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The REAL reason we use Linux

by kanarip — last modified Apr 12, 2008 08:45 PM

Vlad Dolezal writes in his blog on about the real reason we use Linux. He says although we might be telling people it's because it's secure, gratis, customizable or free, which are all valid reasons, supposedly the real reason that we use Linux is because it's fun. That's true, it is fun, but it's not the real reason.

Imagine you get to choose between two programs that do the same job, more or less.

One program is used a lot by the general public. How it works is obscure and you don't know exactly what it does if you press a button, but you do know that, in general, the program just works -duh, lots of people are using it. You may find documentation on how to use the program -which is often very conceptual and superficial- but still it doesn't give you any insight in the programs operations -the exact how, when and why fact sheet. Although I actually do know, let's assume that I don't; A user will think that it's all vague and obscure but it works.

The other program is made by a bunch of people that are extremely passionate, it's broadly used, it's well-documented, it has the proper fact sheets, and you can join news groups and mailing lists with any questions, problems and ideas you might have, and even talk to the developers directly. If push comes to shove you can also track down what it is the program is doing exactly -hence where things go wrong, behave differently from what you expect or where you need it to do something different. Not that you need to, but a huge number of other people to do it either because they're just as passionate, or they need a specific piece of the program to do what it is they need it to do -or because someone like you requested something that made them dig through all the code and fix something for you.

The principles on proprietary and freedom put aside, ask yourself;

If you're a user: Which program would you trust to work now and improve in the future?

If you're a developer of course the question for users applies as well, but also: Which one would you care most passionately about -bug tracking/solving, hacking, developing? Which poses the bigger challenge (greater reward)?

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