RE: Linux

Subject: RE: Linux
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: techwr-l digest recipients <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 10:11:24 -0700

Humbird, LenX" <lenx -dot- humbird -at- intel -dot- com> wrote:

>The problem with the pronunciation of the word "Linux" is a fundamental
>reflection of the entire UNIX industry: there are a lot of flavors out there
>and you never know who's right.

Jokes aside, the fact that there can be so much discussion about
such a trivial point says something important about Linux: it's
not just an operating system like Windows. It's a whole
subculture, or at least a philosophy about work and high-tech. It
even has a name: the free software movement or the open source

Like all sub-cultures, it uses language and jargon to help define
who's in and who's out. When a young geek in the User Friendly
strip faces the hard choice about whether to use vi or emacs, you
can tell who belong and who doesn't by who finds the comment
funny. Similarly, you can tell who belongs to your corner of the
community by how they pronounce "Linux."

Also, an important part of this culture is its informality and
its interactiveness. Everybody in a project expects to be
consulted (although they may not have the final say), and
everybody the community feels free to give an opinion. That's why
quoting Linus Torvalds on the pronounciation of "Linux" is beside
the point: the community respects Torvalds, but nobody
necessarily listens to him. Much of the community disagrees with
his defence of intellectual property in discussion of the
Napster/Gnutella debate, and just the other day, Richard Stallman
critized him for working on proprietary software at Transmeta.

Needless to say, these sorts of attitudes can cause hemmorhoids
in the anal-retentive. In the end, however, if you're going to
dabble in Linux, you'll have to get used to them.

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com | Tel: 604.421.7189

"And when I moved upon them down a byway,
Bathed and annointed, sweet with oil of rose,
They blanched, for they had left me on the highway
Covered with blood and with a broken nose."
- Roy Daniells, "Psalm 23"

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