Herewith a post about parenting…
This morning’s NYTimes has an article about Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu. For those of you who follow Ubuntu and Shuttleworth, the article is nothing new… just talks about Shuttleworth’s desire to displace Microsoft in the OS war. However, it did get me thinking about my history with OSes. When I started tinkering around with computers it was all about what was available. Today, there are lots of choices. Which brings to question, which OS would you impart on your children?
Most kids today will have to learn how to use a computer. Some have a natural curiosity to learn, others don’t. Either way, as a computer junkie, I have a desire impart my preferences to my kids. My kids are only 4 years old, so, they’re not at an age (in my opinion) to be tinkering with a keyboard yet. However, when the time comes, I feel a need to show them the way. Is that good or bad?
To me, choosing an OS is a very personal choice. A choice chock full of feelings about what that OS means and the people behind it. In a sense, it’s a moral choice. We make choices like this all the time. How many people do you know who have/had a preference in always “buying American”? My choice in an operating system is loaded with the same fuzzy logic.
Microsoft made close to $17B in sales off of Windows last year. My choice in avoiding Windows (where I can) isn’t because I can’t stand to see Microsoft make so much money — it’s because I can’t stand to see Microsoft make so much money on mediocre software that takes 10,000 developers over 5 years to make (Vista). Choosing Windows today is like choosing to buy an American SUV (in today’s market conditions). In my very opinionated opinion, it’s a bad choice — certainly not a choice I would allow my kids to make (well… I suppose I should be open minded enough).
Apple, the worlds latest “darling” computer/gadget company, also makes a lot of money on their operating system. However, the passion in the craft of creating something beautiful and functional shows through in their products. Apple’s OS (and other products) leave users inspired and push them to learn and become better. I don’t care what my kids end up doing in life as long as they have a passion for learning. As long as Apple continues to inspire and show their passion for their creations, I will continue to use their OS (and other products) and, hopefully, my kids will choose Apple for the same reasons.
Linux or Ubuntu Linux (to be precise) is a great OS. I’m a firm believer in open source. And like Mark Shuttleworth, I too believe that the open source process produces better stuff. This is true because the people who participate in open source projects have a passion for the products they work on — why else would you donate your free time? As a parent, I want my kids to embrace volunteerism and participate in the common good. The philosophy behind Linux and open source in general convey these principles well.
I know I over think these things compared to most people, but I think one’s choices are important — they define us. What OS would you have your kids use? If you don’t have kids, pretend you do.