Use Linux, it Builds Character

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A running theme in the Calvin & Hobbes comic is his Dad dragging him along on a family outing, or giving him chores, or some other drudgery, and saying it “builds character” [Building character | The Calvin and Hobbes Wiki | Fandom]. In many of the comics, the Dad has hopelessly bungled the endeavor, and “building character” is just an excuse. From the title, you can see where I’m going with this…

I’ve noticed that many of my interactions with Linux gurus are similar to Calvin and his Dad. I’m Calvin, in case it wasn’t obvious.

Many Linux users believe that Linux is the superior way, and while it may be more complex than the average user can handle, they just need to work harder, and rise to the level required to use Linux. This is something that they believe that everyone should do. Using Linux is the way. Using Linux is good for the soul [1]. Using Linux builds character.

It’s a smug, moralizing elitism that knows what’s best for you. If you disagree, then you just haven’t thought about it hard enough. The Linux gurus have done all of the research for you, they’ve tried all of he Operating Systems, and Linux was the clear winner. You don’t need to think about this, just use Linux, okay?

There are really two parts to this: First, you’re told that Linux is the superior choice, and that by using it, you’ll be a better programmer, or better computer user, or possibly a better person! Secondly, once you’re onboard, any failing with the OS you find is actually a problem with you that you must rid yourself of. Look, Linux isn’t perfect, but that part definitely is. So you must be doing something wrong.

What’s funny is when these things happen out of order, as they often do. User: “Why should I use Linux?” Guru: “Because it’s awesome.” User: “But I’m having trouble with XYZ.” Guru: “Okay well you need to try harder.” Narrator: “The user, needless to say, did not switch to Linux.”

Since I’ve been interested in this phenomenon/mentality for quite awhile, I’m able to pretty quickly bring up examples.

Here’s a quick tour of people saying “you didn’t try hard enough” to understand Linux:

And here are some posts that agree with me that this phenomenon exists:

And here is an old-school Linux user who admits that Linux might not be for everyone:

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