Veteran technology journalist Dan Gillmor's been using GNU/Linux since 2012, switching away from all the "control freak" services, tools and software that he'd grown used to over decades of computing.
Gillmor describes some of the switching pains and persistent thorns, but also the delight and simplicity he has encountered with Ubuntu, the flavor of Linux he (and I) use. His experience closely matches mine: I've got a few problems, different but no worse (or better) than those I had in years of using proprietary software. The major difference between my years as a Mac and Windows user and my decade (!) now of being a Linux user is freedom, not hassle.
A few months ago, when Apple introduced its iPad Pro, a large tablet with a keyboard, CEO Tim Cook called it the “clearest expression of our vision of the future of personal computing.” That was an uh-oh moment for me. Among other things, in the iOS ecosystem users are obliged to get all their software from Apple’s store, and developers are obliged to sell it in the company store. This may be Apple’s definition of personal computing, but it’s not mine.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s Windows 10 — by almost all accounts a huge usability improvement over Windows 8 — looks more and more like spyware masquerading as an operating system (a characterization that may be unfair, but not by much). Yes, the upgrade from widely installed earlier versions is “free” (as in beer), but it takes some amazing liberties with users’ data and control, according to people who’ve analyzed its inner workings.
I Moved to Linux and It’s Even Better Than I Expected [Dan Gillmor/Backchannel]
Chris Johnstone’s “Binary Keyboard” is an open source hardware, Arduino-based two-button input device that you can build for yourself, if you have the urge to key data directly to your computer in binary (don’t worry, you can configure it to be little-endian or big-endian for ease of use).
Libretaxi is an open source project that lets anyone become a rideshare driver in less than a minute; it has more than 20,000 users worldwide, and is maintained by Roman Pushkin, who started the project in December 2016 and is now planning to quit his job and work on it full time.
Nolan Lawson is burning up the free/open source web with an essay called What it feels like to be an open-source maintainer, where he describes the contradictory and negative experiences of trying to please hundreds of people who are just trying to get his code to work, where the more emotional and technical work he […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]