It’s OK to Love Linux – Just Don’t Looooooooooove Linux

So Valentine’s Day is almost upon us once again, and we here at LinuxInsider know that for many geeks, it can be a difficult time of year.

Indeed, the love of Linux does not always mesh entirely smoothly with traditional romantic pursuits, making many aficionados slightly wary of the holiday. Anxiety, avoidance and denial can sometimes result — or at least a sudden need to lock oneself in the basement for a day of intense tinkering.

But it needn’t be so! Linux geeks can enjoy Valentine’s Day too, and we here at LinuxInsider are here to show you how.

‘Love Advice for Geeks’

To begin: Let’s cut right to the heart of the matter. Is it possible to be a geek and find true love of the human kind?

Absolutely — the key is to just be yourself, according to Diggnation hosts Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht. The two dispense a variety of sage advice in their video, “Love Advice for Geeks,” which was posted on ITworld last year. It may be old, but it still rings true — worth checking out!

“But as geek, I’m just not well-versed in the language of love,” you may protest. Nonsense! Linux *is* a language of love, as we noted in our post-V Day column from last year. The key is to use it to your advantage!

‘Free as in Love’

To wit: In his video, “Free as in Love” — also posted on ITworld — Russ Smith, self-proclaimed “Linux lover, tinkerer and thinkerer,” offers suggestions for Valentine’s Day mods and other strategies sure to impress even the most skeptical significant other. Who, after all, could resist a handmade chocolate bearing the message, “Open source your heart” or “My kernel”? Not this columnist, that’s for sure!

Then, of course, there’s the more traditional e-card approach, this time given a distinctly Linuxy and Valentiney twist. A penguin with a heart — what can beat that?

Quiz for Linux Lovers

Of course, for some, loving Linux is enough. In that case, why not use Valentine’s Day to get to know your heart’s desire better? TuxRadar recently posted a Linux quiz that will help you test how well you know the object of your affection and — most likely — teach you something new. Definitely not for newbies, this one!

For those in the mood for some reminiscing, TuxRadar also recently published a look back at the best distros of 2000. Nothing like a trip down memory lane to inspire romance!

Those who love Linux also tend to like to share their love with others, and a recent article on Internetling offers 10 handy tips for evangelists hoping to help skeptics see the light.

‘Your Porn Collection Is Safe’

No. 5 on the list? “Your porn collection is safe with Linux.” We ask you: If that won’t convince them, what will? No wonder the article got more than 850 Diggs and hundreds of comments!

Of course, porn safety is just one among countless other things to love about our favorite operating system, as we all know. What are the other features of Linux that keep geeks coming back for more? We took a small poll to find out.

“First and foremost, the installer,” Monochrome Mentality blogger Kevin Dean told LinuxInsider. “Specifically, I am referring to the Debian Installer used in Debian and Ubuntu ‘Alternative’ systems.”

Though it’s “not as spiffy-looking,” the Debian installer “is one of the best features of the Linux experience,” Dean asserted. “With it, I can partition my drives and install a wide variety of operating systems (Debian Stable, Testing, Unstable/Ubuntu Hardy, Intrepid, Jaunty, including the variants like Xubuntu or Kubuntu).

‘A Wonderful Thing to Have’

“For security, I can encrypt my entire file system (including swap),” Dean explained. “I can set up software RAID if I want it or create LVM volumes to expand my storage space later. I can then install a customized system from local discs or the network, picking and choosing the packages that I want specifically.”

File-system support on Linux is also excellent, Dean added. “Linux support for FAT file systems is significantly faster than Windows’ and a plethora of file systems are available out of the box with Linux, unlike the one-size-fits-all NTFS of Windows.”

Finally, “network upgrades of the entire installed system are a wonderful thing to have,” Dean said.

A Deeper Relationship

On the other hand: “I love having an OS that doesn’t assume it knows more than I do about what I want,” Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack told LinuxInsider. “I love being able to learn even the deepest internals.”

Another view: “What I /love/ about Linux is its community nature,” Slashdot blogger drinkypoo asserted.

“In a closed-source, patents-and-copyrights world the natural reaction is to turn inward and try to build your own cathedral, if I might be permitted to strain a metaphor a bit,” drinkypoo added. “Linux is sort of a more communistic model, with the caveat that you can choose whether you want to join or not.”

‘I Can Make It Do Anything’

The GPL “isn’t about trying to force anyone to do anything your way; it’s about not letting people who don’t want to play by your rules use your equipment,” drinkypoo told LinuxInsider. “The BSD notion that setting a positive example was enough didn’t really pan out, and while *BSD is not dying, it is enjoying nowhere near the success (on any measurable level) that Linux has.”

In short, “the notion that nobody is going to be able to take the fruits of your labor and use them to profit without your permission appeals to people who were never satisfied with the axiom, ‘life isn’t fair’,” he concluded.

Then again: “The thing I like most about GNU/Linux is that I can lift the hood and muck around if I need/want to and I can make it do anything for me,” educator and blogger Robert Pogson told LinuxInsider.

‘I Love That’

“With that other OS, I always seem to be fighting it because it has another agenda,” Pogson explained. “With FLOSS, the benefits of owning a PC are not limited by the EULA but only by my imagination, which can be pretty wild.”

For example: “Last weekend I replaced everything in my old PC except the case and power supply,” he recounted. “Of course it would not boot because the drivers available to the kernel at boot time could not do the job, but simply reinstalling one package made it right. With that other OS, the system would accuse me of violating the EULA and refuse to run. What a difference! I love that.”

Debian “is like a reliable friend, always there when needed,” Pogson concluded. “That other OS claims to be a partner and friend of its customers but then always robs them at gun-point. GNU/Linux keeps on giving and does not insist on being a burden.

“I cringe every time I hear that M$ cuts its price to educational institutions,” he added. “If M$ wants to be charitable they should refuse to allow their OS in schools.”

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