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Linux Snobs, The Real Barriers to Entry

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the you-all-know-them dept.


McSnarf writes "It's not Windows. It's not distro wars. Sometimes it's just the arrogant attitude that keeps people from switching from Windows. 'As I spoke to newbies, one Windows user who wanted to learn about Linux shared the encouraging and constructive note (not) he received from one of the project members. The responding note read: "Hi jackass, RTFM and stop wasting our time trying to help you children learn.""

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Linux sNOBs (-1, Troll)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156310)

Of course, what the article doesn't tell you is that they said that to him after he asked 50 times "how do I start process daemons like a web server" in the Gnome IRC channel. The whole context tells the real story and sometimes that does happen on IRC. Just like in the case of Ryan Holt and his balloons. Slashdot, stop being such a "hype" news source [suso.org] . Besides, you can get that kind of snobbish attitude "anywhere

On the other hand, I think the real barrier with Linux IS the Linux snobs, but in a different way. I was just talking about this on the BLUG mailing list two weeks ago [indiana.edu] . Many of you are too wrapped up in playing with the latest transparent desktop that you forget that it is important to support companies that do start adopting Linux and providing real value. A major reason why places like Micro Center start carrying Linspire PCs, but don't train anybody on them [newsforge.com] is because they are test it to see if it will make money. When it comes down to it, companies need to make money (big surprise there). Yet, everytime someone tries to start something around Linux open source, half the community starts acting suspicious and picking apart everything that company does. Sometimes this is warranted (read SCO), but most of the time it is not. Unless you expect Communism to be adopted in the United States anytime soon, you need to backup what YOU support with your own MONEY if you want to see the economy go your way.

All of you need to stop talking the talk and start backing up your shit with rea
l action.

Re:Linux sNOBs (5, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156338)

Astounding. You've taken a sane, logical article and replied to it in the exact illogical, impassioned manner it criticizes. You, sir, are a poster child for a Linux snob. The article encourages you to stop talking, essentially. Read it again, because it is wholly and entirely accurate.

My story, aside from parent: I'm trying to install Mailman a year or so back. I have a base Debian install. I'm stuck. I RTFM. It's not that I can't, or that I don't want to, it's that I quite simply don't understand what it's telling me to do. I don't know what an Exim director is, and the manual thingy doesn't really care to say, only that I need to configure Mailman to work with it. (Since then, it's been updated to be a bit more descriptive. I just checked.)

So, I ask. The response? A snub. Worded from a community member to a third person for me to read: "Maybe the problem isn't Mailman or any of the other awesome software he's running, it's the user not reading all the available documentation."
I note that I read it, but I don't understand it. No response at all.

These days, I have one Debian box with ZoneMinder and Mailman sitting here and everything else is still Windows. I'm quite happy with that.

Re:Linux sNOBs (5, Insightful)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156364)

You RTFMed. I'm impressed. I've been told to RTFM when the FM is four versions out of date and filled with sections of "TODO: write this."

Open Source software documentation reminds me of Wikipedia: read it for help, but if it's not written yet, write it then read it.

Yes, I know the software comes with no warranty or support, but the notion of "you get what you pay for" is as strong as ever in many circles.

Re:Linux sNOBs (1)

cparisi (136611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156432)

The problem is that the engineers are providing the support. Engineers are used to arguing with another arrogant engineer so they seem to think being a jerk is a normal and appropriate response. (When I was younger I was guilty of some of the same attitude. But at least I became aware of it and *hopefully* have changed) Many Engineers I have met would not suffer fools lightly. I guess that's the price of "free" software. If you want to have a better chance of a nice support person you need to pay for service.

Re:Linux sNOBs (1, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156435)

??? I did read the article. Both my comments where logical, you just aren't see it. That's fine. Let me put it another way. If Linux snobs where a problem with the wider adoption of Linux then people who are interested in buying Ford or Dodge trucks would be put off by the hostility that each side has towards the other, etc. But yet there are millions of Ford and Dodge truck owners.

The real problem is this, much of the rest of the Earth is based on a commercial model of adoption of new things. A company makes it, people see it on TV or hear about it from their friends, they go to a store and they buy it. This has been going on for 50 years and in a way it has been going on for a lot longer. Now here comes open source and a completely different way of distributing a product, finding support and so on. People don't understand that new model yet, it takes time. The best thing you can probably do is adapt your new model so that it is close to the older model and slowly change it.

In my 9 years of using and promoting Linux, I have talked with a lot of new Linux users and I've rarely heard them mention any of the problems with snobbishness that this article describes. I have not seen it much myself and I am on support channels a lot. This is why I don't agree with this article and was making what I considered to be a logical criticism of it.

Nope (2, Insightful)

GuloGulo (959533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156484)

"If Linux snobs where a problem with the wider adoption of Linux then people who are interested in buying Ford or Dodge trucks would be put off by the hostility that each side has towards the other, etc. But yet there are millions of Ford and Dodge truck owners."

I hate car analogies. I hate analogies in general, but car analogies are always among the worst. Yours is an example.

People usually know how to operate a car when they buy it. The same is not true of Linux.

Do you see now why your analogy is so terrible?

Re:Linux sNOBs (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156343)

Many of you are too wrapped up in playing with the latest transparent desktop

You know, I just can't imagine why anyone would call Linux users snobs.


Re:Linux sNOBs (2, Informative)

heelrod (124784) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156353)

It's good job security!

No nOObs is good BOOBs

Admit it; it's your e-penis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156367)

You'll find that the idiots who get their panties in a bunch about "newbies" are the "My e-penis is bigger than yours" type who likes to think they're special or clever because they can knock up a Perl script. They feel threatened by the idea that Joe user may be able to pick up Linux and use it without the need to wave his own e-penis around, because it makes their e-penis all the more tiny.

Re:Admit it; it's your e-penis (1, Funny)

generic-man (33649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156386)

I would like to meet someone whose e-penis can "knock up a Perl script" and I would like to meet his daughter $_?&T:&B.

Nobody reads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156378)

The problem is nobody takes the time to read anything.

If it isn't an Email or a joke, users just don't have the time.

I have created many programs that need user interaction at some point and the users seem to ignore the text in the pop-up dialog and click OK/Yes no matter what it says.

Until Linux uses a speaking interface or a direct mind-reading app, it will take a long time for users to adopt it.

The only other option is to remove all choices in Linux so users don't have to answer any questions.
Or even better, pre-install a generic copy of Linux on all new computers when purchased.
  Hmmm, seems someone already does that!!!

Re:Linux sNOBs /holt? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156420)

Just like in the case of Ryan Holt and his balloons.

uh... saw the video... What's (Where's) the 'real' story, with the rest of the context? TIA

Why "hype" news sources are effective. (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156474)

Most people have a limited emotional range. Hyped news plays at the edges of that range. My range is a bit more intense, though possibly no more varied. The intensity of the news doesn't affect me as much, however most people want me and others like me to confine myself to their range, mostly because I affect them in a way similar to hyped news.

Re:Linux sNOBs (1, Flamebait)

Llamalarity (806413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156499)

All of you need to stop talking the talk and start backing up your shit with real action.

Which means not automatically giving the command line answer to obvious newbies when a perfectly good GUI tool solution exists for their disto.

Hah, no kidding (-1, Troll)

timecop (16217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156311)

I was trying to setup a Linux-HA cluster.
After struggling to read their documentation at http://www.linux-ha.org/ [linux-ha.org] (bad formatting, the use of Wiki made most sentences hard to read BecauseOfWikiWords and the fact that hyperlinks were nearly same color as the text, I finally decided that it would be easier to ask on their irc channel, #linux-ha @ freenode.

