31
Jul
08

LUG Spat

Originally, this was going to be a bitchfest about how I got kicked off the SF-LUG mailing list. The day after that incident, it became clear that I hadn’t been kicked off the list, although I haven’t bothered to find out if I’m still allowed to post. The whole thing was brought about over one of those “Linux devs should do X if they want more marketshare” conversations.

I wasn’t going to out the list maintainer at first, but I don’t think he really needs nor deserves the anonymity. (I also don’t get the sort of traffic that makes any kind of difference, but that’s a different story.) In short, the original topic had to do with high-level UI in and between various Linux distros. These consistency issues mostly stem from differences in philosophy between different projects like Gnome, KDE, Xfce, various upgrade managers like apt or package formats like .deb or .rpm.

Since it was just a friendly discussion lacking any trolls, the list owner, Rick Moen, apparently decided to step in and play the part of the troll himself. It started off fairly badly:

Quoting Paul Ward:

I think the problem is there’s no consistency for people used to the Windows or OS X experience.

You see a problem; I see something merely being itself. Ain’t
perspectives grand?

The big reason why I bought a Mac in 2002 was because OS X 10.2 on a powerbook was just that much of a better experience than I was having with either Linux or Windows on a series of PC laptops, plus it had the unix-y stuff that I had come to love!

Oddly enough, the big reason why I prefer to run Xubuntu rather than OS
X on my Macs is that OS X’s implementation of Unix sucks at nearly every
level. (I’ve used nearly every MacOS version going back to 1984, by the
way.)

What I’m trying to say is that for people who want to try linux, but are in between the levels of propellerhead and techtard, a lot of that low-level consistency has to make its way to the high level GUIs.

Funny thing: Just about every time someone says Linux “has to” do
something or other, he or she turns out to be factually mistaken. What
you appear to mean is: You would personally prefer that a vast
community of people whose paycheques you do not sign _change_ what they’re
doing at a very fundamental level, to do things in the way that you
imagine is best, probably (I would speculate) while having an at best
uncertain understanding of the details of what they do.

I hope that works for you, but I’ve honestly never seen it work for
anyone else, in the entire history of software.

And just degenerated from that point. I ended up getting this:

Anyhow, sorry, but I’m a bit busy today to even spend time reading OS-advocacy essays, which among other problems have nothing whatever to do with what I posted about before Bruce Coston suddenly gave the topic a huge yank in some random direction and then you appear to have done likewise. (No offence intended, but I have absolutely no reason to care what operating systems you or pretty nearly anyone else like and why.)

And then get get to this point:

The point is that it would be very nice if there was (a lot) more unity in the way that distros, particularly ones that purport to be mainstream products, like Ubuntu.

Actually, I think that’s quite obviously false — your “unity” is my my
“dumb inflexibility solely to cater to people unwilling to learn
anything new” — but good luck with that. (I remember the sheer
irritation value of dealing with visiting Apple “Human Interface Guidelines”
inspectors, when I worked at a cross-platform development house, back in
the day.

Which finally ends after I call his last comment an ass-tastic response to which Rick responds:

OK, we’re done. You’ll need to talk to procmail, going forward

I fully admit to being baited and not rising above it, but give me a fucking break. If Rick didn’t have time to get involved, why the fuck did he feel the need to not only get involved, but take over the entire conversation, act like a 13 year old troll, and then unilaterally shut down the conversation? What’s clear to me is that not only is Rick a fully ordained member of the Holy Fraternity of IT Douchebags, but he feels as if his tools should not be sullied by the unworthy members of the public.

I mean, is it really that big of a deal to ask the major distros that are trying to get mainstream marketshare right now to cooperate with each other, at least a little bit? I’m not suggesting that they all decide on single standards (OMFG, the horror), but to at least support each other’s standards, so you don’t need to worry if you can run an rpm on your system or not. There are those who, like Rick, have absolutely nothing to do but play with their machines, and then there’s everyone else, for whom their computer(s) are tools for getting other work done.

Computers are tools, nothing more. Yes, I’m aware of what a general-purpose device is, but that doesn’t change the fact that you shouldn’t need to know how to write a config file in /etc to use a computer. Should you know how to do that and why you should? Hell yeah! But that goes in the list of things you should know as a member of US society, like changing a tire, how an engine works, fixing a bike, growing vegetables, etc. These are all things you should know, but don’t really need to know. Rick’s attitude that people who are too stupid to use computers like he does simply shouldn’t is itself one of the most stupid comments I’ve read. And I’ve recently read a couple of Rob Enderle columns.

Rick’s shitty attitude towards differing opinions on virtually any subject makes the list a pain sometimes, and is the reason why I stopped participating. Its just not worth dealing with such an immature and hostile person, especially when the subject is just not that important.

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