True believers: The biggest cults in tech

You may be a member of one of these IT cults or simply know someone who is. Here's what makes each cult tick.

Spend enough time around technology and it starts to get under your skin. It could be a gizmo that changed your life, an ancient computer you loved, or a programming language that took months to master before it finally clicked. And then, nothing was ever the same again.

It became a part of you. You began to identify with it, even develop a belief system around it. You may have attended regular meetings of others similarly afflicted, and openly despised members of other groups. Before you were even aware of it, you'd joined a cult.

[ Speaking of cults, take InfoWorld's IQ tests to see if you've got what it takes to hold your own among Apple maniacs, Windows admin gurus, Linux admin cognoscenti, or the order of programmers. ]

"People develop protective and tribal feelings about the technology they use," says Michael Jolkovski, a clinical psychologist. "And the metaphor of religious wars or cults is pretty accurate -- just as a person's religion becomes the main framework for apprehending reality, so does the OS of choice."

(Jolkovski adds that he belongs to the cult of Apple and is patiently awaiting orders from the mothership on what new gadgets to buy.)

Of course, the word "cult" tends to have negative connotations -- mind control, Kool-Aid, comets -- so if it makes you feel better, call it a club. Either way, you may well belong to one or more of the many tech cults/clubs out in the wild -- perhaps even some of the following seven.

[ Did we leave out your cult of choice? Nominate your favorites in the comments section below or log onto the Adventures in IT discussion forum on IT cults. ]

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