Monday, May 10, 2010

Is Linux a Religion?

I recently read through a post on "The Blog of Helios". The article was about the troubles of porting Osmos to Linux. There were apparently many struggles with audio and video support, due to the variety of platforms. This isn't surprising when we consider that variety is Linux's main selling point. Don't like [insert feature] in Ubuntu? Try Arch. Don't like [insert feature] in Arch? Try Slackware, ad infinitum. Yet, this hurts developers who are not part of the community and are writing software for a profit. Which distributions should they support? Which audio systems? Which DEs? Which WMs? Which graphics drivers? Which GUI toolkits? And these problems can be more serious than they at first appear. If you make the wrong choices with Linux, you may not just fail to sell the software, you could anger the Linux community and lose sales with other products as well (**cough** KDE4 **cough**).

What was amazing, is that as well written as the article was, the first responder, Gavin, reminded me of one problem within the community itself. Dogma. Instead of just admitting a failure in Linux, the responder unleashed a torrent of freediot-style emotional responses such as "Well, heck, it is not like Windows has a great history lately with its audio stack, either! M$ rewrote nearly the entire stack for Vista..." and proceeded to talk about Microsoft products for a good paragraph or two, which wasn't the subject matter of the article. To Gavin's credit, the rest of his comment was nice in lacking freetard-like responses.

Why do we see this though? Gavin isn't the only person out there to respond this way. As a matter of fact there is a website dedicated to showing this kind of non-sense. Many Linux fans out there have crossed the line from fanboy to zealot, and I am beginning to fear for the community because of it.

The type I am talking about spread their views all over forums everywhere, and try to convert everyone to their line of thinking. This much akin to the Steve Jobs reality distortion field. Linux/Macintosh is king and everything else just sucks. There is nothing either party can point to so as to tell you technically why either system is better than other systems, but they sure do tell you it's better anyway. The facts are that each OS has its time and place in the world, and there is nothing that will change that. Could we live without Microsoft? Sure, we could, but another OS would likely take its place, and the freediots would only have a new enemy.

My fear is that this kind of zealotry will hurt Linux rather than help. If you go out there and offend people, you are not going to sell a product or service to anyone. You will only succeed in putting a fowl taste in people's mouths. This is not dissimilar to the door-to-door religion sales people.

"Have you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior?" says the salesman.
"No. I'm Jewish," says the home owner.
"Aren't you afraid that you're going to burn in Hell? Only our religion is correct, and you should convert before you're damned forever," says the salesman, and I slam the door on the guy's face for offending me.

The same is happening here. Freediots are going out there and telling people that they were idiots and made the wrong purchase. This is not a cool thing to do, and it's only making Linux look like a joke. If you go out in the world, and tell people you use Linux they will now assume you are some sort of cult-like Helsinki loving wacko. Good job freetards.


mhogomchungu said...

It is a natural response and everybody does it.

When somebody criticize you on your shortcoming, at some level, you will feel the need to defend yourself and different people different themselves differently at different times.

One defense is to point the hypocrisy on the part of the one doing the criticism, another defense is pointing at somebody else who is doing just as bad or worse and another is trying to apologetically explain your actions and say things arent as bad as they appear to be.

These reasons are human and should be expected. Expose any criticism to 1000 people and atleast one will response as i wrote above.

By calling them names,you are coming across just as bad as those you call names. What makes you any better?

FEWT said...

Yes, it is a religion. If you don't agree with "Linux", or if you have a problem with "Linux" you are M$ or you are an idiot.

Legions of 10 year old basement dwellers troll blogs everywhere preaching the Linux, and banishing naysayers to the fiery pits of M$.

Their comments are so ridiculous you have to take pause and wonder if they are on medication. Note how they are almost always anonymous too.

saiftynet said...

It is a religion. It imparts a set of values, and defines right and wrong, permissible and forbidden. Users could be fundamentalist, liberal, modernist, evangelical, or even hermits etc. Most people who worship in the church of linux, though are actually indistinguishable from you and me. I get Jehovah's witnesses at my door regularly. They are welcome to a cup of tea and a chat. I see MS Ads on telly all the time (why do they need to advertise...are they worried about something?) but I don't shoot the telly.

