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The Rise and Fall of the Geek

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the not-a-jon-katz-article-despite-the-title dept.

Editorial 358

chilled writes "Tom Steinberg has posted this guest editorial on The Register bemoaning the decline of the Geek. He suggests that geeks in their alignment against for example RIP and Microsoft are losing their voice. I think he's right but the emergence of a common set of goals should be recognised as a very good thing. The geeks amongst us should use this commonality to rise up and use our voice for progress and not petty squabbling."

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358 comments

frist post, fagots! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388292)

d00d i is teh haX0r!1!1!! bye

fp! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388294)

finally!

FROST PIST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388295)

That's right folks, and I didn't even try, I'm so 1337!

What a dork (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388296)

To say that geekdom is dying!

Re:What a dork (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388347)

Sadly, some people just don't "Get It" as Vince McMahon would say.

the not-a-jon-katz-article-despite-the-title dept. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388306)

So does Katz still work here, or not?

Re:the not-a-jon-katz-article-despite-the-title de (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388325)

Don't ask questions like this. It may be interpreted as concern/interest for him, and if he doesn't work here anymore, they might rehire him!

A Counter Opinion (5, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388317)

There is already a counter opinion [theregister.co.uk] posted at The Reg.

Re:A Counter Opinion (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388475)

And evidence of the truth of the argument right here on Slashdot... Microsoft banner advertisement.

Re:A Counter Opinion (5, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388591)

Both articles are arguing from the faulty premise that there is such a thing as a geek political agenda.

There are plenty of geeks out there who want nothing to do with Linux, prefering the tools of Sun, Apple and even (gasp!) Microsoft. The first article seems to make the case that all geeks demand open source exclusively, because if you don't make such demands, you're not a geek. (A classic falacy of logic).

I would even go so far as to say that the majority of geeks that I have known are aware of open source & Linux, and use both at least some of the time (particularilly some of the better GNU tools), but are not married to the Stalmanist ideology that all software should be free, and spend most of their time working with various closed applications. There are those who fit the description of these articles, but I don't believe they don't even represent the majority of geekdom, let alone a consensus.

The whole debate is downright Katzian, in that it assumes a cultural development that isn't actually happening.

Re:A Counter Opinion (4, Funny)

JWW (79176) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388629)

Katzian ..... great term, I like it.

I can speak only for myself, but... (3, Insightful)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388612)

The rebuttal rebuts some stuff, but dismisses the following paragraph, rather than challenging it.

Stranger still is the lack of consistency amongst these beliefs. Many values, such as the love of privacy and free speech come from a broadly libertarian tradition evolving from the philosophy of Mill and Locke. Others, such as the hatred of Microsoft and the loathing of Spam come from a quite reverse philosophy - a principled distain of the side-effects of capitalism, betraying socialist ancestry. Still others come from a strong defence of certain rights (notably fair use of copyrighted materials) which seem to be primarily based on rational self-interest, rather than any particular ideology. From Tom's op-ed.

By way of reply:
Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values--be they religious, ethical, social, or political--have their source in human experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny. From the Humanist Magazine.

Which is, it seems to me, totally consistent with the three things he names. The first two are obvious, but humanistic opposition to DRM needs some explanation. The RIAA/MPAA are trying to prevent the emergence of a new, popularly empowered culture from which they won't be able to make as much money.

Where's Jon Katz when you need him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388324)

The Decline and Fall of the Geeko-Roman Empire should be a topic which Katz cannot help but opine on.

Where is he, anyway? Admittedly, I have him filtered, but he hasn't posted a thing on here in a few months. Can OSDN no longer afford to pay him?

Re:Where's Jon Katz when you need him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388341)

Apparently he declined their offer of "all the free software and coffee you could ever want!"

Uhhh... (2)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388329)

The geeks amongst us should use this commonality to rise up and use our voice for progress and not petty squabbling.

Ever see Revenge of the Nerds? Or one of its trillion sequels? This would not be a pretty sight.

Re:Uhhh... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388346)

I'm too busy driving my Porsche and fucking my beautiful girlfriend to care much about "rising up" with a bunch of loser antisocial riffraff.

Re:Uhhh... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388359)

Romero! How are you?

Any killer new games in the pipeline?

