Mr. Cranky Pants takes the soapbox

It’s been a busy few weeks here in the land of the giant redwoods. Scratch that: It’s been a busy and hectic few weeks here in the land of the giant redwoods.

Nevertheless, during the course of daily visiting — more like daily hangouts — in the CrunchBang forums a couple of topics came up that are normally items which cause me to put on my cranky pants, grab the nearest soapbox, step up on it and start my impassioned plea to the masses (or, at least, to those within an earshot, digital or otherwise).

Every so often this question, or some variation of it, comes up in the forum: I use $MY_FAVORITE_DISTRO and sometimes $ANOTHER_DISTRO and occasionally $THIS_OTHER_DISTRO_TOO, so what would the advantages for me to change over to CrunchBang? Of course, there’s the remote possibility that this kind of question can be considered trolling, but let’s just put that aside and, for the sake of argument, work under the assumption (as I always do) that the poster is sincere in posting his/her question.

The problem, as far as I see it, is that it’s the wrong question. I don’t have the poster’s hardware and there’s a pretty good chance that I don’t have the same purpose and needs, digitally speaking, as the poster. So I could go on and on about how great CrunchBang is for me — and it is, for a wide plethora of reasons — but some (or even none) of those reasons may not apply to the poster because I’m not doing the same things as he or she is doing.

This is why distro-hopping is a good thing, and something that should be encouraged for those who are either relatively new to Linux or who have changing digital needs over time. Heck, it’s even good for those who like a challenge. There are around 300 active Linux/BSD distributions currently alive and thriving in the FOSS ecosphere, and while you may not want to try all of them, there are as many as 50, I would say, that are worth a look.

CrunchBang, of course, is one of them — the best one, in my opinion. But, as the car ads say, your mileage may vary.

Ultimately, the ideal goal of FOSS is to find what works for you and use it. While I’m not suggesting to forum folks not to ask this question if you really have to — no doubt it will come up again — what I’m suggesting is that the answer can’t come from the community but should come from your own experience.

While I’m on the soapbox, I also would like to introduce folks reading the blog to our Google+ Community, which is here (and CrunchBang en Espanol here). These two social media outlets provide a great bonding experience for CrunchBang users who tend to use social media often, and they serve as a great tool in community building. In fact, it complements the forums and IRC channels well insofar as giving those who wish to use it a place to talk about CrunchBang in one of two languages.

On occasion, there have been techincal questions asked in the Google+ Community that I think may have been better served in the forums. It should be noted that there are more people in the forums than there are in the Google+ Communities — to say nothing of the fact that there are literally thousands of already-answered questions in the forums. So I would encourage those who might want to ask questions in the Google+ Community think about searching for the answer in the forums first and then, if the answer is not readily available, ask in the forums. I think you’ll probably get an answer far quicker that way (to say nothing of, as a reminder, asking the question in the right way — a little long, but worth the read).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to change out of these cranky pants and enjoy the day.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software at Redwood Digital Research (RDR), a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment. RDR is based in Felton, California, USA.

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6 responses to “Mr. Cranky Pants takes the soapbox

  1. I’ve often thought when I see a cry for help on G+, “buddy, this is the wrong place for support.” Almost every distro has their own support section in the forums… and then I remember my first time looking for help on http://www.MysteryDistroX.org and got my more tender parts roasted by the flames for posting in the wrong place. I think that some post for help on G+ because you’re not an anonymous voice, but a real person attached to a name, just as Google intended.
    I think we get a bit spoiled, because for us, #! is the rule, not the exception.

    • I think the one I linked — written by Rick Moen and Eric Raymond — is fairly comprehensive. One of the biggest mistakes we make in handling folks new to Linux is treating “Joe Average” like a complete moron. People who are smart enough to take up Linux are smart enough to grasp this tract.

  2. Pingback: Links 26/6/2013: Ouyas Are Out, Fedora 19 RC | Techrights

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