[clug] Why do we do what we do in Linux? [was Re: Text editor]

Bryan Kilgallin bryan at netspeed.com.au
Tue Oct 28 08:07:46 MDT 2014

Thanks for clarifying, Scott:

> Consider the early days of radios - where people built and invented
> their own radios in the back shed.

When in high school, I built a crystal radio. And on it I heard eastern 
European news of suppressed attempts at freedom!

Then I built a superhet receiver.

> They built them to "scratch an itch".

I had a bit of trouble finding that idiom's explanation. Adults 
typically learn by means of self-directed projects.

> They also shared their knowledge - helped each other - and pooled
> resources.

I ran into a lot of trouble where groups of people with disparate 
interests refused to share but made arseholes of themselves trying to 
get others to conform to their way of thinking!

> And most /did/ actively seek feedback from people who used
> their advice/designs as a genuine desire to make others happy.

I find it ubiquitous that advice gets rejected: the Cassandra effect.

{A common version of her story is that Apollo 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo> gave her the power of prophecy 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy> in order to seduce her, but 
when she refused him, he gave her the curse of never being believed.}


> Never-the-less - their work, unpaid, was not *compelled* by that
> feedback and requests for features/capabilities, but *impelled* by a
> desire to "scratch their own itch*.

You are talking about the not-for-profit sector.

> It's a culture of sharing that has continue unabated to this day - the
> makers on the hardware side, and the hackers on the software side.

My Ubuntu PC was a gift from the computer guy at a Men's Shed!

{^<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackerspace#cite_note-19> Men's Sheds 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men%27s_Sheds> has over 1000 active 
spaces in Australia <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia>, Scotland 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotland>, England 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England>, Ireland 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireland>, Finland 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finland>, and Greece 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece>, as of 
2012.^<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackerspace#cite_note-20> Instead 
of seeing themselves as "hackers" they describe themselves as "shedders" 
and their activities as "shedding". The Men's Sheds movement is many 
ways parallel hackerspaces in their aims; although open to anyone 
regardless of age or gender, they tend to advertise themselves as "Men 
in sheds".}


> I hope that clarifies things a little - and may help you understand why
> "Linux" is very strongly a "do-ocracy" that listens to users - but is
> not driven by users (at least, not the main, non-commercial distros).

I can analyse procedures.


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