Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Linux Mentality

MelbournePhilosopher

My Linux install became corrupted last night. It has been playing up a little lately, and appears to have finally kicked the bucket. I've been itching to move to Debian anyway, and this seems like the opportune moment.

Why is it that I would prefer to re-install a new and foreign OS rather than moving to the always-reliable, if somewhat limiting Windows XP? Why not just re-install the Linux I already had rather than changing flavour?

A cynic might suggest I simply have too much free time - I hope the answer is different. In my workplace, linux truly makes sense. There is a multicultural approach to operating systems here, with Unix, Linux, many flavours of Windows all living together if not in harmony then at least in grudging union. Windows is in fact the least able to deal with the wide variety of internetworking applications I use every day.

But it's also a learning experience. As well as my obligations to the immediate goals of my project, I also have an obligation to maintain my own general software awareness and skill level. You might say I am motivated by a goal to be a more expert linux user, much as a builder might incorporate an unusual building material or construction technique just for its own sake.

In life, we make choices all the time about whether to understand something in its full complexities - whether to make full use of a tool or to access only its basic functions. When it comes to changing spare tyres, I'm a do-it-yourself man. Linux is the ultimate tyre-iron. But don't worry, Windows exists for those who would rather call the RACV.

-MP

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