Linux is not a bicycle

I recently found this blog:, and tried to leave a comment there, regarding the motto of the site (Linux being a bicycle), but for the life of me I just could not. Hitting either “Publish” or “Preview” just resulted in the comment I had just written to disappear. A bit frustrating.

So I decided to publish my comment in my own blog, and send a trackback.


You say that Linux is a “bicycle” (I assume that making Windows/Mac a “car”), but I do not agree. Linux is not a Win/Mac counterpart, designed for the same purposes, but with free maitenance, at the expense of having less power, and requiring much more effort (as a bicycle is to a car).

I would instead compare Linux to a bulldozer or a Formula 1 (actually, to a bulldozer AND a Formula 1 AND many other things, at the same time). A bulldozer is more suited (than a car) for some task, but requires some expertise to be used. Power comes at the price of training to use it, and Linux is a perfect example of it.

Anyone can drive a car, but handling heavy machinery or racing cars to the inexperienced can lead to disaster. On the other hand, acquiring the required experience with heavy machinery or a racing car can be quite rewarding, as it allows one to perform at one’s full potential. Training for racing or moving heavy rocks around with a regular car, on the other hand, will quickly prove frustrating.


  1. Natasha said,

    January 6, 2012 @ 2:11 am

    I don’t know why you couldn’t post to my blog… I allow comments so it’s a bit bizarre, I’ll check it out.

    I disagree, not everyone can ride a bicycle – it’s just that most of us learn when we are quite young. It’s deceptive – imagine if we lived in a world where you couldn’t learn to ride a bicycle until you were 18, and where you were forced to use linux when you were 5.
    A bicycle does allow you to go a lot of places where you can’t normally go and often a lot quicker – where I live there’s a variety of bike-only bridges and paths that allow me to get from A->B much more efficiently than driving a car. Of course, I have to know not only how to ride a bicycle (use linux) but also the bike routes (linux commands) which are not always intuitive or documented. While on my bike I haven’t had a crash in about 7 years, I’ve had numerous linux crashes in that same time.

    Sure, I agree with your formula 1 analogy (not so much the bulldozer analogy), but I still prefer to think of it as a bicycle… I ride a bicycle every day…

  2. isilanes said,

    January 12, 2012 @ 16:08 pm

    I think we basically agree. Thanks for your comment.

  3. admica said,

    July 25, 2012 @ 17:48 pm

    I like your bulldozer/racecar analogy better, but I think the bicycle analogy still fits. Can the car even make it down the street?

    # Do you have the keys to drive it? (Valid license keys).

    # Have you changed the oil recently? (Rebooting, keeping the registry clean). Eventually it just gets gummed up and you have to trade it in for a new model.

    # Is the maintenance up to date? (Your anti-virus better be up-to-date)

    # Registration and state Inspection up to date? (Antivirus and Microsoft patches up to date?) You can drive without them, but then you’re taking a big risk.

    Here’s my bicycle:

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