[Arm-netbook] Questioning The Holy War

Christopher Havel laserhawk64 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 04:22:33 GMT 2018

Okay. Forgive me, Luke, for inciting what will inevitably be a
stake-burning that will be of such grand proportion as to be visible in


...I have to admit that I just don't "get it".

When I write, I save my documents in Word 97-2003 *.doc format. Sometimes I
even make a PDF copy. When I listen to music, it's inevitably an MP3. When
I go shopping, I like to sit in the Subway at the local Walmart and mooch
off the wifi- to the point that, specifically because it has no wifi, I
won't go to the Wendy's across the parking lot even though I like their
food better. And not having access to Flash is always an annoyance when it
occurs. Even my phone is a Samsung Galaxy S7 - not exactly flying the flag
of happy freedom-ness.

All the stuff I do and rely on daily in my computer is closed-source. I
prefer Linux as an operating system primarily because (a) it is a
standalone setup which does not require third-party applications for
ordinary daily operation, the way Windows does, (b) it's incredibly
modular, (c) it doesn't think I'm stupid (much), and (d) I can't beat the

In using both Linux and Windows (and, to a somewhat lesser extent, DOS and
whatever's in a Commodore 64) over the roughly two-and-a-half decades of my
life in which I've had my own computer, the only applications I've ever had
that actually shot the cat (metaphorically) were applications designed for
that purpose, i.e. malware - and in all instances, that was on Windows.
(There is one exception that was me being a dummy and turning off a vital
system component and then rebooting, the result of which was an unavoidable
reinstall -- but that was quite early on and something far more along the
lines of a moderately entertaining learning experience than anything else.)

...and that's kind of where I usually draw the line. If a guven application
doesn't 'shoot the cat' -- cause obvious system instability or exhibit
other overtly malicious activity during use -- and it performs the task(s)
it was designed for, it seems to me it ought to be considered just fine, at
least for the most part.

Yet, almost every message on this list seems to carry with it the
implication -- if not express statement -- that if a given application
can't be openly audited on a remarkably low level by a random layperson at
a random time and place -- leaving alone the fact that most ordinary
individuals severely lack the knowledge and education required for that
task -- it must therefore be evil and untrustworthy and oh god we can't
have any of that sort of thing around here, shoo shoo...

Maybe I'm just too ordinary (although that's one thing I've never been
accused of!) but I just don't understand. If a program demonstrably does
its job, keeps its pants up, and doesn't 'shoot the cat', at least in
everyday use, it's got to be, at worst -- as Douglas Adams would say --
"mostly harmless "... right...?

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