[UFO Chicago] Re: Brian's Conversion from FreeBSD to Debian and
Questions on X
Neil R. Ormos
ormos at ripco.com
Wed May 10 13:10:42 PDT 2006
Scott Lockwood wrote:
> Ok - if you want to be pedantic, let's play that
> Nut bags who make BSD look bad: 1 (Theo)
> Nut bags who make Linux/OSS look bad: At least 2
> off the top of my head - ESR, and RMS, and if I
> wanted to devote even a modicum of thought to
> it, I'll bet you I'd have NO difficulty giving
> you a MUCH longer list. True, those two in
> particular are the worst (in my VERY not so
> humble opinion) but they are not alone.
[snipped and reordered for clarity]
It's unclear to me how ESR or RMS are *currently*
making Linux/Open Source/Free Software, etc., look
bad, whatever their past alleged sins might be.
I've seen each present talks, ESR a couple of
times in the past, and RMS quite recently, and
each was well received by their audience. RMS, in
particular, and contrary to the predictions I'd
heard from others, was polite, calm, measured, and
generally professional in demeanor. Moreover,
although many will disagree with the postulates
that underly his position on the ethics of free
software, he presented his case quite persuasively
and with a minimum of personal invective.
Moreover, even if these guys were yelling and
screaming and jumping around, most
Unix-workalike-OS users, and the vast majority of
potential users, aren't paying attention anyway.
Most are not interested whatsoever in the
political or social dimensions of the
collaborative movement that produced the software
they use, they just want free (beer) software that
works. Just like 99-44/100 percent of users of
Microsoft software are pointedly uninterested in
any allegations of anti-competitive behavior.
They just want Excel and whatever else.
> It's amazing how, when I've talked to people
> looking for assistance with FreeBSD (back when I
> was new to it) I didn't get "STFU n00b, RTFM
> Hahaha! LOL OMG!" like I do 99% of the time in
> IRC from people who have been using Linux for
> far less time than I have. Some of them, I
> wonder if they have been alive as long as I've
> been using Linux!
Yeah, and I'm sure RMS and ESR probably say
"It's amazing how, when I talked to people (back
when I first started writing
(GNU|Emacs|Fetchmail)), I didn't get called
'nutbag' by people who have been programming for
far less time than I have. Some of them, I
wonder if they have been alive as long as I've
> The social environment around Linux is often one
> of it's biggest weaknesses,
That grossly overstates the importance of the
social environment. Several distributions now
have installers that are good enough that
non-expert users no longer need to surround
themselves with a support group of experts, as was
essential in the past. Although the people who
subscribe here tend to have a hobby interest in
Linux or other operating systems, or at least an
interest that doesn't end when they leave the
office, a lot more users don't, and these folks
are not interested in building a social network
that revolves around Linux. It's a lot like
Camaro drivers--a small fraction are members of an
F-body club, but most are not.
I would agree that much of IRC is populated by
obnoxious urchins, extrapolating that to the rest
of the Linux community might be painting with too
broad a brush.
On the other hand, folks could be a little nicer
when answering questions, and it's not just a
Linux problem. While researching an Exim problem,
I came upon an amusing exchange, the notable parts
of which I quote here:
Q> I have been looking aound the internet all day
Q> and can't seem to get the smarthost feature of
Q> exim4 working with SBC Yahoo's mail server.
Q> Everytime I send an message to a internet
Q> address I received a message that says: [ . . . ]
A> The error message is more than clear.
Q> I have set the configuration as follows. What
Q> am I doing wrong. [ . . . ]
A> You neglected to read the documentation which
A> came with your system.
A> /usr/share/doc/exim4-base/README.SMTP-AUTH is a
A> pretty obvious way to look.
Q> The documentation says that this should be
A> It is. One just needs to read the documentation.
[ . . . ]
A> Sorry for my earlier mail. I have just realized
A> that you might be a victim of Debian bug
A> #244724, which catches if the smarthost name is
A> actually a CNAME, which is the case for
[ . . . ]
A> We (Debian) really need to do something about
A> this bug. Sorry about that.
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