Re:Uhhh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388510)

Dear lord, no mutant frogs or flies, please!

Re:Uhhh... (5, Funny)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388406)

First of all, it's a Miata, and it's in your dad's name, so get it right. Second, she can be anyone's girlfriend provided they've managed to save up the 50 bucks. And third, she told me you don't do much "rising" of any type, which I think is pretty disrespectful of her considering how much your're paying.

And no, the itching wasn't there before, no matter how much you wanna believe it was.

We need a leader. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388334)

And CmdrTaco is the one! All hail KingTaco.

Re:We need a leader. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388358)

Could Dustin "Screech" Diamond be his chief lieutenant? If so, he has my support.

Cowboy Neal (1)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388626)

Cowboy Neal should be the leader!

Is it bad (2, Interesting)

endrek (547737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388336)

Is this really bad. Some of the examples he uses, like the geek inability to defend the DMCA. Maybe no one who knows what they are talking about can defend it because it really shouldn't be. I mean, couldn't you bemoan that most all people think murder is bad, and thusm they are all sheep of the same flock. OR, maybe murder really is bad.

There are still plenty of issues to fight and flame and be different over, but there are now some points that we all share together. It makes us a closer knit community and will hold us together

Murder is bad. (1)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388467)

see exceptions at war.

Re:Murder is bad. (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388646)

hmm no, killing in war is legal and therefore not murder which is unlawful killing.

Bah (1)

Richy_T (111409) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388344)

The geeks amongst us should use this commonality to rise up and use our voice for progress and not petty squabbling.

No we shouldn't.

Rich

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388401)

"The geeks amongst us should use this commonality to rise up and use our voice for progress and not petty squabbling.

No we shouldn't.

Rich"

Yes, we should!!!!

Oh, wait...

In all its simplicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388513)

this should be modded up as insightful.

Why should we band together? I don't believe the same things that you do. I like to code computers. I like to invet my money. I don't like the government garnishing my wages and giving it to people that refuse to work.

We like to code, that is our commonality, nothing to protest there. Or we like to research, hack, etc.

There is a large part of the geek community that will never be hurt by the DMCA, because they buy their music, movies, etc, and play them on their entertainment center. This way, when they are geeking out, the terminal isn't clutered with some movie, the music sounds good, and our processor can get back to compiling the kernel.

This is just not true. (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388345)

Geeks have a long and rich heritage they should be proud of. The Geek is and always will be an important part of the circus sideshow. Without them biting the heads off live chickens, the red neck circus patron will have no one to compare themselves favorably to before the beer kicks in.

As a big-name physicist (4, Funny)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388348)

and part-time mathematician, I have to agree with this: The geeks amongst us should use this commonality to rise up and use our voice for progress and not petty squabbling.

Ever since the days of the caveman and the invention of the fire and wheel by the First Geek, Man has been arguing and warring. All arguments are based on misunderstandings, which indicates that two suitably intelligent people would always get along. For too long we have been trying to educate the stupider among us to reach this ideal state and I say that now is the time to give up.

Geeks! Abandon your non-geek wives/husbands and friends! Come with me into the wilderness where we will forge a new society based on intelligence and anime! We will eat naught but pizza and drink naught but Mountain Dew! We may be smelly, but dammit, we won't need tech support numbers either! You have nothing to lose but your dignity!

Re:As a big-name physicist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388368)

Just watch out for the Asberger (sp?) syndrome......

Trolls and positive karma don't mix. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388384)

You still haven't answered me, you so-called Physics Genius.

What's the total displacement of that spork you've got shoved up your ass?

Re:As a big-name physicist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388386)

> You have nothing to lose but your dignity!
These are geeks you're talking about: They probably still have their virginity to lose. Difficult to do that in an all-geek (and what 90% male) society...

DAMN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388412)

Virginity. That would have been a lot funnier.

Re:As a big-name physicist (2, Funny)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388415)

You've never spoken to a woman without giving her your credit-card number, have you?

