Living the Linux Lifestyle: Page 2

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For me, having spent years learning the trends of wireless chipsets and other devices that hold up over time with various distributions has given me a tremendous personal insight that I enjoy sharing with others. Being able to produce the name of a USB 802.11N dongle that I know will work with a neighbor's Ubuntu distro makes me feel like a rock star.

It's fun to help others with things you've taken the time to learn through trial and error on your own.

So is it true? Is hardware/peripheral support really a problem on Linux? Well, let me tell you this. My Linux distribution supports

• Two USB headsets

• Three decent USB webcams

• Two monitors configured via an ATI graphics card using a GUI app

• Three all-in-one printers

• Four external hard drives

• One IEEE 1394 video capture card

• My iPhone 3G with full sync

• My Wii guitar, two joysticks

• Three USB 802.11G dongles

• One Olympus digital recorder

You get the general idea. Each of these devices is supported out of the box. Based on the examples above, you be the judge as to whether or not there is a peripheral hurdle here to overcome. I say no, but your mileage may vary.

Are Linux users cheap?

The one thing I hear on a regular basis is that Linux users are "cheapskates." Due to the software being available for no cost to the end user in most cases, there is no viable base for creating a business around the Linux platform. At least this is the consensus among some people.

I have two thoughts on this. First, it depends on the person in question. There are most definitely people out there who would balk at the idea of spending their earnings on software built around the Linux universe. Many individuals want their software free based on their own frugal nature or perhaps due to their own views on FoSS software. Everybody is different, so it's usually one reason or the other.

Enthusiasts such as myself would be willing to spend money on software for Linux if it was helping me to do something that I couldn't already do with the available free options. Do you see where this is going? It's not that all Linux users are cheapskates, rather that many of us simply don't see the value in spending money for a paid application when the free alternative does the same thing without the price hit.

The second line of thought is as follows. Don't sell me software, provide me with value for my money instead. If this means I subscribe financially to supporting the developer to maintain and not abandon the application, you better believe I'm among the first to sign-up to make this happen. Some developers are already discovering this as a revenue source.

Other option is the two-tiered approach of providing paid professional services for businesses based around the software. This translates into providing a service for someone, then being paid for it. Obviously this has been done with relative success in the past. Others are welcome to disagree, though.

Personality of a Linux lifestyle seeker

Perhaps like Windows and Mac users, who have been portrayed with various stereotypes, individuals living the Linux lifestyle can be portrayed as falling into a personality "type" all their own. Trailblazers, risk takers, people willing to take a walk on the wild side, while fully realizing their actions may create a days worth of work if their hunch is wrong.

Linux enthusiasts are often considered to be geeky in mindset, despite rarely giving off this vibe to the public as one might expect. Sort of like undercover geeks in many cases, a trip to any Linux event will surprise you with the wide range of users that love using this great platform.

I believe that the personality of a person seeking to live the Linux lifestyle is simply a person that likes to tinker, explore and learn. Linux enthusiasts value freedom. Some value the ideals behind the FoSS movement while others might value the freedom to shape their Linux lifestyles based on their own choices. And then there are those who opt for both approaches.

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Tags: open source, Linux, Linux desktop, Linux downloads, open source tools

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