Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Get GNU/Linux and Linux.org

There's an interesting post on Digg that hasn't quite made the front page yet:

Is Linux.org hurting Linux?

If you've ever visited Linux.org, you'll probably have an opinion on this.
My opinion?

The majority of the people who've taken the poll on the Ubuntu Forums seem to agree.

Is there something better?

It's clean, simple, eye-catching, and the information that the community wants to send to potential users is easy to get to. While Get GNU/Linux does have some typos and some GNU-isms (I think the general public might not get the free beer/free speech thing), it's certainly a great start. I think the official Ubuntu site in particular does the best job I've seen at explaining Linux and the concept of open development:

Ubuntu is a complete Linux-based operating system, freely available with both community and professional support. It is developed by a large community and we invite you to participate too!

The Ubuntu community is built on the ideas enshrined in the Ubuntu Philosophy: that software should be available free of charge, that software tools should be usable by people in their local language and despite any disabilities, and that people should have the freedom to customise and alter their software in whatever way they see fit.

This makes more sense to me than Get GNU/Linux's:

Gnu/Linux, or simply Linux, is an alternative to Microsoft Windows®. It is easy to use and gives more freedom to users. Anyone can install it: Linux is free as beer and as speech.

The last thing I'd like to throw into the mix here is that the GNU label is just plain ugly. The general public doesn't need to know what GNU is (nor will they care). Like I mentioned in the comments of the Digg article, there's a reason it's just "OS X" and not "GNU/OS X" [I stand corrected... While OS X does ship with some GNU utilities, it's apparently not warranted to call it "GNU/OS X" since it isn't 'free'. The Wikipedia article on GNU seems to agree with me at one point though: That GNU/Linux meant GNU utils + Linux kernel... (hence GNU/OS X, by my initial logic)]

(And if I may be so bold, look at the Ubuntu site again. How many times is the distribution referred to as "Ubuntu" rather than "Ubuntu Linux"? Simply put, anyone who doesn't know that Ubuntu is Linux won't care that is, and anyone who does care already knows.)

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