back to article Why is it that geeks' favourite enemies are... other geeks?

Geeks have often enjoyed a fractious relationship with non-techies, but nowhere near as toxic as their relationships with other geeks who dare to have slightly different tech preferences. On October 17, Brian Alleyne, of the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, will join us to discuss how geek and hacker culture has always …

  1. Alister Silver badge
    Coat

    Let's kick this off then...

    "EMACS would be a great operating system, if only it had a decent text editor..."

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Let's kick this off then...

      It's ok, you can use Pico as the text editor.

    2. Redstone

      Re: Let's kick this off then...

      Apple DOS 3.2.1 anyone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's kick this off then...

        I hate Java because ...

        I hate anything from Microsoft because ...

        1. el kabong Silver badge

          Re: Let's kick this off then...

          The only valid reason for your hatred of Microsoft is you never having tried Visual Basic or its little brother VBScript. Give them a try and you'll become a Microsoft convert in no time.

          1. stephanh
            Trollface

            Re: Let's kick this off then...

            I assume this is the perfect place then to ask for a rational and adult discussion on which is better, "Classic" Visual Basic (ON ERROR GOTO HELL), or VB.NET (aka "Visual Fred")?

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Let's kick this off then...

            "never having tried Visual Basic or its little brother VBScript"

            aw, that didn't deserve 2 downvotes! [I appreciate the snark/sarcasm... it WAS sarcasm, right?]

    3. stephanh

      Re: Let's kick this off then...

      Only Emacs users are intelligent, sophisticated and cultured enough to appreciate my diatribes about why Vim is the superior editor. I am not going to throw those pearls of wisdom to the swines.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's kick this off then...

      You could have just said SYSTEMD ;)

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: SYSTEMD

        *hiss*

  2. EricM

    Same with [members of] simlar religions ...

    there's no more bitter enemy of a religios person than a just slighly different one. After all, discussions between religios and non-religous people tend to be short due to lack of a common basis. But between two religous people of just slightly different flavor ... that's where the most heatet debates erupt. Common basis AND desire to differentiate are key ... Same withe techies.. No common basis for dicussions with "normal" people, no argument, no toxic relationships. :-)

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Same with [members of] simlar religions ...

      there's no more bitter enemy of a religious person than a just slightly different one

      That's the nub, there's nothing unique about the proclivity toward this in techies whatsoever.

      The most ire in Christian sects has always been saved for other christian sects, same with muslims, and there are probably other sectarian examples.

      After all, 'language evolved to scream defiance at the monkeys in the next tree'

      - Pratchett (Darwins Watch)

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Same with [members of] simlar religions ...

      One of my fav jokes follows:

      Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!”

      He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

      He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”

      He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me too! Protestant or Catholic?”

      He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me too! What denomination?”

      He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”

      He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

      He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

      He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me too!”

      “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

      He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” I said, “Die heretic!” And I pushed him over.

      1. tfewster Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Same with [members of] simlar religions ...

        Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912? Splitter!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Same with [members of] simlar religions ...

      "there's no more bitter enemy of a religios person than a just slighly different one."

      Or the philosophers or sociologists who like to keep a good feud going :)

  3. MJI Silver badge

    I have come across some

    The heated discussions between FoxPro users and Clipper developers.

    Later the open warfare between NT Server and Netware supporters*

    * I actually relished telling customers their software is now slower because they downgraded their server operating system. MS never mentioned the half speed file access over Netware.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: I have come across some

      Hmm 3 downvotes looks like I upset Gates, Ballmer and Nadella!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Terminator

      Re: I have come across some

      "Later the open warfare between NT Server and Netware supporters*"

      I've never come across Open Source geeks who spent their time thinking up ways of sabotaging other developers efforts. Such as shipping Windows with no network connectivity and refusing to fix bugs in Windows 95. Refusing to provide header files and libraries to Novell. Or writing a bad app to make OS/2 look buggy. Or produce fake error msgs, see AARD code.

