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Feature:Zeal, Advocacy, and the Future of Linux

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the stuff-to-read dept.

Linux 185

Joe Shaw has sent us a feature on a topic that is near and dear to many of our hearts: Linux advocacy. Specifically related to the recent mindcraft email posting, and practically any journalist who writes an article with a non-glowing comment about Linux, and the hoards that swoop down and proceed to shove them through a cuisinart. Hit the link to read it.The following was written by Slashdot Reader Joe Shaw

Zeal, Advocacy, and the Future of Linux

The future of Linux in the computing world, now so centralized around the Internet, worries me.

It REALLY worries me.

What worries me, specifically, is the light that Linux is being put in because of very bad advocacy. Anti-advocacy, almost, from those who claim to love and support it the most. Rude, insulting, and obscene attacks fly out of the "mouths" of these people to anyone who speaks one thing about Linux that doesn't put it into an immaculate light. Never before has the ordinary, everyday user had such a voice in the software industry. In this Internet-centralized computing world, the everyday advocacy by the average user can have huge ramifications on how Linux is presented to the world.

Everyone remembers the Amiga, OS/2, the BeBox. For their times, they were technologically superior to the Intel/Microsoft framework that dominated. Their (relative) failures to reach a substantial portion of the marketplace cannot be narrowed down to one cause, but among the many, advocacy was definitely a poignant one. A defensive and often rude greater-than-thou attitude without addressing the shortcomings of their products pushed away possible supporters and hurt their chances of widespread support. Rumors, myths, and speculation ("The Amiga is just a game machine! It couldn't possibly by used for any productive task.") became widespread. An inability to dispel this hearsay through supportive, informative, and polite advocacy implied that it was _not_ unsubstantiated, regardless of how untrue it really was. As

members of this open source community and supporters of our projects and ideals, it is important to correct erroneous reports and dispel FUD[1] directed at us, but it must be done in a polite and professional manner. WE are the spokespeople for our community, for our ideals, and for our projects. There is no PR department in the open source community that can sugar coat our feelings and statements. Some of our most vocal proponents, such as ESR, RMS, and Linus, have somewhat taken on this responsibility, but even they are flamed and criticized. Without politeness, professionalism, and pride we will dig ourselves into a hole that we may not be able to get out of. And the shovels have already broken ground. Take, for example, the posting of the EXTREMELY embarrassing comments directed at Mindcraft regarding their Linux vs. NT benchmarks[2]. Want more dirt? After an article[3] by Jack Bryar from the Andover News Network that he himself admitted was hasty ex post facto was posted to Slashdot[4], he was flooded with hateful email telling him hundreds of different places to stick it. Was the article appropriate? Certainly not from our point of view, but many readers courteously and meticulously described the errors in his article, much to his delight. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the proper way to handle with this situation, not with obscenities. Fortunately, in his response article[5], he put the flames in a much better light than anyone could reasonably expect. This is not a slam on the Slashdot folk; it is a problem that the entire community suffers from. Nobody is perfect, obviously, but please give thought before you shoot off an email like the ones mentioned. There ARE real people with real feelings on the other end and many times they have a valid point.

You are all ambassadors for the open source community whether you like it or not. You don't want to be ostracized and called "rabid fanatics" or "zealots" by the rest of the world. It defeats our purpose and will ultimately doom us. Advocate Linux. Advocate open source. Don't put down competitors. Despite what some of you may think, many in (and perhaps most of) the community do NOT believe that Microsoft is the enemy and the evil corporation that we must kill. Rather than narrowing in on destroying Microsoft, focus on this: improving the software. And if you can't code, there is still much more you can do: dispel the rumors, the myths, the speculation, the FUD. Test the programs that these people write, offer well-thought suggestions, report bugs. Many coders aren't good writers and their programs need documentation. Offer to help them with it or join the Linux Documentation Project if that's a strength. The programmers are only a part of making this thing work, although the most glorified in this community. But they simply can't do it alone.

[1] Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt
[2] Linux Net Rage
[3] Article 1
[4] Slashdot
[5] Response to article 1

Suggested reading:

Linux Advocacy HOWTO (part of the Linux Documentation Project). Paul L. Rogers.

"Thoughts from the Furnace." Rob Malda. Article and user comments.

Regarding "The Charity Case for Red Hat." Frank de Lange. (Author's side note: at the time of writing, the first listed user comment is EXACTLY what I am talking about. From an "Anonymous Coward" on Slashdot: "A good reply but the original article was such a vapid pile of unresearched dogsh*t as not to even garner a reply.")

"Rebuttal to `The Charity Case for Red Hat.'" Dale Merrick.

Comments on "Andover News, the sequel: A Well Braziered Bryar" on Slashdot. Frank de Lange. Article and user comments (particularly from Lemmy Caution, mastagee, Skyshadow, x mani x, and more.)

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Re:FIRST COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829066)

GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hahaha, and you never actually made it to first, someone with something to say did.... hahahah

Yeah, but ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829067)

We are out to destroy Microsoft. They have illegally leveraged their monopoly to squash all the other software developers.

Also, most journalists with any e-mail savvy who take outlandish postions and even deliberately lie are trying to get responses out of their readers. They know, and expect, to get flamed.

The evil Microsoft's PR machine assigns a "spin" person to each tech journalist. These cretinous agents of FUD cajole the poor tech journalist all the time. Microsoft carries with them the threat that will not advertise in their journals; so often the journalists are subtly coerced into obeying.

Perhaps we do not need to remind the journalists of their sexual deviancy every time they spread FUD; but people like Jesse Berst or Mindcraft, who sell their souls to the devil, are hopeless and the only way they'll ever get a clue is to have it beaten into them.

Advocacy itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829068)

Any advocacy forum on the web eventually turns into a flamefest as the advocators refuse to see the strengths in anything but their own product.

As for linux in particular, linux users seem to think they invented unix.

Re:Here's a benchmark we can win at - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829069)

AC? i doubt it, the vast majority of the flaming zealots are most likely registred nick users. zealots very rarely want to be anonymous in any context.

I don't buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829070)

In any crowd there will be _some_ people who send out hate-filled messages. Mindcraft just deliberately chose the worst ones to post because they're in the pay of Microsoft and it is in their interest to make Linux supporters look like fools.

Appealing to Linux advocates to calm down is completely missing the true nature of the problem. If a lot of people sent hate mail to Mindcraft, that's just a coincidence--because Mindcraft didn't _need_ to have a lot of people send hate mail in order to be able to put those letters on their web site. It takes a very small proportion of hate mail in order to have enough letters to do that; Mindcraft can always make it _look_ like there's a hate mail problem.

Mindcraft is spreading FUD. Responding by trying to speak calmly is useless. There's nothing _wrong_ with it, but it's not going to have any effect, because doing so assumes that Mindcraft is being honest and is posting letters that are representative of what it gets. They're not.

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829071)

I volunteer.

And you jam those 4 NIC's up the journalists . . .

Ok, maybe not such a good idea.

