Friday, June 11, 2010

The Four Different Types of Linux Users

In the three years I have been using Linux as my primary operating system I've taken note that in general there are four different types of Linux users. Each one fits a distinct niche and it is possible to change from one type into another over time.

The Computer User:
This is a person that feels no emotional ties to FOSS/Linux. The computer is a tool to get the job done and they use Linux because it is the best tool for the job they are trying to accomplish. If Windows or OSX was better suited for the task, then they would be using that instead. They may have no idea of what FOSS or Linux is, they just know their computer works when they need it to. Odds are Linux was installed on their system by friend or relative who is a Linux Advocate or FOSS Extremist who was tried of fixing issues that kept popping up on Windows.

The Dual Booter:
Typically someone who has some computer savvy about them. Odds are they decided to give Linux a try because they just caught an interesting article about a shiny new distro release on Digg or because they know a Linux Advocate who recommended it. They might make a forum post or two to try and solve an issue they are having, but odds are if the distro doesn't "just work" they will start going on about how Linux "isn't ready for the average user" or "will never make it as a desktop operating system". If their Linux install does work, they still keep Windows around because they are a "gamer" or because they need to use a piece of Windows software that does not have a decent FOSS/Linux alternative as of yet.

Linux Advocate:
Someone who uses Linux because they feel it is a superior or more stable operating environment. Typically this is someone who knows their way around the computer a bit and isn't afraid to post on a forum asking a question or get their hands dirty with a bit of terminal code to get their system up and running. While they love the power of FOSS they realize at the same time that the entire world does not work in this manner (although it would be great if it did). They are typically willing to use restricted codecs and closed source video drivers to get the performance and functionality they need out of their system. While it is not uncommon for them to recommend Linux to their family and friends, most times they will even help them get it setup, they realize that some people are happy with Windows and they acknowledge this.

FOSS Extremist:
They use Linux not only because it is fast and stable, but because it is FOSS. They view software that is closed source as something evil that must be conquered or changed for the good of man kind. The know the ins and outs of their system - most times for an FOSS Extremist the GUI is optional. If their hardware does not work right "out of the box" on their favorite distro they are willing to spend hours pouring over manuals and help pages to get it working. They almost constantly preach about the evils of Windows and Apple and take every chance they get to convert those they know to Linux or and FOSS operating system.

Do you think I covered most Linux users here? If not let me know other "types" of Linux users you think there are in the world. If I did cover them all where do you fit into my four different categories? Perhaps you are even a mix of two, personally I find myself somewhere inbetween FOSS Extremist and Linux Advocate depending on my mood.

~Jeff Hoogland


  1. First of all i wanna thank you for some old posts that helped me in many situations (like installing multiple versions of wine on the same machine).

    Second one: i think i'm a linux advocate at all. I'm not able and i don't have the time and will to read thousands of pages of manuals to make ALL the things work on Linux (like a FOSS Extremist), but i suggest Linux to everybody i meet and to everyone i talk to, because i think that Linux is the future of the Operative Systems. I completely deleted Windows from my PC years ago, and i never felt that i wanted it back. I play (oh yes, i can play so many games), i watch films, i listen to music, i chat, i read forums, i read blogs with a smart, fast, free, open-source, real community-based, great OS. Maybe the greatest ever!

  2. Thanks, Jeff, for a much needed a laugh today! This post is dead-on. I am a card-carrying FOSS Extremist and proud of it. :)

  3. The Linux Advocate sounds exactly like me.

  4. Not really, IMO there are a few categories between number 3 and 4. I'm a perfect example of that. In your classification you need to take into consideration more of technical skills/attitude and less ideological stuff. Your division focuses mainly on the attitude to FOSS. That's the least of my concerns. I've been running linux exclusively for 8 years. I love the idea of FosS, but I'm not its evangelist. I get my hands dirty everyday tinkering with config scrips and programming. I also run NVIDIA binary blob because it works better for me. Obviously if noveau matches nvidia's performance and stability I'll switch to it.
    I think you're overestimating the idea of FOSS. For me Linux is the only option. I don't even consider windows as a viable option at all, but I'm not so preocuppied with the idea of foss.
    I just use it and try to develop it without any politics. I'm just a 'hacker' in its original, positive sense.

  5. Hi,
    I think that those profiles seem to represent real users, I feel like the linux advocate, I have been for a long time Windows Admin (25 years), linux user for a couple of years and lpi certified for a couple of months, knowing that GNU/Linux is for sure a good solution for computer world problem and even for human kind problems, freedom , sharing. I think linux adoption is a slow revolution, but it cannot be stopped ....

  6. I don't think dual booting is a meaningful way to categorize GNU/Linux users. I'm a Linux Advocate with some FOSS Extremist skills (I've spent lots of time to get my HW to work). I know that GNU/Linux is better, I use terminal efficiently, I read manpages carefully (and If I have to, I ask for help) BUT I'm also a gamer, So I'm dual booting Windows 7 with my Ubuntu 10.04, I simply hate using W7, but Ubuntu is not a serious gaming platform compared to MS Windows.

