[sf-lug] monster opensource article, last night's Drive of the Penguins

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Apr 12 13:13:39 PDT 2006

Quoting Lx Rudis (lx_rudis at sbcglobal.net):

> probably the most important thing i heard was from one
> of the students, kyle.  he shared that sometimes he
> feels intimidated when asking questions about Linux on
> mail lists.

That's why I feel it's so vital to post like a Grade A dumbass, at least
one out of every five posts.  (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  ;-> )

> kyle, a self-admitted noob probably offered the most
> sophisticated issue of the evening - the importance of
> asking questions, no matter how 'dumb' they may seem.

Just remember Will Strunk's advice to his students, as quoted 
in _Elements of Style_:  

  It is encouraging to see how perfectly a book, even a dusty rule
  book, perpetuates and extends the spirit of a man. Will Strunk loved
  the clear, the brief, the bold, and his book is clear, brief, bold.
  Boldness is perhaps its chief distinguishing mark. On page 26,
  explaining one of his parallels, he says, "The lefthand version gives
  the impression that the writer is undecided or timid, apparently
  unable or afraid to choose one form of expression and hold to it." And
  his original Rule 11 was "Make definite assertions." That was Will all
  over.  He scorned the vague, the tame, the colorless, the irresolute.
  He felt it was worse to be irresolute than to be wrong. I remember a
  day in class when he leaned far forward, in his characteristic pose
  the pose of a man about to impart a secret and croaked, "If you don't
  know how to pronounce a word, say it loud! If you don't know how to
  pronounce a word, say it loud!" This comical piece of advice struck me
  as sound at the time, and I still respect it. Why compound ignorance
  with inaudibility? Why run and hide?

The main way I've always learned about Linux was doing and saying dumb
things and learning from them -- including destroying my entire system
with one badly chosen root-user command.  If you're so afraid of being 
wrong, or of looking ignorant or foolish as to be timid about it, you're
actually _much_ more likely to be and remain that way.

Go forth and blunder.

> jim is my hero.

He da' MAN.

"Is it not the beauty of an asynchronous form of discussion that one can go and 
make cups of tea, floss the cat, fluff the geraniums, open the kitchen window 
and scream out it with operatic force, volume, and decorum, and then return to 
the vexed glowing letters calmer of mind and soul?" -- The Cube, forum3000.org

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