Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

May 11, 2021

Stop hating on people because they don’t use the same tools as you

Filed under: Linux/Unix Related,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 6:31 PM

Recently there was an idiot on twitter who kept harassing a lady (@insiderPhd) to tell her that she was not a real hacker because she didn’t use vi. The screen shot of the original post is at the bottom of the post. The quote I really found interesting is “It’s not that you ‘can’t use’ vim’, it is that you haven’t taken ANY time to learn it. If you can learn API hacking tools, you can learn vim. Don’t be lazy!”. How is not learning vim/vi being lazy. I didn’t learn it for a long time because I didn’t need to. Then Matt convinced me that I need to know it and his reasoning was that if a system goes down and you have to boot into recovery mode or are working on an embedded system the only editor you can be sure will be available is vi and that made sense to me. It did take me a while to get comfortable with it but I still prefer a GUI based editor like EditPlus on Windows or kWrite on linux. Does that mean that I am not a ‘hacker’? If so then so be it. I am comfortable with what/who I am and I don’t need you to validate me. Unfortunately, for newcomers into the field this can be discouraging so please stop doing that. Plus, we need to call out these idiots who think they are the sole authority on how is a hacker or a techie or a geek or whatever.

I really don’t understand these guys and it is always a guy who is trying to gatekeep and tell others that they are the sole authority to decide who is a hacker or who is not. Who is in and who is not. I have much better things to worry about than trying to get approval from some jackass who thinks their way is the only way. Remember the famous “infinite diversity in infinite combinations” quote? It means that there is more than one way to do it.

We have a lot of old-timers who are scared of the new generation and their new-fangled ideas. This is because they stopped learning and are now scared that they will be replaced. In one of my previous companies, I was responsible for creating a system that replaced a legacy system with a user friendly web based system. It worked great (if I say so myself) but one of the senior engineers I was working with did everything they could to sabotage the project because they were comfortable with the old system and didn’t want to change. Plus it was job security because hardly anyone else understood the system so they were always needed. My feeling is that if you need to prevent upgrades because you think you would loose your job because only you know the system then understand that the company is already looking for ways to replace you. Single points of failures are a big issue for a company.

Now, coming back to the original point about tools. I really don’t get why people get so worked up over a simple tool. This whole religious war over vi vs emacs or Windows vs Linux or Android vs iPhone and so on is just silly. It is ok to have a preference, I for example prefer using vi, Linux and Android phones. But that is because those tools work for me and I am comfortable with them. There are aspects of iPhone that I don’t like because of the design philosophy behind it. I have spent hours debating which phone is better and I will continue to do so. That being said, it doesn’t mean that people who don’t use an Android phones are non-technical or uneducated or whatever. End of the day a phone is a tool, it needs to do what I want it to do and respect my freedom to do what I want with it.

It doesn’t matter if I use vi to code or I use an IDE that helps me code. It matters what I do with it, what program I am writing. I can never remember syntax’s for functions, even for languages I have been using for decades. Does that mean I can’t program? of-course not. That’s what google and the reference books are there for. In my 10th Board exam, during my computer science viva I was asked to give the syntax for the locate command and I mixed up the rows & columns parameters and inverted them. My teacher scolded me and told me how can I believe you coded this program if you can’t even tell me the syntax, so I told her that I can always look up the syntax when I am coding and the important part is that I need to know when to use the command, not what the syntax is. There was pin-drop silence after I told her that. I did get full marks so I guess I made sense. But the point is that tools are there to help you. You need to figure out how to use them effectively.

I use Linux on all my machines but Jani and my parents use Windows because that is what works for them. It doesn’t mean that they are scum or unintelligent or whatever, (these are actual terms I have hear people use about folks who use Windows) it is just that for them it doesn’t matter. It is not what is important to them.

Too many people try to use the tools you use as a criteria to like you or hate you and to me that is a sad way to live your life.

I learn a lot from others who are different from me because they have a different view point. If everyone in the world was the same imagine how boring it would be? I am not a singer, but others are and they create great music so does that make them better or worse than me? It doesn’t. They are just different and that is good. We need that diversity.

We all need to stop focusing on the differences and start focusing on how we all love the same stuff.


Original post on Twitter, ranting on how someone is not a hacker because they don’t use vim

– Suramya

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