Roben Kleene

For Insects

When I hear how great Linux is as a development machine, I think of Robert Heinlein’s famous passage from Time Enough for Love:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

The issue with Linux isn’t whether it’s a great development machine. A computer should be able to edit a video, record a podcast, write a song, balance a checkbook, put together a presentation, illustrate an icon, and design an interface. Where Linux is lacking is it’s only great as a development machine. In every other category, it’s missing important software1.

Believing that code, or Free software, is so important that everything else has to suffer for it, is driving a hard bargain.

  1. There are workarounds for all, or at least most (audio on Linux seems particularly untenable), of these tasks, but I’m looking for first-class citizen status for every one of those tasks. These are what computers are for. ↩︎