Of Linux Haters and the GUI problem

Just ran across this rather unusual blog, that purports to hate Linux. But it really reads like a series of letters from a jilted lover who would probably be taken back in a heartbeat. (Cue Joan Jett's "I hate myself for loving you"). Of course, this end of the relationship is a human, the other is the rather nebulous cloud of "FOSS" - or free open source software, so a reconciliation may be fundamentally doomed.

That said, these 'letters' are profane, funny, technical, and insightful. Nothing on the internet highlights as clearly the irrational attachment to FOSS in general and Linux in particular that some people have. (Indeed, one could spend a lifetime making fun of people's irrational attachments. And some do.) The key theme, at least for me, is that there is a jolt of rightousness that comes with using FOSS that can render one's perspective dangerously opaque to weaknesses. (I see the same thing with the iPhone.)

What's really interesting to me, though, is that his posts focus heavily on UI issues. For example, in a post of about Samba he complains that he's had to learn smb.conf 20 times over the years, but then quickly forgot it. I know exactly what he means. He then talks about his options for a GUI, Fedora and Webmin. But wouldn't it be cool if you could create your own GUI for this kind of stuff? Or even better some record of what you did?

I ask because I think the poster is wrong - the problem is not silos. Breaking down silos can be a good thing, but there's no reason why file sharing ought to be coupled to a GUI toolkit (as he seems to be advocating).

You may be thinking, well, even if there was such a thing it would be a mess - so many GUIs, it's the whole "there are too many choices" thing all over again. However, I'm pretty sure that would sort itself out, as great GUI creators would rise to the top, and thanks to decoupling, could be tried without fuss.

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