GNU/Linux primer 3 (hopefully the last one )

Hi all,

Sorry first of all for all the delay in the same. A certain malady made my computer sick, had to reformat my sytem which hadn’t been formatted since the Dapper days . I wanted to stick with it for a few days till ext4 was standardized and came on the installer but oh well, now just will wait for brtfs to be standardized as well. It would be cool to see what happens and what kind of latencies would be there.

Anyways coming back to the topic at hand, so quite a few questions were asked by people both publically as well privately as well. So rest of the blog-post would be answering queries people have sent in.

Senthil asked

linux and desktop market : what about the control on the market – what about lack of pre installed hw – what about govts not choosing whats cheaper and more meaninful for community as reasons

So let’s try to answer these questions one by one :-

Q1. What about the control of the market?

A1. What about it? While I don’t speak for the free software community I don’t see them talking about market-shares, what they are more concerned about is people having a choice, an alternative mainstream which is not governed by short-term choices.

If you are insinuating however that Microsoft may use that power it has, that has already been alleged as well as proved by the EU as well.  There are already so many instances right from the US Antritrust case or and the European Competition Case and of course the World Famous “Halloween Documents leak” as they are called. An interesting aspect of that strategy is what later came to be known as “Embrace, Extend and Extinguish” strategy.

While that’s all history now it does make a case for precedence.

Also a single vendor having a majority share in the market could arm-twist hardware vendors either to delay or not co-operate with other vendors.  Its not MS but Intel as well. So there you have it, yes that could affect growth of free software but OTOH how many people are going to pay the MS-Tax (also here)).

Before this starts becoming too monotonous, let’s go to question 2.

Q2. what about lack of pre installed hw ?

A2. Well, the answer is with you my friend. Write to your vendor asking for a pre-installed Free Operating System of your choice. If more and more people start doing that then change is happening. For e.g. the recent forays of Dell in the GNU/Linux market as well as the advent of Eee in the netbook category as well. So its a beginning. Please remember this is the first time something like this is happening. But definitely buying equipment which works with ‘free software’ and doing signature campaigns and such will only increase such kind of hardware.

Q3.  what about govts not choosing whats cheaper and more meaninful for community as reasons

A3. While I don’t work for the government hence can only speculate. Also my very limited dealings some of the common issues might be :-

a. The person taking the decision may choose to do the same thing as his predecessors did. This way there is nobody to blame.

b. Finding staff who can get out of their comfort zone. For any change to happen the employees need to feel confident of the ourcome.

c. Not finding big enough companies as well as number of individuals who can participate in the change process.

d. An implementation plan.

e. Some temptations.

f. Fear of loss or control issue

Q4. is GNU/Linux secure – if everything is open then how?

A4. Well, its simply due to the design what GNU/Linux has. Instead of hashing the same thing over and over I think a link of this article would be good and still highly relevant. Hence the points carried over there are still relevant here.There is also the much famed SELinux . Having said that security is an on-going war/understanding so one has to be on one’s toes all the time. A good resource on keeping oneself updated on the subject would perhaps be reading Linux security

Q5. I’m looking to migrate to GNU/Linux, is there a list for doing what I did in Windows?

A5. Well, there is an exhaustive list at linuxrsp . Another exhaustive listing would be at Wikipedia.  A slightly outdated list of common cross-platform tools can be found at A much more interesting list is actually the list of formerly proprietary software which is much more cooler IMHO.

I guess that’s about it from me for now 🙂 Feedback, comments and suggestions invited 🙂

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