Re:Slashdot posters are not the "voice" of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829072)

Umm, I don't think they're directing the comments towards SlashDot AC's. If you remember, it wasn't just /.ers who were flaming the Mindcraft people, or any other reporter for that matter.

impersonators, reputation, and more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829073)

Well, it's not quite that simple. "impersonation" can work really well over the Internet because you never really know who you're dealing with. "impersonation" where real names and identities are involved can only work if (in some sense) the movement supports the impersonators.

I had a run in with a radical feminist on my campus a couple of months ago due to my 'politically incorrect' views. She's your stereotypical man-hating, butch lesbian, bitchy radical feminazi. She went totally overboard, posting stickers all over women's bathrooms saying I was a dangerous rapist for example.

Some members in her organization (a 'pro-woman' campus organization) contacted me personally claimed they didn't support her actions. But there she was on Friday, getting a stupid achievement award from the frigging Dean of Student Life while the student org members stand by and cheered her on. They shouted me down when I brought up her slanderous attacks on me. I think it's pretty clear they support her, and therefore, her actions.

My point? Someone can't really hurt you or your group's reputation unless they have a plausible premise. Anonymous flame mails aren't plausible; they could have come from anywhere including Microsoft. We should, however, as Linux advocates, do our UTMOST to distance ourselves from prominent pro-Linux flamers. Otherwise the critics who say we're a bunch of teenage punks will have a plausible premise.


(Anonymous Coward because there may be legal action at my University)

Re:Good article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829074)

"My nuts are itching"

You haven't been masturbating in the poison ivy patch again have you?

"but it's not our fault..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829075)

Unfortunately, many of us will be tempted to take this attitude, because it lets us think the situation is out of our control and there is nothing we can do about it. This allows us to ignore problems closer to home for which we can effect real change. We should look for problems we can solve, rather than problems we can't.

Re:Quite right. ...Not so sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829076)

I don't think that saying:

4) This is not just characteristic of the Linux crowd -- it applies to OS/2, BE, Apple, and even mainframe supporters. The difference is one of scale and timing. There are *lots* of Linux supporters connected to the Internet. Their timing is coordinated by the /. effect to vastly amplify the apparent magnitude of the flaming

. . .is going to convince anyone that Linux supporters aren't zealots. Even in defense, you put down others.



Oh, BS. Any real evidence for your claims? (flame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829077)

...or are you just a loony conspiracy theorist?

Evidence. You know... not speculation?

Not that something *could* be true, but that it *is* true?

It's exactly your types of comments which most annoy objective journalists who write both positive and negative things about Linux. The positive things are "obvious", and the negative things are "because he sold his soul to the devil", "because he gets directly/indirectly paid by Microsoft", "because he's never programmed in his life."

Having known at least a couple individuals who have been attacked on Slashdot due to criticism of Linux, I've been amazed at the sheer inaccuracy of ad hominem assumptions that posters whip up to defend their viewpoint. "Must have been paid off." "Obviously doesn't know squat about coding" (said of someone who has coded persistent data stores for RMI objects.)

If I claimed about you that "eh, he's just an old UNIX hacker who saw the writing about NT on the wall and were desperately hyping Linux so you'd still have a job in five years," I'd be making motivational speculations based on no specific evidence. Sure, it might be true, but that doesn't mean it *is* true.

Plus, if I was right, you'd probably wouldn't admit it to yourself, and if I was wrong, you'd be as pissed as hell at someone attacking your integrity. So what good does this "beating on others" do? It's certainly not likely to work on people who already have high egos; beating is really only effective on people with low egos, and those aren't the kind you're trying to beat on.

So why do you persist in attacking others? All you do is throw FUD on people like Jesse Berst.

To label someone you disagree with as "sold out" or "an idiot"....much easier than actually using your brain.

I'm glad however to see you acknowledging your own motives- desire to crush Microsoft. That'll get you far.

it's about public image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829078)

Assuming that people who want to hurt Linux will use such tactics, should we not at least make an effort to reduce the potency of their ammunition, namely our flames? The flamers may be only a small fraction of the Linux community, but they can send out a significant portion of the community's total "advocacy" material in the form of flames. Now if the average person knew this was not representative of the Linux community as a whole, they would dismiss Mindcraft's actions as exactly what you've stated above, trying to misrepresent the community. The problem is, the flames are so widespread and well-known to the average person, they do believe it is representative of the community. If we just sit back and allow this perception to continue, we will continue to be treated as zealots by the general public. We should not turn a deaf ear just because the flamers are part of the Linux community (if community is the right word in this case). If we do nothing about it, then the flamers will continue to be a dominant voice to those on the outside. If the calmer majority were to speak up more, the relative amount of flaming advocacy would actually appear to decrease, putting us in a somewhat better light among the general public. Water down the flames, in effect ;)

The spirit of competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829079)

--too lazy to register-- Pitting an open source operating system against a product developed by a massive company whose main goal is market share - silly and pointless. Why does it have to be a competition? You _USE_ what works best for _YOU_. If Linux works best for you, use it. If you think you can add something worthwhile to it, do so. Don't run around hitting people on the head with a spoon, saying "NT SUCKS! USE LINUX! #@*&$!"...I mean, what's the point? Do you really care what everyone else uses? If so, why? And why is it worth flaming anyone about? Spend your time helping out with the LDP instead of wasting your time flaming someone with a different perspective (or who isn't quite as enlightened as you). Or write a patch. Or go eat some ice cream or something. KISSpunkleMYSPAM@swbell.net

Oh, go cash your Mickeysoft Paycheck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829080)

Astroturfing Bill Gates lover! I guess size matters to you.

You earned your paycheck today. Most "journalists" these days know that "they work for the man". Knowledge of modern Public Relations tactics are well known.

Re:Solid engineering requires listening to the use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829081)

This is the first truly intelligent and well thought out post I have ever seen on /. Thank you.
For once a post has actually made me think differently about the way I approach something in my work. Proof that honey catches more flies than vinegar.

Re:Why not drop news stories? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829082)

I think it actually _would_ go some way toward solving the problem (though like some other posters I'd miss being able to "get it all" in one place...)

(I _don't_ think this would be "censorship" either [this word gets tossed around a lot too frequently...]-- more like redefining or streamlining /.'s "mission" -- )

"Not just a ./ problem"? -- well, nobody could deny that I suppose; but in a way it _is_ specific to ./ -- didn't the MEGA-flamage, and the really vile, line-crossing stuff of this last guy begin _right after_ the story was posted here? Didn't he say he got relatively reasonable, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger mails _until_ the link appeared on ./ ? -- granted, "the advocacy problem" is not slashdot-only, but _something_ slashdot-specific seems to be happening -- whatever we decide to call it...

This proposal has the merit that it might _actually_ solve a real problem -- if that story hadn't been linked here, the guy would still have got plenty of corrective mail, but not (so it seems, anyway) so much sheerly hateful stuff...