Re:As a big-name physicist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388535)

All his girlfriends' phone numbers begin with 976-

Hurray (0)

eadint (156250) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388350)

yea thats great no more katz that bleeding heart liberal communist.
i hope that geeks die im tried of being associated with those moronic, identity crisis idiots. i prefer to be called a professional and an engineer. thats why i got into the industry. i like computers i like making them do things. i have spent allot of time honing my skilles, and i brissle when somebody calles me a geek. i am not a nerd who cant get laid/get a job/ get a life/ we should be called professionals . let the geek nome dgra die or be relagated to the unce called looser class. i brissle whenever im called a geek.

Who said? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388360)

Who said geeks have to align against Microsoft? I think that's a pretty broad generalization. Not all geeks are *nix-loving whores.

Re:Who said? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388383)

Yes, some of us love OS/2. Poor, sad, dead OS/2.

Yes we are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388576)

I love Lunix!

Re:Who said? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388662)

Here here! I'm a mainframe geek (very very rare these days)

No more petty squabbling? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388370)

No more petty squabbling? But that's one of the quintessential features of a geek. If there weren't constant meaningless arguments about the same topics over and over, the internet as we know it would not exist.

vi rules and emacs sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388621)

X is better than console, KDE is better than GNOME is better than Enlightenment, Foundation is better than Star Trek is better than Star Wars, vi is better than pico is better than Emacs, Red Hat is better than SuSE is better than Debian...

Re:No more petty squabbling? (1)

splume (560873) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388647)

the internet as we know it would not exist.

Correction: slashdot as we know it would not exit.

When the darkness comes... (1)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388372)

a single point of light will be there to hold back the night...

Jon Katz, where are you?!

evolution (5, Interesting)

Raiford (599622) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388377)

What a geek is today is very different from what a geek was 20 years ago. Geeks of old (I guess we were called nerds back then) focused strictly on technology and science and stayed as far away from politics of any kind as you could possible get. Geeks of today seem to love the political scene and enjoy engaging in the fray. This is a big distinction from the aboriginal geek (or geek derived from the nerd). I say stick with the science and engineering. Life is too short to get caught up in politics.

Of course geeks will decline (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388378)

No date => no girlfriend => no wife => no geek kids.

Re:Of course geeks will decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388433)

What about those Russian mail-order brides?

Re:Of course geeks will decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388529)

What about DIY cloning?

Re:Of course geeks will decline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388551)

You falsely assume that for someone of a geek orientation to be born one of his parents has to be a geek. On the contrary, I've seen many geeks born from two socially functioning people. Of course, I wouldn't think of talking to them about it in person... Maybe if we met in a chat room somewhere, yeah somewhere safe like a muse or a mush where I have @nuke capabilities so that if they start to bemoan my deviation from the social norm, I could handle them.

A darn shame our kind is still not generally accepted by society.

Re:Of course geeks will decline (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388637)

Geek + Geek wife != Geek kids all the time

"geeks" are being defined. (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388380)

Who is this guy to define what *I* am like. Yes, I do disagree w/the DMCA, the RIAA, and Microsoft. I don't like the fact that the US is becoming more and more government controlled. I don't like the fact that the PEOPLE of the US are allowing this to happen w/o a fight.

I don't like the fact this this person believes we had strict boundaries. I don't like the fact that he calls us "pasty, long haired, UN*X t-shirt wearing" individuals.

I am against things that are wrong. Microsoft, the DMCA, and recent US policies are WRONG.

I don't have a pasty complexion, I don't have long hair, I don't live on pizza and Mountain Dew, and I certainly don't wear Unix related t-shirts.

He is the one setting boundaries on us, not the group.

Geeks stand up for what they believe in. We are typically young and brash and want to see change made. We are the protesters of the new millenium. We use a different medium than was used before. We are who we are, not what someone labels us as.

Please forgive the rant. He was just wrong for creating a false label for the "geek".

Re:"geeks" are being defined. (5, Insightful)

Reckless Visionary (323969) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388454)

Geeks stand up for what they believe in.

No they don't. They stand up and bitch to each other on geek-only websites about how no one else will stand up for them.

Re:"geeks" are being defined. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388515)

I am against things that are wrong.


Way to take a stand.

Re:"geeks" are being defined. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388640)

and kittens: they suck

Re:"geeks" are being defined. (2)

Deagol (323173) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388527)

I don't like the fact that he calls us "pasty, long haired, UN*X t-shirt wearing" individuals.

