Earlier today, I ranted about Linux. Just now, I read Andrew Sullivan’s Why I Blog. That got me thinking…
The quotes below are all from Andrew.
We bloggers have scant opportunity to collect our thoughts, to wait until events have settled and a clear pattern emerges. We blog now—as news reaches us, as facts emerge.
Sometimes, I need to let off steam. Those who have ever shared an office with me, or been in an office close to mine will know this. I am pretty vocal about it, when something is annoying me.
I’m not being particularly rational about it. I just complain a lot.
I calm down again pretty quickly, once I’ve stopped screaming and hitting the walls, but when I am frustrated about something, I do need to let off steam.
On my blog, that “steam off letting” is tagged as Rants. Now you know, so consider yourself warned.
Alas, as I soon discovered, this sudden freedom from above was immediately replaced by insurrection from below. Within minutes of my posting something, even in the earliest days, readers responded. E-mail seemed to unleash their inner beast. They were more brutal than any editor, more persnickety than any copy editor, and more emotionally unstable than any colleague.
Now, complaining about Linux will annoy some people. A lot of people feel strongly about it.
Not that the comments on the Linux rant are unfair in any way. It is more that my actual rant was unfair, and the comments are actually quite fair!
Not long ago, I would would have defended Linux strongly against just about any criticism. I was a strong believer in Linux. And it has gotten better and better since I started using it.
Why, then, do I complain so much about it now?
Two reasons, probably.
First, I’ve had a lot of problems with using it as a desktop computer that I am just not having with my new Mac.
I got an iMac a few months back, and this is the first non-Linux OS I’ve done any serious work on since I started using Linux in 1995 and so far it has been a pleasant experience.
Not all pleasure, of course. It takes some getting use to, and quite often I get annoyed when it doesn’t work exactly like what I am used to on Linux. And don’t get me started about the problems I’ve had with Boost and Xcode.
Still, fighting with drivers and whatnot is something I avoid on the Mac. Probably a good thing, ’cause I wouldn’t know where to even start with that…
You can’t have blogger’s block. You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts. You can try to hide yourself from real scrutiny, and the exposure it demands, but it’s hard.
That’s the second point (about why I am complaining now).
I was just pissed off that I had to reboot my laptop twice the same morning.
A blogger will air a variety of thoughts or facts on any subject in no particular order other than that dictated by the passing of time. A writer will instead use time, synthesizing these thoughts, ordering them, weighing which points count more than others, seeing how his views evolved in the writing process itself, and responding to an editor’s perusal of a draft or two. The result is almost always more measured, more satisfying, and more enduring than a blizzard of posts.
If I had waited with my ranting until this evening, I probably wouldn’t have ranted at all.
Of course, then there wouldn’t have been this discussion, and that would have been a loss.
I really do appreciate all the comments.
Words, of all sorts, have never seemed so now.