Friday, May 23, 2014

Linux and the slippery slope.

Hi, my name is Samuel Bledsoe and I use linux.
I first started using linux in the winter of 2010. Like many, I was frustrated with windows. I had switched to Vista when it was first released and dealt with the problems. But my biggest frustration was that I felt I lost control of my computer. My dad had always taught that I should learn to understand the workings of mechanical systems, because it leads to new ideas, new perspectives, and a greater appreciation of the technology in our lives and the world around us. Computers seemed no different to me. When my Vista laptop died one year into owning it, I switched back to XP.
It was old, though, and new is shiny. New looks better, new smells better, and new is exciting. "Friends" and "Wise Men" told me about this other operating system. A system that has all the best technology, and if you can understand it, the possibilities are endless! A mere boy could create a computer to see the universe. Why I'm here today, 4 years later, is to speak on lessons learned.
First things first: answers are a temporary high. They give us a feeling of accomplishment, and that feeling is such an amazing feeling. It can be wrapped around us like a security blanket to protect us from the outside world. Answers are accomplishments, and accomplishments make us feel like a success, and it keeps us from seeing the bleak and dangerous world around us. But these answers, they only lead to more questions. Sure, I may have put this OS that is so light and yet so powerful compared to bloated monster that used to occupy, but what makes it so light? Can it be lighter and still be useful? It still runs into problems when I download things, are the programs I have not getting along with the programs I downloaded? Why? Well, I have control now, maybe I'll just open things up and take a look.
Answers are a slippery slope. One moment, you're trying to put this "Ubuntu" thing on your computer, then you look up and it's 4 years later and your trying to figure out why your computer isn't generating your fstab file properly while you try to build an entire OS from scratch. Your vocabulary has changed, and no one can understand you anymore. One day, you might try to ask your friends what their .config is for their IDE. They'll only look at you with confusion and pity before going off to an actual social life with people who only concern themselves with fine wine, women, and worldly possessions.
God help you if you mix this addiction with other forms of learning. Hallucinogens and abstract mathematics are similar in that no one understands what the hell your saying, but it sure sounds deep and maybe a bit paranoid. When you mix your linux with math, philosophy, and molecular chemistry, you will never see the world the same ever again. Even if you quit, you'll still see patterns in the way the world moves. You'll see the building blocks of the world. You may even see the world as nothing but points of data that can be manipulated with the right formula and equations.
If someone you know is starting to experiment with linux, stop them before it's too late.


I have a twitter now, it's @aristotlemstk. Sometimes I use it. So far, I mostly just tweet statements I find amusing when I am with my math group in Philadelphia. I help co-organize a math group in Philadelphia, and it was my hobby that has been using my time for the last 6 months. Check out the information here, and come out on the 4th Saturday of the month if you live in the area.


  1. Four years sounds like a good start to me. I've been running Linux for almost 20 years now myself. That being the case Linux seems normal enough anymore. To me Windows is the weird OS. Considered objectively though all computer operating systems are pretty far removed from the range of normal human experience. We're all just analog folks trying to get along in a new digital world I suppose. So it'll take some time for us all to adapt.