In this interview by Gabriella Coleman at the Debian annual conference of 2006, Mark Shuttleworth, project leader of Ubuntu and founder of Canonical Ltd., talks about Free Software, Open Source, Canonical Debian and proprietary software.
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.
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.
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.
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.