July 24, 2007

I was recently called an “Ubuntu Fanboy” in a recent blog post which dealt with my experience with Windows Vista. The commenter among other things said I wasn’t looking hard enough, misleading people about XP not being supported, and an Ubuntu fanboy. Well in subsequent comments I clarified that there weren’t any computers Online, we can’t find any that we are happy with (direct quote). In the post I forgot to mention that I wasn’t the only one looking, my best friend also couldn’t find anything we liked. I also mentioned that there are a few vulnerabilities that are open in XP (such as the recent security vulnerability that caused for the release of Firefox which affects IE. Leaving a computer vulnerable to attack is not “support” in my point of view, so I think my point is still valid. But this isn’t me versus Vista and I wasn’t creating lies to make Ubuntu look better, in fact I written before that I dislike the us versus Windows mentality.

Yet, I can’t help but be slightly disturbed by the idea of being called a fan boy of Ubuntu. Do I consider myself a fanboy? Wikipedia says “Fanboys remain loyal to their particular obsession, disregarding any factors that differ from their point of view.” But I don’t think this is true, I see some uses for Windows, I know several people who refuse to let go of Windows for their games, Mathmatica, Photoshop, AutoCAD etc etc. Sure there are some free replacements but have you ever really tried to run Mathmatica-replacements instead of the real thing? So no, I don’t consider myself a fanboy but I do consider myself a strong proponent of Ubuntu. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m here for the community. Aptitude is nice, but I can use Debian. 6-month based releases are nice, but plenty of projects do regular releases as well. The community really seals the deal and is the reason for the wild success of Ubuntu. People seem to think in some way we are just mindless drones that just talk about Ubuntu, work on Ubuntu, write Digg posts about Ubuntu etc. Well thats true to a point but we aren’t mindless :-). There are some great minds at work cranking out great tools like Migration Assistant which is what people want, its tools like this that make people go crazy on Digg. So do I consider myself a fanboy? No. But I’m also not blind to what we I see around us, I see a ton of people excited about our work because there is a lot to be excited about. I’m thinking some people are just haters that can’t stand to see Ubuntu in the news day in and day out. I can sympathize to a point because I used to be like that (circa Breezy) but I doubt these people really give Ubuntu a chance to experience why its on everybody’s lips. Some people like Gentoo, some people like Foresight Linux, some people like Debian, and a lot of people like Ubuntu. I primarily care about GNU, KDE, and Linux. Whichever flavor people chose is all good to me.


  1. Mathematica (if we are talking about Wolfram’s) does run on Linux. Actually, much better than on Windows :):


  2. not if you have already bought 15 copies for XP machines. Then running Linux + mathmatica is much more hassle than fiscally and logically responsible. The point I was trying to make is this: sure you can game on Linux and it reasonably well but not to the extent that you can on Windows. At some point, people will need proprietary software. Not for the common stuff like email and what have you but for some things.

  3. No need to justify yourself, mate. Being called a “[any non-Windows-thing] fanboy” by a Windows fanboy is always an honor. 😛

    Of course, it always depends on who’s doing the name calling. I’ve been called a KDE fanboy and zealot more times than I can count. Although said jokingly, the implied insult is still there. I don’t mind. I know I’m passionate about these things. But I don’t have to justify myself because I know I’m not as close-minded as they would think.

    The thing is, to other people who don’t share your passion, to other people who are opposed to what you are passionate about, you will always look like a fanboy. I think it’s only a natural human reaction. So don’t fret. It’s always better to be passionate than mediocre. Passion drives forward. Remain passionate. 🙂

  4. Hey Fred…

    Let them be… They know how insecure WINDOWS is… last night I had to crack my way in my father in law’s computer cuz his password had been changed through a network attack… “OPHCRACK LIVE CD” (widnows password decipher based on slax) was what I used… so .. MY QUESTION TO YOUR OFFENDER: WHERE IS THE HI FI ENCRYPTION FOR PROTECTING YOUR WINDOW BOX NOW, BOY?

    Keep up the work Fred

  5. Well put. Fanboyism is something that shouldn’t simply be allowed to exist imho.

    However, it is really not Microsoft’s fault that Firefox and couple others became vulnerable as they did. Claiming that is like claiming that IE is insecure because it allows downloading executable files from the interweb so that the user is able to actually run also malicious code. Zomg. Newsflash for you: Microsoft tests their products with other Microsoft products and some of the Windows certified products. They were not really vulnerable. It’s this 3rd party entirely untested and hobbyist software that was. (I am talking about only Firefox now) It was the stupid application to allow running of malicious code. Most likely Microsoft even should not actually fix a thing because of what we saw, it’s entirely out of scope for them and their code isn’t faulty.

    That’s an other point of view, the more practical and looking from further away to get proper perspective (imho).

    About the Mathematica btw, aren’t there open source equivalents for that one? Not as usable I know, and they require some assembly.. But considering the price, wouldn’t it be enough to be worth it? How about R for instance? I guess there are some others as well…

  6. http://martinaquino.wordpress.com/2007/07/20/teenage-girl-kills-herself-over-fake-spoilers-of-harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows/

    Thats a true fanboy/girl.

    @ erik:

    here is the problem, Firefox was vulnerable because IE was able to inject it to execute arbitrary code using Java Script from pages that allow JS. The same situation also applied to IE, it is vulnerable in the same way but it was particularly damaging as IE could pass code to Firefox and make Firefox execute it. Sure its not Microsoft’s problem to deal with Mozilla’s browser, but surely you can agree its their problem to deal with their own browser. Their code is actually faulty in the same way that Firefox is, but they refuse to fix it all the same.

    Also, about Mathmatica, I tried used several different programs but they were either non-graphical (sucks for plotting actually) and had very limited options in terms of expression evalutation among other things. Mathematica beat them hands down.

  7. Insert Dell Ubuntu laptop and replace Steve Jobs with Mark Shuttleworth:



  8. I have to agree with erik on the Firefox thing. It wasn’t Microsoft’s problem and Firefox/Mozilla has released a fix already I believe. Microsoft did say they will secure a portion of their code that would allow a third party utility such as Firefox from this type of thing happening in the future. And I do believe that it wasn’t only IE that could do the injection either. I think I read one report that stated any app that had the ability to do so, could. But anyways…

    You are an Ubuntu fanboi! :p

  9. fanboi!

  10. Hi Freddy. Don’t give importance to negative comments from people. You are a celebrity, people all over the net are reading your blogs and on occasion you will certainly bump into people who disagree or don’t like your opinions. Just let it slide off, it’s part of writing in a column that is read by many, many people.

    I happen to like reading your opinions and also some of the other writers there.

    Just my opinion.

  11. Mathematica, Maple, Matlab. All have full Linux versions, so you don’t have to give ’em up to use Linux.

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