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Clarification to "Year of the Linux desktop? Who cares!"

Back in my last blog entry: Year of the Linux desktop? Who cares!

...Some people have interpreted that I suggest everyone be programmers.

NO! That's not what I am saying.

I'm saying its not that hard to get into programming, IF YOU CHOOSE that path. You don't have to. Its YOUR CHOICE. There are other (non-programming) avenues in supporting open-source.

Take for example, my current limited programming skills have got me into writing guides for now.

I have contributed to...

(1) The Arch Linux project's wiki.

Enable XvMC for Nvidia video cards http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Enable_XvMC_for_Nvidia_video_cards

(2) The DD-WRT project's wiki.
(DD-WRT is third-party firmware for Linux-based routers like the Linksys WRT54g series)

Mitsubishi R100 Gateway and Asus WL500G (Original) entries. http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Installation#Mitsubishi_R100_Gateway http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Installation#Asus_WL500G_.28Original.29

(3) My own little piece...

For the new: How do I give Linux a go? http://forums.techwatch.com.au/viewtopic.php?p=32306 (I need some feedback here).

I've even helped influence two separate projects to combine their efforts (as they were attacking the same goal)

(4) Proposal to the PhoenixLabs team.
http://forums.phoenixlabs.org/t11280-proposal-to-the-phoenixlabs-team.html
(You can see later on that "Morpheus", the developer of MoBlock, joined PhoenixLabs. This was because PeerGuardian for Linux isn't regular maintained like it was).

That's one avenue.

Others could be:

(1) Help test distros and report bugs.
(Be sure to ask what is expected from a bug report. Often, you need to be as detailed as possible for the developer to reproduce the problem).

(2) Donate a few bucks to a worthy open-source project.
(Maybe one of your fav apps?)

(3) Help a beginner.
(But keep your biased opinions out of it! Let them decide.)

(4) Provide feedback to developers.
(They really don't know if something sucks until you tell them! Of course, be polite and constructively explain why something sucks. Maybe even suggest an alternative approach.)

(5) Help promote open-source in general.
(But remember to try not to force it onto people. Again, let THEM decide.)

On a side note, whenever you're writing a guide of some sort. ALWAYS explain why a command is used and what's it for. Beginners have a hard time trying to understand what all that gibberish they're typing actually means. If you explain it as you go, it makes understanding better. (People feel more confident when they understand what's going on...It also helps break down the initial fears when they start using Linux).

You'll also notice I keep saying "Let them decide". The reason being, is that the typical desktop user has always been pressured and cornered into upgrading when they don't need it.

Take for example, my sister's case. A Windows 2000 user. Not only do they NOT get Internet Explorer 7, but Microsoft recommends they upgrade to Windows XP if they want to install Windows Live Messenger...The thing is, there's nothing wrong with Win2k for her needs! It does the job for her.

Open-source represents the first opportunity where the user is in control and dictates when they need to upgrade. Not because some corporation or an industry needs to maintain a regular flow of profits.

So despite all the politics, controversy, FUD, and bickering that is stirred up by others, don't ever forget that open-source is about the "Freedom to Choose".

