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Editor's Note: 50,000 Glimpses, One Web Site

Dec 24, 2003, 13:00 (21 Talkback[s])

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

50,000.

It's a five with four zeros after it. Nothing special on its own.

A tidy sum of money if you won the lottery. The population of a small city, not too big, not too small.

Somehow numbers with a few zeroes seem to have some special meaning for those of us who use base-10 math. "Fifty" has its own meaning, too. The length of a good, long marriage... about half of a human lifetime.

Today, the meaning for Linux Today is a happy one. A few hours ago, this site posted its 50,000th story.

There was no fanfare, no loud cheering. It was a sort-of-average story about a new Linux-cluster supercomputer at St. Jude's Childrens Hospital. It was posted to mark yet another success story for this operating system that so many people feel so strongly about.

People ask me what is it about Linux that draws such a strong following. It is, after all, just a collection of code put together by a bunch of developers from around the world. Why does it evoke such passion, such loyalty, such devotion by those who use it?

Is it the license?

Is it the quality of the software?

It is the sense of rebellion against corporate forces?

Yes, but that's not all.

It is not only just these things. It is a sense of purpose that those who create the software feel when they improve that one last bit of code before the final release. It is a sense of satisfaction that the end-user feels because they know that if they want to, they can change anything they want about this tool sitting on their screen.

It is, like all things in our lives, different things for different people.

For me, who signs almost every missive with the word "Peace," Linux means this:

It is a collection of code put together by a bunch of developers...

...from around the world.

It transcends boundaries and cultures. It lets people be a part of something that is bigger than all of them individually.

Each story on this site shows us a small part of that thing called Linux that is bigger than all of us. We may like the part we see; we may hate it. We argue, we agree, we each view the larger picture in our own individual ways.

This web site has shown its readers 50,000 glimpses of Linux and how it affects the world around us. It will continue to show more glimpses for as long as we have the pleasure of your company.

Thank you for that company, and peace.