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Linux.com: Alternative Lifestyles and Linux

Jun 23, 2000, 12:04 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rob Bos)

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"In this day and age, the label "alternative" is an effective way to marginalise things. It's a subtle way of spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Bisexuality is an "alternative" lifestyle, vegetarianism is an "alternative" diet, certain types of music are "alternative" to others -- in the case of music, it's even become an officially accepted category."

"The chief purpose that labelling something as "alternative" serves is to marginalise it while seeming not to; it says to potential adherents to that philosophy that "yes, you could do it this way, just like all the other lunatics that adhere to other non-mainstream alternatives" -- thereby associating this new "alternative" thing with so many other "alternative" things and thereby denouncing it."

"Linux is not an "alternative" in that sense of the word. In many areas, it is the accepted standard, the highest common denominator, the platform that is the necessity, and not alternative by any means. In those areas, it is non-free software that is the "alternative" lifestyle. It is non-free software that is not in the mainstream and irrational to use. In the Web server world, for instance, proprietary software does not and likely will never dominate; Linux, the BSDs, and various other software are the bread and butter of this field. Upstarts like Windows 2000 and IIS are the alternatives here; young, untrustworthy, and often proven to be unreliable."

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