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The Biggest Cults In Tech 397

bobby f. writes "Infoworld has published its list of the biggest cults in tech — including Palmists, Newtonians, Commodorians, the Brotherhood of the Ruby, IBM power systems fanboys, Ubuntu-ists, and Lispers. A pretty fun read (unless you really are a cult member)." Although I think it's pretty clear that the Apple camp isn't an opinionated cult, they're just always right. Fire away.
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The Biggest Cults In Tech

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  • Cult #1 (Score:5, Funny)

    by alain94040 ( 785132 ) * on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:22PM (#27822513) Homepage

    It's been a very long time since I met a Newton or Palm cult member! Time to update the list.

    Allow me to change the definition of "cult" slightly to "whatever belief your smart friends want you to give up". Then cult #1 is:

    Name: Windows
    Established: 1995
    Gathering of the Tribe: InfoWorld and other magazines that pretend that everything except Windows is a "cult"
    Major Deity: Bill Gates
    Sacred Relic: 30-letter authorization keys
    The Antichrist: Linus Torvalds

    • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Funny)

      by areusche ( 1297613 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:30PM (#27822657)

      Oh I can do this:

      Name: Mac OS

      Established: 1984

      Gathering of the tribe: Apple WWDC

      Major Deity: Steve Jobs, Woz

      Sacred Relic: A half eaten apple.

      Believed Antichrist: IBM

      True Antichrist: Bill Gates.

      • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Funny)

        by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:46PM (#27822963)

        why would the cult of apple curse IBM!? did IBM not cometh and deliverith the sacred PC of power?

        Name: cult of free software
        Established: 1985
        Major Deity: RMS
        Sacred document: GPL
        Antichrist: !GPL'd software


        Name: cult of debian
        Established: 1993
        Major Deity(s): Bruce Perens & people called Ian
        Sacred relic: Debian 1.0 discs
        Antichrist: ubuntu

        • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:04PM (#27823229)

          did IBM not cometh and deliverith the sacred PC of power?

          You're forgetting the next verse of the Book of Jobs...

          And thus did the people of Apple rejoice for their Chips of Power were great and mighty, and Altivec did cause their enemies to quake in fear. But lo! There were cries from within the camp of Apple, for the faithful had placed the Chips of Power upon their lap and they were terribly burned. The people cast down their Chips of Power and took up the Chips of Core which merely singed their pants, and so the fallen IBM was cast out from the camp of Apple.

        • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Funny)

          by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Monday May 04, 2009 @08:06PM (#27824171) Homepage Journal

          why would the cult of apple curse IBM!?

          If you bled six colors, you wouldn't have to ask.

        • Re:Cult #1 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @09:38PM (#27825145) Journal

          Name: Commodore Amiga OS
          Established: 1985
          Gathering of the tribe: various E.U. discoteks
          Major Deity: Jay Butterfield
          Sacred Relic: a red-and-white "boing" ball.
          Believed Antichrist: Commodore management
          True Antichrist: Wintel empire
          Major religious rituals: Multitasking 100 programs at once, Instant off shutdown (flip the power switch), rapid bootup (10 seconds), balancing Chip RAM versus Fast RAM, and Guru Meditation errors

          • Re:Cult #1 (Score:4, Informative)

            by keeboo ( 724305 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:26AM (#27826885)

            Name: Commodore Amiga OS

            You mean Commodore Amiga as whole.
            During the second half of 1990s, after the original chipset started to show its age, a faction appeared insisting that the true value was the OS itself.
            The OS was great (the kernel, datatypes, installable filesystems, the modularized structure etc), but I think what made the machine mythical was the whole stuff. It was an overload of perfection.

            Major Deity: Jay Butterfield

            I guess you mean Jay Miner.

            Believed Antichrist: Commodore management True Antichrist: Wintel empire

            I think it was the opposite. Amigans loathed x86 and DOS/Windows (it was indeed crap), but what really killed the platform was those Commodore management dumbasses.
            It's a long history but basically they wasted lots of money in bad or plain stupid products (PC clones, x86-compatibility boards, A600...) and let the platform development stagnate (the stillborn AAA chipset, the switch from 68k processors to PA-RISC the engineers were considering etc).

            Major religious rituals: Multitasking 100 programs at once,(...)

            I personally liked to emulate a 68k Mac (actually it was more like a virtualization), then inside that emulate a x86, then inside that a DOS ZX-Spectrum emulator playing a game.
            In parallel, a number of programs (like www browser, IRC client etc), as usual.

