Zealots and Narcissism

Many times in my journeys of distribution hopping, I’ve run across rabid fans and communities [1]

I’ve written a guide for new users on how to understand the vitrol that rabid zealots spew in Linux communities [2]

Those problems are all very easy to see…but these articles deal with only the tangible problems in these areas.  What are the reasons these problems exist?  Is it because of one or two individuals?  Is it mob mentality?  Are people just waking up on the wrong side of the bed?  I don’t think these reasons get down to the core of what the real problem is…the hidden problem…of zealots in the Linux community.

The Hidden Problem

The hidden problem is Narcissism…people think that what they have to say about a given subject makes the most sense and is 100% correct (or at least more correct than others’ POV) and it’s one that is hard for people to talk about…because anyone that writes or blogs has to be a little bit narcissistic.  People don’t like talking about problems they’re guilty of.  I know I am guilty of it…and I’m still going to talk about it.

With social networking riding a tidal wave right now, the era of the narcissist moves on, unhindered, on the interwebs.  Subscribe to my twitter feed…what I have to says in 140 characters or less is a MUST READ!  My facebook page will keep you updated on EVERY little thing I decide to post unless you edit me out of your news feed.  Sites cater to the egocentric tendencies of anyone plugged in.  So what happens when you get a bunch of narcissists together sharing a common goal?  “My distribution is THE BEST out there and no other point of view matters!”  That’s right, you get zealotry in the purest form.

This has slowly begun leaking into Linux communities during the past few years as Linux is tried out by more and more people and becomes more available to people who aren’t technologically advanced.  Bottom line is, more people are trying Linux now than ever before.  This makes the user pool larger and more diverse.  Where there are more people though, there are more narcissists…and birds of a feather flock together.

Take narcissism with a twist of mob mentality and the powder keg in Linux communities is set to blow.  The zealots seethe and team about in forums, IRC, and on blogs across the internet looking for a place to show how right they are and how wrong the person posting information is.

Oh, I admit it…I have a narcissist streak in me…I want people to read this blog.  I want people to follow me on twitter.  I want people to pay attention to what I say…it’s part of being a blogger…but I don’t think that my distribution of choice is any better than yours.  In fact, I know it’s not.  Just like my car isn’t any better than the one you drive and my clothes are so last year and aren’t as good as yours.  I offset my narcissism with realism…I understand that what I think isn’t the only point of view out there…I don’t think I’m 100% right all the time.

I also don’t go out on the web and try to find others who think my view is the best view and then try to push my egocentric viewpoint to others.  I don’t create a community of zombie thinkers who all believe my viewpoint is the best out there.  I’m not forming any mobs for my mentality.  I’m not flocking together with birds of a feather.  I’m a part time ego-narcissist I guess.

The first step is admitting that you have a problem.  The second step is having some good old fashioned manners, respect for others, and above all…tolerance and realism.

Solution to the Problem

When you’re standing in line at a bank, would you cut in front of someone in the line?   Most likely you wouldn’t.  Personal conflict is something we as humans avoid most of the time.  So, why is it when you’re driving you don’t mind cutting someone off and do it regularly?  It’s because the personal aspect of that motion has been replaced into an impersonal one…the car becomes a protection from that personal conflict that would happen if you had done the same thing in a bank line.

To fix the problem this presents on the web and in Linux communities, think about others (not yourself) and in doing so, become less narcissistic.  Apply this thinking to commenting and blogging and facebooking and tweeting.  Imagine that you are face to face with people saying the things you’re typing.  If you wouldn’t say things like that in a face to face situation, don’t say them.  Remember that tolerance of other viewpoints makes you a better person…AND smarter.  How?  Albert Einstein is largely considered one of the smartest humans to ever walk the earth.  He often gathered with other intelligent people to debate and discuss various topics that interested him.  In doing so, he caused those he debated with “to sharpen and refine their understanding of the philosophical and scientific implications of their own theory.”  Remember that everyone does NOT have to share your viewpoint…what works for you may not work for them.

