I’m currently working on finishing up the last little bit of a compilation album. Specifically, a bit of art. The What CD, if that means anything. If not, think of it as a mixtape. You do know what a mixtape is, right?
I don’t have a fancy setup in front of me, just a three-year-old laptop that wasn’t just outdated when it was new, it was outdated when it was conceived. The CEO of Toshiba sat down and said “We’re going to design a tablet PC, for education. Let’s get our best designers on it.”
“Tell them to make it as shitty as possible.”
Which is fair enough, as it’s for education. And it’s a laptop. A tablet, but nobody ever uses the tablet screen because it’s easier to type type type and we’re off topic.
Point is, it’s not an expensive thing. Well, it was, but the laptop was expensive for reasons I don’t know. It was terribly overpriced. But I’m not using good hardware to do this.
And you know what’s better than that? Every tool I’ve used came with the operating system itself.
Admittedly, I’m not using a “tiny” distribution at all. I’m running Slackware. But it’s not big. And the fact that Slackware, as well as many, many other distributions, comes with the tools you would need to do most of the stuff you would do with a computer, ever, blows my mind a little.
Let me put it this way – If you’re using Windows, you might be aware of/use Photoshop. Does Photoshop come bundled with Windows? No, of course it doesn’t. Will it ever? No, of course it won’t. Corporatism shoots that in the foot, because Adobe is Adobe and Microsoft is Microsoft. Meanwhile, GIMP is “shipped” inside practically every main Linux distribution out there. As is xterm. vim. emacs (guh). Libre Office, on some. Firefox, or Iceweasel on Debian. sox. python 2. Because all these people that made these softwares sat down at one point and thought to themselves “Hey, let’s not be dicks. We’ve got a great bit of software here. Let’s let people do with it what they want.”
It’s the community and the mindset, propelled by a simple desire to do stuff, and make computers more awesome, usable, useful, and otherwise good. It’s a self-propelling ideology of continual improvement. It’s a quirky, mildly cultish, unique culture.
It’s GNU, it’s Linux, it’s Open Software, it’s Open Source, it’s a group of nerds on the Internet.
It’s quite fantastic.