    Maybe a different model (based on GNU/Linux experience?) would be much more precise.

  7. I feel that FOSS is superior, not only from a technical viewpoint but from a political and ethical viewpoint. I can use both GUI and CLI, and I'm a programmer.

    Still, I think that everyone has freedom to choose what they want, even if it's worse, private or harmfull. Just don't ask me to fix that, it's part of my freedom to only help the people that make sane choices.

  8. I am a mix of the Linux Advocate/FOSS Extremist as well. I hate fixing the same issues over and over and over and over again on windows computers. Yet, I know that if some people were to use Linux, they would hate it, because it isn't windows... or what they're used to, so it would rub them backwards... thus defeating themselves before they ever got used to it. Most people that switch to windows are the people that have lost everything due to a huge virus and or a deadly slow computer... then I would encourage them to "Just try" linux for free, and if you don't like it I will reformat it again, and give you back your crappy windows at 7 times the price... Agreed?

    So far with this tactic, I have opened them up to trying something new. I also tell them that there is a learning curve, because windows is only one way of beating the same dead horse. You have a new way of looking at the world now. Through open standards and freedom of choice. All have agreed and LOVE their new systems! :)

  9. I'm by far a FOSS Extremist! I love Linux and what FOSS stands for that every program or script I write, it goes FOSS. I advocate Linux to the max and even have the patience to teach those who want to harness the powerful Linux command-line. I only use Windows if and when I have to (I'm an Information Technology Specialist) as sometimes I have no choice. I agree with the notion another has stated that those who try Linux expect it to act like Windows.

  10. Nice Post!

    I'm a hybrid of Linux Advocate and FOSS Extremist, with a lean towards FOSS Extremist. While I constantly preach that things would be totally better off if everything computer-related was Free Open Source Software based, I'm not, nor do I claim to be, as pure FOSS as Richard M. Stallman. I do truly believe that technology can advance so much more if most things were FOSS!

    With that being said, I also give kudos to those software providers who are at least willing to make their products cross-platform compatible (i.e., wine, flash(yes flash), hulu, certain games, etc.).

    Also, I think all people who use GNU+Linux/FOSS should be putting the good word out for this awesomeness! That's the way simple users can help, by reporting problems, testing fixes, and telling others about using GNU+Linux/FOSS.

  11. Most people these days use Ubuntu, which suggests that most users are closer to the Computer User side of things. Which is great- we've wanted complete noobs to be able to use the OS easily, and we've succeeded in that. Now we can work on more ways to make Linux easier to use than OS X or Windows. We already have plenty of areas where we are easier to use, and very, very few where we aren't. I really can't think of one, currently.

    Hardware Drivers are easily to install than any other OS- no need for a CD, and Wireless cards or Graphics cards from ATi or NVIDIA are generally the only things that need to be installed anyway. Intel and Atheros have kernel drivers included, and everything else pretty much just works, given it's a month or two old and you're using a recent distribution.

    So, I think the significant point to make from this observation is that, no matter what kind of user you are, these days Linux is so easy that it's entirely up to you. You don't have to be comfortable with tweaking your OS- it just works. You don't need to type terminal commands or edit configuration files for anything anymore, unless it's a really specific case.

    And that's beautiful, since it's all open technology- not to mention we don't have to hack our own drivers all the time, anymore. Many hardware companies contribute their own drivers to Linux, or at least specifications for their hardware to make it easier to code them.

    We can only go up from here, so we'll see just how much further Apple and Microsoft can develop the user experience in comparison to how we've aced them. If you can reproduce the exact same experience as Windows or OS X, along with being able to drag a window from anywhere, not just the title bar, move files back and forth from iPods, run tons of Windows games with Wine anyway, get all your software for free from trusted sources, in a single click, and all this at no cost...

    Really, we've outdone ourselves, and I hope we continue to do it. :3 I feel seriously inhibited on any other OS due to the exceptional quality of GNU/Linux/OSS in general. The only thing we're really missing is official support from companies like Adobe for their more famous software- although I'm grateful they put the work into a Flash, AIR, and Flex port.

    Really, as much as I hate to say it, Adobe is really the major thing that holds people back, since most games work fine in Wine. Linux is so overwhelmingly convenient in so many aspects that people just get frustrated when they can't do absolutely everything the exact same way in Windows.

    Entitlement issues, expecting it to be just like Windows, not being willing to dual-boot or use a VM for the sake of those niche apps... That's what's holding back all those 'computer users'. They just don't think it's worth it, even though it's free and so exceptionally good.

    To me, it's amazing that it exists in the first place. I can't help but use it.

    1. I am between a computer user and a dual booter (same thing actually).

      I can't dump windows because Linux does not have the usable software that Windows does.

