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Brad Fitzpatrick

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"Friends of Linux" [Feb. 29th, 2004|10:14 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
I know so many people who know of or about Linux, but are too scared to take the leap. And that's understandable. There's no rush, I suppose.

But in the meantime, how can those people help the cause without actually doing anything?

I imagine there's a lot of ways, but foremost: don't buy hardware from companies that don't release technical specs and/or open source drivers.

Is there a website out there that lists such hardware/vendors already?

I imagine a number of people would put up those cheesey 88x31 web buttons saying "Friend of Linux!" or something. Then we just need a "friendoflinux.org" or something which explains,

"We use (or plan to use) Linux and want to share information about how you can help....

-- buy this hardware:
-- don't buy this hardware:
-- support these companies:
-- put up these buttons
-- etc...."

Lame, perhaps, but I bet the Linux desktop's tiny market share (which is bigger than Macs now, I've heard?) would be a lot more powerful if it included all the "almost/want to be using Linux" people.

Then I figure the website, to be easily maintained, would need to allow submissions of hardware and people to rate its support, including pre-packaged systems from bigname vendors (Dell, Gateway, etc..), with a database of raw parts from the marketing names of the machines.

So a user says, "I'm thinking about the 'Fooathon 2343'." and the website returns, "Every part is good except the _____________."

Or the opposite way: user lists want they want to buy, and website returns a list of vendors/products making systems that match those specs and are fully Linux-ready, sorted by price.

What of all the above already exists?

Update: I was feeling all optimistic when I wrote this, then erik walks in and goes, "Fuck Linux. I shouldn't have to read anything to upgrade a kernel. I'm not going to pay anybody to fix my Linux for me. Windows does everything I need and I can just pirate whatever software I want." :-(

[User Picture]From: denshi
2004-02-29 10:55 pm (UTC)
There's still that 'your Windows install gets all lousy with viruses and trojans and has to be reinstalled every few months' problem, making Linux more appealing.

Keep up with the optimism; it seems to work for you.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2004-03-01 01:36 am (UTC)
Yes, but I've been hearing a distressing number of friends-of-friends getting their Linuxen rooted by spammers and DoS-bots in the last year or so... I hope this isn't a growing trend.
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[User Picture]From: denshi
2004-03-01 02:32 am (UTC)
We're losing a security battle against spammers? Remember when they were just the tasteless joke of the net?
Ick ick ick. This is not the 2004 I had in mind.
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From: phatduckk
2004-02-29 11:07 pm (UTC)
ive tried using linux as my primary os a couple times before (last time was redhat 7.1) and always thought it was all good for about a week or so (tempted to call it novel), then turned back to windows.

my main complaint against using linux as my workstation is that i have always found there to be a pretty annoying lag time in gui response ... am i solo on this observation? is the newer stuff way better??
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-02-29 11:20 pm (UTC)
Desktop Linux has improved leaps and bounds since I started using it. It has been embarassing at times, but lately some of the stuff is pretty damn impressive.
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From: phatduckk
2004-02-29 11:28 pm (UTC)
i figured as much ...
this is one reason that OS X sounded so damn tempting to me.

but alas i refuse to use a Mac until there's standard support for a second mouse button. (screw aftermarket mice, im mostly talkin bout notebooks)
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[User Picture]From: toast0
2004-03-01 02:44 am (UTC)
I agree. One of the desktop computers I use at work runs redhat 7 (or so), and it's amazing how much better debian unstable on my laptop does, despite my laptop having roughly half the specs.

Oh, and it's nice having gnome with ui features (thanks sun).
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[User Picture]From: wy1d
2004-03-01 10:20 am (UTC)
You should check it out again, with a recent distro. Kernel 2.6 has helped a ton in this area.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-02-29 11:24 pm (UTC)
The problem is, Windows is actually pretty good now.

That's great. It'll give Linux people competition, and Linux will get better.

And Linux will give Windows competition, and Windows will be cheaper, and might force Microsoft to interoperate more.

But if there's only one game in town, it'll suck and it'll be expensive.

So we got things in competition.... all playing catch-up in different areas. I'll stick with the one I side with politically.
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[User Picture]From: cjcollier
2004-03-01 12:42 am (UTC)
Come on. There's plenty of resources to go around. I know a bunch of folks at MS, and although many won't go near Linux with a 10-foot pole cat (heh heh), quite a few of them hack on open source projects n their spare time. Plus, there are many people all over the world spending their own spare time on free software. I predict it will be a vicious cycle. As the platform becomes more useful, more people will develop for it. As more people develop for it, it will become more useful.

