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Re: List intolerance VS advocacy
At 4:14 AM -0600 6/13/02, Scott Sandeman-Allen (RSCorp) wrote:
>It is detrimental to everyone if we discourage people from
>asking questions and when we offend users of any experience
>level. Think of it this way, in a hypothetical example:
> John B. or Jane Q. Newbie is looking for an alternative OS
> for personal use. They find out about a cool project called
> OpenBSD and investigate it. Then, months later, they are in
> a board meeting when it is discussed that their server got
> hacked or some other IT related problem where OBSD would fit.
>How do they respond in this situation?
>If they had a good experience using OBSD they could say "Why not
>use OpenBSD..." Then, as a community, we would have just won.
You misunderstand the point of the OpenBSD community. It's a
group of people with a reasonably-common vision, who want to
work together on what they want to work on. It is not trying
to "win" any new converts.
Think of it this way:
Theo buys a large-screen TV. He likes to watch basketball
(actually, I have no idea what he likes to watch...). He
invites all the neighbors over, saying "Hey, for *Anyone*
who likes to watch basketball, come on over as I've got
the best TV!". It's one entire wall of his spacious
living room. It's got split-screen capability, and you
can even watch multiple basketball games at the same time.
He's buying the beer and pretzels, and watching basketball
around the clock.
Next door, someone grumbles. "Hey, if you would just let
me watch soap operas, then you would get more use out of
that TV!". So what? Theo isn't watching soap operas, he
didn't ask about soap operas, and the person next door did
not contribute to the TV in the first place.
The soap operas fan goes away talking about how Theo is rude.
But in my opinion, it's the soap operas fan who just doesn't
get it. If you want to watch basketball, then you're more
than welcome, but don't give him crap when he bought a TV
to watch basketball, and you want to use it for something
else. And you want him to supply the beer and pretzels
while you're watching the programs he didn't want to watch.
In this case, part of the criteria for getting in is that you
are willing to at put in at least some of the effort in learning
the system. Being a "newbie" is not the issue. One of the guys
in our computer center picked up on openbsd because he wanted it,
and he had pretty much zero knowledge of administering *any*
unix system when he started. He got up and running, without
irritating a single person on this mailing list, by simply
reading and rebooting and reinstalling and reading some more.
Yes, openbsd could win more converts if it had a friendly
welcoming committee. If you want to volunteer to be that
friendly welcoming committee, we can arrange to forward
all of the mindless newbie questions to you. You will find
it gets pretty tiring after awhile -- particularly when you
realize that you are simply copy&pasting a paragraph out of
already-written documentation to answer someone's question.
Note that I do understand your thinking. Some of my time is
spent working on freebsd. In freebsd, we *do* like the idea
of drawing in more users. That's part of the challenge. But
openbsd isn't trying to win converts, it's just some people
who all like working together on the same things.
Garance Alistair Drosehn = firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Systems Programmer or email@example.com
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute or firstname.lastname@example.org