Posted by notKlaatu , 06 June 2009 · 391 views
Regarding the word "Linux":It seems that "Linux" is sometimes treated as a brand name and sometimes as a technical term. ie, we hear Linux and we think "free, flexible, open, has feature foo and bar and this and that..." but sometimes what the company using teh Linux in their product meant was, it happens to use the Linux Kernel but they've removed the flexibility (usually "for your own protection") and threw out feature foo ("most of our users don't want that") and tossed out feature bar ("for your own protection") and so on.So, to be sure, we should remember and perhaps promote the idea that a distribution is a brand, and Linux is a kernel. So, yes, an Internet Tablet with a Linux kernel plus a X.org stack is better than an internet device with a darwin kernel plus a Cocoa stack...but even better would be an Internet Tablet with, say, Fedora. Or Debian. Or Slackware. Or <insert your favourite brand/distro here>.Would I install Maemo on a computer? Well, not that anyone is saying I should, but No. It's limited and breaks many of the traditional unix/linux ways of doing things that I learned when first getting the hang of how *nix works. And from my research, I don't believe this is a case of me just not udnerstanding how things can be done on a *nix system; they really are breaking things on purpose. They are excluding applications that any dyed-in-the-wool *nix user would have expected to have available to them when they are told they are about to sit in front of a *nix terminal.This annoys me. Would I install, for instance, Android, on my Nokia N800? Well, maybe; I don't know what it's like on the back end; it might be just as broken as Nokia's implementation of Linux, or Apple's implementation of Unix. But, I may look into it some day; do a little research. I guess in a few years maybe I'll just have to hack my own LFS onto myNokia N800 to be truly happy...or I'll just sit down and shut up about it, and enjoy what I have. But it's comforting to think that some day I CAN hack LFS onto it and that Linux is still about choice.Oh and BTW...Richard Stallman is on the wrong track with his GNU/Linux campaign, I think. Thinking about branding -- at least I can be sure that when I see the word "GNU" included in a name, it means, at least in my experience so far, Freedom in the proper GPLv3 (or at least 2) style. Now that's a powerful statement to have associated with a word or your "brand". It means that GNU is the red-ink stamp on things that bring it up to the "truly free" status. Because the brand of "Linux" clearly does not have that connotation; Tivo, Nokia, Novell, TomTom, eeeXandros (and arguably a few other major distributions of Linux, perhaps ones that make installing proprietary drivers really simple or perhaps have software in their distribution-making workflow that is proprietary) have eroded that Linux "name-brand" so that Linux cannot necessarily be taken to mean free or flexible or has-feature-foobar. So it's up to the GNU label, I think, to be that symbol or logo for Freedom par excellence. Just my humble opinion, and since Mr. Stallman doesn't read my blog I doubt he'll agree or disagree...but if I ever meet him again and can get him to listen to me, maybe I'll mention it to him.