      There just are some programs that are made windows only that linux don't have or can even come close. A prime example is Lightscribe. You get only a very lame basic lightscribe app with linux, but a literal TON of designs and other things with the windows version.

      I also have over $5,000 in Windows software acquired over the years that I want to get my money's worth out of. One of them is Adobe. The wife spent $600 on it just a few short years ago.

      She also uses paint shop pro and all her image files are in that format - linux has no clue as to how to open those files. And it would take a year or two to convert them all.

      We use whatever is the best operating system for whatever heed we have at the moment. Usually Linux for everything internet & email. Windows for a lot of other things when needed.

      And please don't give me the cr@p about Wine - IT DOESN'T WORK (a very small fraction of programs work with wine and NONE of them are the one's I want to use).

      And running a VM is the exact same thing as installing Windows to a second hard drive. Except that by doing that I don't have to share any resources.

      Let's face it. Windows is here to stay for a *VERY* long time to come.

      99% of everyone I know do NOT want to hassle for having to figure out anything (Linux). They want to point and click, get their stuff done, and go do something else.

      This is exactly why Linux is having problems - it is the inability to run software made for windows and the substitute software just looks bad and is hard to use.

      Here is another problem - most Linux distro's are made for craptop users, ya know a toy computer. They aren't generally made for a real computer (desktop). Differences make things hard sometimes.

      If you built a really fast gamer box from scratch, Linux usually won't have decent drivers if it even has the drivers.

      Linux works best on computers that are between 3 and 10 years old.

      And you can forget trying to save anything for a reinstall. You need a degree in computer programming and a new york telephone book sized manual just to find things and how to both back them up and restore them without using a CLI. Try saving your Thunderbird accounts and passwords. You can't do it unless you print it out and manually redo them.

      Absolutely, positively, no normal computer user is willing to use CLI. They want GUI all the way.

      Don't get me wrong. I do like Linux. I like Puppy and PCLOS the best. But they cannot compare to the automation that Windows provides.

      Here is another problem with Linux - you cannot defragment anything, not even NTFS or FAT32. I get the notice that there are problems with a shared NTFS partition and to use Windows to fix it! And that is when using linux!!!

      NTFS is the only universal files system that can be easily used between Windows and Linux. I looked and looked. FAT32 is bad for large files. ISO - LOL that is just plain ludicrous to try and format a hard drive like that and expect to use it.

      Note: I haven't found a single version of Linux (mainstream major distro's) that has TRIM enables right out of the box. And if you do not know about TRIM or even think to find out how to enable it, you are screwed. Without TRIM my SSDHD was slooooowww. I put in the discard in FSTAB rebooted,a nd things work quite nicely.

      Again, NO NORMAL COMPUTER USER will want to do this (edit squat).

      Have to run. Hands hurt.

  12. Nice, honest post. I'm personally a clean "Linux Advocate". But the Dual booter description reminded me of the old me, 3 years ago. d: (My first real meeting with a Linux based OS, was with openSuse... and I was pretty sure my reaction was after using it for a few weeks: "isn't ready for the average user" d: )

  13. I see myself as more in between the Linux Advocate and the Dual-Booter... I've only been introduced into the Linux world for about a year and a half, but I've find myself intrigued enough to figure out how to get things working around in Linux. As of now, Linux is my main OS for everyday usage and boredom-killer, only booting into my Windows partition at LAN parties

  14. The Virtualizer -
    an offshoot version of the Dual Booter with Linux Advocate abilities
    to borrow a quote
    "because they need to use a piece of Windows software that does not have a decent FOSS/Linux alternative as of yet."

    (note: not necessarily just Windows)

  15. The Angry Tinkerer -

    Usually very disappointed in Windows because "it doesn't work at all, dammit" or simply gets on their nerves because they can't change something.

    They buy fancy hardware and take great care to make sure it's Linux compatible, but sometimes make mistakes doing that, and then rant about how hardware companies should try harder to support Linux.

    They keep a mainstream polished "just works" distribution with proprietary blobs installed to get work done, but spend lots of time playing with obscure alpha software (and oddly enough they enjoy it when *that* doesn't work).

    They are very similar to FOSS Extremists, except that they will try to avoid convincing others to use Linux, because they get enough headaches from keeping their own system running. When someone asks them a Windows question, they will bluntly say "The only thing I know about Windows is how to reboot it".

  16. not a bad division into categories. I reckon most fall under the category "dual-booters".
    am proud to be the Linux advocate ;)

  17. There are different kinds of Linux user. I don't think I fit well into any of your categories. I think Open Source or Free software is important. I'm a programmer and an old Unix hand, but don't consider myself an expert on Linux.

