Why Linux Will Never Be a Factor On the Desktop

Why Linux Will Never Be a Factor On the Desktop

Tony Bradley expounds on the current status of GNU/Linux popularity (or lack thereof) and the future of the operating system.

The comment I left on ComputerWorld’s page for this article:

I’m a loyal GNU/Linux user. I parted ways with MS Windows (for the most part) nearly six years ago. I keep installations of XP and 7 on some of my systems in order to stay relatively well-versed in the the usage of those operating systems in order to facilitate my constant need to fix the computers of family members and friends (the ones I haven’t converted to GNU/Linux yet).

That being said, I’m not one of those GNU/Linux fanbois who is sitting at my desk with my Jolt in one hand and a joint in the other dreaming about LInux’s imminent world domination. I would prefer that Linux stay under the radar. If it ever managed to have the commercial popularity of MS Windows, it would wake one morning to find that same large target painted on its back for all the hackers, malware writers, and generally mischievous malcontents.

No, I’m more than happy to operate my little GNU/Linux systems in relative obscurity. Besides, once something gains in popularity, someone always steps in to regulate, tax, manipulate, restrict, or mutilate it in some way. Leave my GNU/Linux alone.

Like I say on my blogs and the tech forums where I admin/moderate, “Whatever operating system works best for you IS the one that’s best for you.”

Later…

~Eric, the Nocturnal Slacker

Read the article, tell me what you think about it?

~Eric

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5 Things Every Aspiring Linux User Should Know

Yes. Another one of those ubiquitous bullet articles. Everyone loves ’em, it seems.

There are some fundamental things that every person who turns on a Linux box should be familiar with before proceeding. Some of these things are often overlooked or never learned by new Linux users. It’s a shame, actually. Knowledge of the fundamentals can create a great foundation for further advancement later on down the road. If you’re going to learn something, learn it right.

Here we go…

  • Numero Uno, in my opinion, is the importance of knowing and accepting the fact that the GNU/LInux operating system is NOT Microsoft Windows. Don’t try to make it such. GNU/Linux is a unique Unix-based operating system using the Linux kernel developed by Linus Torvalds and the GNU operating system developed by Richard Stallman and others of the GNU Project. Individual distributions of GNU/Linux, such as Ubuntu, Slackware, Debian, Arch, etc., are projects created by different people and supported by many, many dedicated coders, repository maintainers, software creators, technical writers, etc. To paraphrase a nearly cliché quote, it takes a village to raise a Linux distro. 😉
  • Item the second: ROOT IS GOD! Caution must be exercised at all times when user privileges are elevated to that of root. Working in the root environment should be done like riding a motorcycle. You CANNOT auto-pilot while riding a motorcycle; neither should you do so when you are root. In other words, pay attention to what you’re doing. Think twice before tapping that Enter key. One slip as root could destroy your entire OS. It’s a powerful tool. Be respectful of its power. Ignore this if you enjoy losing data regularly and reinstalling your OS from scratch.
  • Third thing to know: the command line interface is not a demon from Hell that will grind you up in its toothy maw. It’s just another tool available to the GNU/Linux user for accomplishing tasks that must be accomplished. For most of you, the GUI (graphic user interface) will suffice, but there will be times that you may need to use the command line. Don’t fear it. Embrace your inner geek. Learn the command line. You may find that you can accomplish more work more efficiently while using it.
  • Fourth on the list: Security, it’s a wonderful thing. Remember all those virus and malware scanners that you had to use in MS Windows. Remember how scared you were about email attachments. Remember that time your Windows system got corrupted and you had to pay someone at Best Buy $300 to get it working again? Bad memories, huh? Well, guess what? Just as dogs don’t catch the same diseases that banana plants do, GNU/Linux is not susceptible to the vast majority of the bad stuff out there that cripples MS Windows. Does that mean you’re 100% immune from troubles while running GNU/Linux? Well, no. However, I’d be comfortable in telling you that you would be about 99% immune. I’ve been running GNU/Linux operating systems on my computers for half a dozen years now. I’ve NEVER, not once, ever had any virus or malware issues.
  • Fifth and lastly:MS Windows and Apple/Mac have wonderful community support from multitudinous sites and communities around the Internet: I wouldn’t refute that fact at all. However, it’s important to remember that GNU/Linux and Open Source are products of the communities themselves in many cases. They are directly created, maintained, distributed and supported by many, many dedicated souls all across the globe. If you take the time to explore these communities, you’ll find that the amount of knowledge out there just waiting for you to come learn it is astounding. I don’t believe there is any other technical project so overwhelmingly supported by its adherents and fans in the global community quite like GNU/Linux and Open Source. Don’t be shy. Ask for some help.

Enjoy your new GNU/Linux adventure. It can lead to a long relationship with a fabulous operating system, outstanding open source applications, and wonderful friendships.

Later…

~Eric

Further reading:

The Open Source Initiative

The Free Software Foundation

The Linux Foundation

Open Respect