Re: Linux Becomes Female?

From: Michael Black (et472_at_FreeNet.Carleton.CA)
Date: 08/27/05


Date: 27 Aug 2005 18:53:46 GMT


Roy Schestowitz (newsgroups@schestowitz.com) writes:
> __/ On Saturday 27 August 2005 17:30, [Yves] wrote : \__
>
>> On Sat, 27 Aug 2005, Roy Schestowitz wrote:
>>
>>> With names like SuSE, Fedora and Mandriva, in particular with changes
>>> from masculine names like Red Hat and Mandrake, is it possible that
>>> distributors see more potential in using feminine names? This is by no
>>> means a critique, but a question to which I failed to find an answer on
>>> the Web.
>>
>> What in the world is feminine about the words SuSE, Fedora and Mandriva?
>> Or masculine, for that matter.
>>
>>> On a different topic, my experience has taught me that there is /far/
>>> more to a name than there ought be. I still feel embarrassed to
>>> recommend applications called "Firebox", "Thunderbird", "Mozilla" or
>>> "GIMP"...
>>
>> Thunderbird was the name of an automobile from Ford. What's
>> wrong with the word? It actually comes from North American Indian
>> mythology, I believe.
>>
>> If this isn't a troll, it's an excellent imitation.
>
> There was a reason why I brought this up. I personally use SuSE, but people
> who are unfamiliar with the O/S can come up with sarcastic comments. Call
> it Suz or call it Suzie, in my humble opinion it still does not project the
> same meaning as it does when you see the acronym.
>
> When trying to encourage somebody to switch to Linux (which I have done
> successfully on several occasions) the names of distros and
> components/programs still pose difficulties. We may assume people know or
> heard of Firefox, or at least Mozilla. The matter of fact is that /most/
> people just hear "Outlook this, Outlook that" and press the "Blue E".
>
> When advising somebody to install Ubuntu, for example, being rock-solid and
> user-friendly, what will the first step be? Send them to the Web site to
> order a CD, right? What will they see? Three half-naked people holding
> hands. What will they see in ms.com? A guy in a suit holding a tablet, for
> example? Which one will a na´ve user be more likely to /trust/?
>
But maybe in a world where people too often trust trappings than something
concrete, the real way to break things is to not follow into the trappings.

Microsoft has dominated in part because the old IBM saying has morphed
into "You can't make a wrong decision by choosing Microsoft". They
aren't analyzing what is there, whether it's the best choice, or whatever,
they are choosing a Brand Name that everyone knows.

Just the other day, I got mentioned on the radio for making a comment
about a website some months ago. It was a flippant comment of mine,
but it was based on the very real concept that the internet lets us
speak, so when people turn around and coat those words with flash
and gloss under the impression that that's the only way the words
have importance, it negates the power of the internet.

Of course the revolution doesn't happen immediately. But it will
never happen so long as people think they need to be someone else
in order to have value for their words or their work.

LInux is really a pretty wide field. We have terribly commercial
parts of it, such as Red Hat, and areas where commerce really isn't
a big thing, Debian and even Slackware. But the names reflect
a culture, and the names reflect a world that isn't all that commercial.
Someone puts together a program that helps you put your records into
digital form, and calls it Gramofile. They've released it to the world,
they've let the source code loose, so they will see very little return
on their work. The value of the program is in it's helpfulness to others.
Indeed, they may have written it for themselves and that's good enough
return on the investment of their time; if anyone else gets use of
it, that's icing on the cake. But if they put a quirky name on it (I
wouldn't call the example quirky, but there are quirky names), it puts
a bit of themselves on the program, it may let it stand out from
others doing basically the same thing.

Since they aren't going to get money for the work, then there's no
incentive to make it "user friendly" or give it a name. If someone
really feels the need, the sourcecode is out there for someone to
make some business like OS. All they have to do is write it, and of
course respect the GPL.

Does it work? That's the key thing. I've run Slackware for four
years, would have run Linux earlier if I'd had the hardware, and yes
indeed it does work.

I fit the Linux culture. I'm not anit-Microsoft, but I do see neat
things in open software. I was put off by the name "Slackware" originally,
but in tasting some other distributions I'm put off by the software
arrangement. I like the fact that out of the box Slackware names
the system Darkstar, and to know that Patrick digs the Grateful Dead,
which ultimately can link to all kinds of things.

The small computer field was fed in part thirty years ago by the
counterculture. A lot of the early Big Names came from it, were influenced
by it, were linked to it. Now we have an operating system that is in part
a counter-OS, and yet it's also pretty mainstream, just like so many parts
of the counterculture are mainstream.

  Michael



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