The Surprising Face of the Future of Linux (Hint, it wasn’t in Tron)

It’s the holidays and people are drifting in and out of the house. Apparently there is lots of sleeping over going on, although no one bothered to ask me. If you lived here when you were a kid and still have a key to the front door, you don’t need to ask. I can see on the network that there are four computers floating in and out of downstairs – Julia’s iBook , Jenn’s iBook, Ronda’s iBook and the living room desktop that dual boots Windows 7 and Linux.

Linux: The preferred operating system of Women’s MMA.

It happens to be up in Linux because darling daughter #3, Ronda, was entering data. The computer was left on by someone who was visiting a couple of days ago and had been using Ubuntu. Since re-booting into Windows 7 would have been unnecessary effort and using her own laptop would have required walking five steps to pick it up off the kitchen table, she just sat down, opened up Open Office, created a spreadsheet and entered all the data. Then she emailed it to me and spent the rest of the time on Facebook telling all her friends about her next amateur fight, in the finals of the Tuff-N-Uff event in Las Vegas in February, and her first professional mixed martial arts fight that has just been scheduled.

Generally, one doesn’t think of UFC and Unix as going together anywhere outside of the dictionary, but one would be wrong.

Film Studies Majors Prefer Linux Over Tron

Then there is the middle school history teacher, darling daughter #2. She started out as a Film Studies major switched to history, noting the vagaries of the economy concluding that,

“No matter how bad the economy gets, they’re never going to call off seventh grade. If it gets so bad that some policy maker says, ‘Hey, who really needs an education past sixth grade anyway?’, well, at that point we all probably have bigger problems than keeping a job.”

After Ronda left, Jenn sat down at the desktop because it was less effort than going into the bedroom where she had left her laptop. Since Ronda had left the desktop in Linux, Jenn opened Open Office for some data she needed to enter. She finished that and surfed the web for a while about you don’t want to know what. No, you really don’t. It was gross.

To wrest control of your Linux system back from twelve-year-old girls, try Tron

If you have lived next door to one another since you were four and five months old, respectively, it is deemed unnecessary to ask permission from parents to sleep over at someone else’s house when you have reached the unbelievably cool age of twelve. At least, that’s what I have concluded since it is 1:30 a.m. and our next door neighbor, Kiah, is still here.

Here’s a picture of Kiah and Julia on Halloween, the year before they started kindergarten.

While Jenn was outside smoking a cigarette in the rain, Kiah had slipped in and taken over the computer. Julia had her laptop and she and Kiah were battling it out at some on-line game site.

To keep the peace, I suggested a movie.

Being a film studies major, Jenn could not deign to go to the movie the two seventh-graders picked. I suggested Tangled, Burlesque or Chronicles of Narnia, since all were playing in the Promenade. Julia asked how about Tron?

Of course, you notice that in the movie, Tron, the system used to get into the digital world is Unix. The guy using it in Tron is the typical under 30, male, white, went to Cal Tech. That guy fits in well with the stereotype of who uses Linux or other Open Source software. Linux was never mentioned by name in the movie and open source was painted as a sort of “out-there” unrealistic idea that might occur in some utopian future. Of course no one now uses that crazy stuff. Ha ha, laughed the corporate board members.

Interestingly, the person who started this whole chain of events earlier in the week was a board member.

To a reporter on a deadline, any computer (port) in a storm will do

The Tron guy didn’t look much like the person who booted up the computer in Ubuntu to begin with, sportswriter and National Association of Hispanic Journalists board member, Maria (a.k.a. daughter #1) who just wanted to write her story on the national college soccer tournament.

In the picture below, you can see Maria’s daughter, my two-year-old granddaughter, Eva on Skype. If you look closely in the picture, you can see what the two twelve-year-olds look like now.

Also in the picture you can see the person who did not reboot the desktop, leaving it in Linux and thus starting this latest chain of events today. She had been watching Elmo videos on youtube in Firefox.

The future may be closer than you think.

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  1. Great to see. I’ve got an extra computer in the house (something my son and I assembled last year). I’ve had a version of Centos on it for about a year and a half, running a few virtual machines. It was good when I was experimenting with all that stuff, but now I’m ready for something simpler and am replacing it with a simple Ubuntu install. Hope it will now be used by the family (just like yours) rather than as just my personal computer lab.

  2. We got our first Unix computer years ago, with the resident rocket scientist thinking it would be his personal computer lab. Instead, he ended up wrestling lovely daughter #4 over whether he would use it for development or she would use it for Club Penguin. He won at least 40% of these battles. Of course, I think she was eight at the time.

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