12 Days of Christmas: What open source has given us

Jack Wallen plants his tongue in his cheek and has a go at the Twelve Days of Christmas — open source style!

It's been a good year for Linux and open source. As we wind it all down, I wanted to take a moment to have a little bit of fun with traditional holiday song — "The Twelve Days of Christmas." It's a lighthearted way to wrap up some of the things open source (OS) has given us this year.

So, forget the partridges and lords leaping, here we go!


On the first day of Christmas...

OS gave to me, A desktop from a forked tree.

Everyone, say it with me now — Cinnamon! That's right, the fork of GNOME 3 that just might keep that desktop alive. And since the Mint developers actually listen to their users, it just might survive!

On the second day of Christmas...

OS gave to me Two tablet distros.

Okay, not really — but this MUST happen soon or else the window of opportunity will close faster than Apply shutting down yet another browser for the iPhone!

On the third day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Three failed compiles!

I test a LOT of software and many times, during the search for cool and useful stuff — I run across an app that seems like a must-have, only to find it won't compile on my distro. If you have an app you've developed, please make sure it'll compile on the latest releases!

On the fourth day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Four headless servers.

Although Linux excels at the server level, most tend to think it has to be used command-line only as well as headless (without a monitor). Hardware, these days, is so much cheaper and powerful — just slap a monitor on and use the platform with a GUI. The GUI tools are so much better than they once were. Besides — that gives newer admins a better chance at succeeding with Linux on a server.

On the fifth day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Five golden distros.

It seems the amount of distributions fluctuates on a daily basis. But at the moment: Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, CentOS, and Debian are all doing just fine.

On the sixth day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Six games a playin'.

Thank you Valve, for releasing Steam to Linux. Yes, this is a game changer. Period. Now we just have to hope the beta goes well and the flood of games pours onto the Linux community.

On the seventh day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Seven software titles.

Okay, so it wasn't really seven — but a number of software titles finally made it to Linux. Of particular note — Netflix and Spotify.

On the eighth day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Eight maids a coding.

It seems the amount of open source developers continues to grow. And with companies like Google and Amazon continuing to push open source into the enterprise, this growth will continue exponentially.

On the ninth day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Nine Linux drivers.

NVIDIA recently made a major push to one of their NVIDIA drivers for some serious power. We are finally seeing hardware drivers on Linux perform as well (and in some cases better) than they do on their Windows counterparts. Part of this push is thanks to Steam.

On the tenth day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Ten Ubuntu spin offs.

Has it reached ten yet? Oh I'm sure it's actually beyond ten. For those that doubt the power and user-friendliness of Ubuntu, you just have to look at how many distributions are using Ubuntu as a base from which to build.

On the eleventh day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Eleven piped outputs.

The command line, though waning in popularity, is still one of the most powerful tools in all of computer-dom. But I must admit, even I use it less and less. There are certain tasks and commands that will never be replaced by a GUI (for me), but it's getting easier and easier to avoid opening a terminal.

On the twelfth day of Christmas...

OS gave to me: Twelve file systems.

SUSE proclaimed that btrfs is ready to rock. So it's time to add yet another file system type to the already over-stocked herd of file systems. I only hope, when distros start using btrfs (if they do), that it doesn't wind up breaking everything Samba!

Thank you all, so much, for continuing to read my open source ramblings. I look forward to continuing on for years to come. Have a wonderful holiday and a prosperous, safe new year!

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.