Linux


Our house has become a “Linux household” in the last couple of months, and the boys have been furiously drawing stuff, apart from working on the computer. Sketches of Linus Torvalds and Linux-related themes are all over the house. Varun Baba even has Tux (the penguin) with the features of Linus on one of his drawings (the second picture)

We have had a phone for two years now, a computer for a year and a half, and an internet connection for just under a year. For the last two months we have been using a Linux OS : Ubuntu. So we are newbies and what I write will be naive in parts. I would urge all those who read this post to comment on what I have written and what I haven’t, on your usage or non-usage of Linux/Ubuntu/FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software).

To connect to the Internet using Ubuntu was an issue and Badri Baba and I (“with a little bit of help from our friends”) managed to do it after a week or so of frustration. Once online, we mucked around and over time completely stopped using Windows. With the evangelism of the new convert, I would urge all of you to try Ubuntu in a separate partition if you do not want to get rid of Windows. The whole feel is great from the Desktop backgrounds and Screen savers to the fact that there are no virus issues.

Q1: Why does Linux not have virus issues?
Q2: Relatedly, why are there viruses at all? Is it criminals who are trying to steal credit card details or your phone number or what-have-you; or is it “hackers” doing it for a lark?

The philosophy behind the Open Source movement seems sound to me. Sharing means that everyone who uses Linux is a potential contributor to it, whereas Proprietary Software means that the people who work on it are a small fraction of the people who use it.

But how is a company like Canonical (which “makes” Ubuntu) financially viable? You can download Ubuntu for free, you can even ask for an installation CD, and they will mail you one for free. Obviously I am missing something, but I have to ask, with Badri Baba, ” I know how Microsoft makes money, but how does Canonical make money?”

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3 Responses to “Linux”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Canonical kind of organizations survive because of 1) the voluntary efforts (that go into ubuntu kinds of things and brands) that are not monetized, 2) grants-in-aid from corp bodies and foundations 3) donations from neoconverts and such – and, 4) the support (for say ubuntu based IT infrastructures of corporate entities) and system integration services. Actually, the ‘running’ or operational expenses of a services outfit are NOT very high for these kinds of organizations- I would think. Add to this, the religious fervour of being considered an outfit AGAINST some malevolent Goliath. 😎 The myths we live by. It is an all out war by selfrighteous knights-of-honour against the otherwrongius behemoth.

    There are quite a few reasons for Linux kind of OSs that are not considered prone to MS kind of problems, in realm of virii, worm etc (main reason would be that it is based on the sound engg principles of UNIX) – but I feel that the important reason would be that – it is easy to pelt stones at such an obvious target like MS. And if Linux or Loonux or whatever were to be as popular as MSWindows, then the ‘technical’ minds would work overtime to break it and bash in the reflection glory – or would that be enlightenment? May be the pheomenon has got more to do with sociology and group dynamics rather than any mindboggling engineering wonder on part of linux or anything. Frankly I have known some *damn* brilliant guys on bothsides of the divide. There are brilliant engineers and marketers everywhere – in LinuxWorld as well as the WindowsUniverse.

    A perusal of the following few articles would help getting a perspective on the open sores and how the merry linux band aids and abets that…

    The Economic Motivation of Open Source Software: Stakeholder Perspectives
    http://www.riehle.org/computer-science/research/2007/computer-2007-article.html

    The short life and hard times of a Linux virus
    http://librenix.com/?inode=21

    Blame the UI: Why Linux is Not Immune to ILOVEYOU-style Worms
    http://freshmeat.net/articles/view/165/

    A couple of dated, but still useful articles on the cultural anthroplogy of opersource are: ‘Homesteading the noosphere’ and ‘Cathedral and the Bazaar’ by Eric S Raymond. Google macht frei please!

    Anonymoose AKA Anonymouse
    Ha.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Forgot to add how nice the paintings and drwings(not of straight linux but gay ones, none the less) of young V and B look. On first impressionism, they look colourful with features well tuxed in.

    It is nice to work with a new OSS system, but to make it up and running is sometimes is quite painful. Congrats on settin it up and connecting to world woid web with able help from B. πŸ™‚

    I remember myself not even venuturing in the direction of computer for a few days – when I was trying to set up freebsd 2.2.2 or somesuch thing from make_world etc. After quite a few painful trials and tribulations, finally it was up – but it was *phew*n, not.

    Problems of getting lost in a rant. Peace.

    Ippadikku:

    Anonymess (actually)

  3. meeta Says:

    This was really interesting. I don’t know if I’ll actually try setting up a Linux Os on a separate drive but I think I might.Thanks,
    Meeta

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