hackers vs non-hackers thinking
sridharinfinity at gmail.com
Mon Feb 28 08:14:32 CST 2005
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: V.K.Vallinayagam <vallinayagam at ureach.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2005 06:53:52 -0500
Subject: [Ilugc] hackers vs non-hackers thinking
To: Toufeeq Hussain <Toufeeq_Hussain at infosys.com>, ilugc at ae.iitm.ac.in
I agree with Toufeeq's thoughts and ideas regarding IT
education for LIG group. Infact I do not use windows PC in my
home or office for the last 5 years. I do it only in browsing
centers. I use linux for all my personal computing needs.
I know many tech people - programmers who work in device
drivers and such breed , too don't feel comfortable with
linux/unix.I know a person working in windows low level stuffs
like usb etc. He does not feel comfortable working in linux.
I don't know when will the "managers breed" feel comfortable
with linux. Personally I have a love/hate relationship with
In the same way big monopoly companies show arrogance in the
marketplace when dealing with customers. Open source
contributors - developers and techies too show arrogance.Their
prime objective is their self-gratification or joy in hacking.
end-users value/convenience etc all are secondary. They think
every one in the world has a same thinking style. Many don't
even know that there is something called thinking styles. (To
know more about it, read "falsification of type" by carl jung ).
They think people who wants to get things done , by knowing
minimal knowledge of the internal workings of the tool, are
"less brainy" . They think it is always good to know more
internal details of anything. In the line of knowledge is
Most people prefer to think in a different style from hackers.
They want to deal things in a higher level of abstraction.This
is an example to show "hackers thinking".
Assuming there are two brahmas and each of them had an
argument regarding how to design human body. Assuming that they
have a choice of transparent tissue and a non-transparent
tissue. "Hacker brahma" would prefer transparent tissue covering
the human organs. He would prefer human body with "see thro"
tissue so one can see the internals like oesaphagus or heart,
stomach from outside.
He would say it is more convenient to "debug" any problems in
biological systems. You don't need the hassle of X-rays,
ultra-sono gram etc. All the reasons are perfectly valid. But
how many people will feel comfortable with such "design" . I
doubt none other than the hackers.
The real problem people have in working with linux is it
exposes more than the minimum required information for a user to
From the start, during boot, it shows what happens internally.
Where a program maintain its persistent state information and in
what format it maintains its state is being forced into the
The state information are - configuration, logs, temporary
data . Where it maintain its state - location and file names.
How it maintains its state - its format are thrusted into a
person's view. The only way u can get state information is by
editor/or seeing the file directly, thereby getting exposed to
the format. No higher level of abstraction for most programs.
It is this approach of showing unnecessary information than the
bare minimum required one , is the one that makes people
People assume that it is command-line that people feel
uncomfortable and therefore they develop GUI equivalents. But
really the abstraction provided by GUI is the one that makes
people comfortable. Similar abstractions can be obtained from
command line itself. A simple way of not forcing a user to know
the "state management" of a program , will provide enormous
comfort for many users.
I know many hackers hate GUI-only programs with no command
line equivalents . Ofcourse such programs lose the scriptability
advantage of command line programs.
Hackers should respect the need of others for abstraction and
provide mechanism for it. So that people who prefer to work in
details can also work or people who want to work in higher-level
of abstraction too should be able to do. Only then Linux will
find acceptance in wider public.
---- On Thu, 24 Feb 2005, Toufeeq Hussain
(Toufeeq_Hussain at infosys.com) wrote:
> > Dear members,
> > Warm greetings, I am a resident of velacherry,chennai. Near
> > my locality there is a LIG(Lower Income Group) area , Many
> > a times when i pass by that side i used to find a painted
> > board written as "Mahatama Gandhi Seva Sangham" near the bus
> > station of Kanikapuram . I used to find many guys of age
> > group between 15-24 hanging around the sangham.I observed
> > for the last one month that the sangham is without even
> > proper electrification, No lights or fan.
> > The audience are raw, newbies and we have to talk about the
> > fundamentals of computers.My desire is that to train the
> > first batch(who's age group is between 15-20 yrs roughly abt
> > 15 of them) and see atleast 10 of them to sit in a job and
> > support their education at college.
> > I planned to impart fundamentals of computer, different
> > of computer,Archietecture of computer, what is a
> > hardware/software, getting them used to computer, imparting
> > what is OS,word processor,spread sheet, presentation
> > I planned to talk about various types of computer
> > Now my mind says let me teach M$windows/M$office atleast
> > will put them with a job as a computer operator/Internet
> > admin/DTP guy/data entry operator,but my heart longs to talk
> > about open source software as Linux/open office.I need your
> > suggestion that what road should i take ,either the to talk
> > the better way of open source or M$ environment which may
> > them a job as you may agree that at the ground zero it is
> > still difficult to find Linux/open source environment.
> First off, kudos to you Sir, for taking the initiative.
> It's a very noble cause that you are embarking upon.
> Secondly, I would say start the course with MS Windows.Then
> Seriously, consider the current state of IT in India.
> It's too centered around MS/Windows. A person who is
proficient only in
> Unix/Linux cannot survive, that too at the lowest rungs of
> Technology.You are trying to provide these men with a
> which Windows knowledge is very essential.
> We as part of the FSF/ OSS initiative have to change that.But
> have to give the common man a choice, which that particular
> has to make as he gains knowledge in the computing field, this
> cannot be thrust upon him just because a few long haired
> that's the best way to use computers.
> Also when you use Windows, use Firefox, OO.org etc instead of
> This would teach him the Basic tools available on a PC but
> part of FLOSS.
> Just my $0.02.
> Toufeeq Hussain
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Sridhar Ratna - http://srid.bsdnerds.org
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