Just out of curiosity what exactly made the GNU tools so liberating in comparison to the proprietary implementations ? I can't imagine the tools being as feature filled or stable as they are now, so was it price (compilers) ?
I can vouch about how usable my HP-UX, SunOS and AIX workstations became after I installed the GNOME desktop , bash and openssh and a bunch of GNU packages on those. This as 12 years ago. There were/are official vendor repositories for GNU software. So yes, I second the AC, GNU without Linux is still liberating.
Also used in India. This could be foresight on the part of BARTs designers, as they anticipated accommodating increased ridership by placing passengers on top of the cars. The wider gauge is more stable and less likely to shake them off.
The gauge width is also useful when you need to stuff 430,000 people into cars designed for 100,000. That, definitely was a foresight by BART designers, i agree.
Bicycles and pedestrians do not need traffic lights, so I think cycling and walking past traffic lights is something good.
Try visualizing yourself as a pedestrian at an intersection with say about 20 bicyclists approaching you in parallel at 30 kmph; what it would be like getting hit by them? It won't be fatal of course but could still cause considerable injury. Traffic signals are needed because not everybody cares about driving etiquette; bicyclists are not an exception.
You are always doing something marginal when the boss drops by your desk.