Lastly, no one cares if you sat down in your office or are eating a peanut butter sandwich.  We subscribe to feeds and twitter accounts for meat and potatoes posts…not 1 liners that tell us you’re in the bathroom of a bakery on 96th street.  So, you zealots out there…you know who you are…take this opportunity to reflect on yourself (your favorite subject) and try to replace your narcissism with realism, tolerance, and good old fashioned manners.

And no I don’t think any zealots will be converted by this post…it’s more of a rant than anything else…and rants are one of the reasons why I have a blog :)  Well that and because what I say is more important than anyone else and my viewpoint is 100% correct 100% of the time of course. 😉

Hate KDE4? Ignorance Is Probably the Culprit

Let’s bust some myths today because a majority of KDE 4 haters out there have the same reasons for hating it.  I’m pretty sick of seeing posts and news articles about “why I don’t like KDE 4” and then seeing that the real reason the person is upset is because they don’t spend an extra few moments trying to figure things out…aka lazy and ignorant.

KDE 4 was NOT feature complete when it came out in the 4.0 version.  It IS feature complete (in my opinion) with the 4.2 and 4.3 versions.

Ignorant Reason #1 – I hate Dolphin and I Can’t Have Konqueror Anymore

filemanagerWrong, you can use Konqueror.  You don’t have to use Dolphin, but you’ll be missing out on a lot of useful stuff.  Tell you what, now that you know that you don’t have to use Dolphin, why not use KDE 4 and give Dolphin a try every so often…you can still use Konqueror in the meantime and now that you know you can, you don’t have to go around trumpeting that you can’t to everyone who will listen and saying what a piece of crap it is.  Forget that you’ll lose nepomuk and the semantic desktop by dismissing dolphin.  Don’t know what that is?  Let me google that for you…

I sure hope this solves many peoples beef with KDE 4 right out of the gate because this is one of the reasons I find all over the web.  I really think the problem is the lethargic attitude that prevails from die hard KDE 3 fans.  Honestly guys, give Dolphin a try…it’s really a pretty decent file manager and is light years ahead of any other DE file manager.

Ignorant Reason #2 – I Can’t Have Folders or Files on the Desktop Anymore

desktopsettingsWrong.  Right click on the desktop and choose “Desktop Settings”.  Select the drop down menu “Type” and select “Folder View”.  Your desktop now has folders, icons, and all other such things that you may want to clutter it with.

If you want to switch back to NOT using the folders and instead use widgets…right click on the desktop and choose “Folder View Settings” >> Select Type >> Desktop.

To top it off, if you select “Folder View”, the folders and icons act exactly like you would expect them to in KDE 3.  Not only can you select to show your desktop folders…but you can even show a folder like /home as your default desktop…show any folder you have access to, it’s up to you.  Yay right?  I give it a golf clap.  Let’s continue thinking out of the box and bust a few more myths.

Ignorant Reason #3 – I Can’t Move My Panel to the Top, Right, or Left.

panelmoveWrong.  Click the settings icon on the right hand side of your panel (it looks like a comma on the far right side of the panel).  The settings area pops open.  On that bar is something called “Screen Edge”.  Now, it seems pretty self explanatory that when you hover over the top of it, it gives you the 4 arrow icon that means you can drag and drop the panel wherever you want to…and being named “screen edge” seems to imply “which screen edge…left, right, bottom, or top…do I want this thing to appear on”.  Then again, I can see how screen edge can confuse people when you open the settings of a panel that resides on the screen edge.  Ok, maybe I can’t.  Well, at least you know you can move your panel around right?  Golf clap again?  Who plays golf anyway?

Ignorant Reason #4 – I Can’t Resize Folders and Files in Dolphin

Wrong again.  Are you sensing a pattern yet?  Open Dolphin, go to the directory where you want to increase the folder size.  Hold the control key down…now roll your mouse wheel and be amazed as the folder size increases.  Invest all your money in Yet Another Linux Blog stock and move to Nicaragua.  Golf clap on your way to expedia.com for purchasing tickets.

Ignorant Reason #5 – I Like to Use My Own Color Schemes…I Can’t Do That in KDE4.

