[buug] Re: [Buug-admin] Mr Tiemann's unauthorized

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Sep 26 17:55:16 PDT 2000

[Snip Stanco from distribution]

begin  Tony Stanco quotation:

> Fair enough. Do you have a list of free software dial-ups in the DC
> area? 

The term "support" is always such a politically-loaded term.  If you
make the mistake of calling up an ISP (either the sales staff or the
support department; it doesn't matter) and asking them if they "support
Linux", their answer is almost always an emphatic "no".

But that doesn't necesssarily mean what you might think it means.  When
they hear that question, what they're really hearing you ask is "If I 
get a PPP dial-up account with you, are you willing to help me debug all
my problems using your connectivity and services, even though I'm using
sundry Linux-based software you may know nothing about?"

That may not be anything like the question you were trying to ask.  You 
may have meant:  "I understand that I'm signing up for generic,
industry-standard PPP transport of my IP packets using [PAP|CHAP|MS-CHAP] 
authentication.  Do you know of any reason why I couldn't make this work
with arbitrary PPP client software (supporting the necessary
authentication protocol) on the OS platform of my choice?"

Because the term "support" is ambiguous, and because the industry is
oriented towards clueless technophobe customers, and because ISPs
operate on razor-thin margines and could be killed by excessive
'phone-support costs, the ISPs construe the question as pessimistically 
as possible.  You probably won't reach someone who even _understands_
the second question formulation, let alone be willing to give you an
honest answer.

The upshot of all this is that the set of ISPs with whom you can use
Linux boxen, entirely trouble-free, is -=immeasurably=- greater than the
minuscule number that say they "support Linux".  (A number have
mandatory sign-up software that's available only in Win32 or MacOS
versions, but are in the business of doing standard IP transport,

> "Vanity of Vanities. All is vanity. And the most vain is that with
> pain purchased." Shakespeare (as close as I remember it). Efficiency
> is important, because I don't have all the time to do what I need to
> do in a day.

Translation:   I'm too lazy and clueless to use anything else.

But we knew that.

> Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency. Sometimes, we just need a
> small push to do what we know is right.

10 to 1 odds that he _won't_ do it.

Cheers,                   "Teach a man to make fire, and he will be warm 
Rick Moen                 for a day.  Set a man on fire, and he will be warm
rick at linuxmafia.com       for the rest of his life."   -- John A. Hrastar

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