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Six More Tech Cults 179

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Dan Tynan takes a humorous look at six 'sects' of fanatical tech loyalists. 'Fandom, devotion, obsession — certain technologies have a way of inspiring an extremely loyal following. So committed are these devotees, you might as well call them technology cults,' Tynan writes in this update to last year's list, which included fans of the Newton, Commodore, and Ruby on Rails, among other technologies. 'Sometimes these cults are inspired by elegant lines of code. Other times it's dedication to an ideal. Some are looking to transform the way software is made. Others hope to transform humanity itself. And some just want to argue about it all — endlessly and at great length.'"
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Six More Tech Cults

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:40AM (#32484426)

    The sinister emacs must be purged.

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:41AM (#32484444) Homepage Journal

    Steve Jobs, Kevin Warwick, Nicholas Negroponte.

    Oh, sorry. Cults.

  • by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:41AM (#32484450) Homepage Journal

    Apple isn't #1.

    To be fair to the Jobsian cult, though, the most rabid extremists I've ever come across are old-skool SGI admins. Don't even try to suggest putting Linux on ancient SGI hardware; according to sacred lore, it will turn a venerable super computer into a PC. Then they'll send you an angry email as well, just to make sure the point gets across.

    • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @12:10PM (#32484926) Homepage

      "t will turn a venerable super computer into a PC."

      SGI might not have had the best marketing but back in the day it had some of the best hardware designers and OS/driver writers in the world as far as graphics was concerned. What they didn't know at the time wasn't worth knowing. I'd be pretty amazed if Linux could get the same performance out of the hardware even if it used SGI written drivers.

      • by MrHanky ( 141717 )

        Probably, but although SGI hardware is readily available and even cheap for the enthusiast, Irix is not. It's actually not easy to get hold of, and SGI isn't helpful at all. So to make use of the fancy old hardware (SGI made nice boxes years before Apple), people tend to be attracted to the alternatives: NetBSD and Linux. An Indy can either be a fancy but inefficient dust collecting device, or a low-end Unix terminal running Linux/BSD. Architecturally, it can't really be a PC. But considering that SGI aband

        • I have a bunch of unopened IRIX 6.x installation sets gathering dust in my basement. I'm pretty sure they require activation codes like everything else SGI.
    • by richlv ( 778496 )

      yeah. and ruby was included, while postgresql was left out ;)

      just take a look at any mysql article on /. for a proof.

      • by jd ( 1658 )

        You should have listened to the tirade I got from EnterpriseDB (the Windows vendor for PostgreSQL). Because I need to do stuff too heavy for MySQL (and I don't like the problems Oracle has caused, nor the splintering), I'm increasingly interested in Ingres and other Open Source DBs.

    • You just reminded me of a Usenet post I made in the mid 90's asking a technical question about OpenGL. This was when SGI owned 3d graphics and openly scorned the presumption of a PC ever rivaling them. Something about my question made it PC-specific and they flamed me like a heretic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by urusan ( 1755332 )

      Cults are small non-mainstream groups, so it is accurate. Apple is a religion.

      "A delusion held by one person is a mental illness, held by a few is a cult, held by many is a religion."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:43AM (#32484486)

    "InfoWorld's Dan Tynan takes a humorous look at six 'sects' of fanatical tech loyalists.

    Tech cult No. 1: The Way of the Palm
    Tech cult No. 2: Brotherhood of the Ruby
    Tech cult No. 3: The Ubuntu tribe
    Tech cult No. 4: The Commodorians
    Tech cult No. 5: The Order of the Lisp
    Tech cult No. 6: Monks of the Midrange
    Tech cult No. 7: The Tao of Newton


    • by Anonymous Coward

      A Spanish Inquisition?