Hmmm... I need to go get a tan, get a haircut, and toss out my RSA in Perl t-shirt. Stupid stereotypes!

Re:"geeks" are being defined. (5, Insightful)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388566)

I see your point here, but I think what you are missing the real problem.

Geeks have become a clique

That is the problem. Just like some people who don't ride skateboards are called Skateboarders, and people who are into Anne Rice are called Goths, Geeks are now a "culture". This is the fundamental problem.

I don't know about you, but I AM NOT A GEEK. I am a highly paid, moderately liberal computer professional. I do not have a ponytail, I do not wear t-shirts with political slogans (most of my shirts are free vendor handouts with software or hardware logos), and I most certainly am not going to say that I belong to any particular cultural group.

However, I might be classed (by another individual) as a geek, since I can program in dozens of languages, configure routers, wire hubs, build servers, manage workstations, hand-edit the Windows Registry, and still remember the PET. I am against the DMCA, against harsh limits on fair use (while being for reasonable limits), and against an Orwellian future.

Does that make me a geek? Do I care? No. I think that is the problem. Geeks used to be just about anyone who was technical (in anything from Art to Circuitry), and had "fallen out of society" at some point. I have miserable social skills, for example.

Perhaps those of us who seem to be the former geeks should just go back to ignoring these morons, and especially anyone who claims to have geek pride. Or, perhaps we should just be more assertive in saying "F@#K You!" when people try to classify us.

My views probably don't agree with your views in lots of ways. Good. Keep it that way. Be yourself, and to hell with anyone else. Just don't forget that "Geek" apparently is now a culture that was built around the people, not the other way around.

/Rant

-WS

Get on with the real issues (5, Funny)

Target Drone (546651) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388397)

use our voice for progress and not petty squabbling

The sooner we can put our petty squabbling aside the sooner we can get move on to the real issue.

Which is better Star Trek or Star Wars?

Re:Get on with the real issues (2)

Dannon (142147) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388506)

I'm going to have to complain about the lack of options in this poll. StarGate. ;-)

Re:Get on with the real issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388507)

Babylon 5! :P

Re:Get on with the real issues (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388589)

No, no, no. The real issue of course has nothing to do with recreation.

No, the real issue is related to hard work and productiveness.

Here's the real issue:

What is the correct indentation style to use on your programs?

Neither. (1)

Dthoma (593797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388600)

Foundation 0wnz them both.

Did he proofread? (5, Insightful)

back_pages (600753) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388420)

I didn't bother with the counterargument, but I don't exactly feel compelled.

He says geeks used to argue over the standard stuff, vi vs. emacs, keyboard vs. mouse, X vs. console, PC vs. microcomputer. Fair enough. Now he says that nobody argues against DRM, the DMCA, and invasions of privacy.

I suppose Soviet Communists in the olden days would argue about whether rubber or leather boots were better in springtime, but nobody felt justified saying, "Those capitalists aren't that bad!" Likewise, these days in America, there is plenty of talk about whether N'Bizkit is better than Limp Korn, or whatever retarded ear-shit people listen to. Yet nobody stands up and says, "You know, we really should let the state run all of our industry."

So big surprise, we're all in agreement about things that threaten the foundation and definition of the group. What an insight, you might as well go write an internet editorial about it and get Michael to post on Slashdot.

Ya know, it really is telling when I got halfway through this post and thought to myself, "Well goddamn, this must have been another piece of drivel that Micheal thought was really clever, like that time he shared with us the story about adjusting your TVs brightness control to play PS2." What crap.

The larger problem is the new crowd. (5, Insightful)

TellarHK (159748) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388425)

I've always been kinda fringe geek. Not really a great programmer, more an observer, plotter, and wannabe administrator. Not nearly as geek as many I know, but still geek enough to be considered by people who aren't geeky at all. Unfortunately, we've got one thing making "geekdom" feel polluted, and that's the cram-away certification crowd.

High school kids coming out with MCSE's, places you can get a CCNA quick, or A+ certification that just seems like a joke to any old-school type. These people are the "new geek chic" and they're anything but.

Geek Culture != Melting Pot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388426)

From the article:

"If none of this is making sense to you, try the following mental exercise. Could you sit in a pub with a group of geeks, defend the RIP Act, and convince them that you were still one of them?"

