Monday, February 04, 2008

Why Linux? Top Trumps

I know why I chose Linux and continue to run it as my O/S of choice on both my home and work PCs, but what about you?

I listen to the Lugradio podcast and over the last few episodes, they've had a "Top Trumps" of each of the presenters to examine which parts of the Linux world keep them devotees and how much they take part in/enjoy those aspects. This got me thinking about mine and wondering about friends' reasons ('cos most of my friends are geeks too and run/look-after Linux somewhere, even if only at work). The categories used were:

  • Freedom-crusading
  • Tinkering
  • Underdog
  • Communitisation
  • Cheapness

As per the convention for Top Trumps, you score between 0 and 10 for each category. Myself?
I would have to rate 6 on freedom, 'cos I do strongly believe that open source and standards and protecting those rights when given is important, but I can't say I do anything towards it at the moment. I do however always make the effort to release the source code to anything I do in my own time that is fit for publishing, because whatever great idea I might have, there are other people more committed and talented and if they so wish (and have time), it'll always be a help to have access to the code when looking to extend or improve software and we all benefit.

I love tinkering, so that would have to be an 8 or so; it's only not a 9 due to the limited time I put into it nowadays.

Underdog? 3. It added some coolness 11-12years ago and made me keen to try it, but I don't support underdogs specifically, and I would be more happy if Linux became more mainstream; it would vindicate my belief in how good a system it had the potential to be originally.

Community - er... Incredibly useful, and I've spent time contributing to forums and answering posts by newbies and talking to developers even. Linux wouldn't be what it is today without the sense of community around it, and how friendly and helpful a lot of people are. If everyone disappeared or started bickering lots, I'd still be happy running my versions of everything for a fair while. When new technology came along and things start dropping behind too much, then I would have to consider other options (although it would take years of bad problems), but I would look back with a lot of fondness. So perhaps a score of 5?

Cheapness - 7. It's a big plus that it's free. When you can get all this cool code without a dime (just the tcp/ip connection, or in the old days even a disk in the post, thinking back to my Sinclair Spectrum days and demos/utils), it makes you wonder why you would ever pay Mr. Gates for considerably less stable and sometimes less powerful software. When you can support it yourself and don't need high-powered 3rd-party apps that only run on another O/S, can roll your own scripts to do the mundane tasks, and leave it running for years after MS Windows has needed a host of reboots and crashed more times than you care to count (well, pre Win2000 for sure), it just makes perfect sense.
I haven't upgraded the base of my main home PC in quite a few years (if you exclude the extra memory and newer graphics card and drives), so the cheapness ought to be high-ish. But I'm happy enough with how fast the latest Ubuntu runs on it.

You're welcome to submit your answers as comments, and I strongly recommend you go check out if this has been interesting and you haven't already heard their brand of wit, interviews, and comment on all that is the Linux and "free" world. Tags:

1 comment:

  1. Cool! Have you thought about adding your scores on the LugRadio forums? People are starting to collect their scores in a thread there...