[lug] The changing Linux Community was Re: cp and rm

J. Wayde Allen wallen at lug.boulder.co.us
Thu Aug 2 12:52:33 MDT 2001

On Thu, 2 Aug 2001, Riggs, Rob wrote:

> I'm far less concerned about this than Wade is. I do understand his
> point, but the fact the one can pick up Linux at the local CompUSA is
> a big bonus.

I'm not trying to assign a good or bad tag to this.  It simply is an
observation.  Granted I do have my own personal bias.

> Now, we may end up with a smaller percentage of users that can or are
> willing to contribute back to the community. But the sheer volume of new
> users has also added to the total number of contributors in the community as
> well.

Very true.

> But, lets face it, in the past you had to be a hacker to use Linux. With the
> advent of commercial Linux distributions, that's no longer the case. We can
> not continue to expect that every Linux user will contribute some code
> changes back to the package maintainers.

I agree - mostly.  My "concern" isn't so much that you no longer have to
hack together your own distribution.  In that sense, I think things have
definitely improved.  However, I don't think that every Linux users has
ever been expected to contribute some code.  If that is the case, I'm in
trouble here.  The one thing that was certainly expected was that the user
needed to know what they wanted the system to do, and be willing to take
the time to understand how to make that happen.  Not sure I'd call that
hacking, maybe a better term would be clueful computing?  In other words,
people tended to have a problem to solve and looking for a solution rather
than the reverse mode of buying a solution to see what kinds of problems
fit the solution.

> Yes, the overall face of the community changes, but we still gain. And it
> gives us the opportunity to introduce new Linux users that can code to the
> concept of code contribution that is at the heart of the Linux community. 

We gain some things yes, but as in all things I think there are
tradeoffs.  I don't so much mind that things change, after all, the only
real constant is change.  What bothers me is the focus of problem solving.

- Wayde
  (wallen at lug.boulder.co.us)

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