February 23, 2019

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Read My Lips

  • November 7, 2000
  • By Brian Proffitt

Do not, by any means, ever accuse me of shirking my constitutional right to vote, but thank God this election is just about finished.

I am surely not the only person in this country sick of the presidential elections, which have been going on, in some fashion or another, since 1998. Never have I anticipated the end of an election as much as this time, because when the polls close at 6 p.m. on Nov. 8, I will no longer have to be inundated with political ads, sound bites, and "truth squads"--at least until 2002.

There is, of course, a Linux-related point to all of this complaining. A strange parallel to the political process came up this week. It has to do with a phenomenon pretty much all people feel when they freely elect someone to office: the nagging sense of letdown after the elected official gets in and actually starts working.

For most of us in democratic nations, we know that the words "campaign" and "promise" never really mean anything when used in the same sentence. Yet we absorb them all, developing a sense of good will towards whichever candidate delivers the promises we most want to hear. But no one really tabulates the promises made and then comes back a year or so later and says "Yo, you said you'd fix the X issue with Y taxes/tax cuts." Which is really too bad.

Linux users, now there's a whole different breed. Even the most casual Linux users follow the development of their operating system with much more vigor than does the Windows crowd. Because of this heightened state of, dare I say, enlightenment, Linux users as a whole know far more about the inner workings of their operating system of choice than 'most any other computer user.

One of the results of this behavior is that Linux users are better informed and able to make better choices about what to put on their computers. Another result is that Linux users are better capable of spotting inconsistencies between what is said by Linux software makers and what is actually delivered.

And woe betide the manufacturer that doesn't live up to its promises. Sometimes, though, what is perceived as wrong is actually not wrong at all--and the vehemence of Linux users can quickly change from the flaming sword of justice into the flaming scythe of doom.

Enter, then, the latest player in the Linux passion play: MandrakeSoft and the newly released Linux-Mandrake 7.2.

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