Brad’s Life

Random Musings about my life…

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ahhhh…Linux

So, I came across this webpage today that shows an attempt at a Linux tack on the “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” ads. I’ve seen several tries at this before, the most prominent being one with Milton from Office Space in a Tron suit, but it seems someone’s finally come up with an ad that not only is funny, but feels right, and is functional.

I believe that this was written for an internal Novell conference, but if I were John Q. Viewer seeing this as one of my first real introductions to Linux, it would make me interested enough to want to check it out. It makes Linux seem warm, friendly, attainable, yet not…smug.

Don’t get me wrong, I own a Mac. I’m writing this post on it. But we Mac users are smug, most of the time. We believe our software and our OS are better because…well, because they are, damnit. But being right doesn’t always win the court of public opinion, and this is one case where we sometimes do ourselves a disservice. We (and by this “we”, I mean the Mac community en masse) come off as almost brainwashed into believing in the unquestionable superiority of our computers, which can be a turnoff to outsiders, much like religious zealots with in-your-face proselytizing can scare away more people than they ever win over.

But Linux is finally in a positing, after years of skulking about on server racks and Comp. Sci. majors’ desks, to have a shot, albeit ever so slight, to go mainstream, in a positive way. (ed. note — I realize that one more comma would likely cause that entire sentence to collapse, but I’m not here to keep it reading smoothly, I’m here to keep myself entertained. I’m the only one reading this garbage anyway, right?) Here is an OS that is powerful, stable, secure, beautiful, and all-capable — in short, all the things Vista wants to be, though it ends up looking like a tranny with a good surgeon. You can’t quite put your finger on it: everything looks right, but it still looks…wrong, somehow. Linux is also open, free, and ultimately user-configurable. And, if I had to pick my biggest gripes with OS X, they’d be the price of upgrades, proprietary nature, and assumptions about some settings that are very difficult or impossible to change (<rant>Oh, InsomniaX, if only you’d let me close my MacBook Pro without it sleeping away on me…UPDATE PLEASE!!!</rant>).

All in all, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say here. I guess the only conclusion I can draw is, Linux might finally be ready for the desktop, and ads like this might be just the trick to get people to realize it. My only fear, after listening to this week’s “Security Now”, is that Vista might finally be Microsoft getting it right, or close enough that everyone that was starting to look for alternatives will come back into the fold before they actually make the right a move.

So, for now, you must all do your part. Find your “Aunt Edith”, be it a friend, grandparent, neighbor, etc., and get them exposed to Linux. Start with the flavor of the month, Ubuntu, if you want. If we can each get one person, just one, to give it a shot, this world might just be a better, freer place for us all.

posted by zoocat at 4:26 pm  

1 Comment »

  1. Nice write up. Thanks!
    –Ted

    Comment by Ted Haeger — March 20, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

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