[Novalug] learning new stuff (was: Kernel configuration for optical drive).
Bryan J. Smith
b.j.smith at ieee.org
Sun Mar 21 13:17:27 EDT 2010
Sorry, but I have to re-emphasize there are two (2) wholly _different_
arguments being made on "learning" here -- at least some are arguing
a position that is completely _different_ than mine.
These two arguments are ...
1. Mine: If you are going to use old solutions, that's just fine, no issue.
If you are going to _choose_ to use new solutions, you must either:
A) Conform to changes in defaults, new features, etc... *OR*
B) Learn, in detail, how to hack them back to the old ways
If you upgrade, if you change, if you "keep up," then that's your fault
for doing so. If you don't want to -- in the case of Linux -- run an older
distro designed to mitigate/eliminate change and stick with old approaches
(like RHEL/CentOS which have features/approaches from 5+ years ago).
2. Others: Learn for learning's sake, using Linux as your learning tool.
This is important because (insert alignment with some meta-argument here).
Sorry, I do _not_ agree with #2. This idea of "bettering oneself," especially
if IT is not your job function, by learning technology for, largely, technology's
sake, is not only to look at the problem and make it a self-fulfilling microcosm,
but it actually goes against my engineering principles. I don't believe in
technology driving anything but its own non-sense, and if that's what IT people
tell non-IT people, it's the classic "I'm smarter" and "I know better than you"
view. It might have done well in the '90s where not everyone was on the
Internet yet, but let's make no mistake.
The common (and I stress _common_) IT professional is the modern day
construction worker. You don't need a degree. You don't need to have a
high IQ. You don't need to do anything but "keep up" with changes in tech
like you do tech in construction. Beyond that, construction actually cares
about codes and other, public safety, whereas the "old dog" engineering
boards haven't exactly been "keeping up" with that in the IT world (despite
the IEEE and others screaming it's a real issue they need to address as
Doesn't mean IT professionals are dumb. But many construction workers
are not either. Many know how to run field engineering equipment, use
trigonometry with regularity and other things. They have to add things
correctly in their head and other things. Sure, there are the "dumb laborers"
but is that any different in IT? Seriously! But in the end, the concept that
computer people are "smart" by default, without question, is not flying in the
21st century, and that's well deserved.
So the concept of IT people saying "keep up" to non-IT people does get
to me, when it's not true. And using the argument of "bettering yourself" by
learning technology is just as shallow and untrue. In fact, a lot of us are over-
weight because we are in front of a screen, and not exercising, out'n about,
etc... So I'd hardly use us as an example, and really dislike the -- what it
really boils down to -- technology for technology's sake. In fact, I'd strongly
argue that we are cutting back too much on community service and other
things that really reduce the public's need for reliance on the government.
But I won't go there, as it will open up a can of political worms.
*SO* while I will make the argument that "old dogs" need to learn new tricks
*IF* they are in the "new" game with a "new" distro or -- God help them -- a
distro that is always "leading edge" by building right from the projects with
little more than rudimentary build/integration (and 0 integration testing and,
gasp, the impossibility of regression testing). I cannot condone the arguments
that "oh, to keep your old mind young" mindset from a generation -- my
generation X and the following generation Y -- statistically that has become
fat, lazy and shown -- in general -- that we do not appreciate simple lives,
simple helpfulness outside of a computer and simple values.
That's not right-wing trash or concepts. It's just how the USA used to be. The
change has been reflected in our government for the last few decades, as
well as in all the luxuries we buy. We pass the buck, instead of taking it upon
ourselves to better ourselves in ways that pay real dividends. I won't deny
the Internet has opened up mediums of communication that have advanced
so many things -- from social constructs to real research and applied science.
But it's clear we're also promoting technology too much for its own sake.
And even I'm hypocritical myself in that viewpoint at times as well, although
I am trying to change, and actually succeeding in many areas.
Just want to ensure people aren't confusing two very different arguments on
this point. "Learning new stuff" is only required when you're using "new stuff."
If you would rather not learn "new computer stuff" and, better yet, learn other
things or better yourself in other ways, more power to you -- especially if
you're not in the IT profession. I wholly agree. Just don't try the new stuff and
stab yourself and then complain -- because as in #1 -- you will get _no_
sympathy from me. It's not the same as the #2 viewpoint. ;)
More information about the Novalug