I understand that there already is a counter-argument posted on the page that the link points to, but I would like to respond this quote in particular.

You need not look any further than this website that you are on for the response to the question above. I have found that occasionally, there are people here who do not blindly hate Microsoft, for example, and will actually sometimes defend them. I see a variety of opinions posted here on a number of topics, and some posters who are willing to point out any hypocrisy that some indivduals here apparently have. Yes, there are opinions that geeks tend to have, but if you look at the issues, you will likely understand why they have these opinions. That's just my $0.02 anyway.

RIP (5, Funny)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388435)


Just what exactly do geeks have against the Routing Information Protocol [faqs.org] ?

Re:RIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388458)

No, I think it's RIPScript [bbsdocumentary.com] . That stuff was horrible for designing BBS interfaces.

Re:RIP (5, Funny)

Plutor (2994) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388519)

Just what exactly do geeks have against the Routing Information Protocol?

Let's start with the usual.

1) True distance routing protocols, like RIP, are inherently flawed. It requires a table of the entire network to be stored on each router, requiring precious hard drive or flash memory space.

2) RIP broadcasts its entire table every thirty seconds.

3) The maximum size of a RIP packet is 512 bytes, so any reasonably sized network will have RIP updates sent as multiple packets. This, combined with 2, can add up to a lot of data transfer FAST.

4) Extremely slow convergence

5) Lack of VLSM support in RIP1 (which too many campuses are still using).

6) Lack of configurability where route summarization is concerned.

Oh wait.. were you joking?

I'll be damned... (3, Funny)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388446)

...if I'll conform to some media stereo type. I speak for myself and don't need no stinking clique focus group telling me what to be.

Jesus next we'll have a tech website that champions free speech but fails to run stories about itself.

*sniff* whatever happened to Jon Katz?

BUSH = RECESSION (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388449)




New York Stock Exchange [nyse.com] .

NASDAQ [nasdaq.com] .

1.How low can they go?

2. What is the President doing about it?

He's starting a war.

Re:BUSH = RECESSION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388477)

1.How low can they go?

0?

Re:BUSH = RECESSION (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388606)

2. What is the President doing about it?

He's starting a war.

Well, it worked pretty damn well for FDR...

Re:BUSH = RECESSION (2, Funny)

WillyElectrix (306880) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388613)

I think it's more like a case of Bush implementing the Recession and SaberRattler interfaces while extending BigOil and SuckyTexasRangers. He's been throwing a lot of exceptions lately which Congress isn't handling very well.

I'd have to agree... (1)

lazlo (15906) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388456)

He suggests that geeks in their alignment against for example RIP and ...


Yeah, I'd have to agree.... OSPF is just so much better. Can't even do VLSM without going to V2...

He still doesn't get it... (5, Insightful)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388461)

Conformity : Proudly serving painfully boring people since time began....

geeks are misfits, not some social group you can mobilize, the more mainstream the issue the more support you will lose and the more fragmentation you will see. The authors' failure to understand, just highlights the fact that he's not a geek but a suit trying to be cool. The sub-culture WAS NEVER tied together by commonality but by opposition of the homogenization of culture. Here this 'guest' editor is bemoaning the lack of just such a thing....
The counter culture is STILL there they've just shunned the icons proposed for them by the 'man' and those that would make a buck of them.

TGIF, and rant off......

The Geek Party? (4, Insightful)

Raster Burn (213891) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388465)

Since when has being a geek been political? Granted, I agree with the majority on Slashdot on certain issues, but not with others. I thought geekdom was about a love for technology.

If being a geek means I'm some kind of political activist hippie, count me out.

Thag say monoculture BAD (1)

pohl (872) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388468)

Gather together a group of doctors and try to argue that smoking is good, or that unnecessary surgery is bad, or that a Plymouth Horizon is a good-enough set of wheels...will your peers still accept you as a doctor!? Hell, no.

This is a dangerous lack of diversity of opinion!

Sorry, I don't buy it. (5, Insightful)

Wraithlyn (133796) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388474)

"Others, such as the hatred of Microsoft and the loathing of Spam come from a quite reverse philosophy - a principled distain of the side-effects of capitalism, betraying socialist ancestry."