      So fine, there are seven sects

      Tech cult No. 1: The Way of the Palm
      Tech cult No. 2: Brotherhood of the Ruby
      Tech cult No. 3: The Ubuntu tribe
      Tech cult No. 4: The Commodorians
      Tech cult No. 5: The Order of the Lisp
      Tech cult No. 6: Monks of the Midrange
      Tech cult No. 7: The Tao of Newton
      Tech cult No. 8: The Amiga Gurus

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        It kind of irked me that the 'Commodorians' section droned on and on about the Commodore 64, whose enthusiasts are pretty much a group of modest hobbyists with a realistic view of the world, then only mentioned the real nutcase cultists, the Amiga cranks, at the end like an afterthought. Maybe it was viewed as too dangerous to bring up 'the A computer' prominently.

        (And probably an Amiga crank or two will respond to this comment, or have one of their friends tag it flamebait.)

    • Palm and Ubuntu not not Apple? Seriously? I'm supposed to take this list seriously?

  • From article:
    By Dan Tynan
    Created 2009-05-04

    I became suspicious when he predicted the resurgence of palm.

    • by emurphy42 ( 631808 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:52AM (#32484630) Homepage
      The first link should go here [infoworld.com] or, for a printer-friendly version, here [infoworld.com].
      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

        Oh heavens I fit into a few of those categories.
        I think they left out a few.
        What of NetBeans vs Eclipse.org?
        The anti Monoites. Those that hate all things Mono and C# like that pollutes the purity of Linux.
        The Church of Theo
        The Brotherhood of St Clive of Sinclair.
        The Flash haters which now seem to be having issues that Apple has joined them since many are also Apple haters.
        The Flash faitful or those poor fools that that don't understand that the only reason people keep Flash is Farmville.
        And the Twitteroti.

    • Seriously, it doesn't. Snydeq is their PR flack, and he's got a weekly slashdot quota (check out his submission history). Quality of article doesn't matter, he just has to hit his numbers. Hey, it's a living, right...?

    • by Lars T. ( 470328 ) <Lars.Traeger@NospAm.googlemail.com> on Monday June 07, 2010 @12:46PM (#32485424) Journal

      From article: By Dan Tynan Created 2009-05-04

      I became suspicious when he predicted the resurgence of palm.

      That's why it's also a dupe: http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/04/2039219 [slashdot.org] - note that it was posted on the same day.

  • by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:49AM (#32484578)

    From the article:

    "Programming language Ruby and its younger, sleeker sibling, Ruby on Rails..."


    Such quality investigation and journalism!

    • by abigor ( 540274 )

      I guess you didn't read the article. He does mention that it's a web framework.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Teckla ( 630646 )

        I guess you didn't read the article. He does mention that it's a web framework.

        That doesn't make Ruby on Rails a sibling of Ruby.

        Unless you count the associative array library I wrote in C as a sibling of C?

        No, of course not.

        • by abigor ( 540274 )

          A bit of journalistic license. At least the later description was correct, which is better than most Infoworld articles.

  • Every technology that became big started out enthusing its supporters. If we didn't become excessively enthused about technology we wouldn't be geeks.

    Seems to me the key is tolerance. We tolerate the currently-enthused, because we know we were once them and, Linux willing, will be again.
    • by MrHanky ( 141717 )

      Enthusing its supporters? MS DOS? Windows 3.0? (I mean, later versions may have had their points, but even Microsoft themselves would only call Windows 3.0 a commercial success.)

  • Nonsense (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:51AM (#32484612) Journal

    Computer fanatics don't have sects.

  • Commodore 65 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:52AM (#32484634)

    Another gem from the article:

    Sacred relic: Commodore C65

    Ah, yes, I fondly remember my C65...

    Wait, what?

    (Did they even bother to proofread their work? It has dozens of mistakes.

    • by Daimanta ( 1140543 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:55AM (#32484672) Journal

      You are just jealous because you were stuck with the C64 while all the cool kids had a C65

      • by Teckla ( 630646 )

        You are just jealous because you were stuck with the C64 while all the cool kids had a C65

        The really cool and dedicated-to-the-cult kids upgraded to the C128.

