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WWJR: What would Jesus run?

March 28, 2008

You would think that during the 13 years of Catholic school I proudly survived (one, interestingly, in which Bill O’Reilly was my 10th grade American History teacher at Monsignor Edward Pace High School in suburban Miami), I would have remembered the part about Christianity and capitalism being one and the same thing.

Yet, over the last couple of days, I’ve had interactions — I wouldn’t necessarily call them “conversations” — with a Christian blogger who posted comments on my last two blogs, and who seems to think that those of us who are advocating FOSS are a bunch of pot-smoking, porn-surfing “librals”(his word, not mine) who are part of a communist plot to overrun the U.S. Not only this, it appears his beliefs run along the lines that Christianity and capitalism are synonymous, inseparably joined at the hip.

[As an aside, there is a great song by Todd Snider, “Conservative Christian Right-Wing Republican Straight White American Males” and the YouTube watch is well worth it.]

Nevertheless, the false theory that capitalism and Christianity are one and the same — the CEO Jesus Version 1.0 that this blogger seems to deify — started me thinking about a couple of things, namely:

  • He’s wrong about Jesus being a hardline capitalist, and I’ll just point to Matthew 21:12 for starters (other examples abound in the Bible), where ” . . . Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves . . . .” Of course, that would give Jesus something in common with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in the furniture tossing department, but I digress; and
  • If Jesus were a computer user, he’d definitely use GNU/Linux and not BSD, for clearly symbolic reasons. But what distro would he run?

Someone already beat me to the second part of that thought, actually. In the blog openjesus.org, Jesus “wrote” last May the following item:

“In my office I have a few machines, none more important than my Ubuntu box called king. I recently upgraded it to Feisty Fawn, so like some of you I’m going through a bit of an adjustment with some little things. Beryl quit working right, for instance. I could throw a miracle at it or fire up the old omniscience to just know how to fix it, but sometimes even Jesus likes to work things out. I’m a pretty good troubleshooter in my own right, I’ll have you know, and as a recent convert from Gentoo I sort of need something to be broken a little bit to really feel like my Linux desktop is dialed in. I’m sure some of you understand.”

As I wait for the laughter to die down, I have to say that this site could very well be the best satirical site ever (and the line about Gentoo — very true!). No, I’m not just saying that to curry favor with the author.

But it may answer the question what Jesus would run on his desktop. I would have voted for Ubuntu Christian Edition, but never mind. Now His laptop . . . I would be willing to bet Debian is somewhere in the mix, whether it’s Etch or a distro in the Debian family.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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  1. March 28, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I have to keep a dual-boot my laptop, unfortunately. The Holy Spirit and I travel together fairly often, and she just can’t play her games under Linux. We’d get her a laptop of her own, but the take in tithes is way down since 9/11.

    I actually still run Gentoo on my laptop alongside XP. The never ending string of fixes Gentoo needs keeps me busy through even the dullest service. What do you think I do all morning while the Holy Spirit is slaying evangelicals? I sit in the upper deck and continue trying to get my wifi card working.

    I’m running Kubuntu in the office lately, at least as long as Hardy is in beta. Most of my disciples are trying to convince me to switch to K, but I wonder if that’s not only because Linus prefers it to Gnome.

  2. March 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    I am on my knees, oh omnipotent one. But it’s not in homage, but from laughter. Smite me if you must, but I can’t help it.

    I am grateful to you for gracing my blog with your presence and glowing words, and I completely understand your situation in having to dual-boot. Thanks for the insight on what you run on your laptop.

    Since you’re all-knowing, it would be redundant of me to tell you that I’m not a big KDE fan. But I use it sometimes — there’s a Mandriva box at the office — even though I prefer Xfce and I’m starting to get the hang of Fluxbox.

    Incidentally, I find the Hardy beta nothing short of miraculous, so I would recommend it highly. The only thing more miraculous would be for me to get Gentoo running on any of my machines . . . but I digress.

  3. March 28, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    I understand that you are not a fan of KDE, and want you to know that it will not affect your chances of getting into Heaven. I also know of your preference for Xfce, and indeed share it, which of course will affect your acceptance possibilities. My personal application servers all run Xubuntu, as I much prefer a simpler, less invasive GUI on a hybrid workstation/server. Azureus eats up so much CPU time that it’s almost necessary to scale down to a slimmer desktop. When I first began seriously considering Linux I ran Slackware and later Mandrake, both with WindowMaker. Those were the days…

    Part of the reason you found the Hardy beta “miraculous” was because some of the developers finally came around to committing their eternal soul to me. People work harder and produce better code when they know their eternal future is at stake. I’ve written extensively on the lack of work ethic displayed by atheists.

    The secret with Gentoo is to take a 7-day approach. Start from stage one, create only what you need; move to stage 2 and populate core slots with your favorite packages, then spend a few days getting it current and able to boot more than 50% of the time. On the 7th day, shut it down and watch BSG or something. That’s what Dad did with the Earth and you see how well that’s working out for Him.

  4. kenholmz
    April 1, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Whether it is Ignorantchristian or ShelleytheRepublican they don’t not represent Christianity (whatever the state of their eternal souls). What is more FOSS freely practiced is not separate from capitalism. As Microsoft sages adeptly point out, it is a different business model. I have no doubt that RedHat, Sun, IBM and others see themselves as reasonable parts of the American business scene. Microsoft is like SCO, only more successful.
    Ignorantchristian is like Tristan at ShelleytheRepublican. Tristan hails from Tuttle Oklahoma, and apparently was one of the local government IT gurus (along with the Tuttle city manager who infamously threatened the developers of CentOS with hell fire for no sane reason).

  5. zachdude1094
    April 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    That is so stupid, I’m a Christian and I surf blogs all day.

  6. April 12, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Tell him you also use a distro called antiX by anticapitalista, code-named Spartacus and/or Lysistrata (and tell him what Lysistrata is about).

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