Yeah, whatever. My hatred of Microsoft comes from the lack of stability in their operating systems, and their predatory, monopolistic practices (which have been confirmed in a court of law, thank you very much)

And Spam? Do I even have to address this point? I hate it because it wastes my time, it wastes internet bandwidth and storage space, and the people sending it don't even really have to pay very much to inconvenience the entire email reading planet. It's unbalanced.

"If none of this is making sense to you, try the following mental exercise. Could you sit in a pub with a group of geeks, defend the RIP Act, and convince them that you were still one of them?"

Yes I could. Perhaps I have more open minded friends than you, who are willing to entertain an argument without ostracizing someone with an alternative viewpoint.

I'm a geek because I've loved fooling with computers my entire life, have a profound desire to see technology used to improve the world, and have developed quite a bit of hardware, software, and programming expertise. My political affiliations don't enter into it. Neither do my race, sex, nationality, or religous beliefs.

why don't we all just use windows then??? (0)

penguinfreedom (448635) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388501)

I mean, come on, Microsoft owns the desktop world and wants to own the rest, so let's just all be happy campers and jump on the bandwagon for common goals *twinkle* *grin*....

pulleeese...

Geeks aren't Marketeers, so we aren't listened to. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388518)

Too often as Geeks we point out limitations and flaws within a technology plan, instead of pointing out the things that can be accomplished.

By pointing out a limitation or flaw the ones who understand the most are deemed "too negative" by managers and marketeers.

If you are too negative, too often, you will be pigeon-holed as a nay-sayer; even if you turn out to be right.

Geeks aren't marketeers so we lack the euphemisms to use when speaking to marketeers. Instead of saying: "Technology doesn't permit." or "This system is inadequate" the words escape us to reword this into something that can be spun positively.

In essence: Geeks are excluded because we know too much.

This response probably pretty extreme, but it sure feels true.

Quite a bit of the time I find myself not having the necessary time to get buy in to certain designs and architectures. It takes longer to get buy in, than to just implement the architecture.

I dare any one of you to attempt to explain the following paragraph to a marketeer / managerial type who is still struggling with how to buy a book from Amazon:
  • In the modern times of XML, XSLT, JSP, ASP, .NET, Web Services, and other standardized technologies we are finally seeing a convergence that will allow true RAD to work on a Worldwide scale. Finally, due to underlying standards dictating infrastructure a developer can assemble the pieces to create a system and not worry about underlying implementation.


I haven't found a manager friendly way to say that yet. Any suggestions?

Here's a short, snappy suggestion: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388653)

Gimme a spec and get outta my way!

This Just In!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

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read it earlier (2)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388530)

I read that stupid opinion piece earlier today; I thought it was total horseshit.

"Geeks" aren't becoming "homogenous" or any such thing. The only thing that's going on is many (not all even!) are up in arms about recent abridgements of their freedom from legislation and Microsoft's new tactics. This has nothing to do with homogenity, it simply has to do with a (a couple actually) common enemy.

And to say that all geeks get upset whenever MS does anything is simply ludicrous, and ignorant of the facts. There are a ton of geeks who are perfectly happy with MS products, but usually not with MS's current drive towards DRM and Palladium et al., which is perfectly understandable and reasonable considering the affect those types of things will have on them.

This is just stupid...

Re:read it earlier (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388659)

"Geeks" aren't becoming "homogenous" or any such thing.

Maybe not, but many are quite humongous.

The Majority (1)

NiTr|c (130325) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388532)

How can you confirm to people you don't know that you're a clued-up kinda geek? Easy - stick 'Hang Valenti' into your sig. How can you get yourself ignored or flamed? Argue for sensible DRM.

This caught my attention. What a close-minded statement. Sure it's not meant to be 100% serious, but jeez. I'd like to believe that as "geeks" or "hackers" or whatever we at least have enough common sense to judge people rationally.

There are good and bad points in every idea. Saying this is good and this isn't just to be part of the majority is most likely one of the factors causing the decline mentioned in the article. If we fall to the classic join-the-majority-because-people-will-like-me scenario diverse "geekdom" will dwindle. I prefer to voice my opinions because I can and because I'd like for people to possibly think about a different side of the argument.

