Update on Linux distro recommendations

I’m not asking for a vote on the matter or anything, but just in case anyone happens to care, there have been 15 folks, about half of whom are not Mandrake users, who’ve suggested Mandrake 9.2 as being the ideal distro for beginners, two who’ve suggested Libranet/Debian, one Debian user who recommends not using Debian if you’re coming from Windows, three Lindows supporters and two SUSE advocates. Oh, and two bitter Windows lovers who are taking my migration WAY too personally.

The general view appears to be that Redhat, despite its virtues, is perhaps a little too corporate-focused for the home user. But the most significant point, I think, is that Linux in all its flavors is now a proven option now for the power Windows user. For those who are using Redhat, FreshRPMs is definitely a site worth bookmarking.

The dark side of public schooling

I expect this story about a dozen elementary school girls being abused will be broadcast on CBS News any day now. That’s only 2.4 times as many families involved as Dan Rather required to slander the homeschooling movement on October 13th.

Rabid running dog at Forbes

We capitalists are in bad shape if we think we can rely on these jokers at Forbes to defend it. Daniel Lyons clearly doesn’t understand that the fulfillment of voluntary contractual obligations is a foundational element of any capitalist system. In this slimy little article, he does a hit piece on the Free Software Foundation, which is doing nothing more than its job of protecting the GNU General Public License.

Let’s break down the logic of Mr. Lyons’ position:

1. The FSF is responsible for the GPL. Under the GPL license, if you distribute GPL software in a product, you must also distribute the software’s source code as well as the code for any derivative works.

2. Broadcom chose to use GPL code in its router chips, as per the GPL license.

3. Linksys chose to use Broadcom’s chips in its routers.

4. Cisco chose to buy Linksys.

5. Broadcom has not released its code, as required by the GPL license. Nor have they argued that they are under no obligation to do so.

6. In order that Broadcom remain in compliance with their contractual obligations, the Free Software Foundation is telling Broadcom (and therefore Cisco), to: a) rip out all the GPL code in the router and use something else, or b) make their code available to the entire world as per the license.

7. Therefore, the Free Software Foundation is communist.

There are adjectives to describe this argument. Generally speaking, they can be described as antonyms for intelligent, logical, persuasive and well-reasoned. To spell out just a few items of which Mr. Lyons is apparently ignorant – communists don’t attempt to enforce private property rights. Nor do they permit free choice in deciding what to buy and sell. Nor is the FSF a government entity. Nor did anyone force Broadcom to put the GPL code in its chips. In other words, Mr. Lyons argument is not just flawed, it is profoundly absurd.

Re: Homeschooling

Interesting exchange on the DMN Daily blog. I’d link directly to the posts, except that it’s not possible.

John Chamless: Even though home-schooling has become so common as to almost be mainstream here, I am surprised at how defensive some people are about it. I’ve seen the same thing over and over with National Rifle Association members. They assume a stranger is going to judge them negatively. I wonder if they really do get a lot of negative reactions.

Rod Dreher: John, are you serious? Let me count the ways! Are you a religious nut? Aren’t you worried that your child is not going to be socialized? Are you a racist? What, are you too good for the public schools? And so forth. I suspect your in-box is going to be filling up with letters from homeschoolers who talk about the negative comments they receive. It’s funny how when lots of folks find out you’re a homeschooler, they immediately take it upon themselves to tell you what a menace to your child and to society you are. Most of them are too polite to put it so bluntly, but the message is clear. My wife and I even had one woman nearly in tears, whose opinion we had not sought, exhorting us that it was our duty as Christians to put our kids in the public schools. I’m to the point where my stock response is going to be: Who the hell asked you, anyway?

I think it’s time for homeschoolers to turn the tables. There’s certainly enough evidence of the inferiority of the government school option to justify it. Don’t you care what your children are learning? Don’t you want to spend time with them? Aren’t you worried that your child is going to be socialized into an amoral monster? Doesn’t it bother you that Marx, Hitler and Lenin were all big advocates of public schooling? Don’t you love your children enough to want the best for them?


According to Sitemeter, there were 2,000 visits yesterday on only the 12th day of this blog. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! The Truth Laid Bear even had Vox Popoli ranked in the Blogosphere’s top 150, much to my surprise. Another thing that was kind of cool was seeing that both Linux Today and Linux.org provided links to yesterday’s column on their front page; there’s also a number of Talkback responses on Linux Today which are interesting to read. One thing I noticed there that a few people who know a lot more about Linux than I do seem to have misunderstood is that I was not recommending RedHat because I think it is the best distro, I was recommending it because, as a longtime Windows user, I have seen that it works and can be installed by a reasonable Windows user with a bit of a clue.

I assume the same is true of Mandrake and a few other distros, but I don’t know it from my own experience. Nor, as a user and not a hacker, am I going to install various OSs on my system just to see which one is ideal Okay, I am thinking of messing around with Mandrake and Debian on one of my other machines and I’ll certainly offer up a report when I do so, but it’s important to keep in mind that Windows users don’t think in term of distros the way Linux users do. To them, (until a week ago, us), Linux is a single entity, and it’s important to understand that yes, you too can make the migration.

Finally, a surprising number of people don’t seem to understand what a monopoly is. From Merriam-Webster:


1 : exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply, or concerted action

2 : exclusive possession or control

3 : a commodity controlled by one party

Does Microsoft have exclusive ownership of the only OS, desktop or browser? No. Does Microsoft have exclusive possession or control? No. Is the desktop environment a commodity? No. I have said it before and I will say it again. Microsoft is an evil and dangerous corporate empire. It is not, however, a monopoly.