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Mea maxima culpa

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My friend Amber Graner, an editor at Ubuntu User magazine, took Jim Zemlin out to the woodshed over the topic of yesterday’s blog item, saying yesterday in a Google+ post to me:

“I take issue with leaders in the community using the word ‘idiot’ to describe users who don’t give back. While I realize the article was pointing to business at first glance the casual end user may think, ‘I use Linux but I’m not giving back yet?’ ‘Am I an idiot because I don’t know how or where my skills are needed?’ But maybe that’s just me reading everything through the lens of an end user. I think this message could have been conveyed differently without the use of name calling.”

rest here

Re:Mea maxima culpa

You know what, open source advocates really need to make up their minds. They spend an inordinate amount of time cajoling new users by constantly touting the fact that linux and other open source software is FREE. So now that someone takes them up on the offer, they turn around and insult them for just using that which is FREE and not really giving a crap about how the community does or does not function.

Those of us who love linux for the freedom it gives us to do what we want with our computers instead of what some OS maker thinks we want are already doing what we can to contribute, if not with code, with cash or some other helpful function that the community needs. But, when the community in general, not me, constantly attempts to gain new users, these users are coming from a different culture. They have no desire to learn anything new and seem to want linux to become whatever OS they have recently left behind because they came to linux only because it is free of cost.

This is why I think the community should stop being so preoccupied with growing in number and realize that the average end user has no interest in what happens under the hood of their OS. Let those who have a burning desire to learn find linux for themselves, that user will learn everything he can and automatically give back when and where he is capable. Like it or not, linux really is by geeks for geeks. I, for one, hope that never changes. I love the cli, but many of the new culture of end users would have it removed because it's too scary. Or they would have the number of distros reduced to some arbitrary number because the choices are too difficult for them to navigate. Well tough, there's already a limited GUI only OS available, return to it and leave my choice of OS alone.

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