A Muslim, a Christian, and an Atheist's View on Linux and more...

A few months ago, I wrote a review of Ubuntu Muslim Edition. --I gave it positive remarks as it is truly deserving to be praised. However, some readers have an issue with the Muslim Edition of Ubuntu and Linux in general that fueled a heated discussion. And since religion is involved, it started a never ending debate.

I'll highlight some of the interesting comments that I have received from that said review, and since I wasn't able to find some time to respond, I'll take this opportunity to answer some of those comments here.

First, here’s a comment from Shaheed, a Muslim:

"I agree with anonymous about devoting some effort to make sure a broader range of religious software (Muslim, Christian... Zen koans of the day on the command line perhaps) should be available for newbie-friendly installation.

I do, however, lament the fact that it takes yet another new spin of the ubuntuverse, creating yet another Linxu distro, in order for my Muslim brothers and sisters to have a religious distro (I don't call it Islamic as I'm not sure there has been ulama verdict on open source software...). Couldn't we just create a distro-specific repository and an installer program that in one click would install all these packages and wallpapers onto the already existing Ubuntu? Perhaps a Muslim webpage with distro-specific ways of Islamicizing Ubuntu, SuSE, Fedora, PCLinuxOS?


While Shaheed has a good point, I still think that it's important to have a customized distro like Ubuntu ME for the benefit of those who have no Internet connection and want a distro that contains applications that fit their needs. For example, an Edubuntu CD certainly is handy if used for teaching in a poor public school where Internet is still out of reach.

Next is a comment from Brett, a Christian:

"I really don't get why people get so offended by different versions of Ubuntu that cater to different groups. Why do you think it is horrible if don't just all get along, hold hands, and use the same version? The purpose of Ubuntu Christian Edition was to include specific programs in the installation targeted to a specific population that might have a desire to use it. It makes it much easier to use if it comes packaged and ready to use rather than the user (who may not know much about using Ubuntu) installing it after the fact.

Ubuntu Muslim Edition, I would assume, provides the same convenience to Muslims who happen to use Ubuntu. I am a Christian who has used Ubuntu CE and thinks it is a good thing to have available. I also have no problem whatsoever with the existence of a Muslim Edition and think it is great that someone spent the time to cater it to that specific user base.

People need to grow up and get over their anti-religious bias. If someone wanted to create a white angle saxon protestant version of Ubuntu, how does that affect you? If they wanted to create a gay, transsexual, lesbian, transgendered, and bisexual version, who cares. It does not affect your life one bit.

If someone held a gun to your head and said this is the version you must use, then you would have a problem. Until that happens, get over it and use any version you want."

Finally, here’s a comment made by an anonymous atheist. Note: the comment has been condensed and foul languages are removed.

"Linux (is) an invention by the white demons in the western world.

So why would a Muslim want to use such a thing?

Simple, it is to carry out suicide hacking. They are going to hack into America then detonate a bomb strapped to their chest.
And for the record, atheists are smarter. We don't believe a bunch of completely bogus claims written in a 2,000+ year-old book just because somebody said so. I mean come on, a magical beings flying around, a big head magical being named god, his son coming to earth and being born to a virgin [...]

...I really like the part about how God created himself. That part makes me laugh every time. I also like how it took him a week or so to create everything else. Why did it take him so long? According to the bible, he is SOOO powerful that he could plan, create it all in an instant.

I also like the part about how he created Adam and Eve. He preplanned everything and can foresee the future, right? So he preplanned two people to do wrong and cause every single person after them to suffer?

GOD IS SO GREAT!!! hahaha!
And that is just the Christian god. Don't get me started with those other crazy ones."

I usually don't entertain comment like this one, but this time, I’ll make an exception.

The first few sentences alone tell us that the anonymous commenter has a brain the size of an ant. You know, I have high respect for atheists, but only those who have moral values and those who don't look down on people who believe in something that’s beyond understanding.

I don't mean to generalize or intend to show that all Muslims and Christians are on the side of the "Good" and atheists are on the "Evil" side. I believe that any person with or without religion is capable of doing the most evil of evil or the most good of good.

I'm quite intrigued that even though the review on Ubuntu Muslim Edition is already several months old, the discussion is still pretty much alive. I’ve already deleted some of the very offensive comments and only allowed those that are appropriate.

If you have something to add, please share it with us.


  1. AnonymousJuly 29, 2008

    Interesting article. I do however find it strange that apparently the best atheist viewpoint was laden with foul language. It seems a pity that the atheist viewpoint has to be seen as the reactionary one made with little thought.

    As a fully paid up atheist, I'd like to remedy that situation.

    The point of Linux, it seems to me, is that it is eminently forkable at any stage from the kernel to the distro level. That there is an Ubuntu Christian Edition, Ubuntu Muslim Edition, or indeed potentially in the future an Ubuntu Flying Spaghetti Monster Edition thus is a testament to the flexibility of Linux.

