Pop trends start in the funniest places. I don’t know if this trend started before and I didn’t notice, but ever since the movie “We Are Marshall”, there seems to be a rallying cry for a school or a town following the same pattern. Now, I am not coming on here to analyze social patterns. However, I am making a new declaration right here and right now. We are Linux.
Many of you reading this will understand the rallying cry because you understand what Linux is. For those of you reading who have no idea, I only wish I had access to an Apple computer so I could use the text to speech tool and tell you “A Brief History of Linux” in the voice of Stephen Hawking. Hopefully you remember the stories about computers that filled up entire rooms, or the anecdote that your iPhone has multiple times more computing power than the computer that took Apollo 11 to the moon. Eventually, AT&T came up with the Unix operating system, which was the basis for just about every operating system today that isn’t from Microsoft. Then a hippie wacko named Richard Stallman decided he didn’t want to have to pay exorbitant amounts of money just to have a Unix computer. So he set out making clones of every program involved in Unix. Then a Finnish student by the name of Linus Torvalds came along and completed the kernel. Colloquially, it is all known as Linux these days.
So where does this “We are Linux” battle cry come from? For the longest time, it was just about the programmers who contributed to all things Linux. If you want to know the scale of how many, let’s just look at the Linux kernel itself. Thousands of contributors. Linus, the creator, only has 2% of the code attributed to him. However, it is still the largest contribution.
Being 25 years old, “We are Linux” moves from just being those that have contributed to it, to being the users as well. Thanks to several concentrated efforts that exist, Linux has between 4-10 really stable versions out there with strong backing that will continue to see those versions develop. In the last few years, the focus has been on making those versions not just good for being the backbone of a server, but also being very user friendly. For example, if you are a Windows user, and you use the Windows key on the keyboard to open your Start menu, that happens in Linux as well. The buttons that close windows are in the same order on the same part of the window in most versions of Linux. Also, while it would be irresponsible to say Linux can’t get a virus, they are not likely to right now because virus writers always write for the biggest effect. Microsoft still holds a majority of the market, so that is their focus. However, if one day someone wrote a virus for Linux, there are thousands upon thousands of programmers that could have a patch out in a few hours, instead of waiting for Patch Tuesday like you have in the past. Don’t forget, because Linux is open source, you don’t pay a dime for the software.
I will likely always maintain a Microsoft Windows PC. Sometimes, there are proprietary programs that are just the best at what you need to do. But going in the future, my focus will be on a Linux PC. I can pretty much do everything I need to do on Linux. In many respects, there are aspects of my job I can do better with Linux. As well, I’ve been trying to learn coding, and it is harder to do that on a platform that your language was not originally created for. We. Are. Linux.