        • by tekrat ( 242117 )

          No, we upgraded to the C=128D. Actually, I've used and owned both. The 128D may be the best 8-bit computer of all time, and I say that because it was, essentially, almost every 8-bit computer that came before it, all rolled into one.

          • by toejam13 ( 958243 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @02:17PM (#32486710)
            I’d actually argue that the Commodore 128, Commodore 65 and CBM-II series were all mediocre successors to the Commodore 8-bit line at best. I even suspect that had the Amiga not fallen into Commodore’s lap, they might have gone bankrupt because of it.

            The main problem with all three systems was their CPU. The MOS 8502 found in the C128 and CBM-II as well as the CSG 4510 in the C65 could only access 64KB of memory directly, so they all relied on bank switching to get around the limitation. Bank switching SUCKS. It is even worse than the 20-bit segmentation model found in the i8086/8088.

            Apple ended up using the WDC 65816, which included a limited set of op-codes that could handle 24-bit “long mode” addresses. But it was a bolt on feature at best, and was severely limited. A better option would have been if the MOS 8502 came with a new memory mode where all existing 16-bit ($xxxx) ops could have been extended to 24-bit ($xxxxxx) instead. A processor with a flat 24-bit memory mode would have been very easy to work with.

            All of the C128’s other major faults (graphics and audio) are all secondary. Sure, had they either adopted the MOS 7360’s 121-color Y/C palette or a 64-color RGB6 palette, it would have been great. Had they adopted stereo SID and/or added frequency modulation, it would have been great. But in the end, the processor would have crippled it. Just try programming for the C65 emulator under M.E.S.S. and see for yourself.
        • The really cool and dedicated-to-the-cult kids upgraded to the C128.

          Hah! All the really cool kids had the C129! At least according to InfoWorld they did.

      • Give me your C65 or I'll detonate the C4.

    • Re:Commodore 65 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amaupin ( 721551 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:59AM (#32484738) Homepage

      Commodore 65 [wikipedia.org]

      (Did you even bother to read the article?)

      What seems silly to me is including C64 users as a cult and only jokingly mentioning Amiga advocates in an aside. Hard to believe any tech observer including the former instead of the latter. Diehard AmigaOS advocates much more deserve "cult" status.

      • by Teckla ( 630646 )

        (Did you even bother to read the article?)

        Why, yes. I did.

        I'm old enough to remember when the Commodore 64 came out. I owned one. I had bunches of friends who owned one. We loved them.

        The article says this:

        Their most sacred relic: the Commodore 65, an improved version of the C64 that never made it past the prototype stage.

        Um...no. The C65 is not a sacred relic. That's asinine. It was never even released. The mere mention of the C65 in the article is foolish. It was the Commodore 64 we loved and revered, not the vaporous C65.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Zedrick ( 764028 )
          Um...no. The C65 is not a sacred relic.

          Yes it is, please check comp.sys.cbm or any Commodore-forum before you try to sound as if you have any idea what you're talking about. There is nothing as sought after as a C65 among Commodore-collectors - not even the Commodore MAX. Last year I offered around US$2000 for one of them, but unfortunately the seller wanted more. Latest C65 on ebay (dec. 2009) went for around US$7800.

          It was never even released.

          Roughly 500 prototypes were sold after Commodores ba
      • Diehard AmigaOS advocates much more deserve "cult" status.

        I think its dieing off though - its been a long time since I handed out leaflets at the airport.

      • Diehard AmigaOS advocates much more deserve "cult" status.

        I agree! We Amigans are definitely a cult. I LOL'd when I read this: "These are people who worship the Commodore Amiga operating system and expect that one day its superiority will cause it to rise again. Some of them are really annoyingly crazy."

        That should be our new motto: It's superiority will cause it to rise again!

        ... or maybe: The Once and Future Operating System?

        • Or maybe "We're really annoyingly crazy"?

          No insult intended, I think that would be a really great motto personally.

