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You know, I'm a novice programmer who has not yet begun to program under Linux (I've always done my work in M$ products), but as I look around for applications to do the things I want to do online, I get a strange feeling.
"I want to do this", and I get online and look for an app to do it for me, usually on freshmeat.net or sourceforge... And I get a million and one results for it. Some of them are what I am looking for, but oftentimes they're just "not quite what I'm looking for". "It'd be nicer if it could" do such and such or "had an option for" whatever.
Now, I'm beginning to think that either building an app from the ground up, or contributing to an existing project is the way to go... And as a Linux newbie, I'm beginning to think that it's something that is honored as some kind of Linux Users tradition, in a sense. You're not obligated to do so, but there seems to be an inner circle if you do.
My thanks go out to everyone who writes the software that I use on my Linux box, because if the open source community did not exisit, I would still be tied down to my M$ piece of junk.
One day, I hope to join all of you in the coding of the software I use, even if it is to fine tune the software on my own system and offer suggestions. After using Linux for a short while, I have fallen in love.
If I were 23 instead of 63, I think I'd definitely be looking for a niche in the developers' circles. Then again, if I were 23 I might not see Microsoft as a really evil entity that I can no longer in conscience support in any direct way.
Moving to Linux has been a rough experience for me, even with generous help from a computer professional very knowledgeable about Linux. We've exchanged hundreds of emails and even he has been stumped by some of the problems I've encountered.
I'm content to let things be at this point; I can do word-processing and spreadsheeets in OpenOffice.org software; I have a few good games I can play to dissipate stress and let my right brain work now and then (I have lots of good ideas while playing games); my digital camera works flawlessly after a long battle to get it to work at all; I'm resigned to some ugly fonts here and there and consider it the price I pay for being Microsoft-free.
But as long as Linux distributions are not truly popular for home, desktop use, there will not be a lot of the truly excellent Windows applications available, because software companies haven't got the incentive to transport their wares to a *nix platform. Even if they could afford it (and in many cases they could!), it wouldn't be worth their time--as they see it.
I don't see any solution to this problem. My own principles mean I'm excluded from using some outstanding applications. So be it.