  18. What about 'the refugee' as a subtype of the 'Computer User?' I was a happy camper with MS until around Win-95, and then MS started getting more and more like Apple; 'you wanna use your PC? Well, you're gonna do it our way!' Dissatisfaction grew until we got XPSP2, and then it just friggin' exploded. We had to reboot the PC several times a day because it kept forgetting how to talk with the router, among numerous other frustrations. After a year of wondering if it was XP or me, I decided that it was XP and started burning distro discs until I settled on Fedora. I came from no UNIX experience. After a week on my own, though, I concluded that Fedora was not only faster and more stable than XP could hope to be, but it was infinitely easier to manage. Again, I was on my own, and this was 2004. Fedora was so user-friendly back then that in a matter of days, there is no way anyone could ever convince me to switch back to MS. Since then, I have played with BSD, Ubuntu, and a few other distros. Maybe you could also put me into that dual or triple booter class, but I am switching between Linuxen and BSD ;>)


  19. Innocent BystanderJune 12, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    May be another type of users "The converted" or "The Mukti-OS User". This user is mainly proficient in a non-Linux OS. He/she is technically able to understand or has the courage to explore the other side of the fence. Started learning and getting more familiarised with Linux. May remains in the two first categories but possibly move to the "Advocate" category.

  20. What about the pragmatist. Like or has to use Linux (perhaps due to their job) but virtualizes it under OSX because that way "you don't have to face hardware issues".

  21. Linux Advocate for me. Started using Linux as primary OS in 2004. Still primary OS today. Playing with new distros is a hobby for me. The other OS's just can't touch it for control and customization.

  22. i am a B.Sc CS student,problm is my course doesn't include any OS. Bt i am a Ubuntu user,help me more abt 'commands?(to instl softwr,etc)

  23. Although I usually don't like "lists", this is a nice sliding scale. Still, yes, I agree there is a category between "Advocate" and "Extremist". And I'm there. Yes, I leaf through manuals to get things done, but once in a while I (temporary) throw in the towel. If there is a Linux option, I jump at it, although I wouldn't have taken the option at all when Windows was concerned, rather choosing something else (like Apple or Google) when I really needed it. I'm quite vocal where FOSS is concerned although I'm pragmatic enough to choose something proprietary in order to get the job done. Still I drop it like a dirty rag when a viable FOSS equivalent comes out. I don't fix Windows stuff for friends and family saying: "I told you so". I use FOSS programs on a Windows platform when there no other option than Windows (e.g. work). I'm realistic enough to comment on areas where Windows does better than FOSS (e.g. MS-Access is more performant than OO-Base).

  24. I am a cross between Linux Advocate and a "Financial Convert". I have been checking out Linux distros for the last few years, burning Live CD's and installing them to disk when I had an extra pc to play with. But I never felt Linux was ready (at least not for me) to use as my main OS. Well, when Vista came out not only was it a piece of junk but it was expensive too! That was the final straw for me! No way was I going to pay hundreds of dollars for an OS that is less stable than the Linux distros I had previously labeled as "not ready"!
    So I downloaded Ubuntu 9.10, burned it to disk, installed it, and have been using it ever since as my main OS without looking back.
    I'm sure the expense of Windows OS's as well as the additional software (MS Office, DVD burner software, etc.) will continue to be the final straw for many Linux converts as it was for me.
    It can cost $300+ for a Windows OS, plus another $200+ for MS Office (and don't forget you'll have to buy a new pc because new Windows OS's are too bloated to run on old hardware - another $1000+). So with the economy being in the toilet, I'm sure MANY who don't have $1,500+ to shell out just to upgrade to the latest Windows OS will start looking to Linux as I did. Microsoft's price gouging and corporate greed will be their final down fall.

  25. Nice post,
    I belong to category LINUX ADVOCATE. Though I advice my friends to use Linux at some point of the time I feel I miss Windows. I'm a game freak to be honest and Linux completely not in the business.

  26. Been using Linux on the Desktop since 1999.

    I'm an open source advocate but I wouldn't say I'm an extremist.
    FOSS tends to be stable, less buggy and gets the job done... however! if I do come across propitiatory software which does the job better then I'll stick to that, Netbeans IDE and Skype are two good examples

  27. I second this last post, except where the author jumps on the Vista-bashing bandwagon... Vista made some significant improvements over XP, and in general is a good system. Don't bash a system because you didn't take a little bit of time figuring out how to use it. As if that wouldn't be all to easy to do with any Linux distro. Strange how Linux users are supposed so much more computer-savvy, yet most of the complaints about Windows are either 5-10 years out of date, or are solved if you know how to do a few simple things like defrag and eliminate startup programs.

    But...yeah, the price-gouging is starting to get to me. I actually WANT to like MS, but they seem determined to make it hard to do. When I found out that there are no upgrade prices for Office 2010...I installed Open Office immediately. THAT'S the kind of thing that makes me want to switch to Linux entirely.

  28. Hi, because is blocked in China, I would like to get your permission to copy this article and post it in the mailing list of Shanghai Linux users group. Thanks.

