As we saw in yesterday’s post, one of the things the author of the article suggested was that Linux needed to get simpler in order to gain a wider audience. But I say, hell no! Do not dumb down Linux! One of the most powerful things about Linux is that we still have access to the raw commands and configurations that allow each person’s computer to be infinitely different from the next. Already part of this process has taken place with a right-click in KDE (at least in FC3) not even having an option for opening a terminal. Look at Microsoft, it’s such a pain to use DOS now and, although some don’t like it, text commands hold a much greater amount of power and complexity than an icon can.
Another related complaint I hear a lot is, “Does Linux REALLY need 15 web browers, 20 IRC clients, and 10 terminal programs?” I believe the answer is a definitive YES! It certainly does! Why do some want to make Linux like the monster we hate? (Microsoft) Microsoft, you will remember is “evil” because they limit choice. They don’t include Firefox or any other browsers in Windows, just IE. And they believe that everyone should use IE or Windows Media Player or any other program they produce. That’s why they enter into deals with companies to only make things compatible on Microsoft products. That’s bunk! I don’t know about the rest of my readers, but as an American you can’t get anymore anti-American than limiting my choice. I have the choice whether or not to believe in a God whether or not to vote, etc and these are big issues. So I want choice on my computer!
For example, recently I began trying out Fluxbox, a window manager based on Blackbox source code, because of the limitations of the donated computers I’m running Linux on. (Unfortunately school work requires me to keep a computer that can run Windows – as well as a lack of a Photoshop port – the GIMP not handling RAW pictures just doesn’t cut it for me) I previously loved KDE to the point of advocating it to anyone who asked. It was certainly better than Gnome and as far as I knew those were the only choices. But now my eyes have been opened and I love Fluxbox, XFCE, and many of the other window managers. They do what I need them to do and are customizable in the way I want them to be customizable. Will I ever go back to KDE? Perhaps, when I get a better computer. For now, my main computer has been running Fluxbox for 14 days straight and it works fine for me.
But without choice this would have been impossible. I would have been stuck with a windows manager too bloated for my computer. Sound familiar? Yes! That’s Windows ME or XP. Why have something with more bells and whistles than you need? My look on life is that you should have a WM that uses the fewest amount of system resources so that you can dedicate the rest of them to running programs! What a novel idea if Windows didn’t take up so much of my RAM that my computer chokes at the most basic of tasks.
So developers, please, if you can read this, DO NOT DUMB DOWN LINUX. There are forums for doing this like Linspire and other Linux Win-Clones. But for the rest of us, allow us to have the power of Linux. Otherwise, people will move on. We don’t want Windows, but free as in beer. We want Linux! At least I do…