...making Linux just a little more fun!

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The Front Page

By Heather Stern

Herds of wildelaptops roaming free across the African plains


Ubuntu Linux is a Debian derivative distribution of Linux aimed at being fairly easy for someone new to the Linux environment - the ordinary user - and having a somewhat different and thereby hopefully faster version release process. Their motto is "Linux for Human Beings", and Canonical Ltd. in the UK supports them professionally.

This image was inspired by the IRC chat clients found in the Ubuntu default installation (or perhaps their live CD) whose quitline proclaims "set your system free with Ubuntu!" or something like that. It led an IRC friend to joke about herds of wildelaptops wandering free across the African plains...


Did you know that the word "wildebeest" refers to a gnu? Or that the GNU project's sourceforge equivalent is named Savannah? I found the opportunity to wish everyone a visual "Happy GNU Year" too good to pass up.

The African herd that this image describes consists of an image from Dr. Steve Barrett's safari photos (I hope he doesn't mind) and some pictures of various laptops.

Specifically, this shows an Asus 3300, a Toshiba Tecra 8200, and clipart of a Powerbook and something more generic. That's right, kids; Ubuntu has a PPC edition that runs quite nicely on Powerbooks. I've found that the more generic a laptop, the better Linux's chances seem to be... but don't hold your breath about any softmodems. The Blue Wildebeest is a common breed, but the IBM imagery I found didn't seem to suit the angles I needed.

May your gnu year be just a little more fun than last year...


Heather is Linux Gazette's Technical Editor and The Answer Gang's Editor Gal.

[BIO] Heather got started in computing before she quite got started learning English. By 8 she was a happy programmer, by 15 the system administrator for the home... Dad had finally broken down and gotten one of those personal computers, only to find it needed regular care and feeding like any other pet. Except it wasn't a Pet: it was one of those brands we find most everywhere today...

Heather is a hardware agnostic, but has spent more hours as a tech in Windows related tech support than most people have spent with their computers. (Got the pin, got the Jacket, got about a zillion T-shirts.) When she discovered Linux in 1993, it wasn't long before the home systems ran Linux regardless of what was in use at work.

By 1995 she was training others in using Linux - and in charge of all the "strange systems" at a (then) 90 million dollar company. Moving onwards, it's safe to say, Linux has been an excellent companion and breadwinner... She took over the HTML editing for "The Answer Guy" in issue 28, and has been slowly improving the preprocessing scripts she uses ever since.

Here's an autobiographical filksong she wrote called The Programmer's Daughter.

Copyright © 2006, Heather Stern. Released under the Open Publication license unless otherwise noted in the body of the article. Linux Gazette is not produced, sponsored, or endorsed by its prior host, SSC, Inc.

Published in Issue 122 of Linux Gazette, January 2006

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