Linux is about choice

Every time somebody writes “Linux is about choice” something inside of me dies. Just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done.

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Richard has over 10 years of experience developing open source software. He is the maintainer of GNOME Software, PackageKit, GNOME Packagekit, GNOME Power Manager, GNOME Color Manager, colord, and UPower and also contributes to many other projects and opensource standards. Richard has three main areas of interest on the free desktop, color management, package management, and power management. Richard graduated a few years ago from the University of Surrey with a Masters in Electronics Engineering. He now works for Red Hat in the desktop group, and also manages a company selling open source calibration equipment. Richard's outside interests include taking photos and eating good food.

28 thoughts on “Linux is about choice”

  1. “Linux is not intelligent design, Linux is evolution.”
    And a lot of choices will just die in the process. Just get used to it or you will be dead pretty soon :P

  2. “Linux” isn’t about anything except being free and open, since those are it’s defining characteristics. But, otherwise, it’s not animate, so it has no specific desires. Some distros (both technical and social) might be about choice, and others might not be. And that’s fair. I’d agree that some things shouldn’t be done, but I’m definitely glad knowing that people have the ability to try, and decide for themselves.

    In any case, I’m curious where you’re hearing that, and why it’s bothering you?

  3. The curious thing about evolution is that no one realizes what is really evolving.

    Nature takes a giant enzyme of 4 million atoms, keeps tweaking it, makes a great acid. Years and years go by, and suddenly it can move an oxygen atom. Then one day after eons it’s responsible for energy transfer.

    Evolution is purely observed in retrospect.

  4. I interpret “Linux is about choice” as “Linux is about having the freedom to choose”, not “Linux is about making choices”.

    Also, something inside of me dies every time I have to type in my password multiple times to execute a single action in a PolicyKit-using app ;) (I kid, I kid)

  5. Linux is a kernel, and making one piece of software out to mean more than it does will get you into trouble.

    Free Software happens to be the best means to get to the end of Excellent Software.
    Right now it’s doing this mainly through OS X. Hopefully Ubuntu can replace it soon.

  6. Linux is about choice just like the SAT or ACT. Too many wrong choices may ruin your life, and you have to spend a lot of time RingTFM to know which choices are right.

  7. I don’t understand, the only reason for PackageKit is so N completely different bits of code can be chosen. Instead of “just doing it well, once” which I assume is the implication of your statement.

    So why complain about something you’ve worked so hard to help.

  8. I agree, but I’d like to extend my disgust to the general case of “Linux is about *”.

    Linux isn’t “about” anything. It’s an operating system.

  9. Well, L…ife is about choice.

    And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Makes me think of this saying: “we can joke about everything, but not with everyone”.

    Some people like choice, some don’t and some just don’t want to be overhelmed by it. But no one will agree on a single common solution.

  10. It’s utterly true that Linux (and Free software in general) is not about choice.

    But this should not be used as an excuse to start writing alternatives to existing software. Especially when there are design issues in said software, and new designs need to be explored.

  11. There are two LINUXs:
    (1) The first is about “choice”. Primarily this exists in order to give dreary pedantic people an infinite range of topic to gripe, whine, and complain about. And have flame wars where they all fly their ignorance as a flag. They hate GUIs or LINUX’s GUI(s) will never equal Window’s awesomeness. And developers trying to tell users how to do things. Or utterly incoherent copyright/patent conspiracy theories. And why can’t you run LINUX & GNOME/KDE on a 15 year old computer? BLOAT! BLOAT, I say!
    Someone needs to build a type#1 e-mail filter.
    (2) The second LINUX is about actually *using* a computer, getting things done. You hear a lot less from these people – they are too busy actually doing something with their computer.

    It is about choice, ulimately. To waste your type on Type#1 users or focus on Type#2 users. Fortunately Type#2 users are usually fun and interesting.

    1. No, PackageKit removes choice. It gives one API client applications can use, rather than 8 commands that an application has to choose from. By having one API an application can add functionality knowing that it’ll work no matter what distribution it is running on.

  12. “Every time somebody writes “Linux is about choice” something inside of me dies.”

    I have always felt the same – thanks for putting it to words so nicely. I’d like to add, that every time somebody writes “Linux is ALL about choice” something inside of me gets tortured first and then dies :-) These belong to a large group of in my opinion largely brainless (sorry) sayings, that have started to live lives of their own.

  13. I keep listening to the news speak about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the best site to get one.

  14. “Some distros (both technical and social) might be about choice, and others might not be. And that’s fair.”

    So Linux is about choice about choice :)

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