/.: Linux Snobs, The Real Barriers to Entry — “It’s not Windows. It’s not distro wars. Sometimes it’s just the arrogant attitude that keeps people from switching from Windows. ‘As I spoke to newbies, one Windows user who wanted to learn about Linux shared the encouraging and constructive note (not) he received from one of the project members. The responding note read: ‘Hi jackass, RTFM and stop wasting our time trying to help you children learn.'”
Never, ever thought I’d have a reason to quote Slashdot on my blog, but this post raises valid and almost historic point.
No one likes being told Read The Fuckin’ Manual, if they need help. Even if it is warranted. No matter how dumb they might appear to you. Honest. On a school playground an RTFM moment is called “pointing and laughing at Johnny who took a face plant from the top bar of the jungle gym because he thought he could fly.” Not good for building customer relations.
Back when I was in hardware sales/support there was only so many times I could take having to tell multiple people that the “retractable drink holder” was actually a CD-ROM drive and that “any” key meant any key on the keyboard rather than a special key marked “ANY”. The guy that tried to buy a “C Prompt” from me left my store without spending a dime. It was a trying time in my career, but I quickly realized that if you didn’t slam a digital door in a customer’s face that you’d get a better response. Same thing applies to OS’s.
Look at the very first reply to this post: Of course, what the article doesn’t tell you is that they said that to him after he asked 50 times “how do I start process daemons like a web server” in the Gnome IRC channel. Drips with apathy. In fact, the first reply to this reply is very accurate as well: Astounding. You’ve taken a sane, logical article and replied to it in the exact illogical, impassioned manner it criticizes. You, sir, are a poster child for a Linux snob. The article encourages you to stop talking, essentially. Read it again, because it is wholly and entirely accurate.
The truth of the matter is that the DOS Guru crowd was an arrogant and surly lot, and that had to help drive other OS like Mac and later Windows. Think of this way, from an end user point of view: “it’s easier to use and I can tell my obnoxious tech dude to piss off because I don’t have to remember what /s does for dir? w00t!” Sounds like a win-win to me.
Indeed, I think there is some wisdom in there.