Oh, how wrong I was. Upon joining the channel, I noticed there were about 30 users idling. I politely asked my question, and waited for reply. No reply arrived, so I idled in the channel for a few days, occasionally repeating the question (not annoyingly and never automatically), hoping someone would notice. Finally, around noon european timezone, some people were awake and chatting in the channel about fixing a particular bug in the new v2 release of Linux-HA. I joined in and asked my question again. I was immediately sent to the "documentation" (the wiki trash I had trouble reading eariler), after that I politely let them know that documentation is not very readable and does not solve my problem either. At this point I was accused of "bitching about service provided for free" and "its a wiki, feel free to contribute and edit it".

I said, that this was a standard v1 configuration which worked, automatically converted to v2 configuration using the included conversion script. Everything was supposed to just work. Take a working v1 config, run the script, add 'crm=yes' to ha.cf, and v2 will work.. Except it didnt. Within a few minutes, the debug logfile grew to several gigabytes in size, filled with repeated failures of glib/heartbeat daemon, thousands of lines of meaningless XML snippets and other junk. I said that my disks were getting filled with errors, and at this point #linux-ha folks suggested I post the entire error log on the mailing list "because more people read the mailing list". I wasn't interested in waiting another week for a "RTFM" response from a mailing list, so I told them "why not help me now, or at least say you arent qualified to help, etc".

At this point, the active 3 or 4 users in the channel have decided I was a "nuisance" and though that their best course of action would be to place me on ignore. Why? Because I wanted to run THEIR software? Because they made a RELEASE version of their product, which was supposed to work out of the box, and it didn't, and I was complaining about it? After placing me on ignore, another opensores user in the channel thought it would be a good idea to complain about my "behaviour" (asking questions about Linux-HA in a SUPPORT channel FOR Linux-HA) to lilo, the freenode nazi.

Few minutes later I was klined with a message "please do not harrass channels/users on freenode".
What the fuck. All I did was ask for help configuring a piece of software in a support channel designed for this exact purpose.

So, fuck this, I trashed Linux-HA install and got my boss to get Veritas Cluster Server.

Re:Hah, no kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156418)

'I wasn't interested in waiting another week for a "RTFM" response from a mailing list, so I told them "why not help me now, or at least say you arent qualified to help, etc".'

So you jumped to a conclusion. Well, fair enough, though it could be that your respondent also jumped to a conclusion when you said (as far as they read it) "nah, can't be bothered".

With a bug like that (it IS a bug), you should have gone to the author of the script. It may be that they could get a development/debug version out to you to narrow down the issue. But you decided not to.

Re:Hah, no kidding (2, Insightful)

sketerpot (454020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156438)

Honestly, you'd probably get a much more helpful reply on the mailing list.

Re:Hah, no kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156442)


And yeah, you probably haven't ever been a part of a team which gave away your months of work for free.

Bizarre (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156462)

At this point I was accused of "bitching about service provided for free" and "its a wiki, feel free to contribute and edit it".

I've gotten that too. It's very strange. I'm looking in the Wiki because I don't know the answer. When I see the answer isn't there, I'm not the person you want to edit it. What am I supposed to do, write down how I'd *like* it to work?

I'm not sure what kind of person Linux snobs think they're dealing with. Snobs seem to assume that ordinary users aren't asking questions because they want to know the answers, but because they want to catch the snobs in a mistake. I wonder what social group interacts that way. Oh, geeks. Right.

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along. (1)

dhalgren99 (708333) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156312)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

WOW! That IS snobbish! Can't even read the freaking article!

Who would'a thought! (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156317)

Alt title could be When Penguins Attack!

duh (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156318)

Well duh! Of course it's the arrogant users that are keeping people from trying Linux. That's precisely the reason why I use a Mac.

Re:duh (1)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156348)

Well duh! Of course it's the arrogant users that are keeping people from trying Linux. That's precisely the reason why I use a Mac.

I'm not sure if that was sarcastic or an honest statement. Can you please include the tag next time?

Well, at least Linux is more secure. (-1, Troll)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156360)

As shown in this penetration test study [tinyurl.com] , the linux server does not blow up, despite very heavy black hat pounding. Now, can windows do this?

Re:Well, at least Linux is more secure. (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156388)

Warning, link is to something you don't want to see if you eaten this morning.

Re:Well, at least Linux is more secure. (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156460)

It's interesting that many people have this idea that Slashdot moderators are biased against Windows. But time and time again, we see pro-Linux/anti-Windows comments be moderated down, not up. So, yes, there is actually a bias. But it's not towards the direction you think it is.

Re:Well, at least Linux is more secure, but NSFW (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156478)

Christ, man, why couldn't you just toe the line and post a Goatse link like everyone else?

On the other hand, I admire someone who has the guts to do that with a username.

Re:duh (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156365)

That's precisely the reason why I use a Mac.

I managed to escape from that cult, and you can too brother!

Meet me by the fence tonight at 1am. I'll have a van waiting. We can take you to a place where Father Steve will never find you. There is another life out there for you, trust me!


Well, speaking as a Windows snob... (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156319)

HomezoneI'm tired of all these Linux and Mac snobs getting all the damn attention!

All the best snob applications are on Windows, anyway.


An Unfortunate Reality (4, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156320)

In my experience, I'd have to say this article is right on the money. While snobs can be encountered for just about any OS you care to name, the Linux snobs are particularly shrill. This shrillness may be attributed to a variety of causes, including social ineptitude, feelings of intellectual/moral/fiscal superority, attempted concealment of their own limited knowledge, etc., but there is just no excuse for this sort of behavior. Linux is first and foremost a collaborative effort, and by failing to live up to that ideal, Linux snobs subvert the very point of Linux itself.

Yes, it is true that the answers to your questions are out there...Linux does have copious documentation. But the fact of the matter is that a simple answer to a simple question can do much more than save the newbie hours of combing through MAN pages...it can also foster the sense of community that is the very lifeblood of Linux.

Linux users need to understand that when disillusioned Windows users come to them asking for help with Linux, they effectively become representatives of Linux...ambassadors, if you will...and they need to behave accordingly. Abusing new Linux users for their lack of knowledge, rather than helping them to learn more, only harms the cause.

Just remember....you were a n00b yourself once...

Re:An Unfortunate Reality (2, Informative)

Tim_F (12524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156387)

This is an interesting comment. It speaks a little bit of truth, but does more harm than good. It is important for people to learn how to figure things out for themselves. What TMM suggests here will lead to people that are unable and unwilling to experiment with software. Half of what I have learned regarding software has been trial and error.

In the Linux world the software UI can be vastly different across all applications. There is no standard interface, and so the user gains much by experimenting with all portions of the software. Even then there are some similarities, such as command line switches. Teaching a user to read the documentation (hopefully it has been well written) will do them a better service then giving them the answer. If the documentation is poorly written (I have seen poorly written documentation in both Windows and Linux) it may be necessary for the user to ask for assistance. In that case (and only in that case) please try to be hospitable.

Re:An Unfortunate Reality (5, Insightful)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156437)

[This] will lead to people that are unable and unwilling to experiment with software. Half of what I have learned regarding software has been trial and error.

That may suit you learning style, but for others it is extraordinarily frustrating. We need to be able to include everyone in this community. Users who do not have the inclination, or time, to use trial and error should be able to post on help message boards without getting flamed. Sadly, in the Linux community, noob has become an mark of shame. Its absurd and counter-productive. We do not entice new users very well at all, and it is to our detriment.

