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Linuxy New Year's Resolutions

By Katherine Noyes
Jan 5, 2009 4:00 AM PT

So 2009 is here at last, and not a moment too soon! Finally we can put another Holiday Season behind us and get back to work.

Linuxy New Year's Resolutions

Some of us, of course, are still recovering from the seasonal merriment; others are still pondering gifts they received. To wit: On Digg, Rekzai earned more than 3,340 Diggs and 345 comments for posting a photograph titled, "I like Linux, so my aunt sends me this for Christmas!"

No shortage of penguins in that thoughtful assortment -- lucky geek, that Rekzai! We can only assume the aunt in question got some of her ideas from our own Linuxy holiday shopping guide ... always glad to help out!

'10 Coolest Open Source Products'

Also on Digg, meanwhile, some bloggers saw fit to think over the past year and the advances that were made for our favorite operating system. Specifically, inspired by an article on Channel Web, bloggers contemplated what the article called "The 10 Coolest Open Source Products of 2008."

Many of the 100-plus comments that ensued in the next day and a half or so quibbled with the article's choices, or made suggestions of their own. Others, however, devolved into all-too-familiar terrain as they shifted their focus to the year to come:

"Dare I say it... 2009 will be the YEAR OF LINUX!" quipped reddikilowatt.

Aaaaaah! Not that -- anything but that!

'3% by 2010'

Seriously, though, there were also more substantive predictions on hand.

"OK, hear me out," reddikilowatt continued. "We're going to see more Android phones (if Motorola can stay in business), netbooks, media servers and players, hand held media players, the Kindle is set to ramp up, Canonical seems to be getting a lot of mindshare in the blogosphere and MS is chasing Apple instead of putting out product.

"I think the community's slogan should be '3% by 2010'...," reddikilowatt added. "Hey, stranger things have happened," he said. "I'll get working on the T-shirts."

Along similar lines, an article in Open Mode titled "Why You Might Be Using Linux in 2009" inspired quite a discussion on Digg as it outlined some major products and trends likely to attract new attention to Linux this year.

No fewer than 1,036 Diggs and 360 comments met the article's posting on the site within three days, but reactions appeared to be a generally mixed bag.

Noob Majority

"Another year, another 'year of Linux' story," wrote Hellman109. "*yawn*"

On the other hand: "I mean no disrespect to you Linux guys and gals out there, but these sensationalist/speculative articles aren't helping encourage people to switch over to Linux," asserted jaygeeze.

"The normal, mainstream individual does not even know about KDE4, cloud computing, and doesn't care about netbooks," jaygeeze explained. "They care about user interface and not having to install something through the command line and hardware/software compatibility (and yes, using WINE is kind of cheating). They care about customer support and documentation.

"You wonder why Ubuntu is a popular distro (even though we call Ubuntu users noobs, but that's just it, a majority of the people in the market for computers *are* noobs) - it's because they focus on these things," jaygeeze added. "We need more articles that advocate and share these improvements, not a geeky list saying people will be switching over because of the cloud."

Stepping Into Action

All in all, the outlook for 2009 was an overarching theme throughout the Linux blogosphere, as geeks around the world tried their hand at predicting what may come.

Now, we here at LinuxInsider have already delved into what bloggers are hoping will happen for Linux over the course of this new year. What we haven't yet heard, however, are what they're planning to do themselves, whether for the sake of Linux or just in their personal lives.

To illustrate: Thomas Teisberg over at the Linux Loop made some suggestions for how to help the Linux community as a whole in a post he made on Christmas Eve.

On a less altruistic note -- but no less interesting -- LXer bloggers spent some holiday time comparing notes on which sites they think are worth visiting every day. Joining the predictable ranks of Slashdot, Digg, Dilbert and LXer itself were a few interesting surprises sure to help get 2009 off to a good start -- even if LinuxInsider wasn't top of the list. Just an oversight, we're sure!

InaTux, meanwhile, recently posted "20 Early Linux New Year's Resolutions," including suggestions for hackers and companies alike.

New Year's Resolutions

But what kinds of New Year's Resolutions are actually being made by those who participate in the Linux blogs, we couldn't help but wonder? So we took to the streets and asked around.

Some resolutions were universal in nature: "I hope to get more work done!" Monochrome Mentality blogger Kevin Dean told LinuxInsider.

Others were more specific: "My GNU/Linux resolution for 2009 is to introduce as many teachers as possible to GNU/Linux in my last year of teaching," educator and blogger Robert Pogson said.

'The Wonderful World of Linux'

Some were positively sunny about technology: "My personal Linux resolutions for '09 are to spend more time on my blog and to spend more time introducing users in and around my life to the wonderful world of Linux and open source in general," Foogazi blogger Adam Kane told LinuxInsider.

Others were less so: "My New Year's resolution for this year is to spend more time on non-computer-related hobbies," Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack said.

Then, perhaps most admirably of all, was the response of Mhall119, a Slashdot blogger who operates Quinn Co., a charity that uses a version of Ubuntu customized for kids 3 years old and up to help special-needs and low-income children.

Giving Away Computers

"I had been assembling second-hand PCs on my living room floor and an end table, due to lack of space," Mhall119 explained. "However, my wife and I just bought our first house, and it has a _huge_ workshop, with plenty of space to store and work on three times the number of PCs I currently have -- which is good since we've just been offered a dozen iMac G3's.

"So, my 2009 Linux Resolution is to seriously step up my work for our charity," he told LinuxInsider.

Among Mhall119's specific plans for this year are re-basing Qimo, his Ubuntu re-spin, on XFCE instead of Gnome "to get better performance," and then making a PowerPC port of it to run on the newly donated iMacs, he said.

"We've placed a couple of computers in a local preschool already, and have promised 10 or so to disadvantaged students at a nearby elementary school," Mhall119 explained. "I'd like to ultimately give away 100 or more computers in 2009."

What are *your* resolutions for this new year, dear readers -- Linuxy or otherwise? We'd love to hear about them. One last toast to the promise and the potential of 2009!


Rakuten Super Logistics
Is "too much screen time" really a problem?
Yes -- smartphone addiction is ruining relationships.
Yes -- but primarily due to parents' failure to regulate kids' use.
Possibly -- long-term effects on health are not yet known.
Not really -- lack of self-discipline and good judgement are the problems.
No -- angst over "screen time" is just the latest overreaction to technology.
No -- what matters is the quality of content, not the time spent viewing it.