Tuesday, January 31, 2006


This probably isn't a new idea, but it's new to me so I'm gonna have a little fun with it. Lately an evangelical buddy of mine has persuaded me to give Ubuntu Linux a try. It's now installed on my secondary workstation as well as my personal laptop. My friend is becoming something of an Ubuntu evangelist around the office, and he's also a Mormon who's done the whole missionary thing. That got me thinking about what parallels could be made between various theologies and various flavours of GNU/Linux. Don't get all antsy if your favourite distribution and your favourite religion don't match up in my little blathering - the tendancy to get uptight about one's adopted distro or beliefs is the first and most obvious similarity.

I've been a Slackware guy for a long time, so I'll begin there. Slackware has to be agnosticism. You don't pray to any server to get your packages, you go and grab the source and build it yourself. You don't have any omnipresent dependancy checking system, though you're entirely free to install one of your own choosing.

Debian seems like Catholicism or something. It's old, it's conservative, its decisions and public statements sometimes cause excessive head-scratching. But, its followers are pretty hard-core, and apt-get is a form of "ask and ye shall receive" if I've ever seen one.

That would make Debian spinoffs like Ubuntu some sort of protestant sects, I suppose. A bit more agile, a little more in tune with the common man's modern issues. Keep the tried-and-true concepts, but bring some sensible defaults and some new ideas to the altar.

GNU/Hurd isn't a "Linux" distribution, but I have to go there because of its striking similarities to Judaism. Both concepts have been around for about 4000 years, and both are still awaiting the messiah. Many decided when Linus came along with his kernel that the saviour had appeared, but others remain unshaken in their conviction.

Red Hat may be Hinduism, based on the whole "many manifestations of one supreme being" thing. In Red Hat, I was offered a binary, development libraries/headers, and source code, for the same program, all as RPMs. Source code in an RPM just sounds weird and counterintuitive to a western-thought person like myself.

I work at Novell, so either I should definitely try to say something about SuSE and NLD/SLES/Code10/Whatever, or I should definitely ... not. All I know is when a SuSE-based distro sounded like it was dropping KDE, I half expected to hear shrill hollering and AK-47s being fired skyward. Percieved blasphemy and infidels stir hate not only in extremist sects, but across Slashdot and mailing lists as well.

Some distros highly encourage spreading the good word by providing live CDs, and though burning an .ISO file is less conspicuous than someone in black handing out novelty miniature bibles on the street corner, I guess it's sort of the same thing. I've seen USB flash memory drives pre-loaded with bootable GNU/Linux systems, and I've seen others pre-loaded with indexed, searchable scripture. Religious scholars with no time for technobabble and hackers with no time for religion take note, your worlds are more similar than you may realize. :^)

Monday, January 30, 2006

I lost? I lost!

Mario Kart DS is probably the ideal lunch break distraction. We usually straight-up Versus mode until someone (me) breaks 100, or sometimes 200, or sometimes until we get to race on Tick Tock Clock. There's no better way to begin the digestive process.

Today didn't go quite as usual. When I broke 100, Proby broke it further. He explained that he'd been practicing all weekend, but the "why" does not concern me. I lost. Me! Mario Kart! Lost! Entropy is leaking into the universe, my friends.