no secret that Linux tends to be a controversial topic, and that's
doubly true when those participating in the discussion care
passionately about the free and open source operating system. No big
surprise, then, that in its first few months, Linux Advocates has
seen some heated debates.
the topic is why
Linux matters so much, which
distro is best, how best to refer
to the OS,
or whether a particular distro is taking
the right approach, there has been no shortage of passionate
opinions, and that's exactly as it should be. It seems safe to say
that we all care about Linux, and typically our views are an
expression of that deep-seated
things take an unfortunate turn is when we all believe we're arguing
for the advancement of Linux, yet we're not actually pursuing the
same, specific goals, causing us to disagree on the details. There
have been a few less-than-perfectly-cordial exchanges on these
pages in the past week or so that have made me believe part of the
problem here is the existence of divergent objectives.
I now think this is a critical question for those interested in
advocating Linux. Namely, what, exactly, are we trying to achieve?
own general goal in writing about and trying to advance Linux is
essentially wider mainstream adoption. I'd love to see Linux used and
embraced by more everyday users, bringing its many and varied
benefits to more of the computing world. That, to me, would be the
ultimate measure of success for the OS. It's also why I tend to take
a pretty pragmatic
approach, steeped in years of experience in the mainstream
do believe, though, that other Linux advocates have different goals.
I can't presume to speak for them, of course, but here are a few I'm
inclined to infer:
To create an archetype
-- the ideal, perfect operating system
To prove the innate merit of open source and/or free software
To promote a more cost-effective approach to computing * To advance a particular distro or project in which they have a vested interest of some kind.
In search of a common understanding
Some of these goals overlap, of course, and there are surely others as well.
In any case, however, I think it's important that we clarify what it is we're trying
to achieve here – whether it's one or many things. Only then can we
discuss and argue rationally, working from a common understanding.
do you hope to achieve for Linux? Take a few minutes to think about
it, because I'm not sure it's always entirely obvious. When you think
you know the answer, please share it in the comments.
the grand scheme of things, we here in the Linux community are still
a relatively small crew. It would be a shame to let ourselves be divided
by simple misunderstandings as to what we're trying to achieve. -- Katherine
Katherine Noyes has been an ardent geek ever since she first conquered Pyramid of Doom on an ancient TRS-80. Today she covers business and tech in all its forms, with an emphasis on Linux and open source software.