Re:An Unfortunate Reality (1)

JollyFinn (267972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156504)

Here's a good one.
Man pages are about worst thing about usability.
First you need to know NAME of utility you want to use for given task and 2ndly you need to know that there is such utility called man and you can use that to get information of things.

To be fair, I would of switched back to Windows if I wouldn't of gotten help from a friend that installed it for me. It takes weeks or months before newbie could handle lots of issues related to linux so that they could understand what the TFM says.
Learn lots of small things. There is just too much to learn in first few weeks so that it takes time to absorb.After few months there where things I could tinker my self and things that I couldn't do. After I learned lots of small things, and got answers to my questions. I begun finding the answers my self, and understanding what the answers said. But most importantly I was Linux user and got my time to learn how things work.

Re:An Unfortunate Reality (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156511)

There is no standard interface, and so the user gains much by experimenting with all portions of the software.

You just don't get it, the "average" user gains the most by using the computer to do whatever it is they want to use the computer for, not "experimenting". While there certainly is a class of individuals that fit what you said (and I'm actually amongst those), there are definitely times when I need to get something done, and I don't have the time nor the desire to "tinker". I'd much have an OS that does what I want 99% of the time, but is flexible enough for me to tinker with, WHEN I WANT, not as a general course of operation.

Re:An Unfortunate Reality (5, Funny)

schabot (941087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156411)

Just remember....you were a n00b yourself once...

Speak for yourself. After my mother re-partitioned her drive and mounted the smaller one at "/womb" I was compiled from source.

Re:An Unfortunate Reality (5, Funny)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156492)

Half the stuff mounted there was foreign binaries that she could have got from anywhere.

Re:An Unfortunate Reality (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156468)

[...] The important concept to bear in mind when discussing software issues with Linux apologists is the "Linux Fault Threshold". Clever use of this concept helps you to avoid losing your temper with someone who might actually be able to render practical help, while ensuring that you give the correct dose of venom (60cc of scorpion juice, administered per anem with a rusty syringe) to the vast crowd of mindless apologists who just want you to use their pet operating system because it makes them feel good and gives them something to boast about on Slashdot. I provide this as a service to all the blind, alcoholic, incontinent grandmothers out there who appear to be installing Linux without any trouble if the Slashdot comments on any article remotely related to user interface design are to be believed.

The Linux Fault Threshold is the point in any conversation about Linux at which your interlocutor stops talking about how your problem might be solved under Linux and starts talking about how it isn't Linux's fault that your problem cannot be solved under Linux. Half the time, the LFT is reached because there is genuinely no solution (or no solution has been developed yet), while half the time, the LFT is reached because your apologist has floundered way out of his depth in offering to help you and is bullshitting far beyond his actual knowledge base. In either case, a conversation which has reached the LFT has precisely zero chance of ever generating useful advice for you; it is safe at this point to start calling the person offering the advice a fucking moron, and basically take it from there. Here's an example taken from IRC logs to help you understand the concept.
<jsm> Why won't my fucking Linux computer print?
<linuxbabe> what printer r u using?
<jsm> I don't know. It's a Hewlett Packard desktop inkjet number
<linuxbabe> hewlett r lamers. they dont open source drivers [LFT closely approached!]
<linuxbabe> but we reverse engineered them lol. check the web. or ask hewlett for linux suuport??[but avoided, he's still talking about the problem]
<jsm> Thanks. I already did that. But I can't install the drivers on my fucking computer. I've got a floppy disk from HP, but my floppy drive is a USB drive and Linux doesn't have fucking USB support.
<linuxbabe> linux DOES have USB support!!!!!!
<jsm> yeh for fucking infrared mice, and for about a thousand makes of webcam it does. Get real here. For my fucking floppy disk drive, I am telling you through bitter experience it does not. Even if someone has written the drivers in the last week
<jsm> which I sincerely doubt, how the hell am I going to install them given that my floppy drive doesnt work?????
<jsm> this ought to be in the kernel. what good is a fucking operating system that doesnt operate?
<linuxbabe> Imacs dont have floppy drives at all [useless point, but not LFT. All apologists make pointless jabs at other OSs]
<linuxbabe> so you ought to be greateful that Linux does. drivers like that shouldn't be bundled in the kernel
<linuxbabe> makes it into fucking M$ bloatware. bleh
<linuxbabe> download drivers from the web!!!! apt-get is your friend
<jsm> So everyone keeps telling me. Unfortunately the fucking modem doesn't work under Linux either, and since the Linux installation destroyed Windows, that leaves me kind of fucked.
<linuxbabe> Linux doesnt destroy windows
<jsm>mandrake installer does. It "resized" my Windows partition and now the fucker won't work
<linuxbabe> you shuold have defragmented. windows scatters data all over your hard drive so the installer cant just find a clean chunk to install into. it isn't linux fault [distinct signs of LFT being approached]
<linuxbabe> that windoze disk management blows
<jsm> so why doesn't my fucking modem work?
<linuxbabe> what computer hav u got
<jsm> A Sony Vaio PCG
<linuxbabe> that doesn't have a modem
<jsm> I assure you it fucking does. I used to use it to check my email back in the days when Windows worked.
<linuxbabe> its got a winmodem. thats not a modem [nitpicking over technical terms is a sign of impending LFT]
<jsm> what do you mean?
<linuxbabe> a winmodem isnt a proper modem. it just uses proprietary windoze apis. doesnt do the work of a modem at all.
<jsm> Very interesting. Now how do I get the fucker to work with Linux?
<linuxbabe> well the trouble is that micro$oft won't open up the drivers they just keep it proprietary and becos theyr a monopoly all the lameass manufacturers fall into line


<jsm> So in other words, my fucking modem is never going to work with Linux at all?
<linuxbabe> no no no. in the first place you never had a modem you had a winmodem. in the second place its M$ fault that the drivers are closed and you can go to jail for trying to reverse engineer them like this guy dimitri skylab and the DMCA. its nothing to do with linux that M$ fills the world with its proprietary crap
<jsm> But in terms of actually getting my computer to work with Linux, I get the impression that it won't?
<linuxbabe> M$ should have to open up the drivers have you read CatB? and vaio sucks because they won't open up their standards either.
<jsm> Congratulations on wasting half an hour of my life, you fucking loser. And stop pretending to be a fucking woman. Your advice is useless. You, and the other hundred members of the so called fucking Linux community for which you stand, have broken my computer, wasted my time, patronised me senseless, revealed your lack of real knowledge, patronised me again and you *still* can't get something as simple as a fucking laptop computer to fucking work. Your so called free fucking software, like your
<jsm> so called fucking free advice, is still too fucking expensive. I cannot believe that you have so little fucking self-respect that in order to find the attention you clearly crave, you have to spend your life lying about the usability of a fucking computer operating system, purely for the joy of creating problems which you can then pretend to solve. You are worse than a fucking fireman who sets buildings on fire. I have had enough of your fucking Munchausen-by-proxy version of tech support. Now get off
<jsm> this fucking channel, hunt down someone who knows what they're fucking doing and bring them here or I will never, repeat never, use your fucking system ag ....

That's basically what it's like. Don't ever, ever believe anyone who tells you that you can get technical support from "the community". Because "the community" with whom a computer journalist, website operator or Open Source loudmouth interacts, is not the same community that is open to you.

Re:An Unfortunate Reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156515)

Just remember....you were a n00b yourself once...

I remember that, that was back when I read the entire slackware instructions twice to be sure I only downloaded the floppy sets that I'd need to do what I want. And then once I installed it, I read the howto archive on the subjects I wanted to do, and learned how to do them. I remember writing my own chatscripts so that pppd could call my isp and get online. And I did all of this before I was able to get on irc and start asking questions of the other people who came before me.