            Sounds like no big deal nowadays, but back then it was different.
            Mac OS was a joke (it lacked preemptive multitasking for years, programs used static memory alocation, it crashed if you coughed nearby etc), no comments on Windows 3.x, Windows 95 was not immediately viable. OS/2 worked well, but it was heavy and lacked apps (then it died).

            • AmigaOS (Score:5, Funny)

              by DingerX ( 847589 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:15AM (#27827183) Journal
              Standing in awe at the historical wonder that is the Amiga, OS and hardware, is a natural human reaction, and therefore not the sign of belonging to any cult. The emotions that I've felt considering the Amiga are not unlike those I've experienced standing at the foot of the temple of Jupiter at Baalbek, or what I'd imagine would be the sensation of laying one's mortal eyes on the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Actually, come to think of it, the Amiga was more Golden Pavilion than Baalbek: harmonious; perfect even in its flaws. So perfect, it should not exist on this flawed earth. A crazed monk burned the Temple of the Golden Pavilion -- that's cultism. There are folks who believe the AmigaOS will rise again to rule us all -- that's cultism. But admiring the sheer perfection of the Amiga as a computer system of its generation, and marveling at its unparalleled run as the most elegant and best-performing PC on the market? That's just appreciating historical reality.
        • Re:Cult #1 (Score:4, Interesting)

          by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @07:42AM (#27828579)

          Name: cult of debian
          Established: 1993
          Major Deity(s): Bruce Perens & people called Ian
          Sacred relic: Debian 1.0 discs
          Antichrist: ubuntu

          Bzzzt fail.

          I was "around" back then (although I didn't join until a couple years later) and the 1.0 disks were an epic fail. Not a sacred relic at all. If anything, the opposite of a sacred relic...

          Check out:

          Debian 1.0 was never released: Accidently InfoMagic, a CD vendor, shipped the development release of Debian and entitled it 1.0. On December 11th 1995, Debian and InfoMagic jointly announced that this release was screwed. Bruce Perens explains that the data placed on the "InfoMagic Linux Developer's Resource 5-CD Set November 1995" as "Debian 1.0" is not the Debian 1.0 release, but an early development version which is only partially in the ELF format, will probably not boot or run correctly, and does not represent the quality of a released Debian system. To prevent confusion between the premature CD version and the actual Debian release, the Debian Project has renamed its next release to "Debian 1.1". The premature Debian 1.0 on CD is deprecated and should not be used.

          Also if anything would be Debian's "antichrist" it would be Debian's own non-free repository of software with licenses too icky to be in the real "main" Debian. The fact that I like the devilish non-free repository probably means I listened to too much heavy metal in the 80s.

    • Well, if you're going to have a Windows cult, then I (and everyone else under the spell of the Reality Distortion Field) want equal time [].
    • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Acheson ( 263308 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:53PM (#27823047) Homepage

      Windows isn't a cult.

      It's a religion.

      • Yup, the church of Windows. After all they make a lot of money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The only difference between a cult and religion is one has political power. And that's why Apple is also a religion as it has commercials.
      • There's a difference?

      • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Funny)

        by SpitfireSMS ( 1388089 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @08:07PM (#27824185)

        Windows isn't a cult.

        It's a religion.

        Exactly, just like scientology

      • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Funny)

        by BluBrick ( 1924 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [kcirbulb]> on Monday May 04, 2009 @08:23PM (#27824383) Homepage
        Religion: A large popular cult
        Cult: A small unpopular religion
        • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdflat.cCHICAGOom minus city> on Monday May 04, 2009 @10:20PM (#27825533) Journal
          The primary difference between a cult and a religion is that in a religion, all of the information about it is openly and freely exchanged to the maximum extent that anyone who believes in the religion is capable. A cult, however, keeps some aspects of their beliefs and practices to themselves, revealing certain details only to trusted associates that are also within the cult.
        • Re:Cult #1 (Score:5, Funny)

          by adavies42 ( 746183 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @10:29PM (#27825589)
          schizophrenia: a one-man unpopular religion.
    • Best Cult (Score:5, Interesting)

      by maz2331 ( 1104901 ) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:17AM (#27826371)

      The cult of Pragmatism:

      Name: Pragmatics
      Established: Time Immemorial
      Gathering of the Tribe: Anyplace shit has to work.
      Major Deity: It Works
      Sacred Relic: It Works
      The Antichrist: Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work.

