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

J. Wayde Allen wallen at lug.boulder.co.us
Fri Aug 3 11:26:37 MDT 2001

On Thu, 2 Aug 2001, Michael Deck wrote:

> * Whether or not Linux or any Linux-community members were truly bent on 
> 'world domination,' there has nevertheless been a fair amount of griping in 
> that community about why Linux isn't more widespread.

That is very true.

> Many Linux-related forums also seem to be havens for those who wish to
> bash large vendors of proprietary software.

Sadly also true.

> griping could lead one to think that a goal of this community is to replace 
> other operating environments with GNU/Linux.

Yes, it can seem that way, but what I think is really at the root of the
issue is grumbling and gripping when other people insist that we use their
favorite programs rather than focusing on the problem at hand.  That
becomes a blatant refusal to recognize peoples inherent preferences.  

Also, the Linux community tends to be rather proud of its flexibility for
solving problems in more than one way.  For people used to this kind of
freedom, it can be pretty stifling to be placed in a computing
environment where there is really only one way of working.  When faced
with this kind of scenario Linux people will usually say something like,
jeez if only I could use Linux instead of OS XYZ I could do the job
quicker, or easier, or faster, or cheaper, or ...

I know that is how I react anyway.

> * I'll stick with my argument that most folks ought not be required to 
> 'contribute back' to the Linux base.

We have a slight difference in philosophy here.  I don't think that people
are as you say "required" to contribute, nor specifically should they be.  
On that we certainly agree.  What I'm getting at is actually a bit more
subtle.  I think people need to realize that they are, whether they like
it or not, part of a community.  The real key, as always seems to be the
case, is that you get out of it what you put into it.

> In our neighborhood, though, a few of us decided to replace a motley
> collection of wells and have treated 'city' water run to 125 homes.  
> That activity has consumed easily 20 hours a week of my time for the
> last 4 years, and an like amount of time from several others. (That's
> my 'community' involvement, for those who asked).

I asked, thanks for answering.  I found this interesting.

> Most of the people in the neighborhood, however, will continue to
> treat us as the 'utility' providing a 'commodity.' While I sometimes
> feel like a pat on the back and some more volunteer help would be
> nice, I understand that my gift to this community goes into the karma
> bank so that I can draw on the GNU/Linux bank for a while.

Makes sense to me!  I hope I'm not sounding like we all should get pats on
the back.  That wasn't my intent.

> But. Although it is getting better, it seemed when I started using
> Linux that you weren't really considered a true Linux 'friend' if you
> didn't participate in the commercial-vendor bashing and the
> free-as-in-speech rant.

I've never liked the commercial vendor bashing either.  As such, I've
never offered much support for this sort of thing in the BLUG.  Not much
point in it really, such bashing just serves to polarize people and
destroys objectivity.

> That made me uncomfortable because I'm not sure I agree with that
> rant.

I think that there are a good many valid points of view, and that to be
reasonable we really need to strive to look at such topics and comparisons
as objectively as possible.  Basically I agree with points on both sides
of the argument.

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

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