The problem with most "n00b"s today is that they don't know what they want to do. The only reason they're trying to install linux is because it's the latest buzzword. Half the time they get something like slackware and end up going "omfgwtfbbq where are my iconnzzzzz?!?!?!1". Seeing that root@localhost# prompt just blows their mind.

Of course, this icon-oriented mentality is just one of the symptoms of someone who really should be using windows (or if they want to stick it to "the man", a Mac). Fear of text leads to fear of reading directions. For instance, Apache is preferred over IIS for a reason, and that's not because it comes in a one-size-fits-all configuration. Asking me how to configure it for your specific situation isn't productive because I have no clue what your situation is and no desire to consult for you for free to figure it out when it turns out you don't know either. And whining about not having a pretty GUI with a checkbox for "n00b1241512's optimum configuration" out of the box is just the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Who knows? Maybe I was an atypical n00b back in the 90's. Maybe everyone back then was installing random crap just to say they could, and pestering people about how to get on "mirc" in linux or asking why they can't just doubleclick on the counterstrike cd to install it and play it, and I just didn't get in on that action for some reason.

Personally, I no longer berate people for their stupid questions. I simply point them to google and to http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html [catb.org] and if they take that as an affront to their intelligence, then that's their own self-esteem problem.

Google as the teacher...... (2, Insightful)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156322)

I have been using Linux as my OS of choice for a year now and am willing to admit I'm far from being an experienced Linux user. The main thing that helped me when starting to use Linux was Google. If I didn't have Google I don't think I would have solved most of my problems. From what I have seen any problems that I had there where already tons of information out on the web answering these questions if you looked and didn't take the easy way out and post without even trying to search for it on the internet.

Re:Google as the teacher...... (2, Insightful)

eraser.cpp (711313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156361)

I love it when I've googled a topic for days and explain that on IRC and instead of them saying "I don't know" I'm told "You obviously suck at Google". Really warms the heart.

Microsoft plants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156325)

These are Microsoft evangelists trying to poison the water well.

Two Experiences (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156326)

My freshman year (2000) in college started with me not knowing what a "linux" was. This all changed when a friend handed me a Debian distribution burned to an ISO. He encouraged me to repartition my hard drive and install this next to my Windows 98 SE installation. Like a lot of new people, I hosed my hard drive. I ended up doing fresh installs on both OS's and getting the dual boot to work. There were cheap little games and some truly great and historical open source software on that disc also. The next day in class, the guy couldn't get me to shut up about how great it was. I had hit a few snags but the answers were all online.

My first college kegger could not compare to the first time I ran Linux. Nor would a kegger ever be as memorable. A free operating system? That works?

A year or two later, I'm in a new class. There's a kid sitting in front of me going on and on about Linux. Up to this point, I've used Debian, Mandrake & Red Hat so I drop a question out there:

Me: "I really like Mandrake, what do you think is the best distribution?"
Student A: "It's obviously Gentoo."
Me: "Gentoo? I haven't even heard of that one..."
Student A: "Well, it's clearly the superior distribution."

Ok, so my first encounter with Linux people working against Linux people in a childish d*ck measuring contest. To my horror, I overheard the following conversation thereafter ensue between him and a person in the class looking for a Linux installation experience:

Student B: "I use Windows and I'm confused even as where to start..."
Student A: "That's easy, just install Gentoo."
Student B: "I ... Where do I get a disc for that?"
Student A: "They're freely online, you just have to find them and install them--I recommend an ftp install so that you get the latest versions of everything. And with Gentoo, you can just emerge [gentoo-wiki.com] whenever you want to update. "
Student B: "'Emerge'--what does that mean?"
Student A: *snorts* "If I have to tell you, there's no point in you even getting Linux."

And on it went, with Student A asserting his superiority. When I got home, I tried to install Gentoo [gentoo.org] . It took forever, I hit a million snags but eventually got it working. I hated it. After talking again to them, the only reason Student A was using Gentoo was because he had some crazy chipset he needed to compile everything for (a dual AMD setup which was rare back then) and he also revealed that he spent every Sunday night "emerging."

Luckily, I intevened with Mandrake and gave him something close to Windows that an idiot probably could install. I told him all the cautionary advice I had to give and I feel that he most closely identified with me.

The truth is: not all Linux experiences are for everybody.

Re:Two Experiences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156380)

And on it went, with Student A asserting his superiority. When I got home, I tried to install Gentoo. It took forever, I hit a million snags but eventually got it working. I hated it.

I think it has something to do with BSD vs. Linux style of thinking. Gentoo seems to follow more along the lines of the BSD thinking with portage and emerge and crap. Frankly I couldn't care less about recompiling a perfectly good package to gain a 2% speed improvement. Just give me a binary package to install so I can get on with my work. Take OpenBSD for instance.. when a vulnerability comes out they just give you a patch and expect you to recompile the affected bits of the OS! With most Linux distributions they just release upgraded binary packages and you're off and running without needing to install 900 megs of fucking source code to recompile one daemon.

Re:Two Experiences (1)

955301 (209856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156498)

Since the last thing you mentioned was keeping up with vulnerability patches, I want to add something here to keep you from turning anyone off from gentoo.

Gentoo has toolkit which includes an app called glsa-check described here:

http://www.gentoo.org/doc/en/security/security-han dbook.xml?part=1&chap=14 [gentoo.org]

It's preliminary, but it will report the components of your installation which have security issues and the security issue id's themselves.

There is also an email alert sent out whenever a security alert is announced. So don't let this guys attitude discourage you from at least trying it on for size. Sure, it may not be what you need, but then again, it just might.

Jesus Christ, this post is all Linux porn innuendo (5, Funny)

AEton (654737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156493)

Dear Penthouse Forum,
My freshman year (2000) in college started with me not knowing what a "linux" was. This all changed when a friend encouraged me to repartition my hard drive and install this next to my installation. I ended up doing fresh installs and getting the dual boot to work.

The next day in class, the guy couldn't get me to shut up about how great it was.

My first college kegger could not compare to the first time I ran Linux. Nor would a kegger ever be as memorable.

Ok, so my first encounter with Linux people working against Linux people in a childish d*ck measuring contest. To my horror, I overheard the following conversation thereafter ensue between him and a person in the class looking for a Linux installation experience:

Student B: "I use Windows and I'm confused even as where to start..."
Student A: "That's easy, just install Gentoo."
Student B: "I ... Where do I get a disc for that?"
Student A: "They're freely online, you just have to find them and install them. And with Gentoo, you can just emerge whenever you want."
Student B: "'Emerge'--what does that mean?"

When I got home, I tried to install Gentoo. It took forever, I hit a million snags but eventually got it working. I hated it. After talking again to them, Student A revealed that he spent every Sunday night "emerging."

Luckily, I intevened and gave him something close. I told him all the cautionary advice I had to give and I feel that he most closely identified with me.

The truth is: not all Linux experiences are for everybody.

Love and kisses,

welcome to /. (-1, Flamebait)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156327)

"Hi jackass, RTFM and stop wasting our time trying to help you children learn."

I'm sure everybody here can empathize with the poor windows luser.

Re:welcome to /. (1)

cyber_rigger (527103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156427)

The question is

does this new user really want to learn Linux

or do they just want to pick it apart and be irritating.

I call bullshit (0, Redundant)

Nichotin (794369) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156335)

The article assumes that "n00b-haters" does not exist at all from other platforms. I just recently got told to go screw myself by a MCSE, because I nagged him ten thousand times about how to find the Active Directory wizard. There you go, more anecdotal evidence.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156481)

On windows 2003:
To create a new active directory server, go to Start -> Settings -> Control panel -> Administrative tools -> Configure Your Server Wizard

Choose "Domain controller" and choose next.