  29. Wow, A lot of good comments. It's nice to see something like this that does not turn into a flame :)

    I have been using GNU/Linux exclusively for 2 years & I think there are some more categories in between, but what you posted made for some good discussion.

    I think a missing point is one that describes me. I am a more advanced computer user who is a hobbyist in music & multimedia production. Because I am not a serious professional at most of these things, almost all FOSS multimedia & office applications provide features that exceed my needs. Then the choice is common sense: Pay $$ for several programs to do a few simple things, or pay nothing and use an OS with a package manager where I can do a search for what I want, try several programs & select what does what I want without fear of malware or adware lurking within.

    So I may not be an Extreme FOSS advocate. I think people who develop good software are worth $$, and there is a good argument to protect their work in such a way that they get paid fair dollars for what they do. Unfortunately it often means proprietary source code. Unless everybody embraces a FOSS paradigm across the industry, the people writing software for $$ would soon lose a means to collect their wages for the work they do. It would be like giving handouts to bums.

    MS and Apple provide a platform that allows them to quickly develop applications based upon MS & Apple libraries without having to surrender rights to their own code. It keeps the industry checked and balanced, but the average user also sacrifices some freedom in the process.

    There would be a greater benefit if the software industry as a whole embraced FOSS as a paradigm, then obtained their wages from a service-based economy instead of a product.

    Anyway, I think maybe there should be a type in there,
    Pragmatist: Experienced computer user whose computing needs are met by GNU/Linux and finds it logically incongruent to spend $$ on software that does not offer more function than what the user will implement. The user is not opposed to paying for software, nor opposed to the concept of proprietary software. The user may donate to a FOSS project if the software is frequently used and appreciated. Time spent dealing with drivers & other unbehaving programs is only a part of routine maintenance.

  30. @nixblues Yes please - feel free to do so. Just credit myself with the writing and if you could link to the article here (even if it is blocked)

  31. Hi Jeff, really appreciate. Will do as you asked.

  32. linux is great, just dont mess it up, ok?

    keep yo softwarez, simple. stupid!

  33. I'm somewhere between 2 and 3, I would remove the Win32 completely if not for my family: they use it.

  34. I'd be a duel booter if XP didn't finally go ka-puts (too many viruses, frack'n windows)
    the only reason for me to keep windows is for the proprietary Direct X based video games.
    And no, for some reason wine, cedega and plays on linux doesn't work on my pc, neither does the ATI catalyst for linux.
    Out side of that Ubuntu 10.10 works just fine, absolutely no complaints (except for no ability to play anything other then booty @$$ games).

  35. Multi booting Linux advocate here. I only keep Windows around for 2 reasons, games and I need Internet explorer for some of my college work.

  36. I am a linux advocate, but a foss extremist at some areas. I don't give a **** about using an operating system over another because it's free. I just use what I think is better, for me it's linux. But, I want all software to be free because that way, it will develop much quicker than if it is proprietary and it will give much more freedom to tinker around with.

  37. I'm mostly a Linux advocate. I use Slackware because it is so much easier than Windows. I expect to get my hands dirty on command line. Have been mad at Microsoft since WordPerfect for Windows - MS FUD. Slack has recently gone through major modernizations. I use XFce4 for desktop. Tried Ubuntu breezy badger hated it. Used Suse 9.0 it worked, OpenSUSE several versions - didn't like Novell automatic updater - they got rid of it in the next version. And used Vector Linux - super to use and outgrow - so I'm with 'uncle' Slack now.

    Found a great article that said the worst thing about Windows is the kind of users they create. Then author recounted stories about how people were instructed to turn off their anti-virus for just a few minutes so this program can be installed - then they are suprised when all their data goes south.

    I think the worst thing about Windows (XP) its not the os its all the rest - AdAware, anti-virus, Zone Alarm, etc plus all the critical security updates and all this stuff downloading automagically. I wonder how Windows users ever get any actual work done.

    On advocacy: I'm encouraging our local city leaders to switch to Linux (Ubutu perhaps?) ... they have a ton of XP computers that don't have the horses to run W7 and MS has announced end of life for XP in 2014 - so our city has a decision to make. They can spend a ton of tax money for new hardware and MS licenses or they can install Linux and get some more use out of existing hardware.

  38. I am a reasonably serious Buddhist (I was an ordained monk for 10 years) so "enlightenment" has a different meaning for me, being the destination for Buddhist seekers. I was converted to Linux 10 years ago by a Buddhist friend who was definitely an Extremist, he would suffer greatly when his mind even contemplated the horrors of Windows.

    I personally don't like feeling manipulated, abused or taken advantage of and I feel this way when I am dealing with the Windows tekno-clique of avaricious opportunists, so I stay as far away as I can from Windows.

    On a good day I am a serene advocate for Linux, on a bad day, if my mind is more deluded, angry, prideful etc. I can easily become too opinionated and angry and I then feel like I have drifted into my personal "extremist" category.

