It's only semantics

Story: Is Linux an Alternative or Does It Stand Alone?Total Replies: 3
Author Content

Dec 26, 2005
1:11 AM EDT
Stand alone or alternative, what's the difference? It really comes down to one's perspective IMHO. For millions of users, it is a "stand alone" OS meaning that those people choose to run Linux exclusively on their desktop system. For someone who has only known, or simply chooses, Windows, Linux is an alternative to the existing situation. How it is viewed is relative to each user group.

My point is, the word "alternative" isn't a bad thing. The entire point of Free and open source software is to provide alternatives to proprietary OS's in the sense that they provide choices. Somehow it seems your article associates alternative as being something less than desireable. I would counter that I am quite happy Linux/BSD are alternatives. The converse, a world with no alternatives, would be a sad and scary one indeed.

So, I think offering the free OS's as alternatives only make sense at this point. The overwhelming majority of the world views it that way; trying to semantically change those views really gains nothing IMHO. This isn't about competition, it's about providing excellent alternatives to existing systems. And that is something the legions of Linux and BSD developers do extremely well everyday. Linux/BSD *are* OS's in their own right, but they also provide the much needed alternatives to closed systems. Why worry about making it out to be something else? Stand alone and alternative aren't mutually exclusive, and really depends on the view of whoever is doing the naming I suppose. So many people seem so tied up in worrying about how to "position" Linux that sometimes I think the fact that it needs no positioning is overlooked; positioning is for commercial offerings. Let's just concentrate on making the best environment and tools/apps available and the positioning will take care of itself.

Dec 26, 2005
7:49 AM EDT
Quoting:Why worry about making it out to be something else?

I wouldn't characterize it as a worry rather information. Other contexts do exist where people don't look at Linux as a second class-citizen. Linux has potential the majority of users do not understand or use.

Dec 26, 2005
8:27 AM EDT
To a certain degree, I agree with Josh that this is semantics. I'd also argue that there are a growing number of people who recognize Linux as a 'superior' alternative. Ain't nothing wrong with that :D

Dec 27, 2005
4:37 PM EDT
The problem with most people is that they falsely interpret the word alternative to mean clone. When it comes to MS Windows, GNU/Linux is certainly not a clone.

Alternative is as troubled as the word free. The assignment of meaning to them takes a nasty turn for FOSS.

Alternative and Free in co0mbination with GNU/Linux means a free of charge Windows clone to most people. When they face the realities of GNU/Linux, they are hit hard with the truth. GNU/Linux isn't free of charge and it certainly is not a Windows clone.

Posting in this forum is limited to members of the group: [ForumMods, SITEADMINS, MEMBERS.]

Becoming a member of LXer is easy and free. Join Us!