February 15, 2010

Understanding the Linux mindset

Having been around the UNIX world since the late 70's (UCB BSD ancillary member), seeing it grow, fracture, lay dormant for several years, get beat in the market place by Windows and Macintosh (pre-OSX), and then finally seeing it take its rightful place in an ever increasing complex world of computing, I am reminded of the once simple concept of the USB BSD development philosophy:

"Simplicity is better than complexity if the latter prevents completion."

The Linux world has grown so much since first deployed in 1994 by LT and his team of volunteers; however, I think that we on the verge of dissipating our energies with all the different versions, desktops, repositories, scripting environments, etc. How is a commercial entity suppose to embrace a world where most often even 2 UNIX experts can not or will not agree on the least forms of "best practices."

In my opinion, the main reason that a clearly inferior product such as Windows has completely dominated the desktop market is that there is one voice, one champion, one source of ultimate authority for the operation and deployment of Windows -- UNIX/Linux is all over the place with almost new distribution coming out daily.

I hope that before I retire or move on to other pursuits that there might come a meeting of the minds about how to de-fracture the UNIX/Linux world so that the masses out there can release themselves from the myopic perspective of Redmond (they are a good company, just misguided about how to develop a solid OS). Trying to help users see the beauty of an open source, community developed, GNU-based operating system, one desktop at a time while gallant is very tiring and time-consuming.

In the words of someone, somewhere: "Can't we all just get along?" I know that this is hopelessly naive, but the mindset of UNIX/Linux in my opinion should have always been:

"doing the most good for the most people with the least amount of effort."

Proprietary operating systems like Windows and OSX (yes, its proprietary -- try developing for it without Apple's approval) should have been a long-lost legacy, not something that we are still having to deal with in the 21st century.

Linux users should be willing to lead on this point, not continue to support the divide that ultimately forces the myriad number of desktop users into the arms of Redmond and Cupertino.

In my humble opinion only,

Paul Nanouk















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