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There's been a lot of hatred and misconceptions being bandied about Adequacy.org about Linux zealots lately. While it is true that there are some Linux enthusiasts who take "the cause" a bit too far, it is one-sided and irresponsible to not point out that there are Windows zealots who are just as bad.
Case in point:
I've got a cow-orker who is the prototypical Windows Zealot. You know how women get "that time of the month?" This guy has his time of the month, too. He subscribes to about 50 different Windows rags and gets them delivered out here at work. Towards the beginning of every month, he wanders around the office with a dopey grin on his face, anticipating the latest issue of Slobbering Microsoft Acolyte or whatever the hell these magazines are called. He reads them at lunch. He reads them during software builds. He reads them during meetings. He reads them on the toilet, for fsck's sakes.
Today, I ran into this buffoon in the hall. He waddled up to me and said "Hey, George, you upgraded to Windows XP yet?" His eyes were open so wide that they were almost touching each other. His toothy grin was so big that he could have easily swallowed a woodpecker whole. "Well, have you?" he asked.
"Um, no," I told him with a fake smile.
"You haven't?" he said incredulously, as if he were unable to believe that such a thing was possible. "Still running Win ME, huh?" He punctuated this last query with a playful jab to the shoulder and a grating giggle that one might expect out of a schoolboy with excessive flattulance. "Dude, ya gotta get with the program!" He then went on to prattle about such things as the "media player" and "active projectory" and other such nonsense. "What version of Windows are ya running, man?" he asked.
I smiled sweetly. "I don't run Windows," I replied.
"Dude! Yer one of them Mac types? Man, I never would have guessed!" He then let out a laugh not unlike the braying donkey-call made famous by the movie Revenge of the Nerds. "Mac-boy, Mac-boy, all for show! All dressed up and nowhere to go! Tra, la, la!" he shrieked.
"I run Linux," I explained.
At this point, the raucous braying and tra-la-la-ing stopped. His eyes narrowed to nearly-indiscernible slits and his lower lip began trembling in what I assume was rage.
"Gates-hater," he whispered, and took a few tentative steps backward. "That's all we need here is one of you Gates-haters. Gotta rock the boat, don't you? You gotta thumb your nose at Bill Gates and flaunt your use of this Linux because you hate Bill Gates, yes, and you hate Windows, and you flaunt it, you evil, evil .."
"Flaunt?" I interrupted. "You're the one that brought this up."
"Shhhh!" he hissed, bringing his index finger to his pursed lips in a silencing motion. "Hater, hater, hater .."
"Will you get a hold of yourself?" I asked, half-puzzled and half-amused. "I don't hate Bill Gates. I think he's a pretty good guy, in fact. I don't hate Windows, either. For most people, it's a pretty good operating system. It gets the job done for them, and then some. Why would you think that I think otherwise?"
"Because you're one of them," he croaked. "You use Linux."
(He pronounced it "LIE-nucks".)
"I use Linux because I'm a Unix developer by day and it's nice to have the continuity when I come home, " I explained. "I use Linux because my main activities on my machine are Web browsing, listening to music, and hacking on code. For my purposes, Linux is far more appropriate then Windows is. All the development tools are included with the system, including compilers and interpreters, Web servers, RDBMS packages, debuggers, etc. It's just a better-suited operating environ .."
"SHUT UP!" he screamed, causing several people who who were passing in the hallway to halt in their tracks and cast him quizzical glances. "Don't give me that crap," he hissed. "You use Linux because you're a hater. A dirty little goddamned hater. Can't stand success, can you? Can't stand Bill Gates, can you? Well, you'd best grow up and learn how things are."
"Look," I said, tiring of this. "If I wanted to use my machine primarily for gaming or office automation applications, I would use Windows. As it happens, the things that I want to do with my machine are more easily and comfortably accomplished under Linux. I don't have any problem with Windows, nor do I .."
By this time, the guy had closed his eyes, stuck his fingers in his ears, and was spinning around in circles. "La la la loo loo loo DEE DEE DEE DOO DO DOO I'M NOT LISTENING TO YOU LA LA LA LA" By this time, I had given up. I walked back to my office and resumed working on a piece of code. The weirdo la-la-la'd out in the hall for at least five additional minutes, until somebody called Security and had him escorted off the premises. (He'll be back Monday morning, hopefully with something new to think about.)
In short, don't give me these fairy tales about how annoying Linux zealots are. Yes, they can be exasperating. But there are more than enough zealots on the other side to make up for it.