It has the merit as well of actually _being_ a proposal, as opposed to a piece of rhetoric ("People need to grow up/take themselves seriously, yada, yada"... yeah: they also need to stop killing each other -- where's my magic wand? I'm gonna wave it -- I can't believe I never thought of that before... :)

I think it should at least be considered, though it might turn out to be too hard to actually draw the lines involved -- (i.e. what's a "news story"? Or could we say, no ZDNet stories?... Or, "no links to articles by clueless people"... ;-)

(FWIW -- since OS/2 keeps coming up -- I have sometimes noticed the more sane, trying-to-keep-order types on their ng's trying to quell the idiocy and flameage by saying things like "Look at the Linux community! Why can't we be more like them?"

I'm not sure whether to take this as heartening ["We're not doing so bad after all!"...], or as simply a reflection of the really really desperately bad state of things in OS/2-dom... :)

Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829083)

What economic theory is that??? Raw microeconmics 101 says NOTHING ABOUT POWER. You're just making that crap up. Alternatives may or may not spring up to counter a monopoly. That monopoly may have access to laws to protect themselves from competition; which totally negeate "economic theory".

Brill's Content Good Enough for You, Mickeystooge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829084)

http://www.brillscontent.com/f eatures/bill_0998.html [brillscontent.com] Brill's Content Article entitled "Making Bill" at http://www.brillscontent.com/features/bill_0998.ht ml

Re:I don't buy it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829085)


Certainly some public outlets with an anti-linux agenda will take flames and use them against Linux but
the fact remains that they can only do that if we give them the ammunition in the first place. If we don't
give them flames they can't use them against us.



It is impossible for any huge, disorganized, group to get rid of flamers to the extent necessary to keep Mindcraft from pulling this trick. You'd have to get rid of _every single one_. In a population of thousands.

I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829086)

The evil Microsoft spend billions of dollars to distort the truth, cover up , lie and otherwise spread FUD and the coporate press eats it up. So, what happens: couple of sophmores sending out flames is labelled "the problem" ? WTF ?

Re:Advocacy itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829087)

"As for linux in particular, linux users seem to think they invented
unix."


When we all know that Al Gore invented UNIX.

Microeconomics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829088)

Deals primarily with supply and demand. You characterization of it is misleading. Microsoft still sucks, regardless of you rationalizations. (hotmail is a dead giveaway for Microsoft astroturfers)

Mindcraft "Net-Rage" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829089)

I sent email to every author in Mindcraft's "Net-Rage" post, first to make them aware if they didn't already know their email had been posted, and secondly to ask them to send an apology for the use of name calling and crude language.

I'm not sure if any have followed up on my suggestion.

Re:ACs have to GO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829090)

Disagree. Fine. Post your reply. But remember: Unless you're a big enough person to identify yourself, I won't even hear your opinion, polite, abusive, death-threat, or otherwise.

Like you are identifing yourself. Put your real name, address, city, state and phone number so someone may call you and you identify yourself. Otherwise, you are pointing everyone to a queue that only waits on you, and nothing that "ties" you to your comments. You are still "anonymous", whether you think it or not.

Unfortunately I agree with people hidding behind anonymous - I just started reading /. and think it is a riot. I have signed up for an account, and will get my "password" soon. Sorry for this anonymous...

Then start using polite, rational arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829091)

If you want to hurt MS, then quit shooting yourself in the foot. You may think you're being a strong OSS advocate, but you're just convincing people that OSS folks are a bunch of ill-behaved children. You can't hurt MS with flames.

Linux will never, ever, EVER be used by corporations if the first thing that comes to a business person's mind when he hears "Linux" is flame-filled obscenity.

Everytime you flame, Gates laughs, because he knows that you're helping to destroy the credibility of OSS in the corporate community.

What we can do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829092)

It would certainly behoove us to change the "tone" at Slashdot.

I recently had the opportunity to discuss some issues with a member of the very prestigious Internet Engineering Task Force and a senior person in charge of doing some very important core work on Linux. Somehow I happened to mention Slashdot in passing, and things suddenly got a bit chilly. Both of them were major proponents of Linux, and they were both equally disdainful of "Slashdotters". "Disdainful" perhaps isn't strong enough to describe their reaction. They were tactful and polite, but they wanted to make it VERY clear to me I shouldn't take certain opinions expressed on Slashdot to represent the attitude of "the developers of the platform" regarding a certain issue. They added that "those doing serious development of the platform spend very little time in the unpleasant company of the spoiled children on Slashdot. Right now, they're mostly an impediment to us."

This is a real shame, especially when I consider some of the very well presented and informative postings I've encountered on Slashdot. I've learned a lot from Slashdot posters, and I'd like to learn more.

I think that the ratings system is a step in the right direction, but I'm pretty unhappy with how often it seems to be simply a reflection of how much the moderator agrees with an opinion expressed.

What I would much prefer to see is a system whereby any intentional misspelling of a name for the purpose of derision (Windoze, M$, Microsux, etc.), ad hominem criticism of the poster of a comment rather than the ideas expressed ("you're a moron if you think..." instead of "That statement isn't correct because..."), the use of derogatory terms for groups of people such as "lusers", "idiots who use Windows", "stupid Americans", "Macintrash evangelists", etc., would be GUARANTEED to subtract from what your point score would otherwise have been without the insults. You could say what you liked, but you would be certain to lose points for, in essence, damaging the "tone", and thereby the collective credibility and overall usefulness of the Slashdot community.

I say this, not out of political correctness, but because it requires significantly more effort to create a compelling argument when you have to stick to ideas alone, and emotional outbursts and attacks on other people can't be used to artificially charge up the force of your argument.

On the other hand, you can add a point or two to your own score by trying to carefully state some of the counter arguments to your own. For example, "while I'll have to admit that KDE is easier to approach from purely OO coding, Gnome is still more practical overall because..." or whatever would get you an extra point beyond what you would otherwise have earned from your Gnome advocacy alone.

Again, this is not a political correctness thing. I don't propose this for all forms of speech, but I think it would give a real boost to Slashdot. Being guaranteed of getting extra points if you do an effective job of presenting arguments counter to your own in their best possible light, also forces you to have to come up with even better arguments to counter them, and it may even cause you to rethink your own position entirely before making any statement. If so, your statement is likely to be of more value to everyone who reads it.

I'm not normally a guy that people associate with "political correctness". Even the suggestion would send some of my closest associates into fits of uncontrollable giggles.

What I'm proposing here, though, is a way to create some genuine pressure for posts to be of more value. Instead of having to wonder whether the moderators will agree with your opinion or think your clever "Microsuck" putdown was "way kewl", we should have more of a feeling of control over what point score we'll get with some simple, deterministic ways of raising or lowering our own scores.

I'd also like to see as much peer pressure put on posters who use derogatory putdowns of others as I currently see put on anyone who doesn't automatically toe the "Linux rulz, M$ sux" political line. (Talk about "political correctness", it often feels as though any posting that doesn't at least start with "I love Linux, but" will be flamed off the page. We already have plenty of peer pressure, but is it the most useful kind?)

This could go a long way toward making Slashdot a more useful, and even more interesting (because it's harder to present an argument without insults) site.

