January 28, 2014, 1:15 PM — North Korea uses Linux
The VAR Guy is reporting that North Korea has adopted Linux and open source software.
Just how popular is enterprise open source software? Popular enough, it seems, to power web servers in locations as unlikely as North Korea. That's where Red Hat (RHT) Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and derivatives of it, are running the few public web servers that exist in the country. Who knew?
In a bit of news that passed mostly under the radar, Internet research firm Netcraft reported last April—at a low point in relations between North Korea and Western nations and their allies—that RHEL version 5 serves the website of the Korean Central News Agency, the country's official media outlet. CentOS, another open source platform that very closely resembles RHEL (actually, it essentially is RHEL, distributed by a third party using different binaries based on the same source code), powers the website of the newspaper Rodung Sinmun.
It doesn't surprise me at all that North Korea has embraced Linux. I did a review of Red Star OS, the North Korean version of desktop Linux a while ago. It's not something I'd recommend that you adopt for daily use, but it shows that even North Korea - the hermit kingdom - is aware of the strengths of Linux and open source software.
If you want a peek at what life is like inside of North Korea, watch the Vice Guide to North Korea videos that I've embedded in the review quote above. Each of them runs about twenty minutes and they are quite interesting. I doubt the Vice folks will ever be invited back for another visit, nor would they probably be foolish enough to accept such an invitation. Heh.
I suppose that some folks might think it not very complimentary for Linux to be adopted by such a regime, and I can understand that. Yet it really demonstrates the universal appeal of Linux and open source software that it would be adopted by such a closed society.
Five stable but bleeding edge distros
The Linux Federation has an interesting roundup of five "bleeding edge" distributions that it thinks are also stable enough for daily use on the desktop.
What is a Bleeding Edge Linux Distribution ? Bleeding Edge Distribution is a distribution developed by technologies incorporating those so new that they could have a high risk of being unreliable. No matter how much we want to use these distributions, they will always have stability issues. Well, we are here to prove that wrong. Even if it sound impossible, I will give you 5 distributions that are bleeding edge as well as stable enough for daily use.
5. Debian Testing
4. Chakra Linux
Image credit: Linux Federation
If I had to pick a favorite from this list, I'd go with Debian Testing. However, the rest of the list is also quite good, and I could probably use any of them and be quite happy about it.
If you aren't sure which one to use, I suggest giving each of them a try in VirtualBox. That will give you a chance to see just how stable each distro is before making a final decision.
Run Linux on a Chromebook
Chromebooks are getting quite a lot of press these days, and we have a guide here on ITworld that explains how you can run desktop Linux on one of them.
Fortunately, there's an easy way to add desktop Linux to a Chromebook to give you the best of both worlds: traditional Linux and Chrome OS. Note: you can also try to dual-boot a Chromebook, but I haven't yet found a way to do this that I'm happy with, so I'm going to just focus on the easy, safe way to have your ChromeOS and eat your traditional Linux cake too: Crouton.
I don't own a Chromebook but Crouton sounds like a great tool for those who do. I'd definitely give it a whirl if I had one because I love the idea of having Chrome OS and my favorite desktop Linux distribution along with it. Talk about having the best of both worlds!
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.