Freedom, Community & Sustainability

What are GNU/Linux "distributions"? (and how to choose the right distro for you)

January 3, 2012 -- William
Last modified on November 2016
Distributions tree

The concept of “distros” and the incredible number of different distributions available might be overwhelming to the new user. In fact, even before using GNU/Linux users need to choose which distribution to pick. To help you understand, explore and chose the best for you, I will present here an overview and some short explanations of such distributions.

Do we have privacy in a super-connected world and should we care?

December 7, 2011 -- William
Last modified on February 2017

There was a time when most people lived in small villages and everybody knew about everybody else. It was not a question of choice, you just happened to be known by all your peers and there was always someone to watch what you were up to. Then came big cities, individualism, privacy and other considerations that our ancestors didn't really have.

The world is changing and we are all adapting to it. I'm not going to make a value judgements about how good or how bad the new rules established by the Internet are. What really matters is how well prepared we are to live in a super-connected world and the first thing to do is to know what is this privacy debate about.

The story of the Hurd kernel

November 1, 2011 -- William
Last modified on May 2018

I find the story of the Hurd really interesting because it goes much beyond the discussions about the kernel, GNU, Free Software, Linux and computers in general. It involves people, relationships, strategies, decisions, work, commitment, random events and many other things that make life so exciting. It is important to see the mistakes of this project to try to avoid them and it's much easier to spot them now that we know the outcome. I believe that the GNU people did the best they could under the circumstances but, of course, they couldn't predict the future.

What is a kernel, what is an operating system?

October 25, 2011 -- William
Last modified on December 2016

Can you tell the difference between a kernel and an operating system? Aren't they both standing between the humans and the machines? Although the term "kernel" is well defined, an "operating system" is not and most of the time there is no reason to differentiate an OS from its kernel. It is interesting to do that though in order to know the difference between Linux and GNU/Linux.

The gnu and the lion, a high tech tale

October 17, 2011 -- William
Last modified on October 2016

This is a story that does not start with “once upon a time” and does not end with “and they lived happily ever after”. This story is about the concrete jungle, it's about the wild world we live in. This is a story about the ugly things that happen behind the scenes while the show must go on... this is the story of the fight for survival of two operating systems.