Ubuntu Christian edition?

Linux spawns new distributions like — uh, — nineteenth century Lutherans made denominations. I like and use Ubuntu Linux (“Linux for humans”) and some of its derivitives, but am not sure what to make of Ubuntu Christian Edition. What, I wonder, is the purpose?

It seems to be a properly orthodox (if you’ll forgive the term) Ubuntu install with GnomeSword (Bible study software), DansGuardian (parential control/censorware; what pray makes this inherently Christian?) and a few other aps sprayed in Bible verses. Since I can (and have) added GnomeSword and DansGuardian (for testing) from my ordinary Ubuntu installation, I don’t see the point. But you can buy a Christian Ubuntu Women’s Raglan Hoodie if you like.

And I suppose what really bothers me is that ubuntu is a Xhosa linguistic family philosophical concept, a part of the philosophical core of the new South Africa. Hard to translate, but is linked to the idea that we become more human in relation with other human beings. It does have Christian meanings, too.

Archbishop Tutu often refers to ubuntu. Bill Clinton spoke about it recently. (I’ll use it in a sermon tomorrow!) To cross cultural metaphors, a mensch has ubuntu. I’d hate to see Christian Ubuntu be reduced to a thin derevation of an operating system. And in practical terms, I’ll use the ordinary version of the OS and add in the software I like.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


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