What is Linux? What is Linux on the Web?

(I am nearly 100% sure that the backend to ILP is running a Linux-based system. There is a very remote chance that it is running a Microsoft system, though a snowball probably has a better chance in hell than that.)

The word “Linux” means many different things to many people…

In the most technical sense, that word refers to a very complex piece of software called a “kernel” (usually on the order of 10^8 lines of source code) that serves as the interface between the [logical] software-based functions that end users—via software developers—want to call on to make their lives easier and the [physical] hardware bits (such as disk drives, network cards, and monitors) that are necessary in order to actually make it happen.

But the above technical sense is not how it is most often used in the everyday parlance. It is more commonly used as a way to speak about ideas that have more cultural significance, such as the manner in which the actual software is developed—that being a community-centric, open-source, volunteer model, which ultimately relies on sponsors or donors for material support. This model tends to be more democratic, or perhaps more accurately, meritocratic, in nature, and as such, the disagreements (which sometimes turn into pseudo-religious “flame wars”, when they are at their most extreme) between community leaders can quickly turn into major online spectacles; whereas in a standard, hierarchical business model in search of maximizing quarterly profitability, any such issue would have been quickly squashed even before it started through the everyday, mercilessly grinding machinery of typical [my] office [is bigger than yours] politics.

(There is a lot more for me to say on this matter, so, to be continued…)

You regard the way Linus Torvalds runs linux as “democratic?” I’d take the opposite side of that proposition and I’d easily win the debate. You joking?

You are correct that ILP runs on Linux, specifically on Ubuntu (and on a VPS through the Xen hypervisor, which I think is also Linux).

Linux is free and reliable and there’s a great community of users who can help troubleshoot. It’s pretty remarkable that other operating systems can survive in the face of that competition.

Democratic isn’t really the right word. Neither is meritocratic. It seems more like a patchwork of small dictatorships that have a strong incentive to remain benevolent. Torvalds has less incentive to be maximally benevolent, since he controls the kernel, which is important enough and sticky enough that people are mostly stuck with him.

Still, the model seems to work, the results speak for themselves.

Notice that I prefaced everything with the word more, which means that the word “democratic” was used in relation to something else, particularly the office scenario laid out at the end of the paragraph.

Nevertheless, I would argue that most things that qualify as actual democracies in this world—rather than things which merely use that word in pathetic attempts to cover over the kinds of everyday realities that people like Noam Chomsky are constantly calling out—tend to look and feel a lot like how the Linux kernel mailing list sometimes looks and feels.

So, I think I will mainly talk about Linux on the Web by weaving in different anecdotes about it, rather than trying to fit it into a larger philosophical discussion. I’ve been working on it nearly nonstop since 2012, and I’ve had nary a peep of positive feedback about it the entire time… mainly because the underlying system was always extremely unstable and there was almost nothing in the way of a graphical interface for average end users to test out. But all of that is changing now. I finally got the kind of feedback I’ve been looking for this morning in the following reddit thread

Posted by u/magenta_placenta Dedicated Contributor 21 hours ago
A Detailed Guide to CSS Animations and Transitions link

denniskane 12 points 19 hours ago
I’ve started to use transforms with transitions very heavily within the past few months in my web-based desktop after using crappy setTimeout/setInterval based JS solutions for the longest time. You should be able to see the obvious usage of it in the application launcher on the bottom of the page if you hover over it!

supergnaw 1 point 9 hours ago
what is this??

denniskane 2 points 2 hours ago
It’s called Linux on the Web. I would say it represents the next generation of general computation by creating a solid, open, POSIX-compliant platform in an extremely dynamic userland space (the web) that is currently dominated by monolithic corporate entities who are trying to shove their one-size-fits-all “frameworks” down our collective throats. Or something to that effect, haha!

Edit: It’s starting to get traction. Late last night, I got hammered by an IP address in Sri Lanka pointing to “Lanka Education and Research Network”. Everyone went to my CLI environment all at once. I assume a teacher over there found it through a google search and thought it would be useful for teaching a class on the Linux shell.

supergnaw 2 points 1 hour ago
god this would be friggin awesome to have on webservers just to make things easier to manage. i’m a visual person and cli can be rough for me sometimes. i’d take this over a control panel hands down any day.

denniskane 1 point 2 minutes ago
Yes, it is on a webserver right now, which is what allows you to see it at linuxontheweb.org! Or perhaps did you mean for it to be on your webserver in order to administer your website? That is definitely technologically do-able!