This is why I read slashdot instead of watching television.

Yes, I like making up words, and I like using "" marks.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388537)

i think it's more beneficial to unite against the people who authored the DMCA, Microsoft's Palladium, etc, than it is to argue over who has the better architecture -- intel or motorola.

i'm not a big fan of herd mentality, but some things are just common sense (at least, if you're a geek). does the author of the editorial really believe that it's worth sacrificing privacy of the entire internet population just so we can catch that script kiddie with a hotmail account of whom he speaks?

Geek have one politics for one reason (4, Interesting)

spiro_killglance (121572) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388545)


Unlike other groups, geeks (i still
hate the term) are defined by
intellegance, reason, and the scientific method.
While other groups will always contain members
that will hold mad, bad and obviously wrong
beliefs not matter what, a geek will always
change beliefs based on evidence and a solid
reasoned argument based on axioms they share.
If most geeks are in argeement in belief of something its probably because its (if
not true) at least as close to true as we can
get in the limit current knowledge.

Re:Geek have one politics for one reason (1)

Scott Wood (1415) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388602)

a geek will always change beliefs based on evidence and a solid reasoned argument based on axioms they share.

Unless, of course, said geek is an Emacs or vi fan.

Maybe they grew up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388546)

Maybe, like the hippies of the 60's and 70's, they grew up, decided that the establishment wasn't so bad after all.

Maybe a lot of geeks realized they could make more money if they look more professional.

Maybe a lot of geeks realized that if they stopped ranting about Linux being better than Microsoft they could actually *COMMUNICATE* how both operating systems have merit.

Maybe some of the realized that technology is a means to an end, not just an end in and of itself.

Then again, maybe they just post anonymously to Slashdot.

His view of the Geek is terrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388547)

Geeks wear stupid *nix shirt, have long hair and are pasty.
Dude, how wrong are you? How wrong is that view in the world? This geek builds kick ass game boxes cause he feels like it, gets involved in politics because, unlike tech support, politics has no tech support number to help the clueless. I rant becuase I freaking can.
Do not tell me what I am and am not. Do not tell me that to be a geek I HAVE to hate MS, I HAVE to think DRM in any format is evil and that I HAVE to hate anything that some dumbass on some lameass "geek" site tells me to hate.
I code, I party, I have a tan cause I work in paradise, getting paid mad jack to make sure the screw-ups are at minimum.
Don't let the loud, lameasses speak for us folk. Do not let the world view us as single minded AMD loving Linux tweakers.
WAR DIVERSITY

They call them geeks (2, Interesting)

Patik (584959) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388559)

I've never understood why people want to be referred to as a geek. It's not a pleasant title, rather it's an insult. Class bullies picks on the scrawny "four-eyed geek". If someone calls you a geek, it's your turn to stand up for yourself. "Geek" has such a negative conotation to it that I will never refer to myself as one, regardless of my involvement with computers and science.

Re:They call them geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388597)

I have no problem describing myself as a geekish with nerdish tendencies. It's part of who I am, and I wear it as a badge of honor!

Re:They call them geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388625)

It's an insult if you let it be one. But, why?

If you really are a technically-adept social misfit, and are happy the way you are, then you're a geek. Say it loudly, and proudly. Fly that freak flag!

Once again I am ignored qjkx (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388562)

The Geek is the mammal. Everyone else is a dinosaur. The internet is the meteor. Any questions?

Reclusives (0)

oO0OoO0Oo (548702) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388569)

So where have all the completely technocentric geeks gone? Or are they the same people and merely changing toward the political?

I personally ascribe to the first group and I know there are many like me.

Lost long ago... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388575)

I remember waaaayyy back when the geeks really began to lose their lustre.

I think TQM was the harbinger, but once we were called "wizards" and could do no wrong. We provided good service and thought creatively, learning the difference between "want" and "need", and identifying needs well before users ever did. Somewhere along the line, having brilliant, creative people who catered to every need, regardless of appearance (i.e. sneakers, jeans, t-shirts, long hair and facial hair), some felt a need to push these people around, instituting dress codes, regular hours of work, ridiculous "busy-work" projects, etc. That was way before the late 90's. And, granted some geeks were realy jerks to users and needed a slapdown. But now geeks are pretty much ubiquitous in any business and expected to behave like everyone else in a cheap suit and a cubical.

