Linux

If you are interested in free software and the whole coding portion of flash entertains or you just really dislike the Windows OS I would suggest testing out a distro of Linux.  I have used Ubuntu (a distro of Linux) for a while and have become quite a fan and would switch over completely if it were not for the lack of Autodesk making CAD for it.  Some great features of a linux based operating system are:

  • High level of security (to date there have been no widespread viruses only proof of concepts)
  • Easy to use with lots of free software (including equivalents of MsOffice, Photoshop, Illustrator, and more)
  • High level of customization
  • Stable (unless you install an unstable beta release)

Personally I really like Ubuntu but there are plenty of other ones out there that might suit you better.  If you want to their is a quiz that tells you which versions are good for you.

Quick warning: you can do bad things if you are not careful while installing Linux so make sure to back up your files (though you should have done this anyways).  Most of the more common installations allow you to install Linux as a second operating system so you can boot in both Windows (or Mac) and Linux but if you are not careful the installers can wipe your hard drive and leave you with only Linux (may not be so bad though to get rid of Windows).

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Principles of Scientific Management

Scientific management ( is a theory of management that analyzes and synthesizes work flow processes, improving labor productivity. The core ideas of the theory were developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s.   -Wikipedia

Certainly any kind of open source system needs some organizing set of principals for it to run smoothly. According to Taylor the (somewhat obvious) way to do  this is to structure a system by which benefits the worker when the end result benefits the company. For example, he argued that paying workers by the hour provided no incentive for them to work efficiently and managed several companies where he was able to pay the workers considerably more than they had been earning while still increasing his profits.

Seemingly, the Linux mode of production has achieved a way to reward its workers, who don’t even get paid at all. By working on what directly benifits you first, then sharing the results, all benifit.

“Tragedy of the Commons”

“The Tragedy of the Commons is the title of an influential article written by Garrett Hardin, first published in the journal Science in 1968.[1] The article describes a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently in their own self-interest can ultimately destroy a shared resource even where it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long term interest for this to happen” -wikipedia

How can freely edited programs and services such as Wikipedia and Linux continue to function without anyone “hijacking” them for their own good? It seems that they can avoid the tragedy of the commons due to the fact that it is in so many peoples interest for them to be accurate and functional.

There is certainly a bias to Wikipedia however. This past summer, someone hacked into Wikipedia and revealed who wrote “anonymous” entries.  It seems that large companies such as McDonald’s and WalMart as well as the US government edited pages to paint themselves in a more favorable view. But the very fact that this was uncovered is reassuring to me as people can truly track where their information is coming from if they have time on their hands.