    Though it might seem that using GNU/Linux to indoctrinate youth is a Bad Plan TM, GNU/Linux is also used in military systems and is no doubt put to other unsavory uses. It seems that to single out a particular religious edition and ignore other uses simply because a distro is a highly visible aspect of usage is unfair, at the least. GNU/Linux itself is agnostic: a tool. Attempting to bar usage by a particular sect would be both futile and, if it were possible, damaging to the flexibility of the system.

    I do hope that there are many versions of Ubuntu Christian/Muslim edition which have their copy of Dan's Guardian bypassed by the non-administrative users because using a distro to limit the potential of a child to educate themselves with all the information available on the web is definately a Very Bad Thing TM

  2. AnonymousJuly 29, 2008

    I am profoundly atheist, but not in the childish, redneck manner your anonymous user depicts atheism.
    Religion is a private matter based on irrational beliefs one can neither prove scientifically nor dismiss.
    The axis of the debate here is different, though.
    I tend to agree with the view of that Muslim fellow. There are way too many distros out there to create even more spin offs which bear no technical merit and only serve propaganda purposes. OSS religious software is available allover the net, there's no need to sell it out as a distro.
    On a side note, the Christian dude looks more akin to Aleister Crowley then to Jesus. "Do What Thou Wilt" :)

  3. AnonymousJuly 29, 2008

    Hey Jun,
    You're a braver man than me!
    I recently included a reference to Che Guevara in a Linux review and caused a right old fuss - I wouldn't touch religion and Linux with a ten-foot stick!
    You're right about the atheist poster, BTW - brain the size of an ant - and I'm a secular atheist, so I'm allowed to say that.
    Keep up the good work!

  4. AnonymousJuly 29, 2008

    So where is Ubuntu Biker Edition? Surely we bikers count for something, right?

  5. AnonymousJuly 29, 2008

    As an atheist, I'm offended by the last comment you posted (from "an anonymou atheist"). I really don't think you should include this poor written, immature invective as an atheist's view. It's rather a pert kid's view.

  6. AnonymousJuly 29, 2008

    ## Red devil, communism is against freedom and Linux is everything about freedom.

    Che Guevara is just a vulgar slayer and you're a confuse boy buying criminal propaganda.

  7. AnonymousJuly 29, 2008

    You forgot about Ubuntu Satanic Edition.
    Why didn't you quote a satanist?
    That would have been fun.

    The atheist you quoted is a retard and what he said is completely irrelevant in the Linux matter.
    I'm an atheist too but I would never say what he said.

    Linux is extremely diverse. Nobody can stop that because this is how it is made. There are Linux distributions for almost anything you can think of.
    I have no problem with that but for newbies it's kind of difficult to choose.

  8. AnonymousJuly 30, 2008

    I seem to be the first non-Atheist, non-Muslim, non-Christian to reply :-)

    Are you absolutely sure that was the best Atheist response you could find? Because I wouldn't call that guy an atheist; I'd call him a smug little wanker :-D

  9. AnonymousJuly 30, 2008

    YAAPV. Yet Another Atheist Point of View:

    This little "atheist" twerp is just another unthoughtful fundamentalism who is embolden by the "anonymity" of the Internet, and is just looking to pick a fight. "IT'S US OR THEM!" these people exclaim with a lot less correct punctuation and far more swearing and mistakes.

    The literal definition of an atheist is a person without belief in a deity/god. The rest of us that don't live our lives on the Internet like obnoxious 12 year olds take it to the next step and hold only hold beliefs that do not interfere with secularism. Some of us go even further as to try and eliminate superstitions from our local culture, which is what I try to uphold.

    Essentially, your of atheist is not only undeclared, but the practiced one in this article is unfair to most of us self-declared atheists. I know of many Christians in my locality (Northern Midwest of the U.S.A.) who deny that groups like The Church of Latter Day Saints are actually Christian, and they only have a Christian origin.

  10. I'm personally holding out for an Ubuntu Elder God/Lovecraftian Horrors (Ubuntu-EG)edition. But I guess we'll just have to wait "until the stars come right" again.

    Ia Shub-Niggurath! Cthullu Ftaghn!

  11. I'm Catholic and I love (F)OSS.
    I understand that there is no enough evidence to prove the existence of God scientifically, therefore I don't judge those who don't believe.

    I personally have fait (which differs from knowledge) because life per se would have no meaning otherwise...

    I believe we are here to experience hate to be able to comprehend love, think "Can there be light without shadow?" I don't think so.

    Also, the universe is mathematically and physically impossible.... Just think: what happened before the Big Bang? I personally see God behind the "Singularity".

    I don't see God in the traditional way though.

    Coming back to the main topic, I think openness is good so I don't see religious distros as a bad thing.

    Nevertheless some young atheists tend to be too childish and sometimes can be very offensive. In my own experience this kind of atheists tend to be far more aggressive and amoral than any religious person I've met.

    Have a nice day and God bless.