To work with Active directory:
Start -> Settings -> Control panel -> Administrative tools

There are 3 tools here used for working with active directory

Just use Google (2, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156339)

What I have found is that there are really tough question in the Linux world or just common mistakes. Sometimes these questions are repeated many times but there may be a reason the questions are asked over and over again. When I use the popular search engine Google to fetch the answer to a question I have, the first hundred results are usually some chat thread with my question being asked and some brilliant and insightful genius replies back with the comment to just use Google. Even better, you can go read a chat thread and it has 20 pages of 20 entries and another brilliant and insightful genius replies back sating he already answered the question and to use the search function to get the answer. What is bad, the question usually fall to the side since the rest of the group thinks it has been answered satisfactorily.

Waait... (-1, Offtopic)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156351)

How does the article reference a digg on the article?

Pathetic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156357)

Anyone who lets their choice of operating systems be dictated by hurt feelings from the reactions of others must have a very weak personality.

'Reactions of snobs' is an idiots' excuse for an action they didn't want to admit they did for another reason (like: they were too stupid to understand the documentation themselves.)

(You're) Re:Pathetic (2, Insightful)

saifrc (967681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156458)

You make the assumption that most documentation out there is well-written and easy to understand, without making hundreds of obscure references or alienating new users with obtuse language. The reality is that most people who write documentation, unfortunately, especially for OSS, are not good writers, good speakers, or good teachers.

If you find a particular piece of documentation useful, that's great. It served its purpose. But keep in mind that you and the author might be on the same unnaturally inhuman wavelength, and that "real" people will have a bit of difficulty deciphering the author's meaning.

Preaching to the choir here (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156358)

This article seems as much flamebait as anything.
I read through and a lot of what he was describing sounded like listening to the anonymous cowards on here.

Asking a Mac user which is the best operating system will result in one answer, asking a linux user to discuss the various distros is another.

Audiophiles will deride a newbie for asking silly questions, gamers will take the piss out of n00bs for aiming wrong or asking about the best weapons, hell even office staff will give you a 10 minute diorama about their red stapler, but if you ask them what the differences are they will fly off at the handle.

Nobody knows about all the distros or databases and theres not really a one size fits all solution so people get embedded in their current system.
Sounds like he just found people on their off days, but I agree with the general article contents - it extends to all walks of life and multiple subjects.

And I've not even touched on vi vs emacs ;)

Troll (2, Insightful)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156366)

Could this post be any more obvious a troll?

Move along - yada, yada, yada.

Fist prost? (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156369)

There are a lot of snobs, that's true. The fact that most newbie questions tend to ignite flamewars ("Which distribution should I use?") doesn't help either... Newbies are supposed to pick up the basics by themselves and only ask more interesting questions, which obviously doesn't work for everyone. Maybe there should be more (and better) FAQs. You know, sites which answer common questions in easily understandable terms.

However, part of the problem is also the perceived snobbery. Sometimes people automatically assume that you're a snob just because you're a Linux user (seems like Linux has replaced the Mac in that regard), especially when talking about OSes; I have been in a discussion about WinXP vs. Win2k which quickly detoriated into "Microsoft apologists vs. Linux snobs" as one user assumed that all Linux users saying "I prefer Win2k because XP's interface is too damn annoying" use Windows 2000 as a clever analogy for Linux...

It's the correct perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156487)

However, part of the problem is also the perceived snobbery.

I've seen folks called "stupid", right here on /., for not understanding parts of the GNU License, for misunderstanding how some esoteric functinality (on ANY platform), etc...

I don't think there's ANY misperception when someone just comes out and calls someone else "stupid" - just because they're ignorant about how something works.

And it's funny, but many times when I come across a problem, I will search the net to see what the solution is. I usually find that many folks have the same problem and very few of the answers are helpful. Most answers are "Read the manual" Read the "How TO". I already fucking did, but the number one assumption is that I didn't.

Spending days to fix some stupid problem (almost ALWAYS because of some quirk in the config or code that only the developer or a very experienced person would know!) get tiring after a while. Now, when I see something new some out, I just say "Fuck it!" I don't want to chase my tail around trying to make it work.

Difference (5, Insightful)

GrAfFiT (802657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156370)

One huge difference is that the Microsoft tech support guys are paid to listen to your stupidities. You are a lot more patient and understanding when you're paid.

Re:Difference (1)

certel (849946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156446)

Got that right. I don't do any tech support in any manor, but I definitely have to say that I get annoyed with just about any question asked in relation to computers when I'm not getting paid to answer it. It's not my job to hold someones hand.

Re:Difference (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156447)

That's true, and there's a big difference between open source stuff like linux and the rest of the software world. Support contracts might work for a linux company contracting with big business, but the average home user is not going to be terribly interested in that. If the linux community really wants linux to become the desktop of choice for the masses, they're going to need to solve that problem. Either by paying someone to help the less technologically inclined, or by making things so incredibly simple that anyone can figure it out. Apple gets closer than anyone else to that, but even they can't pull it off, and they pay people to provide tech support to customers.

Honestly, I don't see a workable solution. There doesn't seem to be a big enough market of home users willing to pay just for a "service contract" to make it a viable business, and there's little hope that Linux will ever become idiot proof enough that it'll become a non-issue(unless it gives up way too many features to even be useful anymore).

Good call. (4, Interesting)

darkitecture (627408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156381)

Good call.

God knows how long I put off learning the ins and outs of Linux distros because of the Linux catch-22: Linux sackriders go on about the superiority of Linux and insist that you're still living in the Dark Ages if you're using Windows, yet if you even feign interest in wanting to learn and perhaps getting some guidance from them, they shun you for being a newbie.

Thank God I'm stubborn and like reading enough that I gorged myself on dozens upon dozens of books so as I had a large enough Linux vocabulary to 'fake it' and subsequently was 'accepted' into certain online Linux cliques. I was then 'allowed' to ask questions and thus was no longer 'out of the loop.'

Seriously, if people are so adamant about making other people aware of the advantages of Linux then for crying out loud, help them learn or at the very least, point them in the right direction. Don't smack them upside the head for not knowing. It's one thing to be a Linux pusher, trying to convince Windows users to try out the alternatives, it's another thing to be a Linux snob and to shun people for not-knowing-yet-wanting-to-know.

I personally don't have enough patience to teach too many people about Linux, especially from scratch. So what do I do when someone asks me about it or wants to learn about it? I give them a whole bunch of useful e-books and related reading materal on CD and tell them to start by taking a bite out of that. I also give them a copy of whatever easy distro I have laying around and tell them to install it on a second computer and just 'play' with it. Then if they're still interested, they've got a decent enough foundation for me (ore more likely someone with more patience) to have a crack at enlightening them further.

The correct way to ask a Linux user a question (5, Funny)

xIcemanx (741672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156382)

Certainly not: 'As I spoke to newbies, one Windows user who wanted to learn about Linux shared the encouraging and constructive note (not) he received from one of the project members. The responding note read: "Hi jackass, RTFM and stop wasting our time trying to help you children learn.""

Just do what this guy [bash.org] does and you'll be fine.

Yup...the utter truth... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156390)

And anyone who denies... well...thank you for just confirming yourself a member of the arrogant elitist 'nix users.

But you know, denying the fact is not going to help Linux move toward the general desktop market any. And yes, I would state that the above is one of the top 5 reasons Linux has less general desktop market saturation than it really should.