      • I think it's important to differentiate fans and the cult.

        The AmigaOS was literally the last OS I actually loved, and that love came at a price: I had to watch an inferior operating system trundle forward clumsily, finally taking on many of the best aspects of the AmigaOS, but doing so very tentatively, awkwardly, or downright poorly.

        But I'm a realist and a rationalist: The Last Chance for the Amiga was for a well-managed company to take it over. Escom bought it, and I suspect that even by that time, it

        • The AmigaOS was the best OS of its time

          I disagree. I would actually suggest that Carnegie Mellon’s Mach was the best kernel of the time.

          The majority of AmigaOS’s faults come from two issues: the use of TRIPOS rather than CAOS for AmigaDOS and the lack of better memory management. Although some might point out that those two are the same issue.

          Programming in C for the Amiga back in the Kickstart 1.x days was a little rough with AmigaDOS. Once you learned how to program for Exec, you had to relearn how to program for AmigaDOS

          • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

            I do think that if Commodore had used Concurrent for the OS of the Amiga things would have gone better.
            Truth is a huge amount of it was just marketing. Commodore never got the press it deserved of the developer attention. One simple reason is that no PC magazine could risk giving good coverage to the Amiga.
            Think about the Amiga compared to a PC of the time. Dos was single tasking, limited to 33MB hard drives and offered NO memory protection as well.
            Graphics? You had to write code for every graphics card on

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by hazydave ( 96747 )

          Having worked both at Amiga and at ESCOM's Amiga Technologies spinoff, I do think that was the last real chance the Amiga had. They actually took their time to study the problem, enlisted me and Andy Finkel to run hardware and software development groups, respectively, and had the right idea about how many people and how much time this was going to take, the right place in the market for new Amigas, etc. No guarantees... as I said, it was a chance.

          I don't think any effort to resurrect the Amiga beyond that

    • The article says it never got out of the prototype stage. Maybe that's why you didn't have one? :)
  • Editor Link Failure (Score:5, Informative)

    by Obyron ( 615547 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:55AM (#32484674)
    No surprise, the editors put the wrong link in the article. All three links link to last year's article. Here is the new article [infoworld.com].
    • Taco must be feeling a bit raw around the edges this morning, first NEW cult:

      Tech cult No. 1: The Slashdot Samurai

      • Yes, finally a cult that I belong to. At least off and on. And got in on fairly early (66650). I am, however, disappointed that neither article lists the cult of APL. Now, there's a proper group of fanatics. And I can say that, since I'm one of them.
  • by Zarf ( 5735 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:56AM (#32484700) Journal

    ... I'm actually surprised Perl isn't in the article.

    • Sure, I've met people who were enthusiastic about Perl, but just about all of 'em know There's More Than One Way To Do It applies to language choice, too.

      • by jc42 ( 318812 )

        Yeah, I think TMTOWTDI might be a big part of the "problem" that prevents perl from becoming a cult. Another, which sorta surprised me when it started happening to me, is that there are a lot of companies that actually look for "perl" on resumes (and think it's a good thing ;-). When I first learned perl back in the early 90s, I never thought it would ever help me get a job; I just thought it looked like something practical. When people started using it and saying how useful it was, I was afraid for a wh

    • ... I'm actually surprised Perl isn't in the article.

      Especially since it has an official cult: The Perl Monks [perlmonks.org]

    • Haskell... (Score:3, Interesting)

      I cordially loathe Perl. it is a grotesque collection of shell tools held together with gaffer tape. However, I must admit it is one of only two of the many languages I have used where I learned it from a book from scratch and did a useful medium-sized job in the same day. Most languages are good for something. I have even found a job that Prolog was absolutely perfect for (I have never found a second example, but every dog has its day). And yet...

      Have you ever met Haskell programmers? I have met some re

    • by msimm ( 580077 )
      Oh, but they did! They just posted the wrong link to an out-dated article. Here's the actual article [infoworld.com] from infoworld (print version) with...6 cults. We (collectively, Slashdot) made #1, which seems astute enough.