It's important, and as evidence of that, take a look at what was written about us Slashdotters in PCWeek today, but DON'T prove him right by flaming the columnist:

http://www.zdnet.com/pcweek/stories/columns/0,43 51,407644,00.html

Re:Speak softly and carry a big stack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829093)

i hope you patched wuftpd and pop3. lotsa security holes in redhat 5.2. i'd recommend upgrading to 6.0 (without gnome/kde). its the same thing but it works faster and has less security problems.

Re:Speak softly and carry a big stack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829094)

i hope you patched wuftpd and pop3. lotsa security holes in redhat 5.2. i'd recommend upgrading to 6.0 (without gnome/kde). its the same thing but it works faster and has less security problems...yes, all the old wms work/are there too.

Then you won't hear me and I don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1829095)

> Unless you're a big enough person to identify yourself, I won't even hear your opinion,...

Fine by me. I doubt many other people will listen. I'm Anonymous because I can't be bothered to create an account - there's too little benefit to me to make it worth my while putting even that small amount of personal information out there to be trolled by spam engines.

FWIW, I think Julian Elischer's piece on the *BSD results was the best I've seen on this thread. Any given system is going to have benchmarks that put it in a bad light. Linux is finally achieving some degree of stability, and *BSD is finally having to crowd over. I run FreeBSD myself because I was on the DARPA Steering Committee that oversaw its development, and so I know it well enough to be comfortable with it. I have never cared for the System V flavor of UNIX.

But each in its niche. NT is for those who can't get a PO signed unless a billion-dollar company is on the other end...whether or not it actually supports what it sells. (And be it noted here that Microsoft DOES support what it sells, and very well indeed...if you yourself are a billion-dollar company, or a major government program office. I've seen this.)

*BSD is best in the back room, pushing bits. ftp.cdrom.com blows anything else on the net out of the water.

Linux is lurching, gradually, toward an acceptable desktop. It has a ways to go but it's closer than anything else, except probably for a Smalltalk-based product (remember, we're not talking existing market share here!).

Try what you buy.

Buy what you need.

Enjoy the flamage in the press and on the net. It has less than no relevance to actually getting useful work done, but what the hell, the Fourth of July is in a week and fireworks are in season.

Gee, that's a pretty good response, isn't it? Too bad no one's going to read it.

==Mr. Protocol, the Anonymous Coward
(yes THAT Mr. Protocol)

Re:Why not drop news stories? (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829129)

That wouldn't really solve the problem, would it? It is _NOT_ just the /. community, it is the entire Linux Advocacy community (kinda like the old Gravis Ultrasound people) that is the problem. Not linking stories from /. would not stop the problem of rabid flame attacks at all.

The only way to solve the problem is for the Linux community to take itself SERIUOSLY and act in a manner that will generate the respect they want. If the community does not change then no ammount of "link cencorship" Rob puts here will help at all.

For Linux's sake I hope the community grows up.

Re:Quite right. (2)

RatBastard (949) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829134)

Even if I think the negative effects of excessive advocacy are overstated in the article

They are NOT overstated. I know quite a few people who gave up on Linux (myself included) due to the massive amount of sh!t they recieved asking "beginner" questions in the newsgroups, or from being attacked as either Windoze FUD-slingers or idiots when they make (valid) complaints about the fact that Linux is NOT as easy to use as many say it is (not all of us know much (if anything) about Unix).

Unlike some of these attacked people I know, I do not tell people to "Stay away from that Linux crap and its psychotic zealots", but niether do I tell people that Linux is all that great, in my personal experience it is not (I hate unix, all flavors, but that's me).

How many more people would be using Linux today if the respomce to newbies was along the lines of "the solution is X" rather than "RTFM, you f*cking moron!"?

Understand that I did get helpfull replies to my questions and I did get people telling me how to make Linix easier for me to use, but for every positive responce I got I recieved at least three repsonces telling me I was an idiot.

So I've given up on Linux and moved to Be. At least the BeOS community is helpful.

Joe Barr must decide... (1)

Groucho (1038) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829135)

...whether he wants to be a common foulmouthed troll or a spokesman for the community. Letting him be both exposes the Linux community to situations like this one in which Mindcraft posted his bile. It makes us all look bad.

The LinuxWorld forum for Joe's latest article, "competition keeps Linux lean and mean", contains posts from people who are addressing this issue. From Joe's responses, it is clear that he refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. Nick Petrely's mealymouthed response is also sad and alarming.

I think the Linux community needs to stand up and tell Joe loudly and clearly that his behavior is unacceptable. I won't be satisied until he acknowledges the gravity of his actions (given his position), apologizes, and promises not to do it again. Sadly, I'm not sure Joe is capable of it.

Groucho

So whats your point? (1)

greg (1058) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829136)

The author used his voice to remind us that flaming is rude, immature and EXTREMELY harmful to Linux. Supposedly the flamer's goal is to defend their beloved operating system, if this is so then I would think they'd want to know if they're causing more harm than good.

Freedom of speech does not include freedom from criticism of your speech.

Re:Good Read on Advocacy (1)

greg (1058) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829137)

Hey, why did this get moderated down? The more info we get out on positive advocacy the better.

Re:I don't buy it. (1)

greg (1058) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829138)

Certainly some public outlets with an anti-linux agenda will take flames and use them against Linux but the fact remains that they can only do that if we give them the ammunition in the first place. If we don't give them flames they can't use them against us.
Also remember this isn't jsut about Mindcraft. Many journalists have been flamed to a crisp for their Linux articles. Most of them were simply ignorant or were working with inaccurate sources. Flaming these people does direct, measuable public harm to the reputation of the Linux community. Polite, courteous, well informed responses may help or may be wasted but at least they do no harm.

Good Read on Advocacy (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829139)

Check this out. [eunuchs.org]

Re:Why not drop news stories? (1)

AMK (3114) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829143)

Yes, but LWN and LinuxToday both do better jobs of collecting news stories than Slashdot does; they're quicker, more complete, and offer excerpts of the article that let you decide whether to bother reading the whole article. Why should Slashdot duplicate their efforts, and duplicate them poorly at that?

See LWN's news summary [lwn.net] ; it frankly blows Slashdot out of the water when it comes to collecting news stories.)

Why not drop news stories? (3)

AMK (3114) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829144)

I don't know why so many Slashdot items these days are concerned with articles in other publications. Slashdot's appeal always stemmed from the fact that it covered topics that weren't covered in places like ZDnet. Yet today we often see /. items that are just pointers to stories on ZDnet or wherever. Now, if you want to know about every media mention of Linux, either Linux Weekly News [lwn.net] or LinuxToday [linuxtoday.com] do much better and more complete jobs than Slashdot does.

Part of the problem is that discussions on /. can tend to hysteria, causing authors to be bombarded with flames. So, Rob, why not simply drop such items, since other places are doing better jobs, and concentrate on what /. does best -- amusing and interesting stuff that's off the beaten path? Discussions of technical topics on Slashdot are still often quite good, modulo the occasional flamewar over GNOME/KDE or Linux/*BSD.

