There can be only one? Three dog night? No wai!

Pardon my slap-happiness, but it is quarter past 1 in the morning, and I went to bed at 11 PM. I woke early because Allison is gone for the weekend, and so I wind up with all 3 dogs wanting to sleep right next to me. Touching me. Because they must. Tonight’s a warmer and muggier night than last night, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. It’s definitely not a 3 dog night. So I left the dogs asleep in my bed and went downstairs (where it’s cooler) and set myself down on a nice, uber-comfy reclining loveseat…

But I couldn’t fall asleep. I could, instead, feel the precise location and severity of each contusion I received fighting on Saturday, which got my mind to thinking about fighting, and how I could have done better and walked away with fewer minor injuries, and about how I wasted (because of my exhaustion) a great opportunity to learn from a non-local knight who was a student of my chosen school of swordfighting. Thinking is even worse for sleep than dogs or bruises are.

So here I find myself, at my keyboard, taking some Advil PM, and reading one of the Ubuntu dev blogs. Well, like I said, I’m a bit slap-happy, so the question “What if there was just 1” seemed a bit Highlander-ish in my fighting frame of mind.

I have to take the opposite side from the eternals… There must be more than one! While it would be easy for me to say that Ubuntu is the best distribution for Linux (which I didn’t quite say recently, but nearly so), and KDE is the best desktop environement, Firefox is the best browser, and Gmail (with the availability of FireGPG) is the only e-mail client anybody ever needs, it’s not as simple as saying “everybody should be forced to use these, there should be no alternatives”.

For one thing, it just won’t happen. Open Source software isn’t quite a democracy, it’s more of a democratic anarchy, or a loosely bound union of friendly democratic nations (quite unlike the union of states here in the USA, which has a strong central government ruling the states with an iron, and sometimes violent, fist). The Open Source world is of the geeks, by the geeks and for the geeks. If a band of geeks doesn’t like the way the local majority votes, they simply gerrymander themselves into a new nation. They can do that, and it’s true freedom of choice, as opposed to “tyranny of the majority”. Which, by the way, if we abided by, we’d all be running Windows right now. And with that being said, I don’t think I really need any more arguments in favor of choice.

Of course, the opposition view to that is that people get decision-paralysis if they have too many choices, and that’s very true. If you offer somebody a laptop pre-loaded with either Vista or Ubuntu, that’s great. If you offer them a laptop pre-loaded with XP or W2K or Vista or Ubuntu or Red Hat or Suse or Linspire or Debian or FreeBSD or … well, let’s just say that to the non-geek (an even to many geeks) the number of choices available can be overwhelming. Which is why I wrote my post about Ubuntu “winning the war”. There’s no doubt in my mind that at the consumer desktop level, the choice for non-geeks will be “Windows or Ubuntu”.

Geeks, of course, will continue to use whatever variation of Linux they like. In fact, I expect there to be a bit of a schism (I think this already exists to a small degree) wherein using Ubuntu is tantamount to having no geek cred. Ubuntu will be seen as the distro of non-geeks, and any geek worth his salt will be using something else, if for no other reason than to say “yes, I know how to burn an ISO and edit a config file”.

If Ubuntu continues as it currently is, that means GNOME will be the standard desktop environment (gods help us all), and Evolution (being so similar to Windows Outlook, or so I’m told) is a shoe-in for mail client. But that will simply constitute “mainstream Linux”. There will always be more than one.

Advil PMs are kicking in now. Goodnight.

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