- Saj

Re:Yup...the utter truth... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156451)

While lack of sufficient documentation is a common problem [even in the commercial side] I don't think it's the main barrier.

I got into Gentoo Linux [of all the distros] with minimal "Linux" knowledge. I knew the coreutils [e.g. ls, cp, cd] and bash fron Cygwin but that was about it. It took me a few tries to get Gentoo going at first but now it's a breeze. I can do an install without referring to the manual, what's more the install works :-)

I think the main barrier is people are really apathetic to change or improvement. They're not willing to learn and furthermore learn why things are better in the OSS world. They just assume "Linux is hard" and go on their way.

I mean the Gentoo install manual explains step for step how to install it. Other distros are even pointy-clicky installed.

And don't forget that it's a feedback system too. The more users of a project the more support you're likely to see. So if you think, for instance, firefox is too hard to use and nobody uses it, chances are it won't get support. On the otherhand there are millions of users so it gets upgrades and updates often. Other OSS projects are no different really.

The trick is to not give up when you get the slightest inconvenience. Which is even odder because most people will put up with WinXP ineptitudes but give up on Linux when the first device fails to start on bootup or something.


I've been saying this for YEARS! (5, Insightful)

fudgefactor7 (581449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156394)

And every time I mentioned it in the past I got my ass handed to me on a plate. I've asked questions in forums, emailed software maintainers, and done the RTFM, and read the FAQs. And sometimes there are no answers, yet you get the same old "RTFM, n00b" answer, followed by "STFU." Nice. It also doesn't help that some of the documentation on TLDP.org is out of date--which is one step away from being outright wrong when dealing with rapidly changing software. If Linux wants more users (or OSS in general) you need to (1) fix the documentation so that it's always up to date to the newest version; and, (2) fix the culture of the dipshits that are out there. If they don't want to help, that's fine; but to hear over and over again the same unhelpful advise is only shooting your cause in the foot.

Do I care that this will cost me Karma? Nope. You've had it coming, and I've lost Karma before on this so ....

Re:I've been saying this for YEARS! (1)

7of7 (956694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156476)

You're right in general, but you forgot one thing in the list of things that most Linux distros need to fix. Namely, they need to fix the fact that to simple get an install running, you need to read a million man pages, go to hundreds of threads and mailing lists online, and use the deprecated IRC format to ask Linux snobs questions. If these distros ever want to be anything but hackjobs and fixer uppers, they should spend enough time on the distro that the software isn't buggy and unfriendly.

Sad but true (2, Interesting)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156395)

Today, Linux growth includes a vast number of new comers, sometimes well versed in technology but at other times not so well versed. These new users are coming to us and asking us to help them cross the great divide. I hope that more people will extend a hand to someone who sincerely appreciates Linux and wishes to be part of the Linux community, and help offset those who see new comers as bad.

Everyone starts out as a newbie at one time -- sorry to burst the bubble of those of you who thought you were imbued with the power of the Linux kernel neo-natally. I remember when I first got into computers back in the TRS-80 era and went to college only to discover there was a whole other side to computers you didn't see in Popular Electronics. I learned C and Unix, and now all these years later I've learned Perl and begun absorbing Linux. I'm not the smartest guy on the block, but I'm also not Gomer Pyle, Web Developer.

I've noticed a tendency for those steeped in the mystique of Linux to see anyone with an opinion contrary to theirs as some kind of infidel, interloper, or at worst, lower that your average lawyer. You dare not point out flaws in logic or try to compare two distributions, lest you incur the wrath of "the gods." A perfect example is my comments yesterday about whether Linux should use proprietary drivers [slashdot.org] . My idea is that yes, it sounds like a good idea, until reverse engineered equivalents are available or someone comes along and starts a graphics company that uses open source exclusively for their drivers. Seems logical enough and the moderators agreed. But some folks thought I was ignorant:

But let me clue you in on something. Torvald's motto of "world domination", is a joke! He isn't being serious! I'm sorry you didn't understand this before, but now you do.

Or that I was suggesting the wholesale destruction of Liunx:

No, if making Linux non-free is the only way to develop greater market share, then you can keep it, binary drivers and all. I'll take freedom, thank you.

I'm sorry to say that some in the Linux community seems to become more insular as each year passes, which is a shame because there are so many great people pushing it. Linux is a great operating system, works well for just about anything you need. It could eat away at Windows' advantage in the marketplace with just some tweaks to make it so easy to install and run that Joe Average doesn't think twice about it. But if the more fanatic members of the community keep treating every new person with a new idea or new question like some kind of pariah, Linux will remain just another operating system.

Not surprising. (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156400)

Not at all surprising. A majority of people, given the slightest opportunity, will be dicks, as spending 15 minutes on any internet forum will confirm. If using Windows required asking random groups of people questions, then the general concensus would be that Windows users are dicks. Because they are. As are Linux users and people whose favorite color is blue. The only solution to this is to design things so that no one needs to talk to anyone to make it work, because if you filter out the sons of bitches, there will only be two people left on the internet.

From TFA... (1)

ColdCoffee (664886) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156402)

After reading TFA, this guy seems really good at pissing people off. If, once or twice, I had a Linux 'fanatic' go off on me, I'd blame it on the 'fanatic'. But 3 or 4 times? Geeze dude. You are just ANNOYING! I can imagine the title of your next article: 'Grocery Store Snobs: Bagging Barriers'.

Grow some skin! (2, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156403)

Of course this happens! In the MS-Windows world too. Everywhere. People want and need help. They ask others. Often they get it, sometimes not.

However, to universally blame the help provider is completely wrong. The asker may be intruding. The asker may be insufficiently respectful or remunerative in other ways.

Beggars cannot be choosers.

windows users are RETARDS :D (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156404)

weeeeeeeellll... maybe if windows users weren't RETARDS we wouldn't have to snap at them for asking RETARDED questions.

of course, if they weren't retards, they wouldn't be windows users in the first place, but...

serious snobbery ... (1)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156406)

There is definitely some snobbery in the linux community. The big problem is how the community aids people who do not really understand the gravity of what they are asking. Explaining to someone why they are looking at the wrong thing i.e. kernel code instead of apache ... can some times lead to serious impatience when new users pick the wrong forum to ask questions. The community in my opinion needs to publish better "newbie forums" not just for users, but naive developers and newbie hacks, and possibly even goes as far as creating "computer science" basics forums. The "P" in GPL is far to often forgot ... if you want to work for the greater good you must realise this.

Troubles. (1)

VoiceOvGod (954730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156409)

I think a good majority of us have had that same experience. I started with Gentoo, myself. It was fun learning how to do a Linux install from a stage1 tarball */sarc* I had users actually tell me RTFM and nothing more... it was like they were irc bots... The few people I managed to get to help me understand what I saw when I RTFM, they were very helpful. However, it was unfortunately too little, too late. Redhat at least had info available online for me to find so I could fumble my way through things. I found Ubuntu to be the most friendly when it came to community support. That is my biggest thing with sticking with that flavor. They are a community that makes you feel welcome. I am just glad that I didn't go with slackware ;)

-1, flamebait (3, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156410)

There are assholes in every camp. I'm sure I can just as easily find Windows and MacOS snobs [well the latter is a given].

I've personally helped a half dozen people switch to Gentoo. Not all of us are meanies [though I play one on TV].

This article is pure flamebait.


Re:-1, flamebait (1)

dook43 (660162) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156422)

That's because you're an luser. (http://www.imaluser.com/ [imaluser.com] )

Re:-1, flamebait (1)

VoiceOvGod (954730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156517)

Agreed. And I appreciated the people like you who were willing to take time to actually help a N00b like myself when I had no clue about what to do. I am happy that there are Linux 'Snobs' who care enough to help convert others over and help them with the learning curve that switching provides. I toast people like yourself. And yes, flame bait it is.

