Caleb Cushing's Blog

Ubuntu isn’t Linux, What’s a Beginner anyways?

Today Joel Spolsky announced The results of the poll of whether ubuntu SE and unix SE would be merged, they won’t. In short the Unix community was in favor of it but the Ubuntu community was not. Joel had this to say:

So, Ubuntu, Linux, I get it, it’s clearly not the same thing. If you love Ubuntu, we have a site for you. If you love Linux and Unix, we have a site for you. A Stack Exchange can’t work without a community that loves a subject, and love is very… specific. Fighting human nature is hard: the factionalism and fork-happiness of the Unix world has been a hallmark of that community ever since BSD vs. System V, and Stack Exchange can no more bridge that gap than we can unite the Judean resistance.

I am horribly disappointed in this decision, this factionalism doesn’t help the cause, this set’s precedence that it’s ok in the StackExchange community to be a separatist. Arch Linux’s bash must not be the same as Ubuntu’s or Fedora’s, and of course they’ve made so many changes to upstream Gnome as to be unrecognizable as such.

The main argument in favor of this separatist movement is that Ubuntu is for beginners, if that’s so then why isn’t it beginner.unix SE? What’s a beginner anyways?

I’d dare wager that 99.999% (POOMA) of all Linux users are windows Power users, veterans, and refugees. So what’s a beginner? someone that doesn’t know what Firefox is? No they probably do. Maybe they don’t know where it is in the menu? I can see that… but I don’t see how that can’t be answered with a Screenshot and a Ubuntu tag on Unix SE. Maybe it’s someone who doesn’t know how to use the CLI? Well where do you define beginner from advanced? I realize someone reading there first shell programming Tut/Book/etc is a beginner, but are they no longer a beginner after that? how do you know you’re not a beginner anymore? When you choose to move beyond Ubuntu? If I’ve been using Linux for 5 years and I choose to move to FreeBSD am I a Beginner?

Why is that the answer to a beginner from an advanced user isn’t welcome? Is it good that beginner are exclusively answering other beginner questions?

In other news it looks like I may become a moderator ( temporary at least ) for unix SE.


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