I've told a million times by now, that I am a Linux person. I like the operating system, the tools, the applications, the works. I like the process. I like the community. I like the people. And all these positive feelings are not distribution-specific, or "KDE vs. Gnome" or "Is Amarok the best media player?" kind - its genuine people-to-people kind of a thing, and the love for the technology.
Recently I got to read more and more stories about Linux in general (at least that what it was insinuated by the name of the article) where term "Linux" is quite replaced by Ubuntu. The latest one was from the LifeHacker blog, which I follow frequently (I have it in my RSS reader) and respect greatly. But why Ubuntu is the Linux chosen all the time? I know that this is the most spread and used distribution (or maybe 2nd most), but there's still no reason for it to be a solely used in such an article. It really makes me sad that media uses term "Ubuntu" and that there are no mentions that almost all of the things described in those stories can be done on any other Linux distribution. There's even no mention that Ubuntu is the distribution.
I've told already before, I fear that if the trend goes on (and at the moment I don't see why would it stop), then the Ubuntification of Linux is unstoppable, just as Windows became a follow up to the "PC" term. There were days (and in many cases are still), when some tech support person would ask you: Do you use Mac or PC? (just like in Apple's commercials). You would say, "PC". "OK then, go to the Start menu....", "I don't have one", you would interrupt. "How so? In the left low corner of your screen...", "I use Linux...", you would interrupt again.
Silence. "Hm, well, I'm not sure we support that. Are you sure this is PC?"
I'm afraid, that Ubuntu can overshadow Linux. I know that technologically literate people will not confuse the two, but for general public, there will be no Linux - just Ubuntu. Just like Windows - do you family members know that there are versions of this thing?
I already said that it scares me. It scares me that I am in no power to change the state of affairs. It scares me because competition between distribution benefits them all, perfecting the tools, causing applications to be developed, economies and companies created, communities united. Without all this, Linux would stop being the "way of the l337", and the title "cool" and talent may move to other directions. So I hope it's not too late. I hope there's still time to differentiate. To explain to all that Linux is what matters, not the specific distribution, no matter how good and successful it may be. Hell, I may even use Ubuntu for different purposes, but I will use others as well (Gentoo for example, but also Fedora Core/CentOS and others), and remember the most important thing.
There's much more to Linux than just Ubuntu.
An Update: I spoke with my friend Alon, and I agree with him that although I'm said with aforementioned stuff, I am still very happy that Linux gets attention, even if its Ubuntu and without mentioning "Linux".
Wednesday, December 26, 2007