Linux Gurus and the ability of a student to burn them out.

Posted by vorkragresh on Apr 14, 2007 8:24 PM EDT
LXer.com; By Brett L. Antoine
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Sometimes a "student" and/or friend can become so dependent on the knowledge base of their teacher/friend that they become not only an annoyance but can drive you away from enjoying your computer time altogether.

[A good article about learning when to stand on your own written by one of our readers. - Scott]

This article on Digg

I unfortunately AM that student/friend. For many years my best friend has been working with and learning the ins and outs of Slackware Linux. For most of that time I was apathetic about the OS to say the least. I had fiddled with it once or twice but never really understood, nor wanted to take the time to understand it as a whole. In the last few years I have moved away from where I lived in San Diego to a much more rural area, and have become very much interested in the Slackware OS and the Linux community as a whole. As the operator of a small home based computer sales and service company, I have begun to build a small but growing local Linux community here in my area.

As the users see the stability, safety and cost effectiveness of the OS the system sales increase by word of mouth only advertising. Unfortunately as the business and my personal use of Linux grew, so did my dependency on my friends knowledge base. I am not completely dense, and was lucky enough to be "into" computers pretty much since their inception. Unfortunately, as can happen in any relationship, I got to the point that I took his friendship and the easy access to his help for granted. This continued for some time as I would pose a problem and he would spend hours, days or even as long as a week researching a problem that wasn't even his.

There came a time recently when he started to say things like "Hey, here is a link to a great how-to for Samba." or "I was looking for a good how-to for NFS setup and this one was the best one I found." And of course me being me, these subtle hints went unnoticed. Then came the fateful day when I asked him if he had had time to look over a list of items I had planned to send him and he said "No, I have been too busy fixing your problems with Samba, and SSH and NFS and video. When I go home I don't even want to Look at my computer."

This is one of those self realization moments where you say to yourself. Do I really have to right to call myself a friend to this person? It is at these moments when you look back and suddenly realize that you were completely dominating the persons time and taking advantage of his/her friendship because of your own laziness. An apology and a complete change of ideology was immediately forthcoming. I was lucky enough to have a friend that was good enough to accept my apology and move on. But keep this in mind the next time you think you cannot do something that you know a friend probably can. Do you REALLY need to ask him/her?, or should you just stop being dependent on them and solve it yourself.

Not a great Linux story I admit, but one I wanted to share with the community.

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» Read more about: Story Type: Editorial, LXer Features; Groups: Community, Linux, Slackware

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