Whether it’s Apple versus Android, Linux versus anything else or, TechnologyA versus TechnologyB, tech fanboys are everywhere. I’m ashamed to admit that I used to be one, but proud to say that I no longer am.

What I do love about fanboys is their enthusiasm. There’s no harm in getting excited about technology. Being a tech enthusiast myself I encourage it wholeheartedly. There’s a certain kind of passion that can be very healthy, particularly for emerging technologies.

What I don’t appreciate is the absolute, and sometimes even ironic, closed-mindedness associated with many fanboy subcultures. This is certainly true of many Linux groups, several of which I have been involved with for over the past 10 years. The attitude is often “We want everyone to have freedom of choice… as long as it’s one of OUR choices.”.  What the fanboys fail to realise is what motivates the technology choices of consumers, and indeed businesses.  Successful business decisions have to be based on what will make their workforce more productive and ultimately bring in bigger profits.  That’s the whole reason businesses exist.  In the case of “Linux vs. the world” it just doesn’t matter to most businesses that the source code is available for the OS kernel.

Consumers are an entirely different, and significantly more complex, beast.  Their purchasing decisions are founded far more in their psychology and emotions.  So much so that most of the marketing industry’s time and effort is put into understanding them.  People just don’t care about how strict Apple’s iPhone app submission process is, nor do they care.  Why should they?

Experience has taught me that what is most important is choosing the right tool for the job. At the rate that technology changes the same tool that is deemed the best today will almost certainly no longer be in 5 years time.  It is up to us as technology professionals to keep ourselves up to date and constantly re-evaluate the tools we use and promote.  We need to stop squabbling among ourselves over which web framework or mobile platform is superior and focus instead on the whole reason we exist: our users.

I’ll leave you with a beautiful little note found in a 1968 guide to using a computer centre:

Dedicated to Joe User.

He may be a nice guy.  Or he may be obstinate, obstreperous, too demanding, or exasperating.  But we love him.  Because without him we have no challenge, no ups and downs, no anxieties, no fun, and in fact, no job.  To him for whom we exist, we dedicate our work in the hope that it will make his research and study easier.

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