Thoughts of Thankfulness From Linux Land
The run-up to the holidays got many in the Linux blogosphere thinking about some of the things their thankful for, and a community of technology lovers sharing free and open software was near the top of many lists. "In the end, it's the people you end up interacting with who are more important than the actual technology," blogger Barbara Hudson told LinuxInsider.
Nov 21, 2011 5:00 AM PT
Well, the holiday season is just about upon us for another year, and for those of us in the United States, it starts this week with Thanksgiving.
That, of course, is when we begin the weeks-long festive meal that will ravage diets and waistlines across the land, leaving a trail of discarded wishbones and skinny jeans in its wake.
Here in the Linux blogosphere, the start of the holidays is always met with mixed feelings as bloggers contemplate the cheerless office parties and other many hours of enforced socializing to come.
Nevertheless, plenty of good can come out of the holidays as well, and what better example than the expression of gratitude?
'So Much Great FOSS'
Gratitude, indeed, is just what was on many bloggers' minds down at the blogosphere's Broken Windows Lounge over the weekend as another tempestuous week drew to a close.
There's no denying that it's been an exhausting year, particularly these last few months. The prospect of a little break from it all is one thing to be thankful for, but bloggers had plenty of other ideas as well.
"This may sound simple, but I am thankful just that there is so much software out there that I can help my customers utilize without significant restrictions on use to do just about anything," began Chris Travers, a Slashdot blogger who works on the LedgerSMB project.
"The existence of so much great FOSS leads to a form of economic freedom that's extremely hard for me to live without these days," Travers added.
'I Can Choose What OS I Want'
Freedom was also on Slashdot blogger hairyfeet's mind.
"As for what I'm thankful for with FOSS? That unlike some OTHER companies and OSes, I can choose what OS I want to run!" hairyfeet said. "Nearly everything is cross platform, so I can choose Windows, Linux, Mac -- whatever I want -- and it all runs."
Then there's "the fact that I can freely distribute, which makes it easy peasy for me to load up a disc with free software to give my customers with a new Windows PC," hairyfeet added. "Chromium, Firefox, Audacity, LibreOffice -- I give them a CD loaded to the brim with free software so they don't even need to get on the Internet to start using their new PC; just fire up the disc and start picking programs."
'My Word Processor of Choice Since 2002'
"If there had been as much financial support behind this as Canonical placed behind Ubuntu or more buzz from the community, this product should really have become a mainstream choice for consumers," Lim explained.
"LibreOffice does need some work on the user interface, but that really is more about making it simpler than issues of functionality," he added. "I am guessing, for 80 percent of the corporate and home users out there, they could get along fine with LibreOffice and have no real need for Microsoft Office."
In any case, "whatever platform I run, whether Linux, Mac OS X or Windows, it has been my word processor of choice since 2002," Lim concluded.
'It's the People'
"I am thankful for an OS that not only provided a good income and hobby but did its development out in the open, where I learned many good programming techniques," offered consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack.
For Barbara Hudson, a blogger on Slashdot who goes by "Tom" on the site, it's all about the people.
"In the end, it's the people you end up interacting with who are more important than the actual technology," Hudson told LinuxInsider.
'It Doesn't Have to Stop at Code'
"Some people get so wrapped up in the tech that it's their religion, which leads to the need for leaders like Linus Torvalds to urge people to rethink their priorities: 'I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other people and companies out'," Hudson said, quoting Torvalds.
"When it's so easy to hate, given Microsoft's history, how can you not respect a call to do better than that, to be better than that?" Hudson asked.
"It's the same with online forums where open source is a hot topic," she added. "You'll end up talking politics, economics, social problems, family ... and it sometimes happens that you're able to give some moral support to someone going through a rough time, just to let them know that someone is listening. And, if you get really lucky, you might find out that something you said or did made a real difference in someone's life."
After all, "if you're in a culture that promotes sharing, it doesn't have to stop at code, or ideas," Hudson concluded. "It's those same open technologies that power the Internet that allow people to be more open in a society where sharing how we feel or that we're hurting is frowned upon as a sign of weakness."
'Deliver Us From Monopoly'
Last but not least, blogger Robert Pogson waxed positively poetic in his enthusiasm and gratitude.
"I am thankful that the world of FLOSS is motivated by something other than a quick dollar," Pogson began. "Excellence and sharing are excellent motivators, and FLOSS does make the world a better place. FLOSS is thus both a bridge over the digital divide and a better way to do IT.
Give us this day our daily FLOSS,
and forgive us our use of That Other OS,
as we also have forgiven users of That Other OS.
And lead us not into EULAs,
but deliver us from monopoly."