  • Fun Read? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:25PM (#27822567)

    A pretty fun read (unless you really are a cult member).

    I belong to the Cult of Single Page Views, not 8-page clickfests.

    Not so much fun, actually.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:38PM (#27822819)
      And I belong to the cult of "why the fuck you can not see the "print" link, you ass?" cult. []
  • Cults in tech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fatboyslack ( 634391 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:26PM (#27822577) Journal

    Strange to have 'cults in tech' and no mention of gamers, console vs pc, mmorpgers in WoW etc.

    If anything was a cult it would be WoW and Evercrack.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:26PM (#27822595)

    Why did they list the same group twice?

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:26PM (#27822597)

    especially if we're mentioning Ubuntu. Seems like windows is missing too.

    A fanboi is a fanboi, even if their product actually is better.

    • Apple's a major religion.

      Most of these guys are the David Karash's of the tech world. Minus the whole FBI crashing the house party... yet.

    • yeah after mentioning ubuntu, not mentioning apple looses major credibility

      ~A concerned Debian users

    • by cjfs ( 1253208 )

      These lists always seem to leave off the major players. Perhaps they wouldn't get as much traffic if they offended the mainstream os/console/editor fanatics.

    • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:13PM (#27823339) Homepage Journal

      "Quantity has a quality all its own." -- Joseph Stalin

      Size matters. Within the topic of mysticism, when you get to the mainstream stuff like Christianity/Judaism/Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, they're not cults, regardless of any of the beliefs within them. Likewise, neither is Windows, for the same exact reason. You have to be a persecuted minority to be a cult. Being crazy isn't enough; if you have enough votes, insanity is irrelevant.

      Apple is approaching loss of its culty flavor as well. Sure, they're still minority, but they're a big rich one, and certainly not persecuted (except maybe the gamers).

      • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:27PM (#27823541)

        Not all X users are X fanbois. I have a ubuntu using friend who hates it. He switched away from windows awhile back. Why does he stick with ubuntu? It sucks less, in his estimation. And it makes more intuitive sense (He's a chemist without much computer knowledge, but still technically-minded.)

        I love linux and think it will solve all the world's problems from swine flu to windows vista. I am a fanboi.

        But very few windows users are fanbois. Only a few actually like windows. OS X, nearly all its users seem to be drooling fanbois, but as you say this seems to be changing, and this may just be the set I know.

        Linux is somewhere in between I find, but I'm at a tech school, and around here linux outnumbers windows anyway with os x being a clear leader.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:29PM (#27822637)

    Strangely enough the article read much the same.

  • TFA In One Page (Score:5, Informative)

    by BabyDuckHat ( 1503839 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:29PM (#27822639)
  • slashdotters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:30PM (#27822665)

    very big mistake - the author forgot to mention slashdotters

  • Perl? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by quickOnTheUptake ( 1450889 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:34PM (#27822739)
    What about Perl? Seems a lot more cultish (in a good way) to me than Ubuntu or RoR.
  • by WarwickRyan ( 780794 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:37PM (#27822783)

    ..are more like Scientologists than an cult....

  • Amiga (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PowerEdge ( 648673 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:38PM (#27822809)
    In an earlier stage of life I worked at RadioShack, when they actually sold electronics and radio equipment. One of my co-workers was a ham radio enthusiast and would spend hours talking about the rise of the Amiga and how it would come back. It was always just a few months away from releasing a new OS or platform. I would wager if I went back to that store... Or perhaps the store that replaced it, since RadioShack is just a shell of its former self he would still extoll the virtues of Amiga and it's imminent resurgence. Then he'd mutter about how Gateway killed it because the technology was too advanced for the average PC user to accept.
  • Forth (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:39PM (#27822833)
    We friars of Forth our outraged at your constant disre...Hey, I'm talking here. Hey, pay attention, I'm talking here! Hrmph, Forth gets no respect. No respect at all.
  • Oracle DBAs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jimjamjoh ( 207342 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:49PM (#27823003)

    Anyone who's ever worked in an org w/ full-time Oracle DBAs can attest to how fanatical they are in allegiance to Oracle, even to the point of ruin.

    And it's funny, too, because you think they're interested in databases, relational concepts, data integrity, and all of this in general, but they're not, they interested in Oracle products, period. They'd quit before they managed a SQL Server or PostgreSQL database for you.


