[nSLUG] On irrelevant linux questions and taking things seriously

Ben Armstrong synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
Wed Apr 11 09:20:02 ADT 2007

On Wed, 11 Apr 2007 00:42:14 -0300
"D G Teed" <donald.teed at gmail.com> wrote:
> This is why I say that the real potential in open source and marketing
> isn't to be found in a handful of geeks who like to tweak their own,
> and can find everything they need on the net.  The type of
> person who will use open source based products like the above
> and spend their money, quite likely has no zeal for the concepts
> of open source.

Sure.  This is serious business.  And if I were a serious sort of person,
I'd be miffed at those who apparently miss the great true potential of
Linux, preferring to sit around and reminisce about the "glory days" too.
But damnit, Donald, I'm a hobbyist as well as a professional and I *do*
like to reminisce.  So shoot me.

> Doing a marketing survey within this group to find a business case
> is barking up the wrong tree.

Absolutely.  That's why I posted my followup questioning the validity of
the study.  But rather than just squash the study, which so far as I can
see is firstly a bit of harmless fun and secondly, the potential beginnings
of a more serious inquiry into the impact of Linux on the marketplace, I
just wanted to gently redirect the OP to the real issues.

> Oddly enough, the above hardware product can be a commercial success,
> or HP can attribute $25 million in hardware sales to their support of
> Debian, and yet the commercial importance of Debian remains invisible.

Oddly enough?  No, this is just as it should be.  Why should the world
outside those of us who are working behind the scenes care?  I don't need
the commercial importance of Debian to be visible to motivate me to work
on it.  I certainly enjoy it when Debian does make a commercial impact,
am proud of it, and want to encourage more of it, but that isn't my
motivation for working on it.  I don't make my living with Linux, so I
have the luxury of leaving those issues up to other people to solve.

> Based on this pattern, when Linux (or Plan 9, or Minux...) does
> become commonplace, it is doubtful people will understand why
> LUGs existed.  "It just works, what do you mean
> they used to run install fests?," etc.
> In 30 years time, we will be like the old timers you might see in the
> summer,
> demonstrating how a vintage steam engine operates a hay thrasher.

And what's wrong with that?  Those "old timers" have an appreciation for
quality and a passion for their hobby.  Linux is my hobby, I love it, and
I take *great* pleasure in operating my "hay thrasher" by "steam engine".
But I don't drive a tractor to work, and I don't quite have one foot in
the grave yet.  I am still dreaming big dreams for Debian for kids, still
am passionately working on it, and if some of that eventually makes an
impact on the marketplace, great!  If my individual contributions are not
recognized when that time comes, so what?  I had fun doing it.  That was
its own reward.

> I'm not a cynic, I just have a longer view of this, and in it, huddling
> around brands and favs has little relevance, just as posting everyone's
> KDE desktop screenshot to this list, or setting up a grub bootsplash
> on a corporate server would be something I'd want to avoid.

Huddling around ... ?  Oh, that takes it!  Donald, please, please get some
perspective.  Useless polls about favourite Linux distros is stock and
trade for LUGs.  I wholeheartedly agree that to the extent that we indulge
in such things it is "useless", at least from a "marketplace potential"
point of view.  But I think you are taking this group way too seriously.
Go back and read the posts of appreciation in this thread where people
stated plainly what they actually got out of the discussion.  When you're
done that: relax, let your hair down, have some fun!

p.s. For those who like useless, irrelevant polls about Linux distros *and*
engaging in reminiscing about the glory days in one fell swoop, see:


 ,-.  nSLUG    http://www.nslug.ns.ca   synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
 \`'  Debian   http://www.debian.org    synrg at debian.org
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