Whatever. (1)

Jeremiah (3476) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829146)

It's not too far of a stretch to assume that the bulk of the flame-writers work for a P.R. firm close to Redmond. Radicalizing "undesirable" movements by using impersonators to discredit them is an old trick. This technique was used effectively throughout the last decade or two by large pharmaceutical, oil, and surgical interests in order to combat environmentalists and whistleblowers. The loudest, most destructive activists were on the payroll of the companies they sabotaged. It's all about creating the kind of press that most benefits you.

Or they could just be a bunch of deranged teenagers. But that's not nearly as sinister.

Re:Why not drop news stories? (1)

Jeremiah (3476) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829147)

All well and good, except that many people don't have time (or choose not) to read other news sources. I certainly don't read ZDnet by choice; I appreciate someone else taking the time to point out when there is something worth reading there.

Wait a second... (1)

Jeremiah (3476) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829148)

"Many coders aren't good writers and their programs need documentation. Offer to help them with it or join the Linux Documentation Project if that's a strength."

...am I wrong to be just a little bit concerned that you're suggesting flame-writers take part in the Documentation Project?

Re: Not as far as I've seen. (1)

Jeremiah (3476) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829149)

This is precisely my point; not as far as you've seen. If infiltrative FUD is taking place, it is most certainly a covert operation.

The fact that the flames work to Mindcraft's advantage (to the extent that they are worthy of posting on their front page) makes them immediately suspect.

Maybe I'm just in love with the notion of highly-paid PR specialists pretending to be rabid 3733t kiddies. You have to admit, when you take the Evil out of it, it -is- a funny picture.

Re: Not as far as I've seen. (1)

Jeremiah (3476) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829150)

The linux community needs to stop looking at every problem person as a Microsoft shill.

Indeed. I fear that the atonality of text has robbed my original statements of their intended facetiousness. Armchair conspiracy theory is a lark as long as it's not taken seriously.

Please, let me believe that the flame composers are working for the other side. I don't want to face the prospect that the standard bearers of my OS of choice are a rabid horde of social retards.

Re:Atleast we Beers don't try to make BeOS a GPOS! (1)

Watts Martin (3616) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829151)

I'd been looking for a good message to point BeOS users toward on how not to advocate for our favorite operating system. Thanks for this one--it's just perfect!

Re:Quite right. ...Not so sure... (1)

Watts Martin (3616) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829152)

Scott Hacker, for example, provided no data on the percentage of flames versus constructive criticisms. It may be that the negative comments were not at all representative of the whole.

While you're right, this is also somewhat misleading; he said the responses he received ran the gamut from complete agreement to obscene flames, and never implied that most of what he received was flames rather than constructive criticism. Beyond those introductory paragraphs, in fact, he didn't address flames at all, but instead did respond to the constructive criticisms, including acknowledgement of points he hadn't considered or wasn't clear on. Obviously people can still disagree with his conclusions, but just as obviously he's not just ignoring well-considered responses.

It should also be noted that consistently misspelling Scot's first name as "Scott" probably doesn't help things. :-)

karmic re-adjustment (1)

capsteve (4595) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829155)

part of growing up is the adjustment that we all go thru. from being over-zelous about our object of affection(band, song, girl, sports, hero, os, whatever) to the other extreme of becoming jaded. eventually we all will reach a middle road and a balance. that's part of growing up, which is what the linux community is still doing. yeah, the kind of advocacy the we saw with the mindcraft fiasco is unfortunate, but we don't need to be facists about it either. better to let youthful exhuberance take it's course. in time the authors of bad advocacy will eventually realize how silly they look(ed) and their attitudes will shift in the other direction, and hopefully a more balanced point of view.

Be Users (1)

cthonious (5222) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829156)

We beers (BeOS users)


Are Be users existentialists or beers?


Is the Be posix shell called the xs10sh?

Solid engineering requires listening to the users. (1)

mahlen (6997) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829159)

I write software for a living, and have done so for (egad!) 10 years now. One of the rules that has seeped into my brain in that time is: "Engineers must stay in touch with reality."

Everyone else in a software organization can, and probably will, drift off into believing what they want to about the software a company sells. But the engineering team is the one that must make it actually happen, in the real world, with the tools at hand. They must listen to what users say.

I've written, among other things, a few small languages in my career so far. Not all of my users think that the languages i've written are really all that intuitive, and some get frustrated by them. Now, i'm a human being, so when i hear this, there are times when my dander goes up; "What? They don't like it? Well, they must be idiots! It's just like LISP, but with completely different commands, and specialized for the weird environment it runs in. What's so hard about that??"

Now, mind you, i NEVER say that out loud. I've known programmers who would say it out loud, and i never want to work with them again. I don't give them good recommendations when they're looking for work (unless i'm trying to get rid of them). I'll note that they tend to be somewhat lonely people. "My way or the highway" is not a good axiom for social graces. (I'll also note that Bill Gates seems to be this kind of person, but he can get away with it, via his accumulated power.)

No, when someone says, "This doesn't do what i want", i make every effort to listen. What are they really trying to do? Is there an approach that they're overlooking, and is this approach given the proper attention in the documentation (which i probably wrote). Did it not occur to me before that this function was needed? Given that the user, for whatever reason, expects the software to act in particular ways, can i provide that? Would doing so hurt other users the code has?

Now, this may sound like i'm bending over backwards for the user. I am. I want my work to be used. I'd hate having my code sitting somewhere in a source tree, never to be used again, because my users resisted it until they found something they liked better. Why did i bother sweating out the details in my algorithms, if the code never executes? Getting paid isn't enough; making my user's lives just slighter better is why i work. (This is why i like writing tools for my co-workers; the exchange is much more direct.) Users, as much as the hardware and the tools, are reality for an engineer.

So, if someone mentions a perceived problem with your favorite OS/editor/hardware, make every effort to empathize with them. See through their eyes what they are going through, understand that their needs are not identical to your needs. This is how excellent software is written.

If Linux vs. the world becomes a pissing contest, Linux will lose. If engineers lose touch with reality and start believing the hype about what they're products, that product will likely fail in the long run.

mahlen

Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.
--George Bernard Shaw

This is democracy. Get used to it. (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829160)

Everyone likes to talk about how good democracy is until it disagrees with them. Like it or not, the net is bringing true democracy to more corners than anyone has ever dreamt of. Democracy means EVERYONE gets a voice, immature or not.

--

Quite Right -- Very Sure. (1)

Aleatoric (10021) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829169)

1) Resistance is sometimes necessary. It is not entirely bad when an inaccurate article draws flames. We can only hope that the flames are tempered by the presence of more numerous polite comments. And, hopefully, the percent of flames will not exceed the degree of inaccuracy and/or malice in the article.

While this may be what happens, it doesn't mean it's the right way to respond. Flaming is NOT the correct way to respond, period. Flaming merely demonstrates that the flamer perceives themselves to be superior to those they flame, and as a result they alienate and offend those we should be trying to reach (or teach). The proper response to an inaccurate post / story is a reasonable, intelligent rebuttal of the inaccuracies, not personal attacks and invective. And the proper response to a malicious article is no response at all.