System Settings

KDE4 absolutely allows you to create your own color schemes.  It really helps to look around inside the system settings tool.  Go to your Kmenu >> System >> System Settings.  Once there, look for Appearance.  You can also use the top search

Appearance Colors

bar to look for any term…so if you were to type “color” there, you’d see that Appearance & Display are returned.

Click on Appearance and you’re taken into a wonderful world of color and granular control of said color.  Change anything you’d like….go crazy.  I hear pink is the new green…or is it green that was the new pink?  Whatever.  The only limits are your imagination.  For those without imagination.

Ignorant Reason #6 – The Default Menu is Cludgy and Different and I Can’t Find Anything in KDE4

Now there is no right or wrong here…you could be right depending on who you talk to.  However, the nice part about KDE4 is that they include the previous menu for you.  Right click the Kmenu and choose “Switch to Classic Menu Style”.  Now your menu is the exact same as it would be in KDE 3.5.10.  Please remember that answers are out there…you just have to search for them.

Closing the Door on Myths

Hopefully, this closes the door on many misconceptions helps people who are ignorant to the leaps and bounds that KDE4 has made just in the past few months.  I’ve grown very tired of journalists and bloggers taking swipes at KDE4 and spreading misinformation about it.  If you have any questions about how to do something in KDE4, please leave a comment below and let’s work together in finding a solution.

Why the RIAA and ISP’s are Stupid

ISP’s are beginning to bow to RIAA demands and spying on their users. This is odd if you consider them a communications company…like the telephone companies are. For example, do you talk on the cell phone each day? How about a LAN line? What if…AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile (I’ve probably hit about 80% of you) monitored your phone conversations? You’re probably saying, “well, they already do” and you’d be right to some degree…but what if they monitored your line not for terrorism or keywords flagged by the US Government…what if they monitored your line for ANY illegal activity at all?

Say you were remarking to your friend about a deal down at Best Buy that was “a steal”. Told your mom how you “swiped a $beverage” from your buddies house. What if these keywords flagged you as one who participated in illegal activity if you discussed them on the phone? And what if your carriers had a “3 strikes and you’re out” policy? You’d find yourself phoneless based on the topics of your conversation. Sound far fetched?

It may not be. Compare the idea above to what Internet Service Providers (ISP) are doing. ISP’s are bowing to the RIAA (and BPI) and spying on their users…monitoring the topic of your communication and cutting you off if your communications do not live up to their standards. Virgin Media in the UK is the first major ISP doing this…

It seems ridiculous that an ISP can tell you what you should or should commicate about…which isn’t unlike a phone company telling you what to converse about over the phone. But it’s happening.

Read more

On Open Source Dying…

Let me make it clear for you Michael Hickins of Eweek. Your Article “Is Open Source Dying?” doesn’t even make it into the outer ring of the target for facts. If you were trying to shoot an arrow into the air with this article, you’d miss.

I can help you though…I can set you straight. Not that I’m an ALL WISE & KNOWING person, just that I have the ability to do research, ingest said research, digest the research and learn from the research. You stop at ‘do research’. Let us examine where your train derailed (not the physical place…because this obviously is at the beginning…but rather, where in your subject you go wrong).

Open Document does not equal Open Source

Any conclusions you try to draw between adoption or non-adoption of ODF in any state or local government amounts to NOTHING. Whether ODF succeeds in being adopted or not does not mean Open Source will succeed or not. They are not inversely proportional and they are not directly proportional. If ODF get’s thrown out for MS Formats, Open Source will still be there and still be developed. This is like saying that

Disagreeing with Yourself doesn’t Validate your Message

Disagreeing with the title of your article saying “Is Open Source dying? Of course not” does not bring instantaneous credibility or make the reader sigh a collective sight of relief. Instead, it makes you look ridiculous for even writing the article in the first place. Afterall, we know you’re comparing elephants to chickens with the ODF = Open Source thing…and now you’re trying to make up for it. Try is the key word there. You fail because of your closing paragraph (see below)

Sabre Rattling and Finger Shaking Makes you Look Even More Silly

[quote]But the open-source community needs to get over its overweening sense of superiority and messianic inevitability; the alternative is just good enough that if it doesn’t get its act together, open source may find itself the subject of retrospectives like “Remember Unix?[/quote]

