Linux – Not Today, But Hope of the Future

One look at the current landscape allows any sane person to see that Microsoft Windows is so firmly entrenched, that it will take a number of years equal to those it took for Windows to embed itself in our lives, to become removed and replaced by a different operating system.

Ten or so months after the V was put out for public consumption, many still cannot figure what it is for. Is it for Vista, like the packaging says, or is it for Vendetta? The many who have tried to tame this operating system on less than up-to-the-minute hardware have thrown their hands up in frustration, or else simply decided that this is ‘state of the art’, and the art is fading.

With all the ruckus, sniveling, and threats of change, how many people do you know that have changed to Linux? Any Linux? BSD? 

That’s what I thought. Anyone who has been using Windows for a length of time is caught up in the inertia of things. It’s natural, people work that way.

If there is anything that must be done to change things, the effort must be in the direction of the youth – or those youthful enough to not have been using Windows since it was just a Window.

Young minds adapt to new things easier than those ingrained with years of sameness. Children must start out with this new system. Parents must make efforts to see that open source software is used in the schools. Not as spite to Microsoft, but to show that public efforts are good, and produce great results.

Beyond the need to have open source software used, we need to leave our children better off than we were. No one disputes the abilities of any Unix derivative far outstrip the DOS-Windows ways of doing things. Shouldn’t we put the best out there for our progeny?

Towards this end, we must move to get the companies who make games work on game titles for Linux. This is, after all, what keeps many of the youth of today using Windows. If they want to be able to play World of Warcraft, any of the Quake series, or Battlefield Date Unknown, they need to have Windows to play them. (I know your next thing to say will be that id, makers of Quake, do in fact make Linux versions – but they are not easy to set up or use, and because of video driver issues, don’t play as well – this needs to be addressed)

Sometimes the best way to get people moving is to chide them. Perhaps we should have a campaign about the power of the command line. Something along the line of “Only sissies refuse to type!” or “Clicking is for girly-men!”

On on hand, we have something that has brought so many people into the computer fold; Windows and  the Graphical User Interface made computing easy. Now that computers are so much a part of our lives, and each individual is judged on their computer knowledge, and simply knowing how to ‘point and click’ doesn’t differentiate a person any longer. The knowledge of as many facets of computing as possible is an ‘in’ to the better life we all want.

Note also that this is at cross purposes to the Microsoft agenda. Microsoft prefers to have people educated enough to use their interfaces, but simple enough to believe that use of the command line or an advanced operating system is an area best left to others.

Do your children a favor the next time you upgrade your main computer. Wipe the operating system off the hard drive of the older computer and install a version of Linux or BSD. Look at the hardware compatibility list before you try to install the distribution. That will alleviate any major headaches. Encourage your children to use it – and when they’ve gone to bed, try it yourself. That way you won’t be embarrassed when they show you how something is done!

[tags] Linux, BSD, Windows, gaming, inertia, driver issues, progeny [/tags]

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