Re: the Linux community (was Re: URGENT: )

sillyhead (
Tue, 13 Apr 1999 17:03:07 -0500 (CDT)

On Tue, 13 Apr 1999, Kragen Sitaker wrote:

> Cindy Dale wrote:
> > This is the kind of thing that's making me damned sick of "the Linux
> > community."
> Do you mean ESR going around and threatening people who disagree with
> him in public, or do you mean RST complaining about ESR being a loose
> cannon?

I mean all of the politics, and all the emotional issue groupies.
Basically, the general degeneration of a community into a quagmire of
camps full of folks on soap boxes is what's stuck in my craw.

> I deeply sympathize with your Red Hat Angst. The local Linux User's
> Group ( is being torn apart by the very same debates you
> describe.

I know, right? What happened to Samba workshops anyhow? Don't -dare-
take a windows box to a LUG meeting!

> What was the hippie gathering you describe? Was it the Rainbow
> Gathering? I would love to attend that sometime. . . :) Does it still
> exist?

Yes it does. I travelled with em for about 8 months
once when I was in college (er, when I dropped out of college for a while,
that is (: ) It's lots of fun if you can go in and just enjoy the
aesthetics and stay at the -edge- of the political issues. Get too
involved in the politics and you'll feel like you're on the debate team of
the local mental hospital.

> While the factional conflicts you mention are an integral part of the
> Linux community, the snotty superiority you also mention is not. IMHO,
> nobody has any business looking down on others for their choice of OS,
> and in my experience, very little of the Linux community actually
> does. (Mostly the part of the community that's under 16 years old.)

I agree. The conflicts do have to happen; there's no momentum without
conflict, etc, etc, blah bla, but I'd rather deal with the intricacies of
making things work for people than with all the issues that folks want to
ppick apart and slam each other about. Some folks like that kind of
thing; I don't. (: The snobbery is also annoying, yep. I mean, I can't
say that I've never told a windows user to 'get a real OS,' but when I say
that to someone, it's a friendly thing, and I realize that -that- OS meets
-that- person's needs. I really think that some linuxers think that
windows users are going to hell.

> The "if you ask a stupid question you suck" problem is much worse,
> though, because it's a lot nastier and a lot more widespread than the
> other conflicts you mention. I think it's an easy sin to commit, but
> it's a terrible attitude. People who have that attitude are generally
> total losers.

-nods- I know a girl who went to work for GNU. The very first question
she was asked during the interview was 'Can you handle being called an

> I was reading a Michael Moorcock essay entitled, "Starship
> Stormtroopers," which is about the crypto-fascist political agenda
> behind much of science fiction (including just about everything by
> ESR's favorite writer, Robert A. Heinlein). He points out that one of
> the major themes in science fiction is the privileged elite that must
> save the world while the dumb masses just sit and watch, and possibly
> inadvertently obstruct. The Jedi, the Lensmen, etc. Perhaps this has
> something to do with these elitist attitudes? The "warez d00dz" and
> "crackers" often use explicitly elitist terminology and ideology among
> themselves, and it's common, too, among sysadmins. (Just read a.s.r
> for a while. You'll see what I mean.)

Oooooooooooo I love Michael Moorcock! Check out Dancers at the End of
Time! I think that goes a long way as an analogy to describe certain
groups of the 'elite' nowdays. They've beat immortality, they're living
right at the edge of the end of time, yet they cant -feel- In other
words, they've created something that they are no longer able to "use," as
that point in time is too distant from everything else to matter in the
'grand scheme of things.' Okay, maybe that's pushing it a bit, but it's
sort of how I feel sometimes. I guess I'm just pissed off at the number
of soapboxes there are and am wondering where the hell all the damned soap