  4. Platypus

    Bikeshedding

    Isn't this true of other groups as well? We all fight over the issues with which we're most intimately and constantly familiar. Emacs vs. vi is our version of angels dancing on the head of a pin. Another metaphor is the infamous bikeshed. Nobody wants to argue about the design of a nuclear power plant, because that's complicated and hard and requires a lot of knowledge, but everyone has an opinion on what color the bikeshed at that plant should be. Perhaps the general tendencies of programmers - highly focused, introverted, a bit brittle - make this somewhat worse than elsewhere, but mostly it just seems like human nature.

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Bikeshedding

      Excuse me, is this the right room for an argument...?

      1. Alister Silver badge

        Re: Bikeshedding

        No, it isn't.

        1. Alistair Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Bikeshedding

          @Alister

          I've told you once!

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: Bikeshedding

            @ Alistair

            No you didn't!

  5. Thomas Steven 1

    Surely it's because only other geeks can be worthy adversaries

    There's no point in taking on clueless users. They are not worthy adversaries.

    Today is a good day to die. Qapla'

    1. Myvekk

      Re: Surely it's because only other geeks can be worthy adversaries

      [quote]There's no point in taking on clueless users. They are not worthy adversaries.

      Today is a good day to die. Qapla'[/quote]

      I much prefer the ancient dwarfish battle cry, "T'dr'duzk b'hazg t't!"

      Which translates as the far more sensible desire, "Today is a good day for someone else to die!"

      Thank you, Sir Pterry.

  6. Matthew Glubb

    Because beating jocks is no challenge at all.

  7. Binraider666
    Joke

    You're forgetting Amiga 500 vs Atari ST. I mean, so obviously the Amiga was best :-P

  8. WolfFan Silver badge
    Alien

    Feh

    Y'all didn't mention the four-cornered fight between adherents of the Star Dreck, Star Whores, Babbling 5, and Cattlecar Galactritrash religions.

    1. Myvekk

      Re: Feh

      You fool!

      Galaxy Quest was obviously the best!

  9. Larhten
    Trollface

    For the Emperor!

    Burn the heretics!

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Will the meeting be a virtual one?

    If so, then more the pity, nothing beats pelting your opponents with rotten eggs and tomatoes....

    Joking, let us keep things civilized, shall we? :)

  11. kain preacher Silver badge

    emacs daemon with systemd

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      outofacannonintothesun.jpg

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      whats wrong with emacs using system d :)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Nothing, kain.

        Just not on my computers.

  12. jake Silver badge

    It's ubiquitous to human nature.

    Not invented here. Not in my backyard. Get of my lawn! Etc.

    We're all guilty of it, although I've noticed that the older the individual, the less any of it really matters to that individual. Exceptions to this general rule exist.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: It's ubiquitous to human nature.

      The NIH thing isn't so much of a problem, when you realize how lame+trivial all of those 3rd party libraries often are. Inventing a new one "here" is probably faster, and more reliable, in all too many cases.

  13. Jack A. Lope

    RPN versus algebraic

    In the years before personal computers when pocket calculators were displacing slide rules, the big divide was between the users of calculators with Reverse Polish Notation (HP, a few others) and users of calculators with algebraic notation (TI, most others).

    I agree that these sorts of schisms seem to be human nature.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: RPN versus algebraic

      Pocket calculators displaced sliderules? Really? When did this happen, I must have missed it!

      Sliderules still do the job they were invented to do. They do it perfectly, and without batteries. What's not to like? Here's a picture of my favorite. I use it near daily.

    2. Myvekk

      Re: RPN versus algebraic

      I had an RPN calculator.

      As a friend said when I was using it in the '90s, "The best thing about having an RPN calculator is that no-one will steal it. Because they won't be able to figure out how to use it...."

      "BUT! WHERE'S THE EQUALS BUTTON!?"

  14. Colin Millar
    Boffin

    The trouble with techies

    is that they are not engineers (although they like to think they are) and they fail to appreciate the one global truth that is the second rule of engineering:-

    "2. Any tool can be used as a hammer"

    1. Myvekk

      Re: The trouble with techies

      Especially when the tool is a (L)user. Or should that be, the (L)user is a tool?

      BRING ME MY LART!

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