In July, Kilton Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire set up a relay server in the Tor network, which lets Internet users surf the Web anonymously. Tor is relied on every day by whistleblowers, journalists, and dissidents in oppressive regimes, and each relay makes the network stronger. This was the first time a library had set up a relay, and the FSF was excited to see the public institution participating.
2007 is when desktop Linux really shifted into high gear for me. A friend had told me that he'd tried Ubuntu and it was really awesome. "It's designed to be immediately usable as a desktop OS, and it shows," my friend said. So when my roommate started crabbing about how much he despised Windows on his laptop, I started trying to convince him to install Ubuntu Feisty Fawn. He seemed dubious, and I wasn't really using my laptop very often, so I did an install on my own laptop and showed it to him. As I answered his questions and solved his potential adoption problems, I started looking seriously at it myself. Feisty was nice, in a way that desktop Linux never had been for me before—it was actually easier to get simple day-to-day tasks done than it was with Windows! Of course, it also had the reliability of Linux, and it was nice using something more like my servers on my desk.
For years, the “year of the Linux desktop” was right around the corner: Open-source software would displace Windows (or Window$), and usher in a glorious, peaceful revolution in the computing industry.
If Dell is to be believed, that revolution is happening now.
Dell’s head of China told The Wall Street Journal that NeoKylin Linux is shipped on 42 percent of the PCs it sells into the country, primarily for the commercial and government PCs that Dell specializes in. Hewlett-Packard also ships NeoKylin-equipped PCs to China, the paper said, but it’s unclear how many they sell with the OS installed.
In 2010, China Standard Software and the National University of Defense Technology teamed up to launch NeoKylin as a secure alternative to foreign software, such as Windows. (A screenshot of the original Kylin Linux is above.) TechinAsia claims that NeoKylin was based on Ubuntu Kylin, which was developed for the Chinese by Canonical.
In case you haven't already figured it out, this is not meant to be taken seriously. I see all kind of articles, almost on a weekly basis, about how Windows is killing the Linux desktop, how Linux missed its chance with Windows 8, and so on. It's getting tiring. Saying that Linux can be killed and even considering this means that you have no idea of just how big this project really is, not to mention the community around it.
Linux is not trying to beat Windows, it's not trying to kill it, it's not even trying to compete with it. Linux is competing with itself and this is why it's getting better all the time.
Whether Windows will be around when Linux really takes off for the desktop is actually irrelevant.
The problem of producing reproducible builds requires a number of changes to be made:
1: The source code must be changed so that variables are always initialized to static values (not dynamic values from memory, which can be random).
2: Eliminate the use of timestamps, source code file paths, and build numbers.
3: Specify the exact build environment, so that it can be reproduced on different computers.
As you can imagine, this could be painstaking work on a single project. But the Debian project has over 20,000 packages, and the majority of them need to be overhauled. This is a major undertaking, to say the least.
But it has to be done. A single corrupted package could result in thousands of infected computers.
For a few months I’ve being hearing radio commercial for a tech company that does the usual stuff — support, equipment, etc — but they also advertise that they handle open source. They explicitly advertise Linux server deployments and maintenance.
As I said, it used to be lonely being a Linux or FOSS user in Panama. Not so much anymore.