Focus to Folly in 3.6 pages - A Microcosm of the Linux Community?

Posted by helios on Apr 16, 2007 12:56 PM EDT
LXer.com; By Roger Danielson
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It started out well, someone agreed with it, someone didn't, the first someone defended his position, the second someone did the same. And on it went. However I noticed a phenomenon that is not uncommon in Linux forums. By the end of the discussion and at that point in time, it ran just short of 4 pages. The conversation had went from the topic at hand to the subject of zebras and virgins. Now you tell me how that happened.

I am going to make a statement that will immediately disqualify me in the minds of many. I am a New Linux User. New being relative of course. I attended my 13 year old daughter's extra-curricular class one evening. It was a "Linux Lab" held by some group I had never heard of. And I am going to be honest. I went with her so I could verify that indeed she was going to school, the event she said she was going to and to see what the heck Linux was. And why does Linux need it's own lab.

Today my home computers, my business and my grown children's computers are running Linux. More importantly, I have become an advocate of Linux and a friend to the man that taught that "Linux Lab". His name is Ken Starks and he is the guy who operates Lobby4Linux.com. When I met him, I had no idea of who he was or that he held any measure of Celebrity. As far as being a Celebrity, I don't think he knows it either. Not to talk to him anyway. My point here is straying. Now that I am an advocate of this Linux Thing, I have been paying particular attention to a project called The Tux 500. Not to my surprise at all, I found that Ken Starks or "helios" is neck-deep in it himself. Once I discovered that, my interest in Tux 500 doubled.

I have spent the past two evenings combing the internet for news about this project. It is a lively discussion to say the least. No one it seems is without an opinion on the matter and it is even being talked about now outside the Linux Community. I don't know how you guys do the little magic trick where a few words appear with a line under them and that turns into a link. I said I was new at this. The places I have seen it talked about is on a website called speedTV and the actual indianapolis 500 website itself. To see "Tux" on the front of a non-linux site is exciting in itself. But let me tell you what is not.

In trying to gather information about what sites are talking a out this, I have found that the distro forums are doing their share of it. This is where the title to this article comes from. I "googled" Tux500 Linux and one of the links took me to the Fedora forum. Since the lead-in sounded interesting, I followed the link and began reading about their opinions on Tux 500.

It started out well, someone agreed with it, someone didn't, the first someone defended his position, the second someone did the same. And on it went. However I noticed a phenomenon that is not uncommon in Linux forums. By the end of the discussion and at that point in time it ran just short of 4 pages. The conversation had went from the topic at hand to the subject of zebras and virgins. Now you tell me how that happened.

I know this community is diverse. That is one of the things that draws it to me but for the love of Pete folks. It's obvious that many of you do not realize the impact this project can have on Linux. Many of you are getting lost in the seemingly large amount of money talked about. Some of you are talking about "ROI" (return of investment). What Bob, Ted and Ken are doing here has nothing to do with traditional rules and outcomes the financial world would normally be interested in. Look at it this way. Many of you are saying "word of mouth has worked just fine, don't mess with it". Oh yeah? The last time I looked, Microsoft still had a 90 percent plus market share on the operating systems in the world. Just how good is "word of mouth" working for us?

Focus people, focus. It was said well on the Mepis forums. If you don't agree with this project, that's your right but don't work against it. You can disagree all day. But as Ken says more plainly on the front page of Lobby4Linux. "If you are not going to help, please get out of my way." We need to keep our eye on the ball here. Bob Moore, the guy who started this whole thing says it plainly. If only 1 percent of the community gives a single dollar to this effort, it WILL get done. So you disagree. Fine, but don't do what many of you are doing and actively attempt to damage this effort. That can come back to cause you grief later. Your thoughts and quotes are a record for all to see. As a successful business man in Austin Texas, I have learned a valuable lesson. You shouldn't get in the way of a man who is trying to do the right thing. They remember who supported them and who didn't. Given the things Ken has done for the Linux Community, I wouldn't want to be known as someone who "got in his way."

Roger Danielson
Badger Home Inspection Services
Austin, Texas

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Tux 500 GnuGuy 16 1,458 Apr 27, 2007 11:00 AM

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