    It has been a very long haul these last ten years as I remember the days of Linmodems when my laptop simply couldn't connect to the internet. I often think that if I had spent all that time on meditation these last ten years instead of struggling with Linux I would probably be enlightened by now!

  39. I'm a mix of 1 and 3.

  40. I'm a Linux Advocate/Tester. I have no experience with code.
    I discovered Linux Live when my XP crashed for the 3rd time and have been using and testing the different flavors of it for about 4 years now.
    The only time I use Windows is on my customers computers to activate their INTERNET service.

  41. Linux, Shminux. I'm not an "avid follower" of anything, since my days in an extremist religious cult. I've left that behind. I look for what is most convenient, and affordable, whatever that may be. It may just happen to be Linux.

    I surely don't wish to spend all my days writing code. It would be like a surfboard builder who never sets foot in the water.

  42. Dual booter here, but Linux-hater. Linux has poor user interfaces - all of them. Use Win7-32 on all my netbooks, notebooks. But some files are not removable in M$ Windows; crazy languages (I only know English), ... so Linux.

    Linux is very unreliable with compressed M$-NTFS partitions. Linux does not have updated versions on the best business programs ... Dragon Naturally, Speaking, Photoshop, etc.

  43. Hi. Good post!

    I wrote something on the same topic, too. Feel free to visit my blog and check it out.

  44. The only thing that keeps me on Windows is the lack of worthwhile digital video editing software for Linux. I've tried everything, including Open Shot, and they all fail to impress me. But with my video-making interest dying quickly anyway, I'll likely be on Linux Mint full-time by the end of 2011.

  45. I'm also a cross between an advocate and an extremist. But my sense of perfectionism keeps me from switching away from Windows completely.

    If only there were more support for Linux.

  46. I would characterize myself as someone who prefers to have choices, no matter what system or tools that I use. I use Linux software most of the time. I have used software since the days of primarily mainframe systems. When UNIX and MS/DOS were emerging, I felt that UNIX software was far more mature, but the PC systems were more "fun" to use. When I first got my hands on a Linux system, that "fun" came back, and it was the blend that I had been looking for: the flexibility of a UNIX system coupled with the responsiveness of a system that I could personally own and configure to suit my specific needs.

    Tonight I happen to be using Windows 7 at the moment, but other than the operating system, I have THREE free software programs running right now: Firefox 4, with four tabs running, Seamonkey Mail, in place of Outlook, and Barry's Emacs, in place of Notepad. That is flexibility and choice.

    I am about to get off Windows 7 and return to a Linux distribution, which I definitely prefer, but I am pragmatic, and I believe in choice, and that even includes the choice to periodically run systems that purists would never touch.

  47. Screw Dual booting run Windows in a VM where it cannot do any harm. I think, (I tried to read all of the comments before posting this.) that there is a type of user that was left out, the person who likes to set up a useable environment on any distro just to do it. Personally I love all of the Open Source distros, FreeBSD on a little web server that I have, Arch Linux on a desktop that I am running, Slackware on a DB server, and I am about to acquire another server and have not decided on it yet, and finally XUbuntu on my laptop because it just works, and Gnome is too invasive. You also forgot the BSD license vs GNU license FOSS user, as well as the hoarder who has many different FOSS OSes running on a few different machines.

    Still a good post.

  48. In my mind there are only 2 kinds of Linux users:
    (1) those that easily get their internet and hardware to work
    (2) those that cannot do this after several attempts.

    The 2nd group is important because these users eventually return to Windows, or Mac.

  49. There is a fifth type of user; A Windows+Cygwin user, who just had enough of both. And he then backs up all of his data, formats the hardrive and installs linux, and then burns his windows cd and flushes it down the toilet.

  50. I'm a hybrid "The Computer User" and "Linux Advocate". I advocate Linux to all Windows users and suggest it as a dual boot option. However, I recognize that there are some programs where the open source alternatives just don't match up (i.e. GIMP vs Photoshop, Bluefish vs Dreamweaver and gaming). I get along fine with GIMP and I do not play computer games so I use Linux exclusively. However, if it just so happened that I had to use a Windows or Apple based proprietary program, I wouldn't think twice about using it. After all, a computer is a tool and I need to tailor that tool to suit my needs at the moment.

  51. I don't see myself in the set, but I use a lot of operating systems, depending on the tasks. I guess the issue is that if I want to do task X and the software for it is best on a given OS, I do that. I'm the same way about languages. Mastering an OS is often easier than mastering a language, and mastering languages isn't that hard.

