Linux. Be Passionate, But Not a Fanboy

Fanboy. Tin foil hat. They are both common accusations that are thrown between fellow Linux users. Often intended as a joke, yet sometimes with some serious amount of truth behind it. The most common users that usually get this sort of words thrown at them are Linux users. The unknowing and general public are usually only aware of two primary operating systems: Windows and Mac. And they’re also usually only aware of two computer companies: Microsoft and Apple. If you introduce the words Linux, Ubuntu or Red Hat to them, you are usually presented with an odd startled look on the persons face. Usually because they have no idea what you are referring to or what any of those strange words are or mean.

The simple reason for this is because as popular and well known as Linux is in the technical world, to non-technical minded people, there is no reason for us to expect them to know what we are talking about. When was the last time you seen a commercial on TV advertising Ubuntu Linux or a corporate commercial featuring Red Hat Enterprise Linux? Linux users are sometimes seen as outcasts. Something not considered normal just because we choose to use an operating system that is perhaps not commercially considered mainstream. This can often cause Linux users to surround ourselves with a wall of ignorance to anyone that is not a Linux user. Perhaps it’s our way of coping with being ‘different’. It’s our defense mechanism. And the exact same thing can happen to Mac OS users and even Windows OS users, but for very different reasons.

Of almost all the Linux users that I have met both friends, acquaintances and colleagues, I have found them to be passionate about ‘All things Linux’. And this is a very good thing. But there is an unseen border between passionate and becoming a fanboy. And we all have to be aware of that border and be careful not to cross the line at some point. I am guilty of becoming a fanboy myself. There was a time where I was so passionate about Linux that I became absolutely ignorant of all other operating systems in existence. When you begin to forget that an operating system is there to perform an action and provide a service and that there is not one operating system that can provide all services for every hardware, you know you become and fanboy and crossed that very line. It may be something that someone says at some point that snaps you out of it. For me personally, it was age that brought me wisdom and greater knowledge.

But let’s not take all of this out of context. I am still as passionate about Linux as I always have been. And it still grows the more that I use it every day. But I also understand that if I go to purchase a Microsoft Surface Tablet, then Linux may not be available for me to use on that particular tablet. That’s ok, because with the specific hardware configuration and setup of that device, it’s probably better off to stick with Windows OS on it anyway. Of course, running Linux on the Surface tablet is not an option anyway, but it’s merely an example of accepting that you just need to take in to account that there are more operating systems available which might better fit a specific purpose than that of Linux. I have learned to accept that.

The world of software and operating systems is big. Real big. And too big to close off your mind and become narrow minded to a stage where you become blind to reality. And learn to accept and use the right operating system for the right hardware.