Bonum Certa Men Certa

GNU/Linux Became Invisible Yet Ubiquitous

Invisible at the beach



Summary: On the decline of GNU/Linux as advocacy-worthy

With GNU and Linux becoming so standard it sometimes seems like GNU/Linux advocacy is dead. It's just hardly necessary anymore. People just use Free software for almost everything, even without making any noise about it. Almost everyone uses Google, Apache, and Firefox or another browser with Free/libre software inside it. Linux Format has a short new column that alludes to these points [1]. Clients at work, which include parts of the British government (especially now that policies are improving [2]), have moved to Free/libre software without even publicly announcing it. You have to see it from the inside to know it. It's almost as though it's not even something that merits announcing, so nobody bothers. We're not in the 1990s anymore.



"Just because we don't hear so much about GNU/Linux doesn't mean it went away."Here in my house everything is running Linux and GNU -- from smartphones to tablets and laptops or desktops. The workstation that I bought just over 5 years ago is having serious hardware problems, but it still boots, so I had it re-purposed as a media centre in the living room, essentially making even the 'TV' a GNU/Linux-powered appliance (Free software from the ground up). This is not a unique practice [3]. Some use GNU/Linux for music production purposes [4], so it's clear that even areas where GNU/Linux was notoriously lagging (audio, just like gaming) there is major change now. Sometimes, as in [5], the use of GNU/Linux for music production is not even mentioned, it's implied.

Just because we don't hear so much about GNU/Linux doesn't mean it went away. It's just being taken for granted. Its rise is no longer newsworthy.

Related/contextual items from the news:



  1. Bishop to King 7
    Nine years ago, we were playing with a niche OS that had just become the default OS for the web. Now we’re playing with an OS at the heart of computer science, from educating our children to powering the world’s super-computers in the cloud.


  2. UK government picks first open standards in bid to dodge vendor lock-in
    The UK government has adopted its first two open standards under its plan to shift departments away from proprietary systems.


  3. Rejuvenating a four-year-old laptop - with Linux
    A few months back, after I installed Xubuntu on my eeePC netbook, and this effectively gave it a second and much faster life, I also asked you if you have recommendations for my T42 box. Well, today, we are not going to do that. Instead, we will dedicate some time in rejuvenating my LG RD510 box, which I purchased four years back and then installed with four instance of Jaunty.


  4. The Linux Setup - Gabriel Nordeborn, Musician
    There’s a definite interest in Linux for music. One of my more consistently popular posts is about using Linux for music production. Gabbe goes way beyond that post, completely revealing a wonderful workflow that optimizes his machine for making music and shows how the flexibility of Linux really lends itself to creative endeavors. Gabbe also makes the important point that Linux makes music production possible for people who might not be able to afford expensive production software like Pro Tools.
  5. Music for All with Open Source Software
    I am embarrassed to admit that I have never in my life considered the struggle of blind musicians to find Braille music scores. I did not realize until last week that only about 1% of sheet music is available in an accessible format, but my friend Robert Douglass is hoping to change that with his Open Well-Tempered Clavier - Ba۩h to Bach project on Kickstarter.com.




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