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Reasons to Be Thankful in Linux Land

Reasons to Be Thankful in Linux Land

"I give thanks every day that when I set something up in GNU/Linux it stays around and keeps working," said blogger Robert Pogson. "That includes GNU/Linux not slowing down or corrupting its file-system or configuration. With that other OS, an update or malware can re-arrange things any time." Also on Pogson's list of things to be thankful for are "the APT packaging system, networked displays and openSSH."

By Katherine Noyes
11/22/10 5:00 AM PT

Well, it's that time of year again here in the land of stars and stripes -- the time when all good geeks turn their thoughts toward all they have to be thankful for.

Yes, it's been a time of gratitude and reflection here in the Linux blogosphere, even as countless outside forces have conspired to distract us.

Redmond alone is enough to give any sensitive geek ulcers -- or at least bouts of uncontrollable teeth-gnashing -- never mind the latest shenanigans at Oracle and beyond. And what about all the changes coming down the pike for Ubuntu? Very difficult not to worry about that, even though it may be exciting as well.

In any case, over this past weekend down at the blogosphere's Broken Windows lounge, bloggers were waxing sentimental about all that's right in the Linuxy world. Linux Girl couldn't resist whipping out her Quick Quotes Quill to record some of them.

'It's a Good Linux Life!'

"I'm thankful for Android phones providing real competition for iPhones -- and keeping Windows Phones at bay," Slashdot blogger yagu exclaimed over a fresh Peppermint Penguin, for example.

"I'm thankful for Archos Android tablets providing real competition to iPad," yagu continued. "I'm thankful for all of the heavy lifting Linux does *every day* under the Google covers, giving me access and answers to limitless information.

"I'm thankful for Linux keeping the financial industry running," he added. "I'm thankful for Linux as the robust underpinning for awesome Open Source development."

And at the end of each working day, "I'm thankful for the Linux that lets my TiVo play my shows how I want and when I want," yagu enthused. "Yeah, it's a good Linux life!"

'Canonical and Android'

Indeed, even Slashdot blogger hairyfeet -- an admitted Windows fan -- couldn't help but gush over Android -- and Canonical too.

Canonical earned hairyfeet's gratitude "for finally breaking away from the Unix-heavy past and trying to forge a new way for the everyday folks with things like the Unity UI and Wayland," he explained, while Android "looks to be doing for mobile what Windows did to desktops in the 80s."

By having a single operating system "that runs on so much, one can compete on features and price, and Android has really started to drive those prices down just as the IBM PC clones running Windows ran down the price of PCs," hairyfeet said. "Competition is ALWAYS good, and Android seems to be bringing it in spades."

'It's Like Christmas Every Day'

Others focused more on Linux's hands-on features.

"I'm thankful for an OS that lets me tinker with its insides and leaves me with all sorts of hobby projects when I'm bored but yet somehow requires no hackery to get it working in the first place," Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack offered, for example.

Indeed, "I give thanks every day that when I set something up in GNU/Linux it stays around and keeps working," blogger Robert Pogson chimed in. "That includes GNU/Linux not slowing down or corrupting its file-system or configuration. With that other OS, an update or malware can re-arrange things any time."

Also on Pogson's list of things to be thankful for are "the APT packaging system, networked displays and openSSH," he added. "It's like Christmas every day for an administrator of GNU/Linux."

'Thanks for All the Fish'

Alternatively, "I'm thankful for Ubuntu Forums right now," Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza said. "It seems like the answers I need are there more often than anywhere else. Often the actual answer can be difficult to find, so once I do find it I sometimes write a HOWTO of my own."

Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson, who goes by "Tom" on the site, tossed out a "top 5" list of her own -- adding, though, that it "will change depending on whatever I'm doing at the time."

1. The fish:// protocol.

"Thanks for all the fish," Hudson quipped, quoting Douglas Adams' The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. In this case, though, Hudson was referring to the integration of the fish:// protocol in so many KDE applications. "Being able to seem like I'm editing a file on a remote server directly in a tab in Konqueror, while my compatriots have to download the file, load it into their editor, edit it, save their changes, then upload the file -- it's a real time-saver when you want to make a lot of changes quickly."

2. A competitive edge.

"Another plus with linux is that it differentiates me from the run-of-the-mill programmer who only has Windows experience," Hudson said. "In today's job market, I'll take every advantage I can get."

3. Grep and more.

"And then there's the console, and vim, mc, grep and ssh," Hudson noted. "Grep is just so handy for so many things ... and running tail /var/log/whichever_error_log is so simple, and yet so efficient when it comes to debugging."

4. Low power needs.

"The longer battery life on my laptop doesn't hurt," Hudson explained. "Neither does the fan hardly ticking at all ..."

5. Hassle-free upgrades.

"Opensuse really has it down to a science," she opined. "Wait a couple of months after a new release, change your repositories to the latest and greatest, and go have supper ... it works for me. :-)"

There's no telling what Hudson's top 5 might be next month, of course -- "it depends on what work throws at me," she said. Either way, though, "I can be pretty sure that linux will be somewhere in the thick of it."

It Takes a Community

As for Linux Girl? Her gratitude focuses primarily on people.

She's grateful to Google, Canonical and Red Hat, for example, for making Linux a force to be reckoned with more than ever before; to the Linux Foundation, for all it does to advance the OS; to The Document Foundation, for helping the original spirit of OpenOffice.org live on; and of course, to Linus, her favorite Finn in all the world.

Perhaps most of all, though, she's grateful to the FOSS community as a whole for making the Linux blogosphere such a fun and interesting place to live.

That includes you, dear readers. Happy Thanksgiving! :-)


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