Last year was awesome for Linux and free software.
Android grew much stronger, more people than ever
understood the ideas behind open source and the
Raspberry Pi helped to erase any last vestige of ‘hacker-elite’
from preconceptions of Linux.
Some might argue that the ongoing issues surrounding the
direction desktop development has taken (see p54 for our take
on the debacle), and Ubuntu’s attempts to monetise its own
distribution, have been negative. But I would say the opposite.
This isn’t because I like Gnome 3, or the Amazon lens in Ubuntu
or the current fetish for touch interfaces. It’s because the
amount of debate, conversation, opinion and coverage that has
surrounded these issues, and many others, has been noisy,
chaotic and unprecedented.
To me, this is the most important factor when judging our
success. It means free software is not only alive and kicking, it’s
in rude health; teaching a new generation of users that software
isn’t a one-way transaction. It can, and should be, democratic,
debated, free, hackable, forkable, accountable, directed and
directionless. These are features that money cannot buy and
that other operating systems cannot offer. After you’ve had
a taste of this kind of freedom, it’s difficult to accept anything
less. And if you experience this kind of openness with your
computer, you might begin to reasonably expect similar
transparency in other areas, such as education and local
All of which can only be a good thing. Here’s to an equally