Somewhere geeks still survive, but corporate America (and corporate America wannabees) don't tolerate individualism. The change was bound to happen anyway.

Total Quality Management: A movement which suddenly made MBA feel they had purpose after many years of suffering at the wheel anonymously. Most of the principles of TQM were self-evident to those who actually did work, but that didn't prevent it becoming near religion. Your place of work probably still has a Quality or Vision statement relic buried somewhere. I blame it for making everyone else take the place of the MBA's at the wheel.
I once created an application, 2 years before users described what a tool which was essential to their day to day needs. They ignored it when I first rolled it out, then they were amazed when I told them that such a tool existed. In retrospoect, I probably should have made it look like I actually had to move Heaven and Earth before showing it to them, I dunno sometimes.

Hi, my name is Anonymous Coward.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388578)

..and I'm a geek.

Why? I hate math, so I'm obviously not a nerd. I have four boxes sitting in my house. Three of them are running Linux, one's not mine.

My personal address book is not a little black book, but a Postgres database interfaced through http via the Apache::ASP module and Perl.

I've shouted, "Elendil!" loudly, while in a bathroom once. (I was standing, if that helps the imagery.)

I can sum up my thoughts of the current system of government in the US with the words, "Fuck it.", but it'll take a few hours if you want my thoughts on why Deep Space Nine sucked compared to Babylon 5.

I have short hair. I shower regularly. My ex was hotter than you can possibly imagine, but rather not sane(tm), and not in that good schizophrenic way.

Did I mention I use both vi and emacs?

Hmm.

Oh yes, I've been known to boot into Windows to play EverCrack.

I enjoy long walks in the middle of nowhere, almost as much as shouting, "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the skull throne of Khorne!" while figuring out how many thrice-damned loyalist bastards will fit under my blast template.

Connect the god damned dots.

I'm sorry but that is not a well-written article (1)

LoRider (16327) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388585)

I get his point and agree with some of what he says, but the article starts fall apart at the end. He sort just starts rambling on and on and fails to really drive home his message.

As for whether 'geeks' should support DRM or whatever just because all the other geeks are not, seems alittle silly. I think the point of the article should be to believe what YOU believe and who gives a shit if someone else disagrees.

I really feel that geeks are smart and that the majority of them really do believe in what they say. Maybe the message seems boring and represents a 'monoculture', but that could be because a lot of people believe this stuff.

A lot of people really do think the RIAA is evil and MS is evil as well. I don't think simply going against the grain simply because not enough people are doing so is good advice. There are real evils in the world and if enough people scream their heads off about such evils something will happen.

Not to mention that all the geeks in world add up to a very small minority. I guess the Green party should start supporting Bush because Nader is boring and they sick of saying the same thing over and over again.

I felt the article was just silly and that he failed to make a good point.

Geeks are interested in technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4388610)

It is technology that defines the geek. The only reason politics is involved at all is in the ways it obscures, closes, or in any way prevents the geek access to technology. This is especially true when the access to the technology was available at one time.

That is the common thread in the things geeks oppose.

Outside of that there are a great number of things to disagree on. But, when there are so many large and forbidding enemies to a culture it becomes a monoculture to the outside.

BTW, when were geeks every all that powerful to begin with?

Pet Peeve (5, Insightful)

Lizard_King (149713) | more than 11 years ago | (#4388627)

There is a popular misconception in today's culture that all geeks use and endorse Linux.

"Geeks may argue about which Linux distro is best ..."

I would classify myself as a geek and I never felt terribly comfortable using Linux. I've dabbled here and there, kept Linux boxen lying around, but have never used any as my primary machine. I've been a devout BSD fan...until OS X came along.

"...but they all know that a Good OS Has to Be Free. "

bullshit. A good OS has to be good. I'll pay for an operating system that I think is solid. I had no problems paying $129 for Jaguar a few weeks ago.

Geeks are people who are curious about technology and make a living and a hobby out of utilizing technology different ways. Oh wait.... I forgot what site I was posting on. Long live Linux and down with those imperial Microsuck bastards
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