Time for a new "Geek Code"!

Sun 06 August 2023 by R.L. Dane

I was watching yesterday's video from The Linux Cast on PeerTube, and I really liked how he broke down the various (arche)types of Linux users into seven categories:

  • "The Greybeards" - those who have used Linux since the early days, and have a lot of experience. The Linux Gandalfs.
  • "I used linux before it was cool" - those who used Linux since the 90s, and who are fairly experienced. Linux Legolas? ;)
  • "Ubuntu Babies" - those who got into Linux when it got relatively popular and easy to use around the mid-naughties.
  • "Arch Elitists" - pretty self-explanatory. Those who think that following a very well written guide for installing an OS is some kind of badge of pride.
  • Gamers - Those who have gotten into Linux more recently, chiefly because technologies like Proton has enabled Linux users to play many mainstream games that were written for windows. (And more recently, those who are using Linux (whether they know it or not) because they are gaming on a Steam Deck).
  • Rebels - Those who use Linux not so much for pragmatic reasons, because it's an avenue to avoid corporate hegemony over tech. The ones that avoid proprietary software as much as possible, and strongly distrust corporate influence over Linux from entities like RedHat.
  • Noobs - People who are not as technical, whether they are new users of linux or not. People who are using linux because they like it, not because they're a sysadmin and they like bringing work home ;)

(Note: while I use his category names and some of his descriptions, a lot of what I describe above is my own interpretation of the categories, and not necessarily an attempt to faithfully transcribe how he describes them)

I really liked the way he broke down the categories, and while it doesn't perfectly represent all elements of the Linux community, I think it does a pretty good job. It reminds me a lot of the "Geek Code" trend that was very popular in the 90s and naughties, and I thought it would be cool if I turned his categories into a new "Linux Geek Code."

Here's mine:
g4 b6 u2 a1 s1 r6 n3

The first letter represents one of the categories:

  • g = "Greybeard"
  • b = "before it was cool"
  • u = "Ubuntu Baby"
  • a = "Arch Elitist"
  • s = "Gamer" (Steam)
  • r = "Rebel"
  • n = "noob"

The number after the letter is an octal code (of course it is!) representing how much that category describes you:

  • 0 = 0%
  • 1 = 14.3%
  • 2 = 28.6%
  • 3 = 42.9%
  • 4 = 57.1%
  • 5 = 71.4%
  • 6 = 85.7%
  • 7 = 100%

So my geek code can be interpreted as:

  • g4 - I'm halfway a greybeard (maybe? ;)
  • b6 - I'm pretty solidly a "before it was cool" guy
  • u2 - I did use/like Ubuntu when it was new, but it wasn't my first foray into Linux
  • a1 - I'm ok with Arch, but I'm not an elitist
  • s1 - I'm not really a gamer
  • r6 - I'm definitely a rebel. Watch out.
  • n3 - I'm still something of a noob. I still have lots to learn. ;)

And I guess if someone really wants a more compact encoding, you can go with pure octal and a simple label, like:
lgc: 04621163 (Octal numbers usually start with a 0)

Try making yours and post it to the #Fediverse (mastodon/friendica/pixelfed, etc.) with the tag #LinuxGeekCode!

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