Aperio radix, pro bono publico. (Open source, for the public good.)

"Petition for Linux experts to stop saying 'RTFM' to newbies" - the *long* version!

Date/Time Permalink: 09/13/06 05:47:04 pm
Category: Humor

God, what a mess.

OK, for those just joining, link here first to the original version - or take my word for it, either choice will not rain on my picnic.

Now, then. A while back I published a satirical retort to the complaints of elitism in the Linux community. Since the complaint centered around the expression 'RTFM', my little prank was a mock petition asking all of us to quit advocating literacy in the computer world, and in fact to abandon all manuals or sharing of manuals and information of any kind. (Like, fine, then, DON'T RTFM! Stay ignorant!) I wrote it in the B1FF style, also known as "13375|o34|{" ('leetspeak'). My reasoning was that anybody who truly believed that reading was a bad thing would actually *write* like that! So you see, the STYLE WAS PART OF THE JOKE!

Apparently I was too good an imitator. The post has been linked here and there by minions of the Internet who got the joke (5%) and those who didn't get the joke (95%) flamed it (mostly on the sites where it was posted). So I'm stuck translating it into spell-checked English and this time pounding it into people's heads that - it's a JOKE, DAMMIT, it's not serious - as preamble.

There is no death like trying to be funny online:

Petition for Linux experts to stop saying 'RTFM' to newbies:

In the recent past, I was a Linux expert. When new-comers to Linux came to me to ask perfectly natural questions like "How do I turn it on?", "Why doesn't it talk back when I yell into the microphone thingy with the little ball and two buttons on it?", and "Is the menu button on the right side or left side of the task-bar? I forgot!" And I would always tell them "RTFM". Well, somebody pointed out to me that doing that was pretty rude, and I have seen the light. I have quit being a Linux expert and joined the newbies, and I'm inviting other Linux geeks to join me.

If you will uphold this oath with me, we can make this a nicer world. Please swear to the following elite pact and sign this petition and pass it on to other Linux users you know:

(1) I promise never again to say "RTFM" to anyone again. It is to hard for people to do and it makes them angry. I acknowledge that it is my fault for holding Linux back, because of all these times I've said "RTFM".

(2) I will stop reading any manuals or books or educational materials of any kind, Because it makes me too stuck-up. I will stop using the command line and stop using man pages and info files and docbooks and other kinds of documentation, too. That stuff is for elitist snobs.

(3) I will also not write documents for my programs, because it's too hard to make people read them. When we standardize on a chat program that uses the mouse to click the buttons to the only twelve or so words that you need in chat, I will even throw out my keyboard, so that I never contribute to the egg-headedness of the world again.

(4) I will also stop using Google for my searches, and will stop telling people that they can find the answer to their question on Google. It is unfair of me to use my elitist search-engine-using skills to have an advantage over those who don't know how to use search-engines.

Please click the 'X' button to sign:
+|| ||+
+\\// +
+//\\ +
+|| ||+

Now forward this document to every geek you know (NO! DON'T ACTUALLY DO THIS! IT'S A JOOOOOKE!!!!). Together, we can stamp out this plague of literacy. Sincerely, http://www.penguinpetes.com.

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