      Holy scriptures: The Lord of the Rings; Programming Perl (aka "The Camel Book")

  • On initial reading, I thought I was reading something about Neo-Tech (an Scientology-like offshoot of Objectivism), which would be decidedly more serious and sinister than the fairly harmless fanboyism discussed heretofore. I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet on this story.

  • the article was probably written with vi
  • There.

    obscure [youtube.com]?
  • What? a list of tech cults without apple at the top? Granted apple today isnt so much about tech as it is about shiney and 'it just works', but come on....

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      The iPad was there, right - the older version called the Newton? I can remember tech friends heralding the Newton as the world-changing platform.

  • Did the tests for the first cults except apple,I only eat apples not compute on them. Linux 16, Programming 14, and ho surprise, windows 17, I was so certain I was gonna suck on that... I guess some scars from windows admining just don't heal.
  • People in real cults wear sneakers, chop their genitals off and commit suicide. People who like Newtons/Ruby on Rails/Linux/Macs/whatever to a level disparate with the rest of society are called enthusiasts.

  • Only 6? And why those 6? The ones they pick seem like a subset I might have picked in the early 2000s. I'd be surprised if there are more than, oh, 5 working Newtons out there, and Palm is pretty damn dead, still. Palm, if anything, should only make the list because of a lack of backward compatibility/application support elsewhere.

    How about:

    * Apple (wanton consumerism and bling?)
    * Ubuntu (obviously they picked wisely on this one; there are quite a few people who cling to their Ubuntu as bad as the Apple peo

    • by oatworm ( 969674 )
      I agree with most of them, though I'd personally replace "Silverlight" with "HTML5". I haven't seen too many people extol the virtues of Silverlight; on the other hand, I've run across more than a few people that swear that HTML5 will solve all of their problems, banish heretics (Flash, Silverlight, etc.), cure cancer, and so on. Of course, I am using the HTML5 YouTube beta, so I have nothing against the protocol; I'm just saying, let's wait for the standard to get finished and wait for some decent HTML5-ca
    • by abigor ( 540274 )

      I'd upgrade Ubuntu to "desktop Linux users in general". All the hallmarks of a cult are there, way more so than Apple for example.

  • "From 1982 to 1994, the Commodore 64 was the most successful personal computer ever made"

    The Commodore 64 was replaced by the backward compatible Commodore 128 in 1985. Production ceased on the latter in 1989. The Amiga and Atari ST "cults" were far stronger than any C-64 cult by then.

    If we are going to include (nearly) dead cults, what about the ones for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit, TRS-80, TI 99, and so on?

  • Why Ubuntu (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @01:20PM (#32485932) Journal
    It's a pretty popular version of a pretty popular OS. Lots of people try it and most of the alleged cultists don't declare it the one true way. It's much closer to Buddhism than Scientology.
  • by Target Practice ( 79470 ) on Monday June 07, 2010 @01:54PM (#32486424)

    Damn, they just threw every male computer geek into a cult. I personally don't see a prob - oh wait. Palm, as in the company from the 90's.


  • "Tech consultant Jamie Wells says a client he works for still uses OS/2 to run its homegrown ERP and CRM systems, only instead of PCs they run it virtualized on Mac Minis."

    Please tell me you're joking. If I were brought in to work on a system like this, I'd run away screaming.

    Most hypervisors have pretty shoddy OS/2 support. The latest versions of VMWare dropped it, I don't know if it works on Parallels. It does work on VirtualPC, but that's Windows only now, so no luck on the Mac-Mini....unless you're d

  • So what's this article doing under "hardware"? All of the so-called "cults" in both articles are centered around specific software. And scanning the discussion supports this, since "hardware" is a relatively rare string in the rapidly growing page.

    Is there a clean way with the /. software to unobtrusively reclassify an article and its discussion? Though I suppose we don't have a "cult" classification. Maybe we should.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.