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De Coster on Linux Geeks

geeksGreat post:

Open Letter to Linux Geeks

Posted by Karen De Coster on September 10, 2009 06:48 AM

Dear Linux Geeks:

You drive me crazy.

Though I am being facetious, I am also being practical. Please don’t write me and tell me how great Linux is, why I should run it, and why it is libertarian, just because I published this article on PC vs Mac. Fact is, every single time I have ever mentioned something about Mac or PCs or NetBooks, in a blog post or article, because I thought it was an interesting point, Linux Heads jump right on the ‘convert-her’ bandwagon, and so I get tons of email from Linux enthusiasts/hobbyists telling me that Linux is my only means to technology heaven.

Why is it that Linux geeks don’t get it? Do you guys not read the part about service – my needs – in my article? I am really, really trying to appreciate your thoughts (and I do), however, you have no idea how many Linux people (dozens and dozens) write me and tell me to “run Linux.” These people always seem to ignore the opportunity costs – after all, resources, such as time, are limited.

I can appreciate that Linux is your hobby, and I am sure it’s downright fantastic. I have a full-time job and a business. Between my job, my business, all my hobbies/passions, and family stuff, my days are filled to the brim. I don’t want to pour myself into another hobby that I don’t have time for, and I don’t want to be a Linux expert. There is a major opportunity cost to becoming a Linux geek/expert, and that is, I have to stop doing other things I have chosen to take up, or I have to learn to get by with no sleep each day (a tad difficult). Is this not obvious?

Though I am a fairly advanced computer user compared to most people, I don’t want a souped up Mac with wheelie bars and aluminum heads, and I don’t want to spend hours “playing” with it. I don’t want to rebuild my PC (or learn to do it) to accommodate advanced computer geekery. I want to be able to run the software/programs/add-ons that are suitable for my purposes and make my life/business/hobbies more accommodating and enjoyable. And only I have the inside scoop on my needs.

Some day, if I should win a lottery or sell a profitable start-up (that I don’t even yet have) for millions of dollars, and no longer have to work for a living, perhaps then I could take up the Linux/computer geek hobby and join you all in Anarcho-LinuxLand. I would probably love it. But until then, I am forced to obtain the services of others to do some of my “dirty work.” Every once in a while it is entirely necessary to invoke the division of labor concept and let someone else provide service for a product that I don’t have time to invent, build, rebuild, and/or maintain. Or perhaps someday I can afford to hire a ‘Linux Butler’ to build, tinker with, and maintain my household full of Linux machines?

Of course, you know I am jesting ’bout all this, because I happen to know that Linux folks tend to be very resourceful, independent people who are the opposite of the helpless masses. But we resourceful folks all have our specialties that we choose to focus on, which is why I don’t tell people to learn to do their own S-Corp taxes, or take up, say, cycling, and put in a zillion miles per week, like I do. But, that said, don’t tell me to run Linux when I make it clear that I’m not in a position to be a full-time geek, that is, unless you can move into my home and become the household Linux Butler at very cheap rates that hover close to zero.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • KDC September 10, 2009, 10:14 am

    I am still getting emails from people who are PISSED that I refuse to choose Linux. How crazy are these people? Even after reading WHY I like Mac (service, tutoring, service, tutoring, and service).

  • Jason Ditz September 10, 2009, 11:31 am

    If it makes anyone feel better I’ve got a new computer coming this afternoon, and I’m installing Linux on it as soon as it arrives.

  • twv September 10, 2009, 6:03 pm

    The Mac experience is too easy and too beautiful for me to SWITCH to Linux. I’ve long flirted with the idea of exploring Linux, but like Kinsella and De Coster, I haven’t the time. I DO things with my computers; I’m not really in the DOING THINGS TO computer biz any longer.

    Still, I wish all the best to Linux users. But I say this as an Anabaptist might bless a Jew: in part to save his soul, but mainly to spite the Catholics.

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