The Debian Jones Project

"PROMOTING LINUX LITERACY SINCE TUESDAY"
debianjones@yahoo.com
©2005 Keith R. George, Jr -- fair use applies.
Debian is a registered trademark of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Me No Guru!

As I approach the task of documenting Linux for the would-be Power Newbie, I am forced to come clean about my credentials, which from some perspectives are pretty slim. I could make a long long list of things that I don't know how to do, some of which is considered pretty elementary. I don't know how to compile a program from source, or install a driver, or write a shell script. I don't even know how to dual boot.

But I do know how to do just about everything with my linux system that most ordinary people like to do with their Windows systems. And I do it for free, without installing a secret corporate Black Box on my computer. Everything I write here is really intended as a letter back in time to the person I was three years ago, when I had heard of Linux, but had never seen an actual Linux system running. This is what I wish someone had been able to tell me.

I am an expert at one thing, and that is not being an expert-- but I would I submit that this is exactly the sort of expertise that is sadly missing from the sprawling wilderness of Linux documentation. That's why I'm not going to shy away from bucking conventional wisdom, and from disagreeing with people who I know damn well know much than I do about the Linux O.S. These disagrements can get pretty heated. (Just wait until I get into the X-Root!) I suppose that I will one day accidentally impart "information" that is just plain wrong. I aplogize in advance, and ask to be corrected.

I love geeks. I mean it! I luff them. I loave them. Most people don't know it yet, but computer geeks have already saved the world. If not for computer geeks, the PC revolution would have been exactly what it was supposed to be-- a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft, Inc-- and I happen to think that would have been a fast track to an Orwellian corporate technostate. What we would all have in our homes would be something like Orwell's telescreens, only with better porn. The most significant social contribution of Gnu/Linux (if I may use the correct term for once in my life) may turn out to be the pressure that it places on Big Brother Bill's Black Box. Microsoft is finding that they can't shove whatever secret information-gathering super-network they like down our throats, because we have an alternative-- thanks to the geeks!

Yes, I truly love geeks-- but I am not a geek. True, I collect episodes of "Mystery Science Theater 3000", can't wait for the new "Star Wars" to come out, and goshdarnit, I hardly ever get laid... but for purposes of this blog, a "geek" is someone who can actually read your average Linux Documentation. That's not me... but Linux is for me, too.

And-- whoever you are-- Linux is for you.

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