2) The Authors are always free to selectively cite and publish negative emails in order to disproportionately prove "rudeness" on the part of Linux advocates. Since they will quite likely feel defensive, this is always a possibility. Scott Hacker, for example, provided no data on the percentage of flames versus constructive criticisms. It may be that the negative comments were not at all representative of the whole.

Even so, we cannot permit ourselves to justify or condone bad behaviour, regardless of how the author might respond. At some point, we should demonstrate that we ARE better than that. As a matter of likelihood, it is very probable that the negative comments, while not representative of the whole, are representative of those received by the author. All too often, the reasonable replies are swamped by the childish ones.

Yes, there will always be those among us who cannot resist demonstrating their immaturity, but we cannot allow them to drag us down with them. A vocal minority is often perceived by the rest of the world as representative, and the rest of us must be just as vocal to offset it.

We spend a great deal of time improving our software, etc., and we spend a lot of time in discussion among ourselves. We should also use some of that time to offset the actions of the childish few. We should put the same effort into reasonable advocacy as we do into coding, etc. The mature among us IS the majority, but the rest of the world won't know it if we just sit back and allow the immature to speak for us.


Re:Yeah, but ... (1)

ignatz (10191) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829170)

I think you have a very unusual view of tech PR!

I'm a consultant and tech writer, writing the internet development column in a major UK/European title, as well as producing copy for both weeklies and monthlies here in the UK. If only I had a spin doctor or PR just for me...

Getting information from PR companies - and I'm including Microsoft's UK and US PRs here - is at times akin to getting blood out of a stone. I certainly don't get fed stories, and the tech news journalists I am friends with have just as many problems getting information as I do.

(Actually, I've been waiting most of the day to get crucial information for a piece I need to turn in today from several companies - even though they have my email address and mobile and land-line phone numbers.)

Yes, we do get briefings, but we'll use them to roast marketeers who skimp on facts or slide over details. What's the point of being a journalist if you can't get at the facts that the companies are trying to hide from the end users?

S.

Re:Whatever. (1)

ignatz (10191) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829171)

Not as far as I've seen.

MS PR machine is geared up to providing information on demand. It is not proactive or reactive - in fact getting a response to a question can be hard enough at times...

The Linux Taliban do a good enough job on their own of discrediting Open Source and Linux to IT managers and senior journalists.

Cutting someone else's nose off to spite your face doesn't really work...

S.

the perils of advocacy (3)

tuffy (10202) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829172)

After awhile, it all starts to look exactly the same. The subjects change, but the arguments are all identical. Seemingly sane, rational people get attached to something, like an operating system (but things like video games, text editors or anything else you can imagine works just as well). Others, who use something different, sometimes feel threatened. So, they feel the need to point out all the deficiencies (real or imagined) of the other item in order to feel more secure about the item they're attached to. Retaliation occurs and a flame war erupts.

This "us versus them" mentality is strengthened by wave after wave of attack and retaliation. So when those from outside the "battlefield" try to bring actual points of rational discussion into the fray, the "dogs of war" rush to attack thinking the newcomer is just another member of the "other side."

The simple solution is simply not to get so attached. Does someone say "Linux sux!"? Ignore it. Does someone say the "UI sux!"? Ask how it could be improved. If their entire argument boils down to "It sux becuz it's not Windows!", no one will take it seriously. But if even the stupidest complaint is seen as a suggestion dropped into the collective suggestion box, maybe people we'll see the open source community is working to help everybody, and not working against them.

IMHO

Counterproductivity of flames (1)

mpk (10222) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829173)

It is entirely possible that the level of flaminess and general inability to take criticism as anything other than a personal insult by some members of the Linux community is having entirely the opposite effect than they intended as far as getting Linux (and the rest of the free / open source SW movement) taken seriously by those in what, for the sake of simplicity, I'll call Industry. If I was an IT manager looking at using Linux, and I came up against any of these attitudes, I'd instantly take my business somewhere that can show a more professional attitude than flaming anything that might be even slightly negative. The price is insignificant in most of these markets - with the kind of IT budgets most corporates have, a pile of NT Server or Solaris licences isn't much of a hit.

It's important to be able to view things subjectively and rebut criticism in a constructive way - "you stinking MS whore" is a not a valid point to make in response to someone else's work that suggests Linux may not be as wondrous as you thought.

Linux is not everything to all users, and never will be - there will always be a place in the marketplace for Microsoft and their ilk, and what should be being focused on is gaining a reasonable slice of the pie so that users have more of a choice than _just_ one OS - whatever it may be. A world in which Linux is the only OS available is as unattractive to me as a world universally tied to Windows 95.

The type of flaming advocacy that's indulged in by some people can be described as nothing less than totally counterproductive, unprofessional and damaging to the cause as a whole. If you want to be taken seriously, speak reasonably or not at all!

In an ideal world, people would use the best OS for _their_ needs, be it Windows, Linux, Solaris, MacOS or whatever. Any one person's opinion of "best" is not necessarily the opinion of the rest of the world, and there are valid arguments in favour of and against every one.

The flaming weenies (most of whom, I suspect, contribute little to the development or documentation effort) are one of the biggest negative points of Linux, and are one of the reasons why I still have problems seeing it as a proper OS for real, hard, production use against Solaris or (even) NT.

If the most vocal group of proponents sound like 13-year old 3l33t d3wdZ, then what they're marketing will look like a toy rather than a tool however well-engineered it is.

In summary, think before you open your gob. The other folks are people too. Forget this, and you'll be destroying a lot of the hard work that more reasoned folks have done to promote the whole field of free/OS software over the past years.

mpk

This is great. (1)

Bad Mojo (12210) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829175)

If there is one thing I've noticed about the Open Source/Linux movement, it's the ability to see us get close to the edge of some bad things and correct ourselves. OS/2 is notorious for having such a violently over-reactive following and we have begun to swing that was in the public light. Yet somehow, people stand up, see the errors, and remind us to suck it up and cut it out. We seem to be gifted with the ability to not only code around anyone else out there, but we also seem to think around them too. We second guess and anylize Microsofts posible strategies and examine opponents arguments with the same vigor and attitude that we scour each others code, looking for errors and better methods.

All in all, it's articles like these that confirm my belief that this `movement' is clearly self-correcting (as long as people care about it) and each person is just as capable of finding problems to fix as those who actually fix them.

Be cool.
Party on.

Re:Hardly. (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829176)

The Linux crowd needs to grow up and realize that this is just an operating system, not a religion. Total domination is not necessary, but being taken seriously is of paramount importance.

Rob, this statement would make a really good quote of the day thingy for Slashdot sometime.

FinkPloyd

Zealotry leads to... (1)

SimJockey (13967) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829179)

This discussion brings to mind an interesting anecdote from a camping trip I took a couple of weeks back. A bunch of folks from the engineering company I work for went out to the mountains for a little whitewater rafting and a little relaxing in the Rockies.

Around the campfire one night, a few of us got to talking about OS's, with myself and another Linux dabbler trying to shed some light on Linux to a couple members of our IT group (we are a hardcore NT/95 shop). The conversation was very calm, well reasoned, and informative for both sides. The M$ guys admitted that there was things they liked about Linux, like development tools etc., but pointed out the barriers to it being accepted on desktops. Which was a point fairly well taken. The whole discussion was a great exchange of views and information for both sides.

