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RE: tlug: Why use Linux? - The explanation!

"Stephen J. Turnbull" <> wrote,

> >>>>> "Scott" == Scott M Stone <> writes:
>     Scott> On Thu, 18 Nov 1999, Andrew Drapp wrote:
>     >> Scott Stone made a statement which implied the joking
>     >> paraphrase that I wrote.  I know that is not what he really
>     >> meant, but I disagreed with the implication, so I restated his
>     >> comment making in clearly wrong.  (He implied that if you do
>     >> not compile your own binaries, you might as well be using
>     >> Windows.)
> Yessirreebob!  At least some of your own binaries, and possibly by
> hiring consultants.  :-P
>     Scott> actually, I did mean that... I'm no longer a proponent of
>     Scott> 'linux for the masses'.  Linux, like all other UNIX, is for
> Hey, Chris!  A convert!  :-)
>     Scott> people who like to use computers simply for the sake of
>     Scott> doing so.  And it's also for servers.  It's not for your
>     Scott> 6-year-old's PC in his bedroom.

Ok, let's put away emotions for a moment and think about
that rationally (hehe, I know that's impossible :-) 

So, now imagine, you buy next years Nokia mobile and it runs
on Linux (this is no joke, they are looking into this).
Given that you probably won't reformat the flash memory
(does it even have flash) and install your own binaries on
it, is it an "inappropriate" use of Linux?  Should it
preferably run on WindowsCE, crash during every other call,
and be twice as heavy, because it needs much more memory?

Ok, now imagine you buy the Nokia mobile in two years (still
runs on Linux, of course), it comes with more RAM and they
figured that it wouldn't hurt if they would let the user
enter small perl scripts (using Palm-like graffiti) to write 
custom filters for sorting emails and such.  Should you
better switch to WindowsCE now, because after all the
machine can be programmed and you just didn't want to
compile all this stuff again.

Time warp - 5 years later - mobile phones come routinely with
512MB of main memory, voice recognition, 2GB of flash, and
other bells and whistle (yes, you can host your private Web
page on your mobile!)  Nokia figured that they can now just
use a vanilla Linux distribution instead of their homemade
one for embedded systems.  Of course, ontop of that they
have the usual mobile phone UI and you can still just punch
some digits and the thing rings your mom.  As a Linux
hacker, are you morally required to reinstall everything
from scratch on your phone and ring your mom buy typing
`ifup mom' on the command line, or do you even have to
switch - or horror - to this WindowsCE phone, which needs
3 gig of RAM and charges you too much for most calls,
because they didn't get the algorithms right.

Pupil to Zen master: `Enlightened one - oh, tell me, is
  Linux for the masses?'
Zen master: `What is the sound of a mobile phone?'

Next Technical Meeting: TBA, January, 2000.  Place: Temple Univ.

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