Freedom or Ease of Use? A Note on Torvalds’ Strange Remarks
I’ve just stumbled upon a disappointing interview with Linus Torvalds which left me utterly confused about Mr. Torvalds views on GNU/Linux distributions. He is certainly a prominent figure and I always look up to him but I think he is much misunderstood about the goal of distros and especially about the role of Debian. This paragraph especially drew my attention:
“I’ve tried it a couple of times over the years, mainly because the thing Ubuntu did so well was make Debian usable. I always felt that Debian was a pointless exercise because to me, the point of a distribution is to make everything easy. Easy to install, to be pretty and to be friendly and Ubuntu did that to Debian.”
Maybe some GNU/Linux experts can help me here but I never thought that the point of a distro is to make everything easier or prettier. I always thought the the main point of a GNU/Linux distribution is to bring more freedom into our world. Do prettier interfaces which are basically a mash up of third-party themes and fonts make an operating system better? How Mr. Torvalds define the word “usable” is a mystery I need to know. Besides, what’s the point of ‘ease of use’ when a software is too unstable and filled with bloated packages? Mr. Torvalds says he is not an Ubuntu user and yet he believes that Ubuntu had made Debian usable by easy intstallation and pretty GUI. He must have missed the fact that many people use Debian for much more important reasons such as stability and more freedom which is missing in many derivatives. It’s utter nonsense to say I found Ubuntu useful but not Debian. It’s like saying I like dogs but I don’t like animals.
I’m pretty much still a GNU/Linux newbie(5-months of experience at the outside); yet when I’m tying to choose a distro I look for those that are more about freedom and choice rather than prettier interfaces. If Mr. Torvalds want to praise a particular distro I think there are much better ways to make his point rather than making controversial remarks about respectable distros.