Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ubuntu: Christian and Satanic Editions

I am a member of the Ubuntu Forums, and while I was waiting for a turorial of mine to be approved for posting I began to peruse some of the more obscure subforums. And while I was doing this I discovered a 3rd party subforum on the canonical hosted forum site for a Ubuntu flavor called Ubuntu CE. CE, as it turns out, stands for Christian Edition, and as soon as I discovered this, I discovered a thread in this subforum about Ubuntu SE, where SE stands for Satanic Edition, and I was utterly baffled.

Ubuntu SE, after further inquiry, turns out to be a joke on the absurdity of Ubuntu CE. Ubuntu SE is regular old Ubuntu, with red and black themes and pictures of Satan everywhere. This is hardly enough to justify it's own flavor, and I think that the creator of Ubuntu SE is fully aware of this fact. When I discovered that this was a hoax, I hoped that Ubuntu CE was also a hoax. But in fact it is not. A brief trip to proved that these guys were serious (and also sporting trendy and stylish "Christian Geek" t-shirts).

The main boasts of the Christian Edition of Ubuntu are:

  • It looks more like windows

  • It acts more like windows

  • It features a robust web-content filter

  • This web-content filter has been rigged to content filter the file system

  • It comes pre-installed with WINE

  • It features a Bible Memorizer Program

  • It comes pre-installed with a virtual rosery

I was baffled upon reading this list. Certainly the last two features are Christian, but I'm unaware as to how looking like windows is in any way Christian. Apparently Windows is the operating system of the discerning Christian. Are they not aware of the widely publicized deal with the devil that Steve Baumer and William Gates made (yes, I like Paul Allen, so I left him out). And while certainly the content filtering is something that your average bible-thumping, book-burning, abortionist-torching, heartland Christian would love, it also seems like the kind of thing that your average american-flag-burning, AK47-wielding, burka-wearing Muslim would love as well. And of course anyone with children. So . . . I did what any rational human being would do . . . I started a flame war.

My primary argument going into this flame war was 2-fold:

1. This "edition" violates the non-discriminatory clause of the open source definition and is therefore not open source.

While Ubuntu CE is released under the GPL, and is therefore technically non-discriminatory (as the definition requires only the license to be non-discriminatory), Ubuntu CE seems to defile the spirt of the Open Source movement. A movement started as a way to distance the Open Source guys from the communist Free Software guys, and to seperate politics from source code. And indeed politics should be seperate from source code, and so should religion.

2. This "edition" is not really all that Christian, and calling it so means that a lot of people who would love this software will stay the hell away from it.

Yeah, that's right, like most things called "Christian" this too isn't all that Christian when you get right down to brass tax. This distribution makes an honest effort to ease the pains of transition from Windows to Ubuntu, something that most distros don't do at all. That's great, that's wonderfull, that's . . . Christian? In addition to that this distribution helps people with kids, or with an insatiable appitite for Porn, to not allow their kids to be exposed to the horrible truths of porn sex untill much later . . . something that I know my dad tried to do with me . . . (he should've known more about computers than me . . . god it's so easy to get around that, hide your tracks, or just straight crack the shit out of that software). But this is something that lots of people want, and lots of people includes lots of non-Christian heathens. So why would you call it Christian . . . is it like a church? Is this so you and all your Christian friends can have your own operating system and it's your own exclusive little club? I just don't get the reasoning here at all. Not to mention, only Catholics use rosary beads, and most protestants find them to signify a disgusting practice . . . so it's not even proper to call this a "Christian" edition, CE should stand for "Catholic" edition.

My suggestion to the CE developers:

Take out the overtly Christian programs, and your jesus themes, and do what everybody else with a non-essential program does . . . put it in an apt repository. If Ubuntu won't let you put it in their multiverse, than make a christian repository, and teach your sheep how to edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file as part of bible study. Once you've done this, then change goddamned name (you might want to put a 10 commandments application in the repository while you're at it) to something better . . . like Child Friendly Ubuntu, or Web Friendly Ubuntu or something like that. Then I would be happy.

And to answer your question of what would Jesus download, he'd probably download Ubuntu Jewish Edition, or just straight Ubuntu. If he downloaded Ubuntu CE he'd have his either his picture or a cross on his desktop . . . and a. Jesus isn't that lame kind of dude who puts his own picture on his desktop or wears the shirt of the band to their concert, and b. he probably doesn't want to be reminded of his time on the cross . . . ever again . . .


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