War Stories and Winners From the World of FOSS

So often the conversation on the Linux blogs tends to focus on problems, and all the many issues — both perceived and real — that keep our favorite operating system from achieving the ubiquity it so clearly deserves.

That’s why we here at LinuxInsider were so glad to come across some upbeat articles lately about the good news in the FOSS world.

Yes indeed, hard on the heels of the recent — and bitter — controversy regarding netbook market share came several cheerful conversations that highlight just how far Linux has come.

Way to Go, Tatarstan!

First, from the governments-seeing-the-light department, came news that both Hungary and the tiny republic of Tatarstan have both begun embracing FOSS. Good job, governments!

Word about Hungary came from Heise Online; the Tatarstan news emerged in the Open … blog. The result? More than 100 comments’ worth of excitement on Slashdot and elsewhere.

“That’s the way to the desktop: through governments and big organizations,” cheered Slashdot blogger derrida, for example.

‘We’re Linux’ Winners

Then, of course — after months of anticipation — came the news that the winners of the Linux Foundation’s “We’re Linux” contest have finally been announced.

Bloggers on Slashdot, Digg and the Linux Loop all took notice of that one, variously chiming in on the winning video and its prospects for converting new Linux users.

“As an ad for geeks and the tech-savvy world, it’s great — I really can’t complain,” wrote Thomas Teisberg on the Loop. “If, however, you tried to show this to your grandmother, I don’t think she’d have a clue what it was about.

“This type of ad certainly has a place, but I would also like to see some more consumer-focused ads out,” he added. “Ubuntu Ad Contest, anyone?”

How about it, Canonical?!

‘New Faces of Linux’

Ken Starks at the HeliOS Project kicked off a whole other cheerful conversation, meanwhile, when he made a series of posts looking at what he called “the new faces of Linux” — zeroing in on new users who have seen the light and similar other victories for our favorite OS.

Describing a medical professional at a hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y., for example, Starks writes: “She had been a GNU/Linux user for a week and refused to ‘downgrade to Windows.’ She refused to put Windows back on her computer at home. Mint Linux had spoiled her.”

Other war stories and successes were shared in Starks’ posts, “Enterprise clueless, employees not so much” and “New faces of Linux — who do I yell at?”, inspiring a virtual love-fest of discussion throughout the blogosphere.

“Okay folks, this is what it is about, being positive!” enthused ColonelPanik on LXer, for example. “Linux works, everywhere. Anyone can do it. Go have some fun!”

‘Embrace, Extend, Extinguish’

Of course, for the controversy-loving FOSS community, even a love-fest is bound to include some dissension, and this one was no exception. So we here at LinuxInsider took to the streets for some additional perspective.

“Meet the new faces of Linux: same as the old faces,” Slashdot blogger drinkypoo told LinuxInsider. “The greatest barrier to Linux success continues to be Microsoft’s EEE (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) strategy. Once you are locked into a Microsoft technology, it’s near-impossible to escape.”

The problem in the medical professional’s case wasn’t Linux, drinkypoo asserted. Rather, “it’s the hospital technical staff that implemented a Windows-only solution, and the hospital management that permitted them to implement a solution tying them to one vendor, the folly of which does not require a first-rate technical mind to comprehend.

“My hat is off to the user for demanding the computing experience they know they should have,” he added. “The good news is that these users are being converted one at a time.”

‘OMG It’s So Fast!’

Regarding support, “new Linux users have gotten a lot less technical,” Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack noted. “It’s important for experienced users to not just point at the FAQ but spend time actually walking them through the basics,” he told LinuxInsider.

Nevertheless, the success stories seem to be coming fast and furious.

“I have introduced GNU/Linux to thousands of students,” educator and blogger Robert Pogson told LinuxInsider. “The response has been widespread:

  • ‘OMG it’s so fast!’
  • ‘How do I get to the Internet?’
  • ‘Why aren’t all of our PCs like this?'”

Usually, Pogson’s students see GNU/Linux running side by side “with that other OS” on identical thick clients, he explained.

“The best demonstration of the magic of GNU/Linux comes when the old machine is used as a thin client of a new machine serving as a terminal server,” he noted. “The performance is shocking to people used to waiting for stuff to happen.

“Students from kindergarteners to grade 12 appreciate the speed and simplicity of GNU/Linux,” he added. “They do not see that with Vista. They love the idea that software can be found so inexpensively that performs so well for them and without an agenda to enrich some foreign corporation.”

‘Angry With M$’

Ken Starks’ “Who do I Yell at?” article, meanwhile, is “right on the money,” Pogson said.

“I have been angry with M$ ever since I installed GNU/Linux in a classroom,” he explained. “How dare they interfere with the education of students by pushing that garbage!

“M$ is so full of itself it will not realize the party is over until it is alone,” he opined. “Fortunately for my health, the anger is interrupted by long periods of successful computing with FLOSS.”

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