    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by abigor ( 540274 )

      You can always tell because they believe all of the business logic should be migrated from your current app framework to stored procedures, there to bitrot in PL/SQL hell forever.

  • Off the top of my head I can think of quite a few groups that have a similar strong following including:

    social networking site addicts
    vim/emacs wars
    *nix in addition to Linux
    net neutrality
    the chans

  • Clueless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by burris ( 122191 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @06:54PM (#27823069)

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

    I stopped reading after this.

  • Though I suppose mentioning Guy Steele would have confused the Johnny-come-lately Java people.

    • by abigor ( 540274 )

      Even worse, it's "Paradigms OF Artifical Intelligence Programming", not IN. They got the name of the bible wrong! Er, not that I'm a cult member or anything.

  • And 1 kill-ring to rule them all!

  • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:02PM (#27823191) Homepage Journal

    C'mon, the Commodore 8-bit machines had some enthusiasts but are nowhere nearly the in same league of cultism as the Amiga. And I should know, as an ex-Amiga cultist. That was a beautiful platform, and it was really hard to work with one and not get your mind warped with the belief that it could come back and start kicking asses. C64/C128 so-called "cultists" might get a little excited about some anachronistic development, decades after the platforms' prime, but I don't remember any religious fervor that the C64 was going to put Microsoft in its grave. For that you need an Amiga believer.

    • by Mike Buddha ( 10734 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:33PM (#27823645)

      There are still people crowing about how Amiga is poised for a comeback. Everyone's going to realize how wrong they were for abandoning the platform. We'll all repent and be saved by the second coming of Amiga. They still go on and on about REXX and Video Toaster, as if those are relevant technologies.

      I for one am actively working to prevent this disaster by promoting... Atari TOS! TOS can save us all! Don't listen to the Amiga infidels! You only need 512 colors! MIDI, MIDI, MIDI! Those Amiga Cultists are all nutters! 16/32-bit Atari is the true path!

  • Tech Cults? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <> on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:07PM (#27823253) Homepage Journal
    They mention the Commodore fans, but not the Amiga fans. Newton Fans, but not the Apple Fanbois. That'd be like listing the World's religions and failing to mention Catholicism and Mormons.
  • Ye Olde Apple Cult (Score:5, Informative)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:10PM (#27823301) Journal

    Name: The Cult of Apple, Orthodox
    Gathering of the Tribes: None since the diaspora
    Major Deity: Steve Wozniak
    Antichrist: Steve Jobs
    Sacred Relics: The original Apple I, green screen monitors, the Disc II
    Mantra: Apple II Forever

  • 1. Early Newton owner
    2. long time Lisp developer (and I wrote 2 Spring-Verlag Lisp books, back in ancient history)
    3. right now, Ruby is my favorite language
    4. I am typing this on Ubuntu (installed on my MacBook) :-)

  • 100 comments and no mention of Linux as a cult, the big elephant in the room. Yes, it's a cult.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rts008 ( 812749 )

      That's GNU/Linux, you freedom-hating blasphemer!

      Gather the HURD!! *draws katana*


  • by BikeHelmet ( 1437881 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:54PM (#27823987) Journal

    Those guys seem to think everything should be coded in C, even if it takes 10 times longer than coding it in another language, and results in a program filled with memory leaks.

    C is great, but lets be honest - at least 80% of C programmers shouldn't be programming, let alone programming in a low level language!

    I've seen more horribly malformed C than VB!

  • BeOS left off? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @07:54PM (#27823995) Homepage

    I am a high priest in the cult of BeOS, and I am frankly incensed that fine operating system was not included in the list.

    I strongly suspect that Microsoft strong-armed the authors of the article to keep BeOS off the list, in order to maintain their monopoly.

    Thank you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fallingcow ( 213461 )

      Oh, BeOS. Wow. I don't get clingy and fanboy-ish over many tech things, but that's one of them. If it had modern drivers and could run at least most of my software, I'd use BeOS over anything else--Linux, Windows, OSX, *BSD, you name it.

      Hell, I've even begun to need some future-proof, extensive, filesystem-level metadata for my ever-growing collections of various things; if only BeOS were still alive & kicking with a bright future, I could just use BFS. Wish the other operating systems would catch u

  • by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @08:04PM (#27824133)

    Object-oriented programming. And yes, I expected to get done for heresy.


  • by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Monday May 04, 2009 @09:10PM (#27824845)

    No OS/2 shows an obvious lack of knowing the history of computer software and operating systems.


"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault