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Post-Thanksgiving Roundup: Counting Open Source Blessings

Beyond the most radically geeky segments of society, few Americans are likely to have thought of software when they counted their blessings this Thanksgiving. For most people, computers are hardly in the same category as food, shelter and loving friends and family. That said, a recent blog post got me thinking about the software projects and people to whom I do owe personal gratitude. My list comes a bit belatedly, since Thanksgiving 2012 has come and gone, but here are the five items that top it.
In the post, Katherine Noyes of LinuxInsider summarized the Thanksgiving sentiments of several bloggers from around the open source channel. Most of them expressed appreciation for pretty big ticket items, such as Linux’s role in making “the Internet work,” and the person (or do they consider him more than human?) of Richard M. Stallman.
In contrast, I decided to think in somewhat more concrete terms about specific developments in composing my list of open source software projects and personalities for which I’m grateful. The most important ones that came to mind are:

Linux Mint, the Linux distribution that’s based on Canonical’s Ubuntu but free of all the things I dislike about Ubuntu. Thanks to Mint, which I

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