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."