July 21, 2009

The Linux treasure chest

Think of GNU/Linux as a treasure chest.

The chest is very easy to find since its available from many different locations and comes in many different flavours. You simply choose the contents of any chest and use what you need. For the most part you dont even have to pay for it, its free of charge. And if the contents of a particular chest is not to your liking, try another one, or add your modifications into the chest for everybode else to try. 

The whole concept of GNU/Linux is sharing. The GNU/Linux community is sharing ideas as well as code. Since there are many ideas, one chest cant hold them all. Thereby we get all these distributions which differ from one another in design and implementation, but also have a lot in common. Many of the basic ingredients remain the same.

I have used a lot of different distributions over the years. I started using GNU/Linux around 1996 so I have seen how GNU/Linux has progressed from a techie operating system to becoming more mainstream for the average consumer. Or has it? In reality the tech operating system still exists, but in many more versions than before. The technology under the hood is still there, but today you dont have to work your keyboard until your fingers bleed. if you wish you can simply use your mouse, click a few times and it will work. So basically today both the techies and the average consumers can get satisfied by the same GNU/Linux operating system.

With GNU/Linux you have on one hand the Linux from Scratch project where you can create your own distribution. Thats a level of control which is hard to match. On the other hand you can consider Linux Mint which is beutifully packaged and easy to manage for most average consumers. Thats one of the many strengths with GNU/Linux, the ability of choice. 

This blog will try to highlight the contents of the GNU/Linux treasure chest, both good and bad. I have used many other operating systems such as almost all Windows versions up to the Windows 7 Release Canditate as well as MacOs X. They also have their treasure chests, but my focus will remain on GNU/Linux. If you are wondering why I write GNU/Linux instead of just Linux its because I have to agree with Richard Stallman on this one. Without the GNU project, the Linux kernel would be in serious trouble and likewise of course, but they owe each other credit and I wish to respect them both so, GNU/Linux it is.



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