Stan_qaz said...

Never a reason to argue with anyone, tell them about Linux and offer them help with it. Also tell them that you don't do Windows anymore and can't help them with it again.

Just leave it at that and you'll have offered help but not supported their bad habits.

Dean said...

Ummm...It's not like Linux is unique in that regard, but...

You're being a bit religious in your reaction, also.

to wit:

If you go out there and offend people, you are not going to sell a product or service to anyone.

And the drivel that follows.

First, idiots saying stupid things aren't likely to be in a selling position, ie, talking to decision makers who can say yea or nay to a project,

Second, most of the people who can make those decisions are actually pretty smart and know that they have objectives to accomplish. If Linux is the best way to meet their goals, Linux is what they'll use.

I've worked in shops with "underground" Linux servers, a few "out in the open" servers, and hundreds of servers forming a key component of their business.

Frankly, businesspeople don't much care what some idiot on a blog says so long as they can count on the technology to do what they need done.

KimTjik said...

There's nothing outstanding with it being related to Linux. It's more of an Internet phenomena, a forum with less restrictions and countability.

Besides individual shortcomings these fights are partially driven by business interests. Linux is part of big business. At times we see spontaneous stupidity. Other times some party intentionally provoke overreactions, or even pretend to defend one party but with horrendous arguments, as a strategy to influence views and decisions.

Stupidity and twisted information are to found everywhere; we choose how to deal with it.

InaTux said...

By calling them names you fall to the same level. Assuming you were on a higher level previously.

Gavin is right to point out how Microsoft has had major problems in their sound stack as well. His point is the best anyone can make, which is: If so many people make games for Windows, including the developers of Osmos, and already deal with issues I can point out, why is it a big deal when you find similar problems in GNU/Linux?

And in all seriousness dealing with audio isn't that hard of a task, id Software does it time and time again, and I've had no problems with Doom and Quake. If you are a good developer you get things done.

Jaded Judas said...

It seems to me that the original Linux fanboy to which you were referring was too caught up in some sort of self-imposed mind virus.

A few years ago, back in the 1980's, I had a major change in my perspective on an issue [the details are not important], for several years, I was a major pain in the @$$, wanting to argue, debate, and deride anyone that disagreed with my current frame of reference. Eventually, I got over my self-imposed "need" to argue the issue.

Thus, it seems that many of the Linux fanboys are people that are still in this argumentative stage and are painuses in the anuses because of this.

As with all things GNU/Linux related [I just showed my colors as an RMS-oid] if I have something that doesn't work on Debian, my preferred distro since 2005, but *does* work on another distro or under a liveCD, I use this as an opportunity to geek out and find out exactly *why*. It's usually an entry in a config file. Sometimes it's a kernel config, a kernel module, or a particular version of a library.

But, anyway, I think that the PITA fanboys out there will eventually stop trying to be on "the winning team" and just sit down, shut up, and just use GNU/Linux without making a fuss about it.

NetRoY said...

its a religion...PERIOD
and idiot proof as long as not many idiots are using it.. thats why i stopped promoting/evangelizing Linux mostly.. stopped trying to convert people after i realized how much similar it was to religion and finally myself moved away from Ubuntu to Debian ...
i love Linux because i love freedom.. its sad that sometimes i need proprietary codecs and adobe's flash... i hope people would realize the importance of software freedom...

Lebanese Linux said...

Hahahhaha man you have drawn a big smile on my face.
But to tell you the truth i guess I envy myself sometimes for ditching windows and learn how to ride the Linux wheel. Now I'm switching my friends and family one by one. It's not that I'm a freediots :P hehe. I'm just enjoying the ideology and philosophy that hides behind the geeky system. I agree that Linux is not perfect, nor anything is.
Linux can never be a religion unless Tux was a prophet :P haha
Cheer up dude and let the masses have a bite ;)

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