Tag Archives: free speech

Linux As a Religious Experience

Hey folks, gotta’ a bit of news for you. Linux is an operating system. Using Linux will not redeem your immortal soul. It won’t even grant you that out-of-body experience you’ve been wanting.

It’s a friggin’ piece of software. It’s a bunch of computer code (mostly C and assembly) written to interact with a bunch of components on a mother board in a box on your desk. Linus Torvalds is NOT a god. Richard Stallman is not the High Priest of FOSS. Wake up and smell the burning capacitors, folks. Ya’ gotta’ push yourself up out of that computer chair and plow through the pizza boxes, soda cans, and cig butts to get outside for some fresh air and a bit of sun. You’re looking mighty pasty.

I spend my days at Linux forums and websites all over the Net. I listen to the fan-boys rant on about FOSS this and Richard Stallman says that. They rant on about which Linux distribution (usually the one they have on their own systems) is the very best. They whine and complain about more popular Linux’s like Ubuntu and Redhat because non-Linux folks think that those distributions are THE Linux that everyone is talking about at tech weinee gatherings.

*sigh*

You know, folks… there are really important things going on outside your door. There’s a huge oil slick forming in the Gulf of Mexico and threatening to slime up a 1000 miles of coastline. There’s a flakin’ whack job, Mow Mow Im-a-dinner-jacket, the president of Iran, who likes to play with nuclear fissionable materials. There are real religious fan-boys placing fertilzer and gasoline bombs in stolen SUVs in Time Square. C’MON! Is it really a big deal that auntie Emma thought Ubuntu was the ONLY Linux operating system? Dude! She only checks her email and visits KNellie’s Knitting Korner website. Who gives a rat’s rear area if she doesn’t care whether her beer is free or not.

What’s the point of this semi-rant? I’m getting to it. Have some patience. I have some more white space to fill first.

Linus did a wonderful thing when he created Linux. Richard Stallman has noble intentions regarding free access to knowledge for everyone. You are not to blame because of your own beliefs, tenets, or even your “brand loyalty” to your favorite distribution or application or whatever. What we all have to be reminded of from time to time is that there are other ways to do things. It’s OK to make a buck off something you created. It’s called Capitalism. It makes the world go round. Capitalism isn’t a bad thing. It’s GREED that’s bad. We’ll talk about that another day, though.

Remember that no matter who uses what operating system, the people behind the keyboards are real people just like you and me. They wake up every day and do things a lot like how you and I do them. They run MS Windows on their computers. They run MacOS. They run many, many different distributions of Linux on their systems. All of us are just trying to do what we need to do. We use our computers to earn a living or for pleasure or both. When we turn them on, our biggest concern is that they work as they did yesterday and the day before. When we double click the desktop icon for an app that we need to perform something we want to do, we rarely think of that app’s creator, the license type, or whether it’s open or closed source. We just want it to work.

Be appreciative of FOSS, Linus, and Stallman; but also be sensitive and respectful to those who have other cares than you. Just because they don’t believe, as I do, that Patrick Volkerding IS a god and Slackware Linux IS the coolest Linux distribution in existence, doesn’t mean they’re bad folks. All this rant was just to say… be nice, be kind, be considerate when discussing your favorites and beliefs regarding operating systems and software. Shit draws as many flies as honey, but honey sure smells better in your computer room. Besides, that desk your sitting at is already pretty nasty.

Have fun!

~Eric