If Linux were an automobile

I was thinking today about why I’m doing this blog. It’s fun learning new things and I’ve learned many interesting things about using different Linux distros from many different on-line sources; like other people’s blogs, user forums and articles. So mostly I’d like to share information I’ve gleaned from using different Linux distros and from my daily surfing on the web. One of the cool things about Gnu/Linux operating systems is the continuous innovation and sharing of ideas; and also the whole international community that creates and supports Open Source Software: Cooperation as opposed to competition.

Another reason I want to do this blog is that there is a whole world of free software and computer operating systems available for anyone to use, that probably runs more efficiently on their hardware without having to worry about viruses and malware; yet the vast majority of the population (in America, at least) knows nothing about it! That’s just sad!

As a hypothetical example: Let’s say there were automobile manufacturers that produced numerous different car models that could be custom-designed by the owners. If you wanted to buy one of these cars you could decide what kind of motor it used; what kind of mileage it got; whether it used an internal combustion engine or electric or even hydrogen fusion! You could choose the interior layout of the car; the color; and what you wanted as standard equipment. And after you had driven that car for a while, say you wanted to change from standard to automatic transmission; you could do that. Want to add air conditioning or GPS? No problem! Maybe change your engine from four cylinder to eight; or test a new hybrid design; why not?! And if your car has a problem; something doesn’t work right; you get a flat tire – there are hundreds of mechanics available on-line to give you advice on how to fix your problem, for no charge. AND the manufacturers of these wonder cars are constantly working together, all over the world, on sharing design specifications and improving the performance of their automobiles, not every few years but every few months. Some of these designers work for companies that also provide paid business support, but most of them are small shops and independent manufacturers. And if you like tinkering under the hood, you could even build your own engine and share it with others!

Then imagine that this totally transmutable, user-configurable car that you could trade in any time you wanted for a different model also cost you absolutely nothing! (unless you felt inclined to send the manufacturers a donation for providing you with this wonderful vehicle). Most people would think that is pretty cool deal, don’t you think?

Now what if most people never heard of this wondrous automobile. They hardly advertised at all. And their products are so diverse, produced by hundreds of manufacturers; how would you go about advertising these free products? Not to mention the point of most advertising is to sell something. And for many, many years one corporation; let’s call it Tinysoft; a company that only made the engine for a single automobile that no-one but Tinysoft employees could design, had flooded the market with billions of dollars in advertising and had paid other car makers and retailers to only sell their vehicles with a Tinysoft engine. And Tinysoft (and another up-and-coming Fruit-named company) did their best to spread the word that the free products were somehow inferior?  Wouldn’t that seem a tad bit unfair?

Okay: enough with my heavy-handed and not-terribly-accurate analogies! I’m sure you get the idea. In this era of economic decline and individuals, businesses and even governments trying to get the most bang for their buck, the world needs to know more about Open Source! So SPREAD THE WORD!

I’d like to leave you with an excellent 3 minute video about what the Linux kernel is and what it’s used for today. Thanks to Chema Martin for this great post:




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