Brachistochrone OS 1

I often get questions from Winders serfs and Apple slaves about changing to Linux. These questions run from the terminally asentient “can I run program XXX on Linux?” when all they have to do is visit XXX’s web site and see if there is a Linux version. Hint: it’s almost always a waste of effort. People who make money selling software to Winders serfs can’t compete in the Linux marketplace. But the availability of Linux equivalents (or superiors) is better than Ivory Soap’s buoyancy. This is one of the reasons I try to get Winders and Apple users to think in terms of tasks and not in terms of clients.

Intriguingly, the process that most users who convert take is classically that of technology adoption. (see Rogers’ “Diffusion of Innovation”) The primary difference has to do with a blind spot in Rogers’ model – abandonment. In the old days, back when agriculture was the “new” technology and people were going from being nomadic Hunter-Gatherers to sedentary agriculturists, Rogers’ model of technology adoption was quite valid, but today when we have extensive technology, the adoption of new technology has to also consider the abandonment of old technology. At its simplest, giving up the land line telephone for a cellular telephone. 

In my experience, changing OS is an archetype of this modern version of adoption. Look at how many people refuse to move to WX. Some are even so unsure that they consider Linux quite deeply, which is a unique channel. Most Linux demagogues consider only the OS -> OS channel, not the OS version -> OS distribution channel. Which is good, because the demagogues usually scare off as many potential converts and churches scare off members with excessive (and intrusive) evangelism.

One of the questions I get asked when a Winders or Apple user is almost ready to experiment is “which distribution should I try?” This is a big step for people whose only concern with OS variation for most of their adult life as been version (and some who are truly mind puppets always go for the latest.) The enormous democracy of Linux, hundreds of distributions, is daunting. It makes supermarkets full of different brands and variations of product look like Yugoslavia under communism: “you want soap, here’s the national soap.”

So my first question to try to help them make a decision is “scheduled or rolling release?” A scheduled release (upgrade) is discrete and occurs (usually) on some calendar schedule, annually or semi-annually. A rolling release upgrade is spectral, but not discrete. That is, as parts of the OS get improved they are released immediately in a rolling release but saved up for a scheduled release.

This means that you have a lot of little upgrades over the year in rolling releases but only one or two BIG upgrades in scheduled releases. 

I prefer rolling releases, and the reason is captured in the title of this article [Link] “Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) Operating System Reaches End of Life on July 20, 2017.” It’s those words “end of life” which have come more and more to be literal. 

If I get an upgrade notice in a rolling release and I am busy, I can wait a while to install. If I get an upgrade notice in a scheduled release that my current release is “dead”, then I install at once or I’m bad off. 

So scheduled releases are almost like MegaHard updates: they don’t take control but they do try intimidation. And because they are BIG and half of us live in the Heartland with stercus for bandwidth, scheduled releases have a MUCH higher probability of vertically copulating the OS than do rolling releases. 

But that’s my take. And, by the way, Linux has no blue screen of death.

More when the muse descends.