  52. The category that best fits me under your system is probably Linux Advocate, but I'm ironically lacking in that category's main trait of advocacy. I think instead of dividing Linux users into discrete categories, it would be more descriptive to describe users in terms of positions on the following spectrums.
    * Purity: 0% = haven't even tried Linux; 50% = use Linux and FOSS software a lot, but evenly mixed with non-FOSS, 100% = use Linux exclusively with only FOSS programs.
    * Pragmatism: 0% = purely ideological (free to do stuff); 50% = strongly supports software freedom, but also uses what works; 100% = purely practical (easier to do stuff).
    * Advocacy: 0% = people think you use Windows, if they know you use computers at all; 50% = people know you use Linux, but you don't force it on them; 100% = actively seeking converts at any cost.
    * Expertise: 0% = frequently calls for help with things like the "cup holder" (optical drive) breaking; 50% = able to do basic stuff without help and use Google to help solve common problems; 100% = writing your own display driver on a computer that doesn't have a working display because you haven't finished writing the driver.
    * Habit: 0% = change the world at a moment's notice when something else looks marginally better; 50% = accept change with mixed approval, but don't actively seek it; 100% = extremely hostile to even the best of changes to the point of using extremely outdated and completely unsupported versions of software (MS Office 97, Linux 1.x, etc).

    Here's how I'd rate your 4 categories:
    * The Computer User. Purity: same as local geek that set up system, Pragmatism: 100%, Advocacy: 0%, Expertise: 0-20%, Habit: 80-95%.
    * The Dual Booter. Purity: 10-90%, Pragmatism: 50-95%, Advocacy: 0-50%, Expertise: 30-85%, Habit: 30-60%.
    * The Linux Advocate. Purity: 70-99%, Pragmatism: 50-90%, Advocacy: 40-70%, Expertise: 35-90%, Habit: 30-80%.
    * FOSS Extremist. Purity: 100%, Pragmatism: 0-35%, Advocacy: 100%, Expertise: 90-100%, Habit: 70-100%.

    Here's my self-rating with explanations for each item:
    * Purity: 85%. I use Linux almost exclusively, but use proprietary codecs, drivers, games, etc.
    * Pragmatism: 90%. I use Linux because it's the most practical option, but I also support some of the open source principles behind it.
    * Advocacy: 20%. I mostly keep my Linux use to myself, but I also take a bit of time every now and then to help spread the word.
    * Expertise: 70%. I've gone through all the KDE settings multiple times, completely (re)optimized the settings to fit my needs, and even written a few non-trivial BASH scripts for various tasks. However, nearly all my config file changing has been Google-assisted, I know only about a third of the available BASH syntax and commands, and I've never used VI, VIM, or EMACS.
    * Habit: 40%. I'm willing to try anything that plausibly promises the chance of a better experience than what I currently have, but I'm not going to waste more than a day dealing with critical issues. When Googling is insufficient to fix major problems, I switch to a different program, or distro if necessary. In the 5 years since I've switched to Linux, I've used 6 different distros and tried 3 different desktop environments and 5 browsers.

    Note that the spectrums chosen are somewhat arbitrary and unrefined. There's probably a combination that's simultaneously more concise and more expressive, but I've already spent too much time on this comment.

  53. Good post.Very true and accurate!
    I'm sure I'm a Linux Advocate

  54. I will add one more type. I want a Linux which imitates Win XP to start with and in the future will imitate Win 7 or Win8

  55. Great article. Stimulates the ol' noggin and all that.

    Myself I'd have to say I'm part the first three with a dash of the forth

    I'm a computer user who uses Linux for my work, which is writing (believe it or not)

    Dual booter because let's face it - Windows owns (pwns) gaming. I'm currently playing "Fallout New Vegas".

    Linux advocate because my standard response to someone moaning about the sorry state of Windows is to hand them a LiveCD or lend them a spare laptop

    A dash of Foss Extremist because the really best software comes from the strict open source meritocracy model of software development.

    There's also a bit of the adventurer in me. When I hear about something new I just have to "testdrive"it