Um..ok? The open source community doesn’t need to get over any overweening sense of superiority or that other made up phrase you used. Why? Because the GPL makes it that way. It cannot be snuffed out, bought up, or killed…it will never die…it will never fade away…because the moment someone decides to try, it will replicate itself due to the openness and sharing within that same community you chastise (or did you mean ODF Community? I forget, since they’re so synonymous right?). So, I guess that makes people angry…it’s a smudge that won’t go away. A blemish right? A light that won’t go out. Well, keep trying. Keep giving resistance…please :) Open Source will win without a fight 😀

“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence;
supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without
fighting.” Sun-Tzu

The New Linux Distro

How much does it cost to buy you? Do you have a price? Can you be paid off?

I’m sure many of the CEO’s and CTO’s of various Linux companies are now asking themselves this very question this week (or should be asking themselves) as Microsoft announced yet another “patent deal”…this time, with LG Electronics.

With this, the Xandros deal, the Novell Deal, and anything else Microsoft has up its sleeve (I look for several other distros to “indemnify” themselves in the next few months…for example, Linspire and Mandriva are two prime targets for MS…the bullseye is probably painted) I think that Microsoft has created it’s own “Linux Distribution” so to speak. Let me share with you why I think they have…

Read more

Penguin Pete’s Blog, your source for FUD about YALB

If any of you read Penguin Pete’s last two blog entries [1] [2]…you’ll find two of the most FUD filled posts about YALB on the web. He’s on the warpath…for no reason at all and has begun a smear campaign against me here. I haven’t done anything to attack him personally…yet that’s exactly what he’s done with his latest blog entries. Pete claims I’m a partner with the tux500.com project and that helios from Blog of helios and I are perpetuating this as a scam
across the web. Let’s get some facts on this topic immediately:

  1. I am not part of this project
  2. I do not collect money or have access to collected money on this project
  3. I will not be part of this project as my plate is full
  4. I’ve posted a single blog entry about said project that was syndicated at various places around the web…this is normal…there are many sites that mirror YALB such as Swik and the Linux Blog Aggregator.
  5. I submitted this single blog entry on Lxer.com who published it
  6. Tuxmachines.org also published this same post
  7. The project is being tracked monetarily by Linux Today’s editor, Brian Proffitt, and Lxer.com’s editor-in-chief, Don Parris. (why hasn’t Pete went to them on this? Are they part of the scam too?)
  8. Ken aka helios is my personal friend and I posted my previous entry as support of his project like any good friend would do.
  9. If I found out the project was a SCAM, I’d shut it down. I host lobby4linux.com and could snipe it out in one fell swoop. If anyone has concrete evidence that it is a scam other than pure speculation, please email me devnet at mypclinuxos.com

So Pete is trying to draw major correlation between me and this project so that he can lump me in as part of his theory about it. I wouldn’t normally care, but it seems that he can’t stand up to the criticism he’s getting as he’s disabled comments. The interesting thing is he’s referring to it as comment SPAM when he has captcha enabled…which means he was getting a ton of comments he didn’t like and shut them down. He could also turn on moderation (I have automoderation after a specific time here) so that he could catch the offending spammers and publish everything else. I do that here as well.

See, when I blog, I open myself up to positive perspectives like those from avid readers. But I also open myself up to negative perspectives like those from Mr. Pete. That’s fine..he’s welcome to post anytime on this website’s comment system. He’s welcome to trash any topic of discussion I post about. I’ll never disable comments on any article because I do not have to censor anything anyone says to fit my message or make me appear to be right. If someone has a problem with a post…by me posting it publically, I have opened myself up to what they have to say. People are free to respond as they see fit to whatever topic of discussion I post about. It seems that by shutting down comments to his latest posts, Pete proves that he does not have these standards for freedom that I do.

So bookmark it folks…those two entries in Penguin Pete’s blogs can say whatever they want about the Tux500 project…that’s his right. But trying to lump me in with it is an outright lie. It’s untrue libel and FUD. Those two posts are your helping of FUD for the week. Hopefully, you see past it. Comments are open on this post and I’ll answer whatever questions readers have.