18 September, 2004

osViews: Geek Battles - A Call for Perspective
"Linux sucks as a desktop."
"Windows is insecure."
"OS X is for rich, trendy art majors."

Depending on who's in earshot, spouting off any of these statements in the company of geeks is likely to get you anything from a dirty look to a severe tongue-lashing. Geeks tend to take their choice of operating system and applications very seriously, and this has both its benefits and disadvantages. On the good side, it’s a great feeling for developers when they see such quasi-religious followings behind their products, and it can help get the word out about potentially helpful tools. But on the negative side, many people tend to take this loyalty to an extreme - losing sight of more important truths in the process.

“Oh, you like Mozilla mail? I use Pine.” “I see you’re using Pico; try Emacs, it’s way more powerful.” The people I am talking about live for opportunities to say these things.

If someone insists on judging another person, it should be based on what they do with their tools – not what tools they use to do it.

There are people out there running FreeBSD or Gentoo as their desktop because it gives them a high to know that few people are doing the same. Well, what do these users actually produce with these highly superior environments? That’s the question. Many in this category create little or nothing at all; they instead spend their time on USENET and in forums for “lesser” products berating the mouth-breathers for not being as advanced as they are. You seldom see them using their vast powers to actually create something useful.

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