[lug] The changing Linux Community was Re: cp and rm
deckm at cleansoft.com
Thu Aug 2 10:51:10 MDT 2001
At 09:27 AM 8/2/01 -0600, J. Wayde Allen wrote:
>On Thu, 2 Aug 2001, Nate Duehr wrote:
> > The one thing that is starting to worry me about Linux is that with the
> > popularity of the OS, there are an awful lot of end users who never were
> > indoctrinated into the "community" oriented nature of open-source
> > software -- many have an entitlement attitude -- "I'm entitled to a
> > working piece of software because I bought this box at CompUSA."
>I too have been troubled by the appearance of this attitude in the Linux
>ranks. When I first got involved with Linux there was a real sense of
>community. People realized that they were using a system that was built
>by the work of volunteers, and there was a very real sense of cooperation.
>People worked on and used Linux because it offered the user the freedom to
>do things however they wanted, and it was quite simply fun.
It's hard to see how the Linux community can aspire to world domination and
at the same time expect every user to 'chip in' and make everything work.
Most of the world has neither interest, expertise, nor time to do so. What
the community is going through right now is the heartache of trying to
figure out whether its goal is world domination or niche occupation. The
other big decision for the community is whether it wants to see itself as
based around software that is inexpensive and happens to be great, or based
around software that is great and happens to be inexpensive.
My feeling is that the commercial distros are going to help, rather than
hurt, by making it possible to have it both ways. If I'm inclined to chip
in, I can grab a base distro and keep up to date with patches and even
contribute. My costs are lower because I contribute my effort. Otherwise I
buy a new box at CompUSA whenever I think I need to, I buy add-ons as
needed, and I rely on various channels of support. Some of that support is
free (provided, as with most commercial software, by a community of
interested volunteers) and some of it is not. The commercial distros, armed
with my cash, can put resources toward fixing problems that their customers
are likely to have; volunteers will fix problems that they perceive which
may be a different priority set.
I'm grateful to the volunteers but I'm unlikely to ever be one. If offered
the choice between volunteering to help code open-source projects or go use
Micro$oft products, I'd probably end up with the latter. I'm already
spending 20 hours a week contributing to the community in other ways.
Others will find that writing open source software is the ideal outlet for
I like having the choice between commercial 'buy-ware' and volunteer
'share-ware'. And I'm pleased to see the level of required philosophical
and ideological 'indoctrination' required to participate in the larger
Linux community declining. When using an operating system requires you to
take a loyalty oath, you know something's wrong.
Cleanroom Software Engineering, Inc.
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