Linux In Brooklyn

[Kermit HOME] | [Linux HOME]
for support -

What is Linux? What is Open Source? Benifits of Open Source
Try Linux Why Switch? Does Brooklyn Need a LUG?


These web pages are dedicated to promoting and supporting the use of Linux and free, open source, software. Since we are located in Brooklyn USA, that is our focus area. This pages announces that we will give our knowledge and experience to anyone who is looking to get started or further their understanding or skills in this area. Any ideas and suggestions as to how we can best further the use of Linux and open source are welcome. Please contact us at

What is Linux?

A few really smart people argue about what Linux is but for most of us, Linux is an open source, UNIX-like, operating system with a large number of variants called "distributions." A Linux distribution usually consists of the the Linux operating system, bundled with a variety of free software. Distributions can be grouped by the way they "package" and install their software. Two of the major "Package Management Systems" are "APT" used by the Debian distribution and "RPM" used by the Red Hat/Fedora.

Linux was created by Linus Torvalds when he was a graduate student at the University of Helsinki. The code was based on Minix 1, a UNIX-like operating system written by Andrew Tannenbaum and used for educational proposes. Torvalds announced his operating system in 1991, in an online post and invited feedback. Other developers and programmers responded and Linux is, and has always been the product of many contributers, worldwide.

Linux is really the essential core of the operating system called the kernel; the part of an operating system that talks directly to the computer's hardware. Linux adopted many programs from the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) GNU project in the creation of their operating system. The command line shell “bash,” core OS utilities like a copy and move and the “C” programming language compiler were all incorporated and Linux was adopted as the kernel of the FSF GNU project. Debian was one of the first Linux distributions and their official name is "Debian GNU/Linux."

There have been disputes in recent years between The Free Software Foundation and some of the people who developed Linux. These disagreements revolve around naming, attribution and philosophical orientation. It is clear that all parties in the open source movement agree on fundamental principals. It is a pity that such an important movement can be split over details.

What is Open Source?

Open Source is a term that comes from the computer world and refers to software whose source code is freely accessible to view, use and change. Computer programs are sets of instructions written in a computer language and this is called the program's source code. Companies like Microsoft and Adobe hire programmers to write code and guard it as valuable commodity that they sell.

Open source software is publicly accessible and can be modified by a programmer to suit the specific needs of a client. The business model of open source is software as a service; the business model of Microsoft and Adobe is software as a commodity. Both are valid business models, but open source has some incredible advantages. So please be advised, These pages are fairly prejudice toward open source.

For a more detailed explanation of open source, Click here . It has been reprinted from The Open Source Website.

Benefits of Open Source

For me, there are three basic advantages of open source software:
  • Higher Quality & Better Security - It may seem counter intuitive, but open source software is more secure than proprietary software. Fewer eyes and minds see proprietary software. Therefore, there are fewer eyes to find security holes and less knowledge and experience in security, going into the code. For the same reason, the more people that look at a computer program, the greater the chance that bugs and mistakes will be found and eliminated from the code
  • The Right to Change, Use & give Back - Anyone can use an okpen source program for whatever reason without question. Open source programs are free for any one to use; no restrictions! In addition, computer programmers don't have to start from scratch every time they write a new computer program. If a young programmer, straight out of school finds a client who wants a custom program, there is a wealth of open source code to get that programmer started. The only requirement is all changes and improvements that have been made to the code must be given to the open source community.
  • To Bring Computing to People at Little or No Cost! - Finally, Open source software can be used free of charge, on virtually any hardware. There are versions of Linux that can run on old computers that most of us would throw out or find too slow and out dated. Software is a large cost in computing. You may not realize it but $25 goes to Microsoft every time you buy a machine with windows on it. There are over 43,000 free open source programs available to anyone in the world.
For a highly opinionated view of open source software, read this article.

Why Switch

We'll get to that real soon

Does Brooklyn Need a Linux User Group?

The first question should be: does Brooklyn have any Linux users? The answer is; probably. The second question is, what does a “Linux User Group” do? According to The Linux Documentation Project a Linux User Group or "LUG" has 4 fundamental purposes:
  • Advocacy
  • Education
  • Support
  • Socializing
If there are folks who want to sign on for that, I'm in! But I'm really interested in the first 3, and mainly for selfish reasons. I have been playing with, and using Linux and open source software for 20 years. I have been a full time user for about the last 7. Over the years I have seen an amazing evolution in the development and ease of use in the Linux platform and would love to see that continue.

There are people in the GNU/Linux world who are firmly against commercial, proprietary software. I am a moderate. Proprietary software has its place for those who choose to use it. I'm in love with the idea of open source sharing and the freedom and power that it creates. Anyone can participate in open source sharing even if you are not a computer programmer or developer. Teaching people how useful, versatile and accessible open source software is, can be one way of sharing. Helping folks install and configure their system is another. When more people use Linux, more hardware manufacturers will start providing drivers for their equipment and iTunes and game makers will want to make money off of Linux users.

Free software and Linux were created by a cooperative community. Users of the technology must continue that cooperation by teaching and supporting each other. Linux and open source software are a great way to put computing in the hand of folks on a tight budget. The open source concept and philosophy insure safe reliable computer programs, free of malware. And yes, developers can still make money writing "free software" they just need to use a different business model.

So back to the original question, does Brooklyn need a Linux user group? The answer is that time (and need) will tell. What is important is that Linux users continue to support and educate each other and promote the use of this universal software platform.

for support -

[Kermit HOME] | [Linux HOME] [Top]