And then I mentioned I was (and to some extent still am) a Mac user and advocate. And the mood immediately changed. The M$ guys became actually quite hostile, dragging out every possible argument against Mac OS and Mac users in general. They became argumentative and unwilling to listen to any of my points. At the time I was extremely annoyed, but in retrospect I see their attitude as a result of years of exposure to Mac evangelism. I have to admit that over the years, I have ran into an awful lot of Mac zealots exhibiting the exact behaviour the author is warning against.

I guess my point is that if you jump down peoples throats for long enough, eventually they are going to get defensive and ignore you. But if you try to have calm and well reasoned discussions, maybe both sides can learn something. And maybe, just maybe, you can subvert a few folks without them even knowing it.

Speak softly and carry a big stack... (1)

yAm (15181) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829182)

I enjoy using Linux. I'm not really good at using it, but I improve with every passing day. I have a network management box with RH 5.2 doing things I couldn't do otherwise (or at least within any sort of reasonable budget) on an otherwise completely MS network. I get work done and I have been slowly, but surely, getting some of the more tedious tasks switched over to my little Linux box because it works. I didn't tell anyone about it, since I'm afraid that the people in charge wouldn't like having it around (don't know, don't trust). But little things, data conversions, syslogd for the routers, little (badly written) perl scripts, etc. have won them over to the point that I have been asked to do other things with it. Hell, with a little luck, I may even get a budget to get a new machine!

But until then, my little 90 MHz Pentium, chugs along nicely, doing yeoman work without any notice at all. Just like a good network should.

All I'm saying is win 'em over with a bunch of small kindnesses, a quiet competence. Let 'em figure out for themselves that "Hey! I guess that thing really does work"

Metcalfe and his ilk are like the guards around the Wicked Witch's castle. Before Dorothy doused the devilish dame, they were all for killing our heroine, but afterwards, they were all for her. All the noise now is simply the beginning of Micros~1 screaming "I'm melting".

Patience, we'll be able to wear the Ruby Slippers in due time.

Chris (sorry about the Wizard of Oz ref. It's my fiancee's favorite movie and we watched it again this weekend and it's still in my head)

ACs have to GO! (1)

webwalker (15831) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829184)

"I you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and change."
The Man in the Mirror.

How 'bout this for an idea: We can't control the Linux Nazis assasinating every journalist on the web, but we CAN refuse to play that game here on Slashdot.

Anonymous Coward posts have, in my book, outlived their contribution to the shaky notion of being a bulwark of free speech. I'm not of a mind to tell Rob what to do with his site 'cause...well, it's HIS site. But I'm so bloody tired of the bad karma that I've dropped my preferences threshold to winnow out the AC posts.

If YOU want to help Slashdot GROW UP, do the same. Strain out the ACs and that way, those that WANT to hear the fist shaking little bigots can set their preferences to access all posts. Those who don't, won't have to waste either bandwidth or brain juice on their irresponsible rants.

Before you flame me, consider:

1) I might be right. There is always the outside possibility.

2) I'm not suggesting that Rob pull the plug on ACs, so the 1st Amendment Shriekers can sit down as well.

3) I am suggesting the possibility that if no one is willing to listen to those who don't want to take responsibility for the bile they spray on this site, maybe the ACs will either STOP posting their crap, or at least, by taking enough responsibility for their opinions to put their name to it, leave them open to censure by the members of this site. (For the dictionarily challenged, I don't mean CENSOR, I mean CENSURE, that is, corporate display of displeasure.)

I want to make this place better for all. Or if not better, at least more reasoned. I have always marvelled at the murderous abuse, mockery, and derision organized religions takes on this site. Marvelled, because the zealotry with which those who disagree are cruxified lies clearly in the realm of pharisaeism that Slashdotters, on the whole, despise.

Is this a case of "becoming what we behold?"

Disagree. Fine. Post your reply. But remember: Unless you're a big enough person to identify yourself, I won't even hear your opinion, polite, abusive, death-threat, or otherwise.

webwalker

Re:Here's a benchmark we can win at - (1)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829186)

You're right. I'd have realized this earlier, but I was busy sending death threats to Steve Balmer.
--Shoeboy

Here's a benchmark we can win at - (3)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829187)

Flames per second! We can top any commercial OS out there. What a way to harness the talent of the AC community ;)
--Shoeboy

How effective is this supposed to be? (3)

Fizgig (16368) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829188)

A lot of people say stuff like this, and it doesn't seem to make any difference. I doubt the people who sent the flames actually read this entire piece. Or maybe they did and thought "That's not me" or "That's stupid". So, did anyone here send one of the nasty emails to Mindcraft or the guy at Andover news? Anyone want to fess up to it? Have you changed your mind?

Somehow it all just seems like preaching to the choir.

Re:It was an unresearched piece of dogsh*t (1)

haapi (16700) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829189)

Like newsgroups, we *could* treat each other on /. like 'family' and flame the hell out of each other, while still putting on a more civilized face for the 'outside world'. This does run the risk of allowing just anybody to troll, or otherwise kick the /. ant pile just for fun. You are correct in making the distinction between a /. posting and direct, personal, email.

Besides, real flaming is an art that has little to do with vulgarity and obscenity. Look back at, say, Maddie Hauseman flaming newbies in alt.fan.dan-quayle for great examples.

It is refreshing.... (2)

blaine (16929) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829191)

... to hear some sense being spoken.

I use Linux, and I love it. However, at the same time, I run multiple other OSes. I currently run Red Hat Linux 5.2 and 6.0, Debian GNU/Linux 2.1, and Slackware Linux 3.6 and 4.0. I also run Solaris 7, FreeBSD 3.6, and BeOS r4.0.

Why do I run all of these? A few reasons. To name a few:

1) I am interested in OSes in general
2) These OSes in particular interest me
3) All of these OSes are suited to certain tasks.

The third of these reasons is a very important - and oft ignored - fact. If you read the Linux Advocacy HOWTO, there are three lines that I feel are the most important:

  • Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
  • Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of their freedom.
  • There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.


I am so very tired of people who are unwilling to admit that Linux is NOT the only choice out there. So many of these people came to Linux because they resented the lack of choice forced upon them in the Microsoft driven world of computers... and yet now, they seek to take the freedom which they sought out and found from those who seek it as well.

Mutual respect for each others' personal choices is something severely lacking in this community. I choose to run Red Hat. Why should this matter to anybody but myself? And yet, to many it does. Then again, I choose to run Debian and Slackware as well. I even choose to run (horror of horrors) a commercial os: BeOS. Why? Because I like it, and it does what I want it to do. Will it ever replace Linux ? Most likely not. Will Linux ever take over the niche that it fills ? I don't know. It is questionable at best. But for the time being, BeOS does what I need it to do, and that is all that matters.

