29 September 2007


The ugly truth, I think, is that Linux is mostly a huge waste of time. It is not a waste of time for me, of course (at least, not anymore); now that I can use Linux reasonably well (only took me a year and a half), I find Linux superior for text processing. Learning how to use teTeX and emacs were brilliant decisions. I probably didn't need to take the detour into the arcane worlds of Slackware and Ututo/Gentoo, but I regret nothing. I even suspect that friendlier distributions would not have forced me to learn some useful bash scripting so soon. The more important question, I think, is who should switch to Linux. Answer: Almost no-one. Work in an office? Windows is probably the only way to roll, unless you are unusually interested in computers. Virus problem? Use a Macintosh (though I don't like them). I mean, automated text processing is wonderful for building websites, and GnuPG is fun, if not terribly necessary (for me). Normal productivity requires old, solid technology. YouTube and friends are time thieves, just like TV, but if the people want them, then the people are better off without Linux. Bottom line: want to learn about computers? Use Linux. Want to build or revive a cheap (well below $100) computer? Use Linux. Anyone with sufficiently simple requirements for computing (web, mail, word processing, playing music) will do fine with a friendly Linux, but there is no compelling reason to switch. Think Microsoft is evil? Read a book.


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