The real meaning of… Xubuntu

The trouble with open source operating systems is revealed

Xubuntu? What a daft title. These days operating systems - like footballers - have to have silly foreign names. Carlo Kickabout, as Spurs chairman and “IT entrepreneur” Alan Sugar once described them.

Anyway, this zoo-boon-too, as we’re supposed to pronounce it, is cousin to Ubuntu (ooboontoo) which itself is a version of Linux which itself is related to Unix which itself was a pun based on an earlier system Multics (a mainframe time sharing operating system).

It’s nice if you can trace your roots right back to the old landscape. From Unix upwards, they’re all sort of open source and freeware, which is a bit like when a builder offers you a friendly entry price, then starts by knocking down some walls, but then loses interest in the job and bunks off to God knows where. But you shouldn’t complain because he’s doing you a favour right? 

This Xubuntu is going to be brilliant, once your friends in open source get around to it. It’ll use less application memory - don’t take my word for it, Martin Honeyford at IBM said so after testing it in 2007. He’s a walking Gold Standard that bloke. You don’t want to argue with the experts. These open source builders seem to have gone a bit quiet though. I hope they’re not like that other builder you trusted, who disappeared to Thailand before all the debt collectors, writ servers and tax inspectors could catch up with him.

Well, OK, Linux magazine said zoo-boon-too was actually less efficient than Oo-boon-too. They said it used twice as much RAM did they? Oh OK. Well, they’re just bureaucrats. Don’t listen to the so-called experts, what do they know? It’s all rigged anyway.

Did you know the word "ubuntu" is from the African Zulu language and means "humanity to others”? So I imagine that means that the X in zoo-boon-too means that you are no longer being humane to others. Being Xenophobic (zenno-foe-bick) more like. In other words, being fearful of anything that seems to be different, foreign or strange.

Well, I’m sorry, I’m no zenno-fobe but some of these new operating systems have gone too far. Don’t get me wrong - we’ve got an operating system at work (OS X) and, apart from constantly interrupting us with questions about upgrades, it’s as good as gold. But sometimes you do hanker after a traditional operating system. One that works from Nine to Five and closes early on Wednesday afternoon and doesn’t muck about with any fancy foreign names. We could call it Alan or Apprentice or Doesn’t Suffer Fools Gladly. Or Amstrad - now there was a hallmark of quality.


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