[mythtv-users] "get the sources and fix it yourself"

Joe Borne joe.borne at gmail.com
Fri Sep 28 14:36:26 UTC 2007

This is a subject rather near and dear to me so I'm going to butt in and

I'm a primarily self taught Linux user, coming from a Mac and Unix, not
Windows, background. Over the years I have encountered the attitude Eric and
Rick expound in their article. It is frustrating at best, and infuriating at
worst. There is a hypocrisy and dichotomy in the Linux community about this
subject that approaches the absurd.

Years ago I encountered this in the IRC linux help channel. I was engaged in
a conversation about a particular set of tools when I voiced the opinion
that tools for managing Linux systems needed to be given interfaces for the
average user. I was shocked when I was immediately kicked and banned from
the channel for this. The channel owner then sent me a scorchingly hot
private message informing me that what I was endorsing was the opposite of
the spirit of Linux and would not be tolerated. He ended his message with a
note about how Linux was going to take over and kill Microsoft.

I found this a laughable dichotomy.

Here this individual was waging war on an enemy, and was with zealous fervor
believing he would inevitably win. However he had his head in the sand about
using tools that would assist in drawing believers to his cause.

In the entire course of history I cannot think of a case where someone has
built a following by telling everyone new to it that they are stupid.

This "technorati/Intelligencia" attitude seems to have permeated the Linux
community, and in my opinion it must be purged if we want Linux to cross
over into the average user community. You cannot attract people to your
cause if you castigate anyone who asks a question you feel is beneath being
answered, or asks a question improperly. In the time it takes to type "RTFM
you stupid noob!" or "Google is your friend", you could just as easily type
"try 'man <subject>', I think it's in there". By doing so you help them get
their answer, teach them a valuable tool for finding answers, and give them
a positive impression of the Linux community.

If people are rude in demanding bug fixes, changes or features, I have found
it's best to politely remind them that free software isn't really free, it's
just paid for by the people who develop it. "They pay with their time,
effort and skills so you don't have to pay with your income. So you have to
be respectful of them so they will continue to develop for you. I realize
this is frustrating, but on average open source software addresses bugs and
upgrades faster than commercial solutions do".

In essence, if you do a good job for someone they will tell one or two
people. But if you do a bad job, or you are rude, they will tell EVERYONE,
and they certainly won't come back.

In my opinion, the haughty attitude of many long term Linux users has been
the #1 impediment to the spread of Linux. In fact, I think Linux succeeds
_in spite of_ the Linux user support community, not because of it.

Let's change that. Ubuntu and their user forums proves it can be done.
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