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Hacker Humor: Evolution of a Linux User

From: Nev Dull <nev@bostic.com>
Forwarded-by: "Muli B.Y." <mulix@ibm.net>

James Baughn wrote:

Evolution Of A Linux User
November 28, 1999

During the past year, the scientists in Humorix's Vast Research Lab Of
Doom have studied the behavior and attitude of the typical Windows and Linux user. They have found that the average Linux user goes through ten stages of development from a "Microserf" to an "Enlightened Linux User". An eleventh stage, "Getting A Life", has also been observed, but only on extremely rare occasions.

The 11 stages of evolution are summarized below. Note, however, that this life cycle is not universal. Many pundits, Microsoft stock holders, and PHBs never advance beyond Stage 0 ("Microserf"). Moreover, many extreme Slashdot addicts are stuck between Stages 6 and 7 ("Linux Zealot") and never evolve to Stage 9 ("Enlightened Linux User"). And, unfortunately, far too many people are unable to leave Stage 8 ("Back to Reality") and achieve Geek Self-Actualization due to problems outside of their control.

STAGE 0. MICROSERF

You are the number one member of the Bill Gates fan club. Your life revolves around x86 computers running the latest version of Microsoft solutions: Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Visual Basic, and even Bob. You have nothing but hate for those eccentric Mac weenies with their click-n-drool interfaces and those stone-age Unix oldtimers with their archaic command lines.

You frequently send angry letters to your elected representative about Microsoft's "freedom to innovative". You think lawyers are evil (unless they are defending innovative companies like Microsoft). You own an autographed copy of a book that was ghostwritten by Bill Gates. Your blood boils when somebody forwards you a so-called Microsoft "joke" by email.

In short, you are a Microserf.

STAGE 1. FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, DOUBT... ABOUT MICROSOFT

Your world-view begins to sour as you encounter a growing number of annoyances with Microsoft products. The number of Blue Screens increases, however you ascribe the problem (at first) to conflicts with poorly written drivers that came with your peripherals. Icons keep jumping around the desktop unpredicatably. You spend 30 minutes one day idly searching for an obscure configuration option in the Control Panel.

Slowly but surely, you begin to have doubts about the quality of Microsoft software. Then, the Microsoft Network, to which you have dutifully subscribed since 1995, begins to double bill your credit card. You attempt to rectify the problem, but are stymied by the burgeoning bureaucracy of Microsoft's Customer Support Department. Fear sets in... will you get your money back?

Meanwhile, something called "Linux" appears on the fringe of your radar. You immediately dismiss the idea of a viable and quality Microsoft alternative (Linux is Unix-based and therefore must suck, you conclude). Nevertheless, you wish something could be done for some of the annoyances in Windows. But you do nothing about it.

STAGE 2. FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, DOUBT... ABOUT LINUX

You keep hearing about this Linux thing, and Open Source, and Apache, and FreeBSD as well. One of your friends installs Linux and says, "It's cool, dude!" You discover that the selection of Windows books at your local bookstore has remained constant while the Linux and Unix books are multiplying like rabbits. You argue, "Well, this just means Linux sucks... if there was such a large demand for it, there wouldn't be many books on shelves."

Nevertheless, as time wears on and Windows becomes more fragile, the temptation to give Linux a try becomes more and more irresistable. While at your local SuperMegaOfficeSupplyStore, you pick up a boxed version of Red Hat on impulse.

With much hubris, you completely ignore the documentation and attempt to install the OS by the seat of your pants. The installation is a failure; Linux simply cannot work with the WinModem, WinSoundCard, WinIDEController, WinPrinter, WinMonitor, and WinDRAM that came with your "Windows 98 Ready" machine from CompUSSR. You don't realize this however, since you didn't read the FAQs and HOWTOs. You immediately blame the problems on Linux and give up. You ditch your Red Hat copy by selling it on eBay.

After the installation fiasco, you leave fearful, uncertain, and doubtful
about this "alternative" operating system. Windows may have its problems, but Microsoft will fix them in the next upgrade, you reckon.

More evolution of a Linux user--->>


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