[Linux4christians] Weighing In on the Freespire Debate
paideia at midsouth.rr.com
Wed May 10 22:47:01 EDT 2006
I'll admit I had a very skeptical attitude toward Lindows/Linspire, and now
Freespire. Even though I'm not a Linspire user or a Freespire user, I
recently listened to a LUGRadio podcast episode which had an interview with
Kevin Carmony who talked about Linspire/Freespire's relationship with the
FOSS community. It's online here -- the show with the Carmony interview is
season 3 episode 15.
After hearing the interview I'm inclined to exercise a bit more Christian
charity toward Linspire, and I think that the interview and subsequent
commentary might help to set the record straight a bit. After hearing this
interview I guess I had to sort of repent of the prejudicial attitude I had
held toward Carmony and the Linspire project, and perhaps you will be too.
I need to warn you that LugRadio is NOT a Christian program. The guys (all
from Wolverhampton in the Midlands of England) who do the show sometimes use
profanity on air, but nonetheless I would submit to you that the LugRadio
show is a worthwhile listen for anyone interested in Linux. Don't judge
them by Christian standards -- they're behaving exactly like non-believers
ought to behave, and this should neither shock nor surprise us. The
relationship between the four guys who run the show is a riot, and the show
is really funny, with a lot of warmth and humor. But again, I think you
might find the Carmony interview worth listening to.
Will I be loading Freespire? Probably not. Just got through upgrading one
of my Ubuntu Breezy systems to Dapper. At work I have fourteen Redhat
servers to keep up, and I like to have a Suse box around as well. That
keeps a hand in the three largest supersets of distros -- Suse has YAST for
setup and Yum for a package manager, Fedora has RPM (and Mandriva is a
Redhat derivative in that family), the Debian derived distros like Ubuntu
use apt-get as the package manager for installing software.
I'm not recommending Linspire or Freespire to anyone, but I think that if
they can sell some low end machines to folks who don't know the difference,
they're helping to increase the Linux footprint in the world, and that's not
a bad thing.
Before I go can I recommend a couple of books (free ones of course) that go
some ways toward explaining what the whole free software movement is about:
Free as in Freedom, by Richard Stallman (author of the GNU tools and
crusader for FOSS) is here:
The Cathedral and the Bazaar, by Eric Raymond explains the philosophy behind
The Daemon, the Gnu and the Penguin, by Dr. Peter Salus is a good inside
history of the development of Unix and then Linux by someone who was there
at the creation (not to steal NPR's series title)
These sources will I think be helpful for anyone wanting to understand the
whole philosophy better. I am not acting as an uncritical apologist for the
movement, nor do I endorse everything in these written works. But they are
informative, and I learned even from some of the things in them that I
Hope this helps,
Rob in TN
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