Referring to new linux users as noobs or some variation is an insult to the user. Sure, there are bigger issues, but if anyone wonders why Linux sees no broader adaptation on the desktop, this is a solid component. Some of the friendliest communities in this little slice of the world casually hurl this insult in the form of “newbie corners” and such.
Maybe we have lost the perspective regarding how petty this phrase sounds to the non-nerd. After all, it comes from gaming culture and, I confess, I’ve taken great joy while fraggin’ some noobs. You know, in a past life. But when we use the term today, it basically comes off as, “Welcome to my world where I know more than you about this one thing, peasant”.
This attitude of experience Linux users toward new users minimizes the actual context of what many Linux adapters are doing. There are some Linux adapters that are seeking a way to do their daily work inside FOSS in order to save their businesses. Others are trying to expand their computing experience outside the bounds of Redmond or Cupertino. Many - if not most - of these people are heroes, early adapters, and pioneers. They carry the same curios nature that many of us needed to survive through the 80s and 90s. They should be treated with respect.
Don’t get me wrong. I have had many run-ins with the arrogance and tyranny of the actual noob (“I don’t know how to do this, so do it for me, boy”). These are the people that bemoan the toxicity of the Arch forums without realizing they created it. I have to say, it’s a small and vocal subset. I include myself in the group of users that have benefited greatly from the most elite of user forums without complaint. Somebody tells me to RTFM, I RTFM.
People that want everything figured out for them probably already use Apple or WinX, and rightly so. No hard feelings. But people who make there way onto a Linux oriented forum should be treated with respect until they prove otherwise.
So I suggest a new name to the zeitgeist for consideration. New users of Linux heretofore should be referred to as “Pioneers”, or maybe “Adapters”, or hows about “Renegade” or “Refugee”.