Swirling towards the inevitable

It looks like I need to have a place for making notes while tackling Debian, so I’ve set up this blog. I don’t intend to make this as formal as my Ubuntu blog, but more of a “casual scribblings” type of thingy, so reader beware!

This initial post might be a good place to elaborate on my choice of operating system.

I’ve been a free software proponent for a long time, not only because of political reasons, but because I often find the open solutions superior to their closed counterparts. There was a time recently where this philosophy did not extend to the OS for some reason. I don’t recall what made me switch from Debian to XP; perhaps it was just laziness, not bothering to dual-boot when I had to have Windows for some tasks. So for some years I was a slave of Microsoft.

I mentioned Ubuntu, and what was my production machine up until recently still runs Hardy Heron, which I installed about six months ago. Initially I installed it parallel to Windows XP on a whim, after trying it out and taking a liking in how everything Just Worked. Then I discovered VirtualBox and found out I could now do MSN video conferences and other necessities through it, without having to dual-boot, so I ditched the XP partitions altogether.

Then I found myself more and more drawn back to Debian. It’s not that there’s anything technically wrong with Ubuntu. On the contrary, I think Canonical are doing a great job with it. It’s just that I’d rather see myself supporting (with my choices) a purely community-driven distribution than one involving a company, no matter how freedom-focused they may be. I wouldn’t consider myself a socialist either, however. I believe there is room for both community-driven and commercial operating systems — even closed-source ones.

In fact, because of my personal beliefs, I’m sometimes tempted by the BSD variants due to their licensing. In my ideal world, most code would be released under a permissive license, and despite the possibility of closed derivatives, there would be enough open, solid code for us to choose to use it exclusively, should we want to. But it may be that in real world, a GPL-type hack is required for us to have this choice. At the very least, I believe it’s required for the time being.

But I digress.

When I switched to a slightly lower-end machine for my desktop use, I had a chance to switch the OS as well, and the choice was more or less obvious, especially after having played around with lenny inside VirtualBox. So after some years, I’m back in Debian.

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