lunes, 21 de junio de 2010

Linux is not only an Operating System


A caracteristic of GNU/Linux that calls my attention is, without a doubt, the varied philosophic views that Linux generates, especially compared to the two proprietary operating systems: Windows and MacOS X.

Windows has presented its own image as that of a simple and effective OS...

MacOS X has presented its own image as that of an artistic, fun and much safer OS than Windows...

Linux, on the other hand, has tried--maybe with little success--to present itself as the alternative to the proprietary operating systems...

However, in the case of Linux, its image does not end there. Its communities, as varied as the different distributions that they support and develop, have seen in Linux a lot more than a simple operating system. In fact, they have built around Torvalds' kernel and the GNU applications collected by Stallman a whole system of values and creeds that includes politics, cultural/national identity, pop culture, and even religion. I've never heard of a Christian edition of Windows, a Muslim version of MacOS, or the other way around. It'd be fun, I guess! So many levels of identification have been possible in Linux thanks to the freedom it provides to adapt and alter the OS to the user's content.

Let's see some examples of little known, but highly customized Linux distributions:

A- Geographic/National Identity:

1. Asianux: a distribution made by Asian countries, among them China and Japan
2. BRlix: a Brazilian distribution
3. Càtix: a distribution in Catalan
4. Nepalinux: The Nepalese Linux
5. Pardus: the Linux distribution from Turkey for Turkey and the world

B. Political Stand:

Estrella Roja: A distribution made in Argentina with a Marxist flavor impossible to mistake

C- Pop Culture
Mangaka: an Ubuntu-derivated distro for those who love Japanese manga and anime (Yes, there's a specific Linux for that!)

D- Religion
1- Sabily (known before as Ubuntu Muslim Edition): Ubuntu with the Koran and prayer schedules included, among others.
2- Ubuntu CE (Christian Edition): Ubuntu with a Bible and other Christian tools included.


Of course, someone might say that those customized versions, especially the religious ones, are an attempt to attract a specific market. Personally, I doubt the veracity of such idea. If Linux as a whole represents 1% of the world market, how much would someone gain dividing that 1% by the Christian population or the "otakus"? I don't think such strategy would make anybody a millionaire! Definitively, all those little-known distros are more the result of personal identification than of money hunger.

Pardus is one of my favorite ones. I'd like to try as well all those other distros to taste a little of their individual flavor. I'm sure I'd learn something new from them!

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