Thursday, September 14, 2006

The coming Linux race wars…

I was told today that I am a Linux racist. Am I offended? No. The truth is that having my blatant distribution zealotry pointed out to me only effectively serves to throw gas on the fire of my fervor.

Have *you* seen the writing on the wall? No, I am not referring to the impending energy crisis. It has become obvious to me that we are on the cusp of a Linux race war. I fear this war will come about as a direct result of n00bs thinking they are leet just because they are not running XP.

I want to make on point of clarification at this point in my rant. I can not state enthusiastically enough how much I am in support of Linux in all its many derivations. I want nothing more than to see that monopolistic used car selling company in Redmond fall because of the efforts of programmers everywhere that are united in the common goal of bringing a user friendly Linux desktop to n00bs everywhere. But realize that making that achievement a reality will come at a cost… there is a dark side to making the ease of use so low that you aren’t even required to understand commands like chmod, ls, or grep to get started.

It is this cost… this imbalance in the Linux universe that will ultimately cause the war to begin. The imbalance lies in the fact that you have two main audiences that distributions are trying to satisfy. The n00bs (unholy) and the Linux Elite (the holy). These two groups are diametrically opposed in almost every respect regardless of the OS they happen to be running. The spark that will provide the detonation for the reigning tension will be the current attitude which seems to be that everyone who switches to *any* flavor of Linux automatically thinks they are suddenly Elite. This has happened because it was very much true in the past. In recent years however a paradigm shift has occurred and now thanks to distributions like Ubuntu and Linspire it is now possible to switch to Linux and have no greater an understanding of the underlying system than a Windblows user has of their system.

Everyday it seems I am barraged by people who want me to know about the latest flavor of the month and how “my sound card just worked”. Whoa… really? You mean you can actually play your MP3’s now. Better call the papers… that is real news.

Hello people?

Linux users everywhere are convinced that they have found the “ultimate operating system”… in a word Ubuntu. First off… it is Debian…period. Secondly it isn’t a half bad operating system *if* you understand how to modify it to do all the things a Debian proper system can do. Ubuntu is nothing more than a coherent collection of shortcuts designed to make the weak feel strong. This will be its downfall when the war begins.

Let’s also have a quick look at Linspire/Freespire. Ok folks… this one should have “I want to be Windows when I grow up” as it’s tag line. Click ‘n run? WTF is up with this. I have to pay for free software? I have to use your bastardized version of something should just work without being modified? I am going to pay you money to allow me the privilege of making modified and non-standard versions of software that is freely available to those who know how to use it? I think not.

“So..” you ask, “what distribution do you use?”
“Debian?”… Not a chance.
“Slackware”… You’re joking right?
“Fedora Core”… Nope
“Oh wait… I know you are a SuSE user”…. Uh… no.

Everyone of the above listed distributions has its place and purpose in the Linux world, but realize that every human also has their place in this world… and we can‘t all be CEO’s. After all if we didn’t have janitors, who would clean up all the shit?

“So” you say “precisely which distribution can I use and *actually* be elite?” First of all if you have ask you have already missed my most important point… Linux does not in and of itself make you Elite. Elite is a state of being and does not depend on environmental variables such as a particular Linux flavor.

But if it did… Gentoo would be it. Yes folks, there you have it. I am a dyed-in-the-wool Gentoo user. The first time I used it I was hooked. I have never found anything in this world that can rival its beauty and power. If God keeps his books on a computer… he runs Gentoo as his desktop – I am sure of it.

What makes Gentoo unbridled volcano of power that it is? In a word Emerge and Portage. Gentoo does not waste time trying to make things easy for your grandmother. It doesn’t customize things so that you have to look in non-standard places to figure out how to configure your Apache server. No, what Gentoo does is what all good operating systems should do. Let the developers do what they do best. When I want to add something to my system I don’t search endlessly for an rpm that will work on my version, I don’t pray that someone else compiled a deb file for me. If I want to watch a DVD on my system, I don’t hunt around on Russian websites looking for something that might work. I simply emerge it. Gentoo fetches the source from its master source, compiles, and if the software developer did their job, then it just works.

When was the last time you upgraded your distribution to the “latest version” to get some new KDE feature or other “must have item”. Bottom line folks you should only have to install once. I have machines were built two plus years ago and they are running the latest greatest software available. Why? Because Gentoo gets it.

One last point that is only semi-related to the race war debate but is bugging me today….

“Linux is the tool of Satan” is an almost daily cry by M$ lusers and so called “Mac enthusiasts”. May I remind all of you that *ALL* computers are inherently evil. It is only when you provide software fit for the use of gods – read: Gentoo, FreeBSD – that the computer becomes a benign and useful friend to the race of man.

Sometimes I just wish I could “emerge –u --newuse --deep world” this place….


Anonymous Pascal Lipshitz said...

Ah yes, again another one of the soldiers of the Linux l33t is spouting out more fervor about the greatness of another flavor of the month. I feel like I am in a Baskins Robins store in hell…just another one of those days at the 31 flavors with Hitler on one side of me telling me that his flavor is the best and Mussolini on the other side trying to pimp another flavor down my throat. The idea that one flavor or one reincarnation is superior then the other is a mute point, anyone who thinks that their flavor is superior is spewing diatribe that can only be construed as misguided Marxism that there is only one true (better) version of anything and that all should be using what they believe is best for the masses and everyone else is an enemy of the motherland.

The argument that a flavor like Ubuntu or Lindows is a “lower” version is absurd. That is like saying that your car is better because you built it from scratch. People use things that they feel comfortable with, if a n00b uses Ubuntu because they feel comfortable with it so what…perhaps they can’t compile a version of KDE using distributed processing power but then again who really cares? I curious if you grow your own food because the people that shop at the store a retarded dumb asses becuase who in the hell would want to go to the store when the can do the same quality on the window sill.

It would seem that you feel that since Gentoo is such a l33t program that only the omnipotent few can posses such power and incredible strength. Curiousity would ask if you were born l33t? Obviously you must have been otherwise you could not have started on Gentoo as a n00b that would be against your whole argument. Take of the Hitler Mustache and the Gentoo armband and rejoin the world of reality, it is never the flavor, it is the power of the person. Ubuntu and Gentoo are just as dangerous in the hands of a person who knows what they are doing, allow the n00bs to think what they want, they will learn soon enough that there is more to being l33t then downloading a flavor and pronouncing their greatness.

Racism in any form is a defense of the weak and intimidated.

7:33 PM  

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