Unfortunate, but true... (1)

borgheron (172546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156413)

I'm an avid Linux user and developer, but I must say that this is unfortunately where many many projects fall short of the mark. We need to realize that, unless we are willing to take the time to educate people about Linux and all of the options it opens up to people without belittling them, then we will never be ready for the desktop.

I go out of my way to help people who have questions about any of the projects I'm part of, because I realize that people won't use them unless they feel comfortable doing so. Making people feel stupid isn't the way to do it.

Unfortunately, some people on certain projects aren't disposed to being social. For instance, I had technical question regarding Hurd at one point, only because I was curious about it. So I decided to ask a question in #hurd on freenode and was immediately derided by a certain individual. I left feeling like "Why should I even try Hurd, if they're going to have that attitude" and I confess I haven't bothered to do so since. I am a developer... imagine how this kind of thing would come across to a normal user. Not good.... not good at all.

We need to change our attitude, or we're doomed to remain were we are. So, next time someone asks you a question about your project, resist the urge to call them names and be patient. Try to understand that this person doesn't know the code as well as you do and is simply trying to learn. Do that... and people will not mind switching.

Later, GJC

Snobs? (2, Interesting)

maino82 (851720) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156419)

While I agree that there are a few elitists out there, I'd hardly say that the vast majority of linux users are snobs who won't give non-nix guys the time of day. The only reason I ever got into linux in the first place was because one such "snob" took the time to sit me down, help me install debian on my machine, and then walked me through setting things up, installing programs and even (and this one still surprises me to this day) recompiling my kernel. Now that I know how difficult it can be to explain a lot of this stuff to a non-nix person, I appreciate the time he spent explaining things to me that much more. I don't think he was an oddity in the field either, since most people I've met or have chatted with are more than willing to share their knowledge and help problem solve. I've found that that is a lot of the fun of linux: Figuring out how to fix something that goes wrong. There's nothing more satisfying than having someone come to you with a problem and seeing that rediculous amount of satisfaction on their faces when you finally are able to figure it out.

Granted, there are those nix users who don't want to lend a helping hand or will look down on anyone asking about something they see as "obvious" or something that even a "n00b" should know. However, you find a few of those wherever you go no matter what OS or software you use, Microsoft products included.

There's no barrier. (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156425)

Linux snobs or not, there's no big barrier to entry on Linux. The installer is a piece of cake for most distros, most Linux distros can get most hardware set up in at least a usuable state, and the window managers installed by default now are almost as easy (if not easier) to use than Windows built-in window manager. My wife can very comfortably use Linux as can my neighbor who used to come over occasionally to use the Internet since she didn't have a computer of her own at the time. There wasn't a massive learning curve to usage and I don't even think she even knew she was using Linux.

Why aren't people coming over? They don't want to. As someone who used to install Linux on all my computers a few years ago, I now use XP almost exclusively at home. XP is almost as stable. I do have to reboot once in a while but who cares on a desktop machine? As long as I'm using Firefox to browse, I don't even have to worry about spyware too much (though I do run it weekly just in case). I keep a Linux box in the basement in case I ever need some sort of server or I'm evaluating some new programming language, but other than that I have no need for Linux on my desktop (which happens to be a laptop in this case). And for those things, I could always use Cygwin.

Are there community awards? (3, Interesting)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156430)

Are there community awards to award portions of the linux world that do provide outstanding support?

the tinkerer mentality is needed (4, Insightful)

lyapunov (241045) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156433)

I landed a job as UNIX admin from learning UNIX out of necessity and then as a hobby. When I got out of the military and started to school I purchased a computer so I would not have to work in school labs. My mathematics degree required two core CS classes, algorithms and data structures and the CS department uses Linux. So rather than piss and moan I purchased another hard drive and dual booted my machine. The reason that I purchased another hard drive is so that I could revert because I knew that I was not going to get it right the first few times. After being able, to once again do my homeword at home, I spent another 6 months getting my printer to work. It was an Deskjet 612 that used the printing performance architecture (PPA) drivers that some guy in Oregon reverse engineered with little or no help from HP. I figured if he had the wherewithall to accomplish that I should be able to at least get it working.

I spent many hours reading books on Linux in general, and countless hours browsing the web for help on UNIX printing. Wound up switching to CUPS, when it was fairly new, and managed to get it working. It was a lot of work and the only reason that I was able to do it was that I had the attitude that the "machine is not going to win."

Most people want everything handed to them, and if you do not have a self started attitude UNIX is fairly intimidating.
The quote that I developed about Microsoft and Bill Gates is this:

"Bill Gates brought computing to the masses, pity they weren't ready for it."

Why is there still this focus on the desktop (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156434)

As someone much wiser than me said, "the desktops war is over, Linux didn't win". Seriously, although desktops are still a large part of our lives, they aren't really where the "future" is going. There is a significant inertia in changing your desktop operating system. Here is the real reason why linux hasn't gained more market share: MOST PEOPLE JUST DON'T FUCKING CARE WHAT THEIR DESKTOP OS IS!!
Seriously, Windows does a good enough job for most people, so why change? Obviously as enthusiasts we see things differently, but in the end to most people a computer is a tool. In the end I think it would be beneficial to linux to focus on things such as mobile computing and servers.

Also, I know I will get flamed for this, but why does Linux's market share really matter? It's not like Linux is in any danger of disappearing, so why does it bother people so much when others use different operating systems? I used to be a mac zealot till I came upon the revelation that someone else using Windows really doesn't detract from my OS experience one bit. Why is linux any different? Other than perhaps you are trying to fight an ideological war, in which case it is no wonder people ignore linux. We get preached at enough as it is...

It's the Internet (1)

teslatug (543527) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156443)

The impersonal Internet coupled with people with high intelligence, little life experience, and a lack of social skills that is contributing greatly to this. Can you imagine these same geeks telling someone to their face to "Go Read The Fucking Manual?"

Society (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156463)

Where's the news?

Ever drove by bus in LA? Ever asked the bus driver if this particular bus goes to a specific direction? All you get is "RTFBM [mta.net] "!

I think, it is not a problem of the Linux community. You can find this attitude everywhere.

Forgot about what it is like to be a Newbee. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156464)

The problem is that it is easy to forget what it is like being a newbee. When I started using Linux in 1994. Things like Mounting Disks, Compiling Apps, Having to Gzip and Tar a file. Or even asking for Help and it wasn't untill 1998 I was sucessfully able to understand what the heck the Man pages were talking about and how to search for data in them. And I was at an advantage because I knew DOS. Today Windows users Never touched a commandline and are not even sure where to start, and they don't even fully realize what the computer handes and what the OS does. Before I though the hardware organized the drives as A: B: C:... not the OS (Espectially with the CMOS giving drives the same values). When they decide to switch to Linux you will need to rember almost everything including the Man pages which expect that you understand some concepts first. But after using it for a while we exect everyone to know what you mean. So when you hear a seemingly stupid question then you should step back and just give them a simple answer then followed with an explanation why it is like it.


I'm a linux newbie.. (2, Insightful)

euxneks (516538) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156465)

I try to read as much documentation as I can. I also try to help out other newbies by giving them answers (if I know the answer), and also where you can find the answer (in the documentation).

I think this helps them out by giving them a good answer but then also showing them how to find other answers on their own.

After all, knowledge is meant to be shared.

"Newbies" as word, should be retired (2, Interesting)

popo (107611) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156470)

I couldn't agree more.

