Think of your contribution as being part of the Test Community... a lot like Microsoft products.

The wonder of Linux is that it is modern magic. Once you know the correct incantation, it is amazingly simple to do mind-bogglingly complex tasks. Learning the correct incantation, however, is gonna take you some time... and sometimes learning to drive a car without a steering wheel.

In that respect, Linux may always remain a "hobby" system. Sure, it can be used in "production" environments, but it will always require a dedicated Sys Admin to keep it running. This in a society where computers are moving from being specialized tools to being appliances.

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