Christian, Linux and Microsoft

ubuntu Christian Edition Dan Warne of APC talked about Ubuntu Christian Edition in a sort-of mocking way. I actually took a look at this Ubuntu Christian Edition (UBE) thingy, and it is nothing more than one bash script (convert_me) that installs both GnomeSword + a few modules (an open-source Bible study software) and DansGuardian (a web content filter), copies in some default configuration, and a few images with "Christian Edition" appearing at the right spot. You can install all these packages with apt-get.

Conclusion? UCE is nothing more than a gimmick that attracts Christians to Ubuntu Linux. People will say, "hey I will use it because it labels Christian!" However, as UCE requires Ubuntu pre-installed -- by the time you can start installing UCE you are already 99% there.

However Dan's article raised another discussion -- how should Christians relate to Microsoft, open source and Linux? Some people think Christians should avoid Microsoft at all cost as Bill Gates has 666 all over his forehead. And this linked bug item reckons "This (Microsoft Windows) is a waste of money for Christian communities, as well as a clash with Christian values".

Is that the case?

My opinion is, if you, a committed Christian, can stand open source software, then use it! It saves you money, and gives you freedom to play around with the source code, if that's your thing. Otherwise, do your duty and "render to Gates (or Jobs) the things that are Gates'", pay for that copy of Windows (or Mac OS X) and use it with clean conscience. It just paid for the family meal of a hard working middle-class Windows developer in Redmond. Using Ubuntu obviously does not make you holier, and using Windows is not an unforgivable sin.

In last Sunday's Bible study we looked at 2 Corinthians 5, and one of the challenge questions at the end was along the line of "as a new creation, what area of your life needs to be changed?" One thing I asked was, as Christians we should put off downloading pirated software, MP3 and movies. I thought it was obviously, but surprisingly it generated quite a bit of discussion on "who's at fault" (yeah, the search engine gives me all these results).

At the end, I'll say the software you obtained legally are "Christian Editions".