Thursday, July 03, 2008

Be at peace with your preference!

There are so many kinds of Linux users, newbies, fanboys or fangirls, fanatics, distro loyalists and a gamut of others. Some insist the distro they use is better, strive to prove it and push with arrogance and narrowed persuasion until you submit or at least agree. The turn around is when they attack another distro because it's more popular, has more press or more hype. I compare this to our car buying habits. At one time if you didn't buy American you were thought of as radical, not normal or elitist or even sophisticated or had discriminating taste. When foreign cars became more accepted, the perceptions changed. One thing was certain no matter what car you buy, it had to be drive worthy on American roads and not lacking in what American buyers want. In Linuxville, users tussle over the desktop, the utilities and all the options. They try their best to apply the market mentality to Linux. Most users think the distro with the most users, wins. So far Linux provides too many choices to sift out a clear and decisive victory for any distro. Ubuntu comes in many flavors, like Lifesavers candy. Just when Ubuntu has raised the bar, Kubuntu stands up. The difference between Ubuntu (Gnome) and Kubuntu (KDE), little things. The out of the box looks though different often fade as users tweak to a more personal look and feel. The change is inevitable because you can change it. MS nor Mac simply don't offer the ability to change the look and feel of the desktop to the degree that Linux gives to normal users. So these last few Linux years have been a call of the wild with compositing desktop effect addons becoming integrated into the GUI. Added to this is the improvement of management programs and each distro finds a following of invigorated users. But Linux is Linux like a car is a car. Of all the choices you find something you are comfortable with, usually the first one you struggle to understand. You discover your way around it, do what you can with it and announce to the world how cool it is. Dirty little secret, cheese for different markets might be cut off the same block. A grille choice and interior fabric choice might differentiate standard from luxury on a car line. What about Linux? Try one on, wear it for a while, get to know it, change it if you must. Be at peace with your choices. If folks are making other choices, that is their choice. Changes usually find their way into almost every distro because Linux is not one distro or another. What would be really helpful is if Linux users would spend a small part of their bandwidth exploring and explaining the various applications. So what if Linux can be as supple as a chameleon for looks, but what is and how to use Krita, Neverball, Lphoto or VLC? The homepages for these say little and docs only get you started. What do you say about these? Make webpages, do you use Bluefish or Kompose or are you locked in with Dreamweaver? I reported I had to give up wobbly windows to use VirtualBox. Is that a software and/or a hardware limitation? How about a PC hardware book that assumes Linux instead of just Microsoft or a networking book that explains networking with Linux? This generation likes to be on the cutting edge, but things on the edge come and go. Step back from the edge a pace, things are a tad bit more clear, more defined. There is a Linux that is in regular use and users are finding Linux can be used for daily work. In Linuxville there are visitors and there are residents. I do Ubuntu, a neighbor does Suse, another something else. Once you settle in, sameness and difference are features of the same Linux. When Linux becomes practical, show and tell has substance and the GUI becomes a way to get to the applications, the real thing Linux is good for. I reiterate, be at peace with your Linux choice.

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