a warning: this post begins with a request that is entirely hypocritical. i run a forum for gnu/linux, but it is rarely used and probably close to pointless.
im completely fed up with the gnu/linux community. for all the problems that gnu/linux has (its still better than windows) its nothing compared to its communities.
i think two words sums them all up perfectly:
the “friendliest” community i dare not name, as they troll the internet stalking all critics, and never leave them alone. they constantly drive their developers further and further from the support forums, to the point where the developers hide and/or are accused of doing things in secret (which is entirely untrue, incidentally. they are just trying to work in peace without the throngs of wankers.)
a caveat: i only get to know the forums dedicated to “easy” distros or minimal ones. all the fancy stuff: gentoo, lfs, pentest distros, firmware replacements– they might all be really nice people.
and of course, individuals. you can find those anywhere. on the “very friendly” distro forums, i spent half my time talking to nice people in pm. posting publically was absolutely pointless, everyone had their own ideas for applications and questions and tips and howtos, and i had mine, though i couldnt get past the “new breed” of fanboy. i was a regular from a decade ago, but i refused to say which one, and no one guessed.
the debian community was just getting over years of being “like ubuntu, except unfriendly” when it decided to unleash douchebag+ init on all its users. now the word that sums up debian is “presumptuous.” not only does it make terrible choices for defaults, but its fans gloat month after month that soon you wont have choices (because why should you?) debian has abandoned its mission, and made gnome, red hat and microsoft higher priorities.
i doubt i will ever go back to the devuan community. it has all the charm of a trip to the dentist, though i still like steve litt (its ok if it isnt mutual, steve. youve always a fan in me) and the author of refracta is always good people, for the record. 95% of that community is brilliant, but the other 5 is enough to keep me away from refracta.
then theres open source– the group of corporate fanboys that co-opted the free software movement, so microsoft could join. they constantly slander free software supporters, but i suppose thats the cost of critiquing something that is pretty extremely dishonest to begin with. cmon guys, even osi-co-founder (and author of the debian free software guidelines) bruce perens had to leave and write a letter about how open-source had lost its way and become cynical. since then its only gotten worse.
i would compare the ubuntu forums to a cult, but i dont want to be unfair to cults. its mostly a cult of personality where if you dont like the design decisions of their great leader, which always drag users through years of things they dont want, are told in short: “get with it, or go pound sand,” and then the things that cost those users are invariably abandoned a few years later (ubuntu edge, mir, unity, upstart– perhaps shuttleworth is more like john scully than his obvious idol steve jobs.)
but ubuntu is not about community— the community is about shuttleworth, and the whole thing tastes corporate. well lets be fair– its startup culture for a startup company thats been trying to pivot for more than a decade now. perhaps walesopedia and shubuntu have a similar nature.
twitter is the same– you either get bullies and trolls or you get pseudo-fascists that try in vain to fight them though at least do a great job of making it hostile to (even the most obvious examples of) free speech. and speaking of fascism, lets not even talk about facebook.
then there are the libre-people. you know, politically we have the most in common, but in terms of execution, theyre pretty much like you cant do that on televisions firing squad leader, who occasionally steps in front of the condemned before yelling “fire!”
while they talk about the value of coding and automation, they take forever to find volunteers to customize things by hand, so you can do your part for free software– by running outdated versions of things that someone finally got around to removing the non-free parts of.
except linux-libre. i mean, at least thats mostly automated and up to date, but debian still has its own similar kernel (for now at least.)
anyway, love the idea, but with so little priority given to updates, most of this stuff is a lost cause– albeit one that always matters. the point of engaging with a community like that– i got tired of the double standard about documentation (the gnu fdl is not libre! nor is it dfsg compatible) and left for debian. (oops.)
wherever you go, its the “face” of community. the face, but not more. insiders are happy, some people get free tech support, everyone else is going to get crapped on. all of which is fine, unless you for some reason wanted a community.
with unlimited examples of how pointless it is, trying to find community in these so-called communities, you might wonder exactly what i want from them? well the old “sjw” trick never works, i dont think we need 5 more codes-of-conduct to argue about until someone finally pulls rank and plays favourites, so im not asking them for heavier policing or stricter rules.
basically, i give up. its been close enough to 15 years, and im completely fed up with all of you, everywhere. ive tried. im not interested anymore.
i still have the pleasure of dealing with individuals, who make using gnu/linux a less lonely endeavor. very recently i gave someone im teaching a free laptop, and we installed my own fig os distro on it. but i doubt fig os will ever have a “community” online, and if it did, it would probably suck like the others do. because gnu/linux communities just suck. hard. at least every one ive ever been to.
i did go to a lug, just once. a guy let me play with his xo-1 laptop (awesome!) and there was a pretty boring (but informative) talk about btrfs, or something like it. but i didnt find any douchebags at that meeting, and the chance to use an xo-1 was totally worth the trip. also, ive been to a lug meeting.
my advice if you ever feel the way i do is to join a forum, make a handful of friends, and get the hell out of there before it gets completely stupid, and the stupidity gets in your face. because it always will, unless you kiss the right arses or have nothing to say. get a few friends and tell the rest of the world “thanks for the software– love to stay and chat, but i have a colonoscopy id rather go to.”
results may vary, naturally.
- license: creative commons cc0 1.0 (public domain)