Apple and Mac OS X Computers Linux Ubuntu Windows

Fanboy isn’t just a generic insult. It means something.

Warning, for those who know me in person: This is an extremely geeky post. Proceed with caution.

Just as forum users will sometimes fling the label troll against anyone who argues with them, many forum users (particularly in computer-related discussions) will throw around the term fanboy without making the term meaningful. Most of the time, when I see the term fanboy used, it’s basically used as a way to avoid having meaningful or logical discussion and to shut the other person up, even if she has valid points. It’s basically a way of saying, “Since you clearly are a fan of this operating system, nothing you say has meaning.”

But being a fan alone doesn’t invalidate what you have to say. fanboy goes beyond fan. I think the folks over at Urban Dictionary have it right. Here are some of top-voted definitions for the word:

  • A passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, Star Wars, video games, anime, hobbits, Magic: the Gathering, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces.
  • A person who is completely loyal to a game or company reguardless[sic] of if they suck or not.
  • An arrogant person who goes into an outburst every time something he likes is questioned.

Since I am a regular on the Ubuntu Forums, the context in which I see fanboy is often in relation to operating systems. Linux fanboys. Mac fanboys. Windows fanboys. Just so people know, though, a Linux user defending Linux is not a Linux fanboy, just as a Mac user defending Mac OS X is not a Mac fanboy, and likewise for a Window user defending Windows.

What really sets a fanboy apart is saying only positive things about her operating system of choice and never acknowledging anything negative about her operating system of choice. Frankly, I haven’t found too many people like that on the Ubuntu Forums. Sure, if you speak mistruths about Linux or spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt without real concrete examples, then Ubuntu users will speak up and correct you. But if you ask them what’s wrong with Ubuntu or Linux, you’ll get a very, very long list of replies. I don’t think you’ll find many Ubuntu users who will say Ubuntu or Linux can do no wrong.

Further Reading
Mac Zealots, Linux Zealots, and Windows Zealots