I can't think of a successful industry, anywhere that doesn't invest a significant (if not major) portion of time to new customer acquisition. The word "Newbies" all by itself, reflects a culture hostile to new blood.

Its amazing when you compare Linux culture to Mac culture which almost resembles a cult in its "love-bombing" approach to new members.

Linux has documenatation? (2, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156472)

One of the reasons I am a fan of NetBSD is their excellent documentation. Not only is it well done, it is easy to find. Also, their mailing lists are full of helpful people who always try to answer questions, even obvious ones from n00bs.

Nearly every site that aims to be helpful in learning linux is not. It often has references, without links, to utilities you have to scour the internet to find. The people who aim to help never begin at a point where someone who knows little to nothing about linux can begin.

Where is THE linux documentation? (if you're going to say man pages, please don't)

Not the only ones! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156475)

A long time ago I paid $1000 for a subscription to a 1-year Microsoft Support offering.
During that year I asked approx 10 questions, none of which got answered properly.

One of the answers I did receive was a "forward" of a note from one of Microsofts developers. It read:
"It is none of his business!"
That consisted the entire reply to my request for help!

If I may (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156479)

Not that I'm excusing bad manners, but here's the otherside of the equation:

I used to help out quite a bit with linux noobs. I'd show them where to find the answers, and I'd give them suggestions. I don't anymore. 99% of the time, after I'd show them where they could find their answer, they come back asking the same question, obiously not reading the source I had sited. Not only that, but they'd get upset that I suggest they go read the site again, as if their time was so valuable that they simply couldn't take time to read it.

I'd get flamed, emailed, IM'd because I had politely suggested that the answer to their question was at so-and-so's site. I didn't tell them to RTFM, nor would I call them names or otherwise be an ass to them. I'd tell them where their answers were, and I'd receive all sorts of idiotic flaming for my efforts.

I have since chosen to only help those truly interested in learning, but I can see going the otherway and returning the flames. I don't agree with it, and I think a lot of people in general need to grow up, but I can see why some people would do it.

Snobbish? Or just not people friendly? (1)

XenoPhage (242134) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156482)

I can definitely agree with the fact that some IRC channels, mailing lists, etc. are not newbie friendly. And I agree that's a bit of a problem. But I wonder if there aren't some decent reasons for this.. Granted, these aren't "good" excuses, per se, but they work..

First, the people you're asking these newbie questions are often the developers of the software. Umm, wow. A programmer being introverted and arrogant? Most developers don't have the social skills and graces to handle repeated barrages of newbie questions and respond with anger.

Secondly, those mailing lists and channels with people that are willing to help often get fed up with hearing "How do I start the X service" a million times a day. FAQs and Wikis are there to handle the intro questions.

That said, if the FAQ/Wiki does not answer the question, then someone needs to fix it. Someone needs to step up to the plate and correct the mistakes and make the documentation clearer. Ultimately this should be a combination of the newbie and a guru from the list. The guru, knowing the software already, thinks the docs are fine and may not be able to fix them. The newbie, being a newbie, knows what doesnt make sense, but may not be able to fix it since they don't have the experience.

It would be nice to see a Linux Tech Support company to handle stuff like this, but I'm not sure how they'd make their money....

Eh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156483)

Working on a Linux team with no prior knowledge or training in linux is just so stupid. He probably was a jackass for taking the job. He probably was a jackass for not finding his query in google or the documentation with his distrubution. Why should other people cross train him? They have their own jobs to do, instead of supporting a newbie that souldn't be there. Come on!

Personally I try to help people on irc (freenode) on the projects I work on, but ignorance of Linux in the workplace when you are designated to be working with it is inexcusable. Expect the jackass to be sacked.

interesting... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156489)

I love how about half the comments in this thread so far consist of "We make this software and give it to you for free. We don't have to help your dumb ass figure out how to make it work." Umm, guys have you ever considered that this is *exactly* the attitude that this article is referring to?

Social Skills (1)

itsNothing (761293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156496)

With social skills like these, is there any wonder why we geeks have problems attracting girl friends?

This makes me think about celebate catholic priests. They're the only intermediaries to the deity (Linux, in our case), but ... they're evolutionarily sterile so the meme is less likely to propogate without a mutation in the general population.

Makes me consider priests in a whole new light.

About time someone raised this issue (1)

QJimbo (779370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156497)

This is definatly a problem within the linux "scene". For example, a friend of mine went to #linux on afternet, wanting help setting up a telnet server. The responces were basically "I'm not going to help you beacuse telnet is outdated and insecure", despite my friend repeatedly insisting that he wanted telnet, not SSH. Elitism and hoarding the knowledge seems to be prevalent.

At least linuxquestions.org is still friendly.

This is the reason I stopped using Linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156500)

I've worked as a developer both for Oracle and Microsoft and also in a hardcore Linux environment (embedded systems.)

I used to like Linux. It was reliable, fast, etc. You know the deal.

However, I became so tired of the arrogant, insecure, superior-attitude Linux freaks that on principle I switched back to Windows. I just didn't want to be associated with these people anymore.

The funny thing is, the people I worked with in Microsoft, although they were certainly nerds, they were polite, helpful, and just used their OS to get things done. Their OS was not used to create their own personality. They had lives, had normal emotional reactions to things, and did not have a defensive/superior attitute to their knowledge.

I really believe the problem is that the Linux freaks use Linux to define their personality. And being superior in their Linux knowledge makes them feel better about themselves. (How sad.)

This is why I use Windows. Yes, I know Linux is technically better, but I am happier being around normal people.

Preposterous! (1)

PapaBoojum (232247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156507)

You mean there are actually programmers and software persons who lack social graces, act immaturely and respond impatiently?!?

Shocked, I am. SHOCKED, I SAY!!!

I can speak from embarassment more than anything (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156519)

I know of a few people who can attest to the same scenario repeating itself as well. I am scratching my head over a problem I am experiencing. Seems nothing I do will work and nothing I have read to that point addresses the issue I am experiencing. What do I do? I post of a forum. I try to be as detailed as possible. Listing what I've tried and the results I get from it. Listing all the symptoms I have identified until the moment of posting.

No sooner do I post the question than I find the answer myself since I never stopped looking for answers elsewhere. So then I am faced with the question: Should I attempt to retract my posting or should I reply to my own question with the solution? Most of the time, I decide to do the later. Even though it makes me seem like an idiot answering my own question, I am always hopeful that someone else asks the same question but doesn't find the answer on their own.

The forum I frequent most is the Fedora forum and, frankly, I see no evidence of snobbery on there. So I guess perhaps the answer is to direct people to the forums that are most suited to the users with questions. I know from previous experience that the IRC bullies out there use IRC as a means to maintain a level of social dominance and treat channels like territory. Clearly, they have their own issues to sort out and are best left alone.

Using less knowledgeable people as targets (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15156525)

'The responding note read: "Hi jackass, RTFM and stop wasting our time trying to help you children learn." '

He was being especially gentle. You should read what they say when they are being rough.

I've found that often those who are especially knowledgeable about computing think of themselves as part of an in-group, and believe that acting out their anger toward others is acceptable.

Snobs or just as clueless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15156527)

Many of these so-called Linux snobs are that way just because they don't know how to run the software themselves. They may know the words but they can't converse about the topics themselves so they use snobbishness to hide their ignorance. They may have written the software, but they are clueless about what happens when it is linked with a newer or older version of some library.
People who don't have much experience with Linux naively expect it to work as advertized. When it doesn't, they assume (incorrectly) that they must have done something wrong. That is just the way Linux is. If you can't fix it yourself, no one is going to (or may even be able to) fix it for you.
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