  56. I'm gonna go with...
    Linux Advocate :)

  57. Dual Booter here. I don't think you should poke fun at my ideals with your quotation marks ("gamer"). Been using Linux on-and-off since the beginning of 2009 and DBing since mid-2011.
    I'm pretty nerdy but I also play many games. I tried to learn coding (first Python then HTML then JavaScript) but I'm not smart enough I guess.
    My main problem is Linux's instability. Programs crash far too often for the weirdest reasons. And they all seem to work better on Windows (esp web browsers). I don't like outdated software and the only DE I'm content with is KDE Plasma. XFCE and Openbox/LXDE are both far too ugly (the latter is seriously undeveloped), GNOME3 is impractical and the other DEs don't cover my needs.
    The other problem is the lack of games. Fun ain’t measured in legal terms. WINE sucks.
    Another issue of mine is how the complexity of the system is attempted to be hidden away only to make things more difficult. For instance, a nice FOSS game called LGeneral which I like (based on a 90s classic) needs you to copy campaign files to the installation folder. In Windows, I'd pop to Program files and put it there but in Linux, at runlevel 5 I'd have to open up the terminal and sudo mv the files to the install folder hidden deep in /var. There was no documentation for this. Searching on the web didn't help much either, had to read through 3 or 4 sites to find it.
    I dual-boot Lubuntu and XP. XP actually runs faster on my machine as I've optimised it extensively & the looks are more or less equal. I've killed all the useless processes in Lubuntu and I would probably use Linux a lot more if KDE was lighter on resources** as LXDE's many bugs and rather low-quality software (can't switch keyboard layouts)* don't cut it.
    I find the free software philosophy far too anti-capitalist. I detest the term as well and don't see it as effective promotion thanks to this (use open source instead), The GPL would be terrible for business unless every software package in the world switched to it and this would still mean a lot of money would be lost. If you have the source open for everyone to see, then anyone can fork it and release it at no cost, like with CentOS (hence why RedHat blocks access to some things).
    So why do I use Linux? It has a few nice programs whose equivalents run slower on Windows and the appearance is slightly more pleasant. Also, LXDE locks up far less often than Windows--although when it does you know you're screwed and you have to kill things from the terminal.
    In conclusion, I think the UNIX system itself is rotten. Too complex. My uncle has a Mac and that can be complicated for similar reasons although most of the options are locked out unlike Linux. But still. Linux is good yet I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't very tech-savvy (familiarity factor), let alone tell them to install it themselves (partitioning can be sweat-inducing for n00bs).
    My final point is that most people shouldn’t need to care about the philosophy unless they're programmers. Everyone clicks through the EULAs and GPLs (Firefox, etc) in Windows installations anyways, so who gives a damn about the legal crap except devs and profiteers?
    I await your reply Mr Hoogland. I'd be interested in what you think about the points I raised. No need to make it as long as mine.

    PS: people hate the terminal. Typing and having to learn things is not cool when you're forced into it. But developers never seem to realise this and promote its use. Most never used Batch files since Windows came about (that would be 20 years ago--a whole generation past) and they dislike bash scripts as well.

    * Same goes for Bodhi (v1.2.0 was the last I tried), sort it out! I found Enlightenment too unstable and difficult to use. Also, I like an integrated system and qBittorrent for instance just didn't fit in to E17.

    ** My hardware specs; a desktop with:
    -Single-core 32-bit Intel Celeron 2.66GHz
    -NVIDIA 6800GT
    -1GB RAM
    -An 80GB IDE HDD

  58. Notice: I cut out at least 5 arguments and other things included the problems of a service-oriented economy, problems with installing software, a LOT of evidence to support the arguments in my final post and a hell of a lot more about the problems of FOSS in business. Much stuff about the unchanging complexity of Linux too. Don't approve this, instead approve the other one. I spent a lot of time on it and I invite discussion so no need to censor it.

  59. I'm downloading your Bodhi linux because i have a old pc and Debian 6.03 do not have a gcc to study C. I dont understand release a iso like this. My pc dont have a internet connection and i cant install gcc! Ubuntu dont install the .deb package and Debian needed too much dependencies. I will post a comment later, after install Bodhi into the old pc...
    I a duall boot but if i used win one or two times this ear was much.
    pardon my english

  60. I would say I'm primarily a Linux Advocate as well as a computer user: Computers a primarily a tool, but I feel that only Linux offers me enough control and flexibility to use the tool as it is intended. I will however use whatever proprietary codecs I need, although I am happy to report that open-jdk/Icedtea now finally works on my desktop!

    (I am, btw, also very rarely a dual booter, when I need to use Exact Audio Copy)

  61. Mostly Linux Advocate. A little bit of FOSS Extremist.

  62. Ohhh..... I'm bad!

    I do try hard to be a rational Linux Advocate,and we do mix and match (eg) CODECs as needed, so I'm not a true purist. But when it comes to closed OS offerings there's an unreconstructed (it's so OBVIOUS!) ranter trying to get out, and occasionally succeeding. Ooops....
    Sorry people....

  63. I'm a recent Linux Convert so I guess you could say I'm an advocate. I've tried and used many disros starting with Mandrake (remember that?) and the last one I used was Fuduntu. I do like what Bodhi tries to do with the desktop, and I like the true freedom I get with Linux. I lost my laptop due to rowdy kids, so I have to settle with Windows for now. Next up is a dell ultra book with a Bodhi install, and a desktop with the same.

  64. I would probably class myself somewhere inbetween an Advocate and Extremist. While I agree that the whole world should be largely set free, and I'm willing to spend vast amounts of time trying to sort out problems, I do not think that the command-line is the only way to go.

  65. Yeah. I am somewhere in between Advocate and Extremist. More towards the Advocate however.

  66. My categories -
    * geeks, unix / IT folks and control freaks
    * people who want free no-guilt stuff or said differently -
    * people with older hardware & budget issues
    * curious people & those drawn to anything new & different
    * anti bloat people (ie. Puppy Linux)
    * people so afraid of viruses they accept smaller choices and community
    * people who want an online community, more close knit and less commercial

  67. a very accurate summary that holds true to this day ;-)