Whaat? you use Linux? aRe yOu sOme hAcKeR?
No, that’s not how I perceive it. People & the media - have confused us with the term hacker. I mean ‘hacking’ as in ‘a hacksmith’ someone who is playfully clever. Tinkering stuff, not just computers, hacking as in life-hacks, not breaching security as such, they too are hackers but not the only ones :0
GNU+Linux gives me the Freedom to get my perfect look ~ this is what I meant by ‘hacking’ 👨💻
A musician has total control over their guitar, an artist over the paintbrush 🖌 me & (hopefully) you over our computers!
It’s the perfect OS for hackers - people who want control over the tools they use.
You probably use a partially libre software operating system already! Do you use Android? it runs Linux (Google+Linux). So it’s not something new or something that is only for ‘geeky hackers’. Android can be setup to remove Google services and ‘degoogle’ your phone plus get apps from the F-Droid store.
“Open Source”, “Linux” ❌
Two faulty words which dilutes the goal I’m trying to convey.
Linux is a kernel and not an operating system, it is one part of the operating system and does not do anything by itself. Android uses the Linux kernel and yet no one calls Android users as Linux users. It portrays a different meaning.
Opensource simply means software which has it’s source available for people to read. It does not guarantee anything.
The developer can still use it spy on you & legally prevent anyone from making changes to the software, distribute copies or limit what you can or can’t do. It is a diluted term often used to misrepresent the goals of free software.
Free (libre) software puts users in control. A free’d (liberated) OS is a prerequisite to truly own your computer
- I’m looking at you MacOS, Windows and iOS users 👀
- Here free does not mean free of cost (gratis) or 0 price 💸 you can sell software.
- People sell ‘free software’ as well. Rather the word ‘free’ in ‘free software’ implies freedom and liberty (libre) 🗽
- FOSS, libresoftware, freedom software, and other such buzzwords are better used to represent the value of freedom.
I use the ‘GNU’ operating system, the Linux kernel & a ‘desktop environment’
The GNU system is about freedom. You get to modify each and every thing about your system to get your perfect match. I get to run the apps the way I want to, because it’s legally licensed to put the user in control. PureOS, Manjaro and such are examples of such modifications. Some are more serious about freedom like PureOS, Fedora but some include harmful proprietary bits with OS, like SteamOS, Ubuntu and such.
“GNU” in the GNU/Linux name doesn’t necessarily mean GNU software!
GNU + Linux + X11/Wayland + many other components make up a good, libre OS that puts the user in control. Linux is a cool name but doesn’t signify ‘freedom’ or the original goal behind the hacker ecosystem.
What each word implies
- GNU = Software licensed under a (libre license)
- Linux = The core of the OS (kernel)
- UNIX = Proprietary (non-freedom giving) software
UNIX was a popular proprietary OS back in the day and today it implies proprietary software incarnate in the form of Windows/MacOS or standalone cross device apps/addons.
So what’s GNU? - GNU’s Not UNIX :P, GNU’s not proprietary software
Can you recommend some distros to try out?
- Arch linux
- KDE Neon
Try to stay away from distros like Ubuntu, it has the reputation of Windows in the GNU/Linux world. Ubuntu also gives you a pretty bad first time experience with snap, PPAs and other stuff that their parent company bundles with. Generally, use freedom tending distros or do not use proprietary packages from distro repos. A program called
vrms can help a bit.
If you have hardware from Nvidia, it’s harder for you. Nvidia does not care about freedom and it’s a pain in the GNU/Linux ecosystem. They do provide proprietary drivers but rather choose hardware + libre drivers from Intel/AMD next time.
Companies like Microsoft, Google & Apple want to have control over you via their proprietary operating systems.
A business model where you ‘rent’ the software running on your phone or laptop. Kinda like ‘DRM’. You never get to ‘own’ your copy of MacOS or Windows. They control everything through automated updates. Apple and Google can remove apps from your phones because they are bundled with the OS and designed to not respect your freedom.
If you buy a generic computer they run malware like Windows 10 or MacOS out of the box and make it hard to run alternative OSs
Teachers at school - tell young students that this is ‘the normal’ & the only OS we run is a proprietary one. Children then have to use these proprietary locked ecosystems. It’s like a tobacco company sells free of cost cigarettes to school children in the hope that they become addicted.
Jargon used in our everyday speech
- I’ve tried it on ‘Chrome’.
- Writing a document? Use Word and .docx
- A Presentation? send me your .ppt
- A file to share? What’s your gmail? I’ll email it to you.
- Catch it on Netflix.
You get the point. Most users don’t know about libre/open standards like [Matrix], RSS, WebDav and the ODF’s .odt, .odp. and .ods that are designed to work perfectly fine with any software suite. Something everyone should be using. And Netflix? they don’t let you rent DVDs like the old days, its all proprietary web based DRM.
For me Privacy > Free Software* > Security
Security sucks on GNU/Linux, yeah I know but keeping your guard and having a generic threat model should be fine. Just don’t be dumb. I assume you would be using this as your personal computer and stay away from proprietary software.
*I don’t run 100% free distros yet, or compile everything from scratch. I don’t run the linux-libre kernel. This is what I meant by privacy>free software. Getting to 100% free software is the goal. It’s far better than when I was running Windows 3 years ago!
Here’s a great example
Apps I use
AppImages are the best for portable/onetime use-cases. Flatpaks allow for auto updates and emulate an ‘F-Droid’ like experience with - custom repository URLs that works regardless of your distribution. Snaps are the worst, and have no reason to exist.
I don’t really use my computer to write documents or make presentations. Sometimes I do, I use ONLYOFFICE for that. LibreOffice needs a lot of UX and UI improvements imho, but have it installed regardless.
Telegram & Element
For video calls, minimal cloud storage, usually quick notes, photos and links I keep & of course messaging.
- Kdenlive - Video editor
- Lollypop - Music player
- Newsboat - RSS/News reader
- LBRY, MPV and youtube-dl for downloading videos
- GIMP - For videos thumbnails
- Blender (rarely) just to play around
Text editor / IDE
- vscodium-bin from the AUR
- neovim - I love the keyboard shortcuts
Hugo and Git
For this static Markdown/html website
oh & also i use arch btw. If you couldn’t tell
That’s about it, enjoy your freedom and happy hacking!