Apparently, the short letter I wrote in response to Wired's article "The Digital Audiophile's Toolbox" (part of a series on audiophiles and high-quality digital music) was worthy enough to be included in an article displaying some of the feedback that Wired Magazine had received. It is not as cool as actually being published in the print version of Wired the journal of the computer/technology industry, but I still feel proud. I especially like the fact that in their "I want more!" section (feedback suggesting improvement) as opposed as the "Dear sir, you are an idiot" section (feedback suggesting that only hara-kiri will restore Wired's honor). This is good, since I was in a negative mood when I wrote the letter, and I was a bit afraid that I was being too combative. Looking at other feedback, it is clear that I was not.

As published:

While your article "The Digital Audiophile's Toolbox" was interesting, it would have been nice if you had been platform-agnostic in your choice of tools. Not everyone is using Windows. Since I use Linux, I can't use iTunes, Exact Audio Copy, Winamp or MP3 Tag Studio. Luckily, the creators of Lame were farsighted enough to realize that people running Mac or Linux operating systems might want to use their programs.

Because Wired is a technology publication, I hold them to a higher standard than the New York Times or other technology-ignorant journals. As a result, I do not think it is reasonable for them to publish an article that only discusses Windows audio programs without even mentioning this limitation, as if Mac and Linux users do not read Wired, or are deaf.
The command line in Gnome Terminal.
In general, Linux is ignored almost everywhere. While this does not bother me from a technological viewpoint (there is a Linux program for everthing I need to do on my computer), it does seem to have social effects. For example, one of my colleagues at week twice suggested that Linux usage was making me more aggressive. I do not think this is true, as there is nothing more relaxing than knowing that I have almost complete control over my computer and that it would take active effort on my part to get a virus similar to those that affect Windows or have my disk permissions corrupt themselves, as occurs on Mac computers.

At Harvard, Linux's role is marginal. I have often looked on amusement in the computer lab as people stand waiting for a Windows machine to be free so that they can check their email while at least 10 Linux workstations remain unoccupied. The term "Linux" has appeared in the Crimson 7 times in the last 4 years. One article refers to a switch from Unix to Linux on our servers, another to a Linux cluster being built as part of a new genomics center, and some others talk about the MyDoom virus, SCO, and issues of intellectual property. While the last article I referenced called Linux "a viable alternative to Microsoft Windows," not one mentions Linux as being used by actual Harvard students on a daily basis. This ignorance is probably the result of a general lack of explicit Linux resources on campus.

In terms of official College support, Linux is considered an "unsupported operating system"[1] by Computer Services. This makes sense when one looks at the most recent Computing Survey available online, from the fall of 2003. Only 2% of students reported that they ran "Unix" (which in this case would include Linux, BSD, and other similar operating systems).

Unofficial support would most likely be found at the Harvard Computing Society.[2] While I know that some Linux users congregate there (because I have seen them), there does not seem much documented sharing of Linux knowledge. The HCS-Linux mailing list has been dormant since December 2000. It might be that dozens of Linux-using Harvard students are subscribed to this mailing list, but that we are all too smart to ask any questions. It might be that of the 100 or so people on the list, I am the only one still at Harvard.

It is possible that this is a Catch-22 type situation. There are no institutionalized resources for using Linux because there are not enough people using Linux, and nobody uses Linux because they do not have localized support resources.
[1] As a User Assistant, I am an employee of FAS Computer Services. Of course, the views and opinions on this website are mine alone (hence the name and URL).

[2] I am also a member of the Harvard Computing Society.