Linux Snobs

I didn’t actually get rapped on the knuckles for this post, but I expected it and was surprised that it never came. It restored my hopes that Linux snobbery was on the wane – except perhaps in some corners of the Debian / Arch / Gentoo communities, perhaps. I am really bothered by Linux snobbery, probably more than normal. Perhaps because:

  • I was an adult, a husband, career firefighter, and father of two before I overcame my own technophobia enough to even try Linux, just to avoid buying a new computer to replace an aging heap that I couldn’t afford to throw away.
  • When I finally got up the courage and installed my first Linux distro, I was feeling not only accomplished and exhilarated, but also proud that I had given new life to my computer. Even my family was impressed, and that ain’t easy!
  • So when I mentioned it on a Linux forum I had joined just because it seemed like a sensible precaution to take being a novice, imagine my surprise to find arrogant hostility! Not from Windows users who thought I had lost my mind, but from arrogant, snobby, jerkweed Linux users who chided me for using “a kiddie distro,” Ubuntu. Apparently a few other Ubuntu users had been chased away by the same elitist attitude.

But Linux elitism is ultimately self-defeating if you think about it. Microsoft knows it. Apple knows it. That’s why they market their products to kids. They know kids love gadgets. They don’t care if kids learn the inner workings of those gadgets, they just exploit kids for their interest in having the coolest and most fun gadgets. But GNU/Linux and open-source software and hardware depends on future coders, engineers, and geeks that are not driven just to be cool, but to be geeky and creative. Don’t put down their mom and dad for using a “kiddie distro.” Instead help their parents pique their kids’ interest in contributing to something with more noble and global impact potential. And let the kids play.

So here’s a grownup’s really fun-looking eye candy on a “kiddie distro” that I think can encourages the next generation of wonderful geeks and coders that can keep open-source alive and competing with it’s proprietary rivals.

That’s a custom Conky display going on in the upper right part of the screen. And while “wobbly windows” is nothing new, it’s no less cool. That silly stuff could keep me in front of the computer longer than the tedium of just doing work. Even grownups gotta play sometimes. And if kids know their mom or dad made such cool stuff all by themselves, they’ll want to learn it too.

So, Linux snobs, consider what you do when you see “kid stuff” on “kiddie distros.” And shut up.

8 thoughts on “Linux Snobs

    1. An OS which you can turn on, install professional graphics or video editing software easily via navigating though a installation wizard and get to work in a few minutes whithout typing in a console and searching for commands through the internet? Oh wait… you can’t do that on Linux.

      Look, I love Linux. I get excited when I hear about new achievements in it’s developement. But please, don’t try to tell people they don’t use a REAL OS, when they need just a platform where they can run a software they need to use to do their job. A musician, artist, hell even a 3D artist doesn’t necesarily want to fiddle with consoles and all the other crap they have to look up on the internet. It’s enough for them that they learned the sofware needed to do their job. For some people the computer is just a tool. They don’t need or want to spend time learning more about it.

      OS snobber is childish and is one of the main reasons why progress in Linux is staggered.


      1. Wow what a blast from the past. Stanley thanks for reading the post Robin wrote about Linux. Now having said that, when is the last time you installed Linux? Have you looked at some of the video editing software that is available for Linux. Did you know most use an installation wizard? Last time I used a console to install anything it was to past a script that Calibre said was the easiest way to update the program. But I could have installed it via a wizard.

        Second the people I tell this are my IT people at work who love Linux but because of deals made by upper management are forced to use Windows for networking. True story; before the company I am working for was bought out by a larger company we ran everything on Linux servers, we were never hacked and our instances of virus infestation was minimal. When we were purchased the first thing they did was tear out the Linux server and replace it with Microsoft server. We were then hacked and a fairly nasty virus hit our email. The IT people worked overtime to fix all of it.

        So I can site plenty of other things but I won’t. And musicians, artists, ( my son is an artist) will use whatever they’ve been taught on and if it is gimp on a Linux machine then that is what they want to use. ( or Mac for that matter as other artist friends swear by ).

        Nice talking to you Stanley.


      2. Oh, I have no doubts about the superiority of Linux servers.

        The last time I installed Linux was about a week ago and the same problems occured. Try using a not so popular piece of software or hardware, for that matter. See how those wizards work for you.

        And about art and GIMP. For basic things, sure. But for industry standarts in concept art for example. Very very unlikely. But I wasn’t even talking about the lack of software. In the end, if we have to be honest, GIMP and Krita have the potential to become professional. My point about creative people was that they don’t necesarily want to learn how to operate Linux to fix all the problems they have with their software and hardware drivers. Although, it’s easy to call them names, I believe that is the reason, many of them prefer Mac.

        Oh, and I’m really happy that your son is interested in arts! I hope we someday get to see his work. (Maybe I should’ve mentioned that I’m working in design.)

        And I’d like to say this one more time, I love Linux. I’m not bashing it or it’s user base. I’m bashing the mentality of overlooking the latter’s problems.

        It was nice talking to you as well, Keachfan.

