[sf-lug] [LINUX USER QUESTIONAIRE] What makes a true Linux user?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jul 28 12:53:58 PDT 2009

Taking a more direct swing at the question posed:

Quoting Edward Janne (tigakub at mac.com):

> Question 1: What makes a true Linux user?

"Mu."  Your question cannot rightly be answered as posed, because it
rests on incorrect assumptions.

The concept of "true Linux user" comes across as assuming that Linux is
necessarily some sort of ideological cause.  This is not the case, and I
for one am really, really, _really_ tired of visitors assuming that it
is -- though the attitude has, thankfully, been refreshingly rare since
(1) the 1998 Netscape open-sourcing, (2) the shipment of Linux versions
of almost all SQL databases a couple of months later, and (3) the
revelation that corporate usage (among other places) of Linux and open
source was already very high and that they'd just not been telling the
truth about it.

So:  As several people have commented, Linux (meaning both the kernel
and the various distributions built on it) is a tool.  It has practical
value that benefits from long-term reliability on account of developer
culture, architecture, and legal considerations involving licensing.
There are undoubtedly a huge variety of other reasons some people
profess to like it, and reasons why other people profess to dislike it, 
including ideology (daft as that might be) or even liking or disliking
the colour of disc that it came on.  I.e., your notion of "group
identity" in this context, of shared normative values, is highly

Would you approach a bunch of users of Milwaukee Tools Sawzalls, and
ask them what a "true Sawzall user" is, and what their "group identity"
is like?  They'd look at you like you might be a little strange.

Like the Sawzall, Linux (distribution or kernel) is a powerful tool.[1]
Unlike the Sawzall, Linux is far, far more complex and flexible in
application; hence, you find Linux user groups and not Sawzall ones.

Therefore, imagine me looking at you like you might be a little strange.
But perhaps you'd like to reconsider the basis of your question.

[1] It also has, more famously, been compared to Milwaukee's Hole-Hawg:

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