That was the question du jour today: While caught in traffic on my way to pick up Mirano at school and with the thought of what is on my computer planted firmly on my radar, it occurred to me that I don’t really know how to pronounce the operating system I now have on the iMac.
Is it eks-ubuntu? Eks-buntu? Zoo-buntu? Zhoo-buntu?
I find when I return home that it’s been a significant discussion in the Ubuntu forum, and while everyone seems to be right — or, at least, everyone has an excellent point in pronouncing it the way they do — pronouncing it zoo-buntu as I had been doing all this time is currently the most popular and might be the correct pronunciation.
Might is the key word here. You see, in the international scheme of things, where — oh, I don’t know — English is not the only language spoken, there seems to be some alternatives; alternatives that deserve strong consideration, rather than just attaching my own native language’s rules when it comes to “x” in front of a vowel (think “Xerox, Xanax,” etc.).
According to one post, from RaiSuli: “I pronounce it Zoobuntu but I know that in German it would be pronounced as Ksubuntu.”
Or then there’s the Spanish version, where the “x” like in Oaxaca is pronounced like an “H,” making it hoo-buntu, and I could go for that (thanks, pdxuser).
Says pdxuser: “I did some research, and it turns out that in Xhosa and Zulu, an X is a clicking sound. And you thought people look at you weird when you say Ubuntu….”
But then again, Xubuntu — however it’s pronounced — is based on the Xfce desktop, and that’s really pronounced Eks-eff-see-ee. All of which is to say eks-ubuntu or eks-buntu also has a considerable amount of merit.
If it interests you, take a look and see what you think.
Me? Leave things alone? NoooOOOoooo. Not me. I sat at home fiddling with Xubuntu 6.06 on the iMac and wondered aloud, only to the cat, “Gee, you know maybe I didn’t give those other distros a fair shake.” So I went through the drill again, starting around 6 this morning, of adding and removing distros and seeing how they fared.
Again, here are the players: indigo iMac, 256MB RAM (not 128 as I previously mentioned — what was I thinking?), 7GB hard drive, and the 6.10 version of Kubuntu; Gentoo 2006; Slackintosh 11; and Fedora Core 4; some coffee) and the new cat watching this time from the floor while I talked to the computer.
Basically, the test was installing, browsing and tweaking parts of the desktop and, in one case (see below), networking to an eMac.
Kubuntu kalling: I know how kool and krisp KDE is as a desktop. It is. Honest. And I’m not taking anything away from it when I say it’s really not for me. Maybe I’m just not kognizant of how great a product KDE puts out — but I would venture to say that I am. It works really well. I wish I could put my finger on what it is about KDE that leaves me kold. But I can’t, except to say that it’s not for me.
[Note to Linus T.: If you really prefer KDE over Gnome, that's your right, and I will defend it to the death, both yours or mine. However, while I wasn't the one to come up with a kernel that set the industry on fire -- for which all of us are truly thankful -- I don't consider myself an idiot because I prefer Gnome. 'Nuff said.]
Sorry, Slack and Gentoo: Missed again. Someday, when I’m a lot more proficient at GNU/Linux and know can fathom installs with only the command line, I’ll be back.
Putting on a Fedora: Fedora Core 4 was a pleasant surprise once I got it up and running. Not only that, it actually networked with the eMac that my wife has commandeered right away, without my having to prompt it (okay, so it asked me first, but I hadn’t thought of putting it through those paces, to be honest). The only failing seemed to be browsing — pages and e-mail took forever to load. But it looked great and, with some work, I bet it would make a very good PowerPC option for GNU/Linux users.
Meanwhile, over the course of several hours the cat got bored — imagine that — and I went back to Xubuntu.
It’s interesting how those urban stories become urban legends (no, Bill Gates is not going to give you his fortune if you pass on that e-mail — sheesh) and how myths become become truths when repeated often enough.
Last week, the paper at which I work had a headline on a story that said that the U.S. had the most hackers in the world. Under my definition of hacker this would be welcome news, but the article continued to implicate those who “hacked” as people who did illegal things via computers.
Those aren’t hackers. Most of you know who Eric Raymond is, but for those of you who don’t, the author of “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” — arguably a defining book regarding open source software — has something to say about hackers; real hackers, that is.
Raymond says that hackers — “a community, a shared culture, of expert programmers and networking wizards that traces its history back through decades to the first time-sharing mini-computers and the earliest ARPAnet experiements” — originated the term as a positive one. Hackers built the Internet, Raymond continues, made Unix what it is today, run Usenet, and generally make the World Wide Web work.
He continues later to say, “There is another group of people who loudly call themselves hackers, but aren’t. These are people (mainly adolescent males) who get a kick out of breaking into computers . . . . Real hackers call these people ‘crackers’ and want nothing to do with them . . . .”
Raymond continues later: ” . . . [B]eing able to break security doesn’t make you a hacker any more than being able to hotwire cars makes you an automotive engineer.”
Hackers build things, and crackers break them.
I think about this every time I look at the Free Software Foundation business-card disk that doubles as my membership card, especially at the signature by Richard Stallman (I asked him to autograph it, sheepishly, after the stellar speech he gave at the University of California last month) which says, “Happy hacking!” To be a hacker would be a badge of honor I’d gladly wear.