Robert J. Hansen rjh at sixdemonbag.org
Thu Oct 12 20:56:57 CEST 2017

> The bulk of people use "Linux" to mean both terms, in casual and formal
> speech and writing.  You may as well try and insist we use "United
> States of America" all the time instead of "America";  context alone
> typically implies the intended meaning.

It's tempting, but unfair, to call these people a bunch of ideologues.
Most of us on this mailing list are ideologues, after all.  Human
rights, privacy, software freedom -- these are all pretty good ideas,
and I think we're right to be motivated by them.  They seem to be
logologues instead: it isn't enough to have the right ideas and be
working to put them into action, but we need to only use the right
language about it, as if the words were more important than the deeds.

One of my closest friends is a staunch atheist, the kind who thinks
Richard Dawkins is too conciliatory towards people of faith.  Recently
he suffered a stroke.  At the first sign he told one of his friends,
"I'm stroking out: help me."  He then sat there, cool as a cucumber with
a Zen smile on his face, as everyone jumped into action around him.  It
unnerved the paramedics, who thought his utter calm was a sign he didn't
understand what was happening.  Quite the opposite: as he explained to
the doctors, he understood what was happening perfectly well and that's
why he was so calm.  What was happening was he'd asked his friends to
save him, and so he was going to get saved: why should he worry?

Whenever he tells that story I laugh.  A man who claims to have no faith
demonstrates the power of it.  The way he *lives* faith, keeping
cheerful in the face of imminent death just on the strength of his
conviction that his friends would save him, is awe-inspiring.  I have
better sense than to tell him this, though: he'd get grouchy and accuse
me of being really annoying -- and he'd be right.  We can both enjoy the
benefits of faith in our lives, even if only one of us believes in God.

Ideologues: good.  Logologues: really annoying.

I will leave any application of this to the GNU/Linux-vs-Linux, or Free
Software-vs-Open Source, arguments to the reader.  I will, however, ask
that we remember we're ideologues of deeply compatible stripes.  :)

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