Ximian helped quite a bit with Mono. providing a platform on Linux that will run much of the new .NET software can't hurt.
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[User Picture]From: feignedapathy
2004-02-29 11:28 pm (UTC)
Heh. Rumor. Depends on how you look at it. Market share is computed based on hardware/software sales, so Linux' market share is hard to tally. There isn't a way to really check on how many active Mac OS machines are around. There are kludges, you can look at web traffic or the like, but market share is really an iffy value. heh.
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[User Picture]From: edm
2004-03-01 01:33 am (UTC)

Linux Friendly

FWIW, the New Zealand Open Source Society is starting work on a "Linux Friendly" hardware certification program; there's a draft of the proposal on their Wiki:


The aim is basically to identify hardware that "just works" with Linux, and then try to get vendors/resellers/etc to indicate that with some sort of trademark (like the Microsoft Windows, Novell, OS/2, etc programmes). There's at least one New Zealand reseller keen to get their hardware certified already.

Something like that might work in well with the friendoflinux.org site that you're proposing (given some more work to layer the matching tools over the top of the raw information).

I'm sure they'd welcome people to help work on the programme if anyone reading this is interested. I've also pointed them at this post for more ideas.

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[User Picture]From: mart
2004-03-01 05:24 am (UTC)

Haha. Tell Erik just not to bother upgrading the kernel. Works for me! ;)

(I still have one box of three on kernel 2.2.20 because it was current at the time and I don't need any of the new stuff. It works well enough.)

How easy is it to upgrade the kernel in Windows XP?!

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[User Picture]From: christowang
2004-03-01 06:13 am (UTC)
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com :)

Well, you can't control any options, but if there is a new update you just click Scan, Add, and Install.

I haven't used Linux on the desktop in a year or so, but Package Managers were just too complicated for the "average user". At the same time it was amazing to say, "Oh I want this program, let me just Add it."
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From: edmcman
2004-03-01 05:59 am (UTC)
I like the idea about the hardware database. Or, perhaps just a program that people can run in Windows to tell them if their hardware is compatible (looking up in pci databases and such).

I'm not exactly sure what erik's point is.. upgrading a kernel can be as easy as installing an rpm. Although that takes *some* knowledge, so does running a service pack install.
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[User Picture]From: jarodrussell
2004-03-01 07:35 am (UTC)
As we say in Second Life, I support this product and service.

...for the very reason that I got stuck putting Windows on an intended Linux box strictly and only because Linksys, it turns out, does not open their code and their wireless cards are (or almost are) strictly Windows-based.

Here, here!
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[User Picture]From: nolegs
2004-03-01 09:53 am (UTC)
If Linux makes porn look better I'll use it.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-03-02 03:59 am (UTC)
It's not Linux, but it is open source: Pornzilla (http://www.squarefree.com/pornzilla/).
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[User Picture]From: nolegs
2004-03-02 12:00 pm (UTC)
Is that supposed to put me closer to porn? It's not like it's hard to find porn on the internet, man.
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[User Picture]From: scosol
2004-03-01 12:47 pm (UTC)
It's a hobbyist OS, plain and simple.

And it will remain so, thanks to the evils of the GPL.
Thanks to the GPL, it's fairly impossible to reate any sort of competitive differentiation from the product standpoint, so commercial Linux distros charge for "support" and "maintenence".
Forgetting the fact that the *only* reason anyone looked at Linux outside of a hobby, was because they didn't want to pay those same "support" and "maintenance" fees to Sun, IBM, SGI etc etc.

BSD was done right, and Apple has played nicely- Apple took a lot of code, greatly enhanced it, and (IMO fairly) charged for their enhancements.
And they've contributed back some of their non-proprietary enhancements as well.

And in this day and age, does it even really matter what OS something is running?
Not really- I use applications, and it would be nice if new peripherals worked when I plugged them in- thats really all I as a user shoudl care about.
My current laptops run FreeBSD, and my next laptop will likely be a Mac :)

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[User Picture]From: lifesparkles
2004-03-01 02:29 pm (UTC)

Your post...

... reminded me of this animation: Switch To Linux

I'm a big fan of the uberGeek. ;-)
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