More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

  • A Quick Hands-On With Chatty, A Desktop Twitch Chat Client
    Chatty is a desktop Twitch Chat client for Windows, macOS and Linux written in Ja
  • HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 Adds Support for Linux Mint 18, Fedora 24
    The open-source HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP) project has been updated on August 29, 2016, to version 3.16.8, a maintenance update that adds support for new printers and GNU/Linux operating systems. According to the release notes, HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 adds support for new all-in-one HP printers, including HP OfficeJet Pro 6970, HP OfficeJet Pro 6960, HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile, HP DeskJet 3700, as well as HP DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700. Also new in the HPLIP 3.16.8 update is support for the recently released Linux Mint 18 "Sarah" Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, and the upcoming KDE editions, the Fedora 24 Linux operating system, as well as the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 "Jessie" distribution. So if you're using any of these OSes, you can now update to the latest HPLIP release.
  • MPlayer-Based MPV 0.20.0 Video Player Released with New Options and Commands
    The popular, open-source, and cross-platform MPV video player software received a new update, version 0.20.0, which comes only two weeks after the previous 0.19.0 maintenance release. MPV 0.20.0 is not a major update, and, according to the release notes, it only implements a couple of new options and commands, such as "--video-unscaled=downscale-big" for changing the aspect ratio. Additionally, the MPlayer-based video playback application also gets the "--image-display-duration" option for controlling the duration of image display, and a new "dcomposition" flag for controlling DirectComposition.
  • FFmpeg 3.1.3 "Laplace" Open-Source Multimedia Framework Now Available for Linux
    The major FFmpeg 3.1 "Laplace" open-source and cross-platform multimedia framework has received recently its third maintenance update, version 3.1.3, which brings updated components. FFmpeg 3.1 was announced two months ago, at the end of June, and it introduced a multitude of new features to make the popular multimedia backend even more reliable and handy to game and application developers. Dubbed Laplace, FFmpeg 3.1 is currently the most advanced FFmpeg release, cut from Git master on June 26, 2016.
  • GNU Scientific Library 2.2 released
    Version 2.2 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C. This release contains new linear algebra routines (Pivoted and Modified Cholesky, Complete Orthogonal Decomposition, matrix condition number estimation) as well as a completely rewritten nonlinear least squares module, including support for Levenberg-Marquardt, dogleg, double-dogleg, and Steihaug-Toint methods. The full NEWS file entry is appended below.

today's howtos

Leftovers: OSS

  • Report: If DOD Doesn't Embrace Open Source, It'll 'Be Left Behind'
    Unless the Defense Department and its military components levy increased importance on software development, they risk losing military technical superiority, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security. In the report, the Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan think tank argues the Pentagon, which for years has relied heavily on proprietary software systems, “must actively embrace open source software” and buck the status quo. Currently, DOD uses open source software “infrequently and on an ad hoc basis,” unlike tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook that wouldn’t exist without open source software.
  • The Honey Trap of Copy/Pasting Open Source Code
    I couldn’t agree more with Bill Sourour’s article ‘Copy.Paste.Code?’ which says that copying and pasting code snippets from sources like Google and StackOverflow is fine as long as you understand how they work. However, the same logic can’t be applied to open source code. When I started open source coding at the tender age of fourteen, I was none the wiser to the pitfalls of copy/pasting open source code. I took it for granted that if a particular snippet performed my desired function, I could just insert it into my code, revelling in the fact that I'd just gotten one step closer to getting my software up and running. Yet, since then, through much trial and error, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to use open source code effectively.
  • Affordable, Open Source, 3D Printable CNC Machine is Now on Kickstarter
    The appeals of Kickstarter campaigns are many. There are the rewards for backers, frequently taking the form of either deep discounts on the final product or unusual items that can’t be found anywhere else. Pledging to support any crowdfunding campaign is a gamble, but it’s an exciting gamble; just browsing Kickstarter is pretty exciting, in fact, especially in the technological categories. Inventive individuals and startups offer new twists on machines like 3D printers and CNC machines – often for much less cost than others on the market.
  • Open Standards and Open Source
    Much has changed in the telecommunications industry in the years since Standards Development Organization (SDOs) such as 3GPP, ITU and OMA were formed. In the early days of telecom and the Internet, as fundamental technology was being invented, it was imperative for the growth of the new markets that standards were established prior to large-scale deployment of technology and related services. The process for development of these standards followed a traditional "waterfall" approach, which helped to harmonize (sometimes competing) pre-standard technical solutions to market needs.

Leftovers: BSD

  • The Voicemail Scammers Never Got Past Our OpenBSD Greylisting
    We usually don't see much of the scammy spam and malware. But that one time we went looking for them, we found a campaign where our OpenBSD greylisting setup was 100% effective in stopping the miscreants' messages. During August 23rd to August 24th 2016, a spam campaign was executed with what appears to have been a ransomware payload. I had not noticed anything particularly unusual about the bsdly.net and friends setup that morning, but then Xavier Mertens' post at isc.sans.edu Voice Message Notifications Deliver Ransomware caught my attention in the tweetstream, and I decided to have a look.
  • Why FreeBSD Doesn't Aim For OpenMP Support Out-Of-The-Box