Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Linux: What it means

Freedom is a choice. You have the power to mak...
Freedom is a choice. You have the power to make it. (Photo credit: Derek Keats)
Written by Guest Author: Jack Wallen

It was deep in the heart of 1996 and I'd had enough of Windows. After a bit of Alta Vista searching, I discovered something that would completely change my life. That something? Linux. It was Caldera Linux 1.0 and it was a challenge. You're probably assuming I was studying computer science in the dank basement of some elite university (maybe writing my dissertation on super computers or UNIX). Wrong. I was an actor and a writer. Strange bedfellows, but I was also a big fan of the underdog. That was enough to spur on a curiosity that would, eventually, land me a gig writing with Techrepublic. At the time, there were few tech writers who had a firm enough grasp of the Linux operating system. And honestly, I got lucky. How? I connected with a guru. His name was Mark and he introduced me to AfterStep and the command line. Had it not been for that connection, I probably would have given up on trying to keep my modem consistently connected to the network. With Mark's help, I wrote my first bash script that kept watch on my system to retain my network connection. Luck? Maybe. But I like to chalk it up to fate.

From there, it was almost impossible to pull me from the flagship open source platform. I wound up making my living as a tech writer covering my favorite operating system and never looking back.

But the days of Linux being the mascot of the trench coat mafia are long gone. Linux has grown up and is on its way to becoming the darling of the business world. Many out there deny that statement; but if you dig in deep enough, you find that most of the larger enterprise-level companies already rely upon Linux. It's various governments around the world, Google, Facebook, Novell, IBM, Panasonic, Virgin America, Cisco, Conoco Phillips, Omaha Steaks, Amazon, Peugeot, Wikipedia, New York Stock Exchange. You cannot deny the collective power of that list – and each of them has grown to depend upon Linux.

What does that mean?

It means Linux is business, as much as it is underdog. It means the naysayers were (and are) wrong. It means Linux adoption will continue its exponential rise to prominence as the consumers finally are made aware of just what they've been missing.

Imagine – no more viruses, no more slow-downs, no more data loss, and no more exorbitant CALS and licensing fees. That has been my modus operandi for years. Though I am more than willing to pay for necessary software, I have the choice not to.

That is the ultimate truth about Linux – choice. From day one I understood this full well. Linux gave me choices that Microsoft Windows did (and could) not. To this day that is the case. Not only can I do things with Linux my Windows brethren cannot, I can do them more cheaply and more reliably.

Choice. Freedom. Cost.

Ideas consumers should be well versed in. Yet...

There is always a 'yet'.

It shocks me that Linux advocacy is still necessary.

And yet... it is.

I entreat each and every person that visits this site – be you a hobbyist, an IT administrator, or a media professional – it is your job to help enlighten the unwashed masses that there is, in fact, a better, more reliable and cost effective choice.

Jack Wallen, Technology Journalist

Be an advocate for that better choice. -- Jack Wallen 

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  1. Well said Jack. Think about this for a minute: As goes business, so goes Linux. Just as Office and Exchange meant you WILL have a Windows PC at work (and so, why not at home?), Linux shall follow the same path. Plus, be in every other appliance in the home already.

    It's only a matter of time until MS has a Linux server version to bring the irony full circle.

  2. Great article, and thanks for using my image! I love it when images I create are used to promote freedom and choice.