        PS: I must admit, you’re absolutely right about video editing. DaVinci Resolve Studio and even Blender are some serious pieces of software!


  1. The “kiddie distro comments” that you have experienced comes from the fact, that many feel like Canonical, the company who created Ubuntu, has sold out the Linux community, just like Red Hat did years ago. Linux users are generally snobs for a reason. Anytime someone comes in and tries to reinvent the wheel, you get this kind of response. You mentioned the Debian, Arch, and Gentoo communities. All of those communities have taken a beating by the older distributions for years before you came around. Ubuntu is a Debian variant, whose creators have tried to corner the Linux market by adding tons of bells and whistles, that make it easier for the average Joe to use Linux, but leave them in the dark, when it comes to understanding and fixing the problems associated with Linux.

    Yes, there are elitist attitudes, I will admit I have it as well. Many of those of us who are elitist, feel like that while Linux can be learned by everyone, it is not understood by everyone, nor is it for everyone.

    Many Windows users demand and expect Linux to look, run and feel like Windows. They try to use Microsoft Windows logic to justify this.

    Former Windows users expect a higher level of technical support than what the experienced Linux expert is willing to give for free.

    Imagine being in a Linux forum and day in and day out, “How do I do install wine? or How do I run World of Warcraft in Linux?, or my favorite. Where is the help window?”. It can get tedious, repetitive, and annoying to the Linux experts. They are there to answer the HARD questions, not the ones that can be Googled or read in the Linux-HOWTO documents installed in MOST Linux systems.

    The elitist Linux users, like myself, expect those who are using Linux, to LEARN Linux. They also expect those same users, to remember, that Linux is a LEARNING OS. It is so you can learn to efficiently use your computer and configure it to run at its maximum potential.

    Linux is also about freedom…Not about being free. The freedom to know what goes in your computer, and to make that choice for yourself, and not have some company make that choice for you.

    I was once a new user like yourself, many years ago, and believe me, the Linux community was smaller, and more arrogant then it is today.

    The Gentoo, Arch, Debian, and Slackware communities have been around a while, and feel like Ubuntu and Red Hat have tried to expand the Linux market to people who are not ready for it. I’m not saying you are not ready, but I am saying, this snobbery comes from being hit over the head over and over again by former Windows users with basic questions that Google, and the Linux HOWTOs generally answer.

    I wish you luck on your Linux journey and hope you find it to be enlightening to the true power of Linux, what it means, and why you are experiencing these experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, puh-leeze, David, you sound like someone is forcing you to read and respond to newbie Linux questions in the forums at gunpoint. Your whole post is a great illustration of the topic of this article.

      I won’t dismantle your argument in detail, mostly because I am in too lazy a mood, but here are a few points:

      “Former Windows users expect a higher level of technical support than what the experienced Linux expert is willing to give for free.”

      While this may be true for some former Windows users, I think what most are looking for are definitive answers to the problems they are experiencing. In the Windows world, most things work out of the box. In the Linux world, you can experience a problem, do your damnedest to search the interwebs for a solution, and find about four-hundred post which ultimately turn out to be about twenty different answers. So, you try a few suggested solutions that seem the most likely to help, which involve opening a terminal, typing in commands you don’t really understand, downloading various things, and hoping. After the first several don’t work, you then worry you are going to seriously mess up your OS, and ask something like “How do I get this to work” on the forums. And you then get lambasted for your newbie ignorance, and often told why you should not even want this to work because it is a stupid thing that only an idiot would install.

      “The elitist Linux users, like myself, expect those who are using Linux, to LEARN Linux. They also expect those same users, to remember, that Linux is a LEARNING OS. It is so you can learn to efficiently use your computer and configure it to run at its maximum potential.”

      Many former Windows users are really trying to learn Linux. This is why we ask questions in the forums. If you really think we should learn Linux, you should be happy to help us, and remember that you were not born knowing it, and you shouldn’t berate us because we weren’t either.

      “I was once a new user like yourself, many years ago, and believe me, the Linux community was smaller, and more arrogant then it is today.”

      You say this, but you seem to have forgotten what it was really like while you were trying to learn. Maybe you took some computer science courses that included Linux back in the olden days, and so had an advantage. Maybe you didn’t. In any event, unless you are some kind of fricking mega-genius, you did not figure it all out on your own. You had help. Now that you know enough about it that you count yourself among the elite, you apparently don’t remember how hard you had to work to gain that knowledge. You look at other beginners, and say “You ignorant, lazy bastard.”

      One thing you should realize is that just because we former Windows users don’t immediately grasp Linux, it does not mean we are ignorant of computers in general. I, for example, built the machine I am typing on. Another thing is that most people who are “experts” in anything who hang around forums answering questions only do so because it makes them feel good about themselves. And this, I submit, is why you feel compelled to read and respond to newbie questions. It gives you a feeling of importance. All you have to do to stop being annoyed is to stop answering questions. And before you protest that what you are really there for is to answer the serious questions, please realize that the more serious and complex the question, the greater the feeling of smug accomplishment.


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