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12.27.13

GNU/Linux is Everywhere, But People Need to Keep It Under People’s (and Developers’) Control

Posted in GNU/Linux at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apathy in the age of GNU/Linux ubiquity leads away from focus on freedom

EARLIER this month it was quite popular to publish overviews of potential GNU/Linux-powered gifts (there are some examples we have not cited yet [1,2]). It’s just too easy to find GNU/Linux gadgets because it’s the de facto operating system in so many areas (though branding may not suggest so). GNU/Linux has become a strong force not just on this planet but also elsewhere, e.g. in space, arguably Mars (there was a debate about it), perhaps even on asteroids, based on an article from September (source: Linux.com/Linux Foundation [3]). GNU/Linux has not achieved just world domination; it’s almost extra-celestial (if we ever got this far). Free software won. But it depends on the criteria, e.g. popularity, market share, level of freedom. Hardware with GNU/Linux on it has gotten easier to obtain [4] and one recent example of it is Lini PC [5-7]. With the triumph of Free software, however it may be defined (many of the hardware is locked down), comes some certain apathy, as if it’s all taken for granted. Linux Australia membership is declining [8], Nuxified is up for sale [9] (one among many Free/libre software and GNU/Linux sites to go down this path), and Linux Format lost some of its best writers, who are going independent [10-12] (which in a way is a good thing, unless you are Linux Format). What has become very worrying to me is that in the GNU/Linux world we are now going through what happened in the patents scene; a lot of corporations take over the message, so people’s stance and will just simply get ignored or misrepresented. We really need to retain the voice of the people (including developers), marginalising the voices of non-technical managers and large companies that are purely shareholders-driven. Failing to do so will contribute to a drift in the wrong direction, e.g. TPM, restricted boot, DRM, and censorship.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide For Linux PC Hardware
  2. Top 10 Linux-Based Gifts for 2013 Under $400
  3. Penguins in Space! Asteroid mining and Linux

    No, Planetary Resource isn’t kidding. It’s working on using Linux, open-source software, and commercial off-the-shelf hardware to build the first robotic asteroid miners.

  4. Choosing A 2013 Laptop/Ultrabook For Linux

    Earlier this week I asked what laptop you would like to see tested on Linux. I’ve been shopping for some new laptops/hardware since I always enjoy testing and benchmarking new hardware under Linux at Phoronix plus as mentioned in that earlier article I’ll be over in Russia for the next month focusing on Phoronix Test Suite 5.0 and other developments, so I need a couple more portable systems with new hardware for Phoronix benchmarking. There’s also plenty of good shopping deals for the holiday season. After going through the 50+ comments, I ended up doing a Black Friday purchase of the ASUS Zenbook Prime.

  5. Here Comes Linux Powered Lini PC With Intel Haswell Processor
  6. Lini is a Haswell PC for Linux

 (or Windows)
  7. Lini PC offers small Linux computers with Haswell chips

    One of the nice things about Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions is that you can install them on pretty much any PC without paying a penny. In many cases, everything will work perfectly out of the box — but when it doesn’t, you could find yourself spending a lot of time researching tricks for enabling support for your graphics card, wireless chip, input devices, or other hardware.

  8. Linux Australia membership falls by 10 per cent

    Membership of Linux Australia has fallen by a little more than 10 per cent since January this year, according to figures released by the organisation.

  9. After 8 Years Nuxified is for Sale
  10. Linux Voice journos hit crowdfunding target

    A brief update on the crowdfunding efforts of three British journalists, who all worked at Linux Format to launch a new magazine. They have hit their £90,000 launch target for Linux Voice, with 14 days to go.

  11. On Indiegogo: Linux Voice Meets Crowdfunding Goal For Free Software Magazine
  12. The Linux Setup – Mike Saunders, Linux Voice

    What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?

    Xubuntu 13.04 at the moment. I really like the Debian underpinnings, and I’ve been using Xfce for years. Before that I was a big fan of Window Maker.

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