After many attempts to load Debian GNU/Linux onto an old machine of mine, I gave up. LILO, or the LInux LOader, wasn’t working. This was related to drive geometry and the system’s antiquated BIOS. On a whim, I decided yesterday that I would load FreeBSD onto the box. This would give me an opportunity to try out Microsoft’s SSCLI code named Rotor, and learn yet another OS.
The installation went fine. Granted, I restarted the install three times, but that’s because I didn’t think I had the drives configured properly. All said and done, the install went quite well. In fact, it was much easier than Debian. The FreeBSD install requires in two floppies for a network install compared to Debian’s six.
Once loaded, I discovered that FreeBSD’s default security policies are much stricter than that of it’s cousin. As a result, my regular login account was not allowed to su root, and root was denied access to the box via SSH. This is where I started to discover the l33t’ness that is FreeBSD.
I’ve found in the past that top echelon of Debian users (and Linux in general) tended to look down on those just starting out. This is most evident on #debian on irc.openprojects.net. For whatever reason, I cannot understand why it’s such a crime to be a “newbie” at anything having to do with computers, *nix in particular. Not only that, but when I asked questions in #debian, that had to do with the difficulty I was having with my latest Debian install, they immediately assumes I was a newbie, and treated me as such.
OK, so I was accustomed to it. I encountered the same treatment a year and a half ago when I installed my first Debian machine, and certainly wasn’t going to let it get to me. So, tonight while Meg was putting Jordyn down, and I was watching Jerry eat, I felt it a good time to ask some questions in regards to my new FreeBSD machine.
I figure, with FreeBSD being free, there would be #freebsd on OpenProjects, and sure enough, I was right. Guess what? Not only was I met with the usual newbie responses, it was in fact, quite worse. I didn’t even have to ask a question before I realized what I was lying in wait. The channel topic is “By entering #freebsd you agree to RTFH, RTFM, and RTFW. || http://www.freebsd.org || http://www.google.com/bsd”. How about that?
My generalized response to those such acronyms is OMG, SMD, and GFY. I don’t know why they just don’t wrap the channel in barbed wire and post a sign that says “Keep Out”. Not only that, but I asked a question to whether or not Postfix, Procmail, and Cyrus-IMAP was included in the list of FreeBSD ported applications, and I was met with a belittling response about how I was stupid for using them. I didn’t even ask this guy for his opinion, and there I was being berated by someone I didn’t even know.
I have found, since I installed Linux for the first time, that the Open Source community is very elitist in nature. What on Earth for? My generalized impression of an open source developer is a middle aged loser that still lives in their parent’s basement and works at Pizza Hut (part time no less). Of course they can spend every waking minute coding free software, they only have to be able to afford Penguin mints and ThinkGeek.com t-shirts. I, on the other hand, actually have to make a living, and therefore, I code for money.
Not only do I code for money, but I code for food. I think that these “l33t g33ks” forget that computers weren’t invented for the betterment of man, they were invented so someone could make more money. Software patents? Absolutely. If I spend my time slaving away, especially time that I could be with my family, on an application, then dammit, I better get all the loot I can from it. Oh, and yes, I will make all efforts to reap maximum profits from all advanced in the computer sciences. But I digress.
This brings me back to the big question, “Why is it not OK to be a newbie?” Even the true l33t, and that’s Larry Wall, had to be a newbie at some point. I have to admit that on #C#/EFNet, we may rib a newbie, but never lambast them. What, is free Unix some sort of fraternity? Do I have to prove my worth, or my allegiance before I can be allowed into their secret society. I have a secret handshake for that, and it involves the middle finger. I’m proud to admit that I pray to the church of Microsoft. Bill Gates is on my hero list along with William Shockley, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison, oh yeah, and Reggie Jackson.
You want to give you software away for free? Be my guest, but if I have a question, then don’t blow me off. If these OS’es where commercial products, A. they’d probably cost $10K per license, and B., we’d have documentation and support, but we don’t. Mailing lists and IRC channels, and Google, are our only savior when it comes to using them. So please don’t blow me off when I have a question. Thanks.