[Gllug] Esotericism (was: Could you build a distro?)

Krishna Birth krishnabirth at gmail.com
Mon Jun 6 20:31:20 UTC 2011

On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 8:19 PM, John Edwards
<john at cornerstonelinux.co.uk> wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 06, 2011 at 07:27:16PM +0000, Krishna Birth wrote:
>> On Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 10:45 AM, Jason Clifford <jason at ukfsn.org> wrote:
> <snip>
>> This distro is based on an esoteric philosophy.  Opensource software /
>> hardware and esoteric philosophy are nice.
> I'm not sure what philosophy you are talking about, but most
> dictionaries define "esoteric" as mystical, secretive, or difficult
> to understand.
> These are things that many people associate with Linux/UNIX (and
> other complex computer technologies), especially if they are not
> familiar with the history or technology.
> But really the Open Source philosophy is more about liberty,
> transparency and equality:
>        http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html
>        http://www.opensource.org/docs/osd
> Open Source allows *anyone* access to the code, and use it to learn or
> modify it for their own use. This seem the exact opposite of much that
> has been called "esoteric", which involves secrecy and restriction of
> knowledge:
>        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esoteric
> Because of this I suspect it is probably easier for someone who knows
> your "esoteric philosophy" to learn about building a new Linux
> distribution than it would be for someone involved in Linux to learn
> what the requirements of your philosophy.
> Fedora, Debian and Ubuntu all have plenty of spin-off distributions
> and there is lots of documentation on how to build them.
> If you want someone else to do the work, and maintain it in te future,
> than I suspect it will cost a lot more than 1500 GBP. Ubuntu costs
> millions a year, and most of their packages are just rebuilds of
> Debian packages.
> Your best bet may be to get a student to do this as a project or
> summer job, but someone else will have to take over the maintenance.
> With security updates and bug fixes you will be rebuilding and
> releasing packages several times every week, even if you rely on
> Fedora/Debian/Ubuntu to do the patching and testing for you.
> If this maintenance is not done then you could be exposing your users
> to some serious security holes, embarassment and even financial loss.
> ps. The Devil's Dictionary has an interesting slant of esoteric:
>    ESOTERIC, adj.  Very particularly abstruse and consummately
>    occult. The ancient philosophies were of two kinds, _exoteric_,
>    those that the philosophers themselves could partly understand,
>    and _esoteric_, those that nobody could understand. It is the
>    latter that have most profoundly affected modern thought and
>    found greatest acceptance in our time.

My definition to esoteric philosophy is different to what you
negatively paint.  It means to me a higher consciousness.


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