Linux is NOT the be-all and end-all. BeOS is NOT the be-all and end-all. Solaris is NOT the be-all and end-all. FreeBSD is NOT the be-all and end-all. OpenBSD is NOT the be-all and end-all. NetBSD is NOT the be-all and end-all.

Do you see a pattern here?

No OS is the be-all and end-all. At least not for all users. Sure, Linux may do everything you need to do, and if it does, great. Use Linux for everything then. But this community needs to realize and acknowledge that as human beings are individuals, they in turn have individual needs and wants. Freedom of choice is one of the most basic freedoms. Without the freedom to choose, many things which all of us take for granted, Linux being nowhere near the most important, would not exist.

Don't take that freedom away.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Cyberfox (17743) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829192)

Greetings,

You don't fight FUD with 'my fscking operating system fscking beats up your fscking operating system!' You fight it with:

'Yes, NT server is twice as fast for serving static web pages, but how many of your pages are static?'

and

'NT is twice as fast for that application, which is impressive and commendable, but if you look at the bandwidth numbers, Linux will saturate a T1 on a much lower price point piece of hardware. Plus Linux costs quite a bit less than half what NT costs, even if you ignore the hardware costs.'

That is how you fight FUD.

Be smart, it's our only advantage.

Cyberfox!

There's one in every crowd. (1)

Protheus (22482) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829193)

There are too many linux zealots... there are also too many macintosh zealots, amiga zealouts, and, yes, believe it or not, somehow, windows zealouts.

Usually these are people who don't understand much about the system they're using and are just in it for the group mentality. What can we do? We can try to show them the error of their ways, and educate them so that they can be sure of, and defend, their choices. If this doesn't work, then it's out of our hands.

It's not just a problem with linux advocacy. Almost any product will have something simmilar -- and if you don't believe me, go ahead and write an article that upsets windows users, or netscape users, or ...

The linux community certainly has more than its share of these people. Maybe it's because linux users feel "connected" with their o/s. If that's the case then they'll want what's best for the community as a whole, and articles like this _will_ work; It's our duty to watch out for this kind of behaviour, and correct it if we can. Otherwise, we've done our part, and we have to hope that the sane voices will outnumber the flamers.

Re:How effective is this supposed to be? (1)

dazol (28885) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829195)

I am not one of those that sent a flame to any of the previously mentioned persons. I have been corrected on my advocacy however. Yes, I used to be a "NT SUX!! Linux Rulz!!" type of advocate. Yes, articles such as this have changed me. I no longer flame. I research and correct. I try to make intelligent arguments in my discussions in this all NT shop. I educate and demonstrate. Now I have created converts and continue to do so. Once I convert someone, and they become Linux loyalists, I make sure I give them copies of articles such as this. I dont want my 'offspring' ruining the communities reputation by being a zealot.


Behold!! The power of chee...er Linux!!

Re:Quite right. (1)

profi (29705) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829197)

[...]
if($self.angry)
{
kill($mail);
echo "Have a smoke and create new message.";
eval_attitude();
}

Recursively calling eval_attitude() will generate lots of overhead and may even cause a stack overflow. I propose this slightly modified algorithm:

function eval_attitude()
{
$mail = $self.thoughts;
while ($self.angry) {
kill($mail);
echo "Have a smoke and create new message.";
$mail = $self.thoughts;
}
send($mail);
echo "Mail Sent!";
exit;
}

Yes, but the problem with that... (2)

Telsa (29774) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829198)

Absolutely. Slashdot is a free-for-all. However, the article's not just talking about the exciting cut-and-thrust of technical well-informed banter (ahem) on here. What the article is talking about is the email floods that press writers are receiving. Remember the "Loneliness of Linux" article that was linked to here? Judith Lewis writing about how she was having to buy a new box for Linux after her old one eventually died? A comment about how she needs Windows to be able to receive Word documents at work resulted in a _deluge_ of flaming, and it wasn't just on here. It was sent straight to her email address. That was the first of three articles. The other two were great (and not linked to by Slashdot). Then followed an account of the email flood she'd received. Which got posted here. (Sigh.) And more flaming to her. Then there was Jack Dyers, who said he could tell to the minute when his article was linked to by Slashdot. The responses he'd had from Linux Today readers took issue with his comments but were polite. The responses that started coming in - to his email address, not on Slashdot - after it was posted here were well beyond what gets posted here, by his account of them.

These aren't slaggings-off on Slashdot. These are written by people who are reading the linked-to articles and then emailing the author direct with abuse. And yes, the Astroturf theory has occurred to me, but frankly, I _really_ doubt that MS is paying a bunch of people to do this for them when it's blindingly obvious that we have plenty of people who are quite happy to do this off their own bat.

In addition, although being selective with your news and hitting LWN, Slashdot, Linux Today, linux.com and so on is very common, there are a _lot_ of people who really, honestly, truly, haven't heard of Linux, haven't heard of BeOS, haven't heard of *BSD. If they read introductory articles, take part in discussions, or subscribe to comp.os.linux.* and the first things they see are some of the more.. er.. intolerant articles: yes, they _will_ assume that's typical of the Linux (/BeOS/*BSD/whatever their new interest is) community. Especially if they see nothing done to stop it. If my mates tell me there's a cool new nightclub in town and we go there, and people keep spilling my drink or fights keep breaking out, I might listen to them say "Oh, really cool folks come here, and the music is well cool." But I will certainly be influenced by the fact that the drink-spiller doesn't offer to buy me a new one, and no bouncers show up to stop a fight, and it's most unlikely I'll be convinced to go again.

Slashdot posters are not the "voice" of Linux (2)

mhm23x3 (30474) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829199)

Slashdot is a free-for-all, open forum where anyone can post. If anyone takes profanity-filled, moronic flames from ACs on Slashdot as the "voice" of the Linux community, they are deeply misguided.

Guess what: immature people abound everywhere, in every community. If people take the "Mindcraft is the spawn of the Devil!" type comments as evidence against supporting Linux, it seems to me that they just need an excuse of some sort. Those of you here who use Linux: do the "Linux sux freeBSD rulz" idiots make freeBSD any more or less attractive in your eyes? Come on!

Slashdot is an open arena, not a closed magazine. There will always be idiotic posters, and there will always be embarassing, misguided, inflamatory comments. This reflects no worse on Linux than the people who stand in line for a month and dress in Chewbaca costumes reflect on the Star Wars saga. There will be idiotic zealots everywhere (my apologies to the Chewbaca people). Live with it.

Evangelistas were the first... (1)

untulis (30874) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829200)

I can't believe no one has mentioned that Mac bigots (including myself) were getting slammed for doing the exact same things two or three years ago. Stewart Alsop, James Coates and Hiawatha Bray, among others, had their inboxes subjected to the wrath of Evangelistas with the same mixture of substantive criticism and flame.

The situation was also the same, a mailing list instead of a Web site, but a captive audience who were exposed to anti-"cause" articles by one or two moderators (Guy Kawasaki and John Halbig). Evangelistas eventually cleaned up their act, but it took a while for them to do so. Plus, they needed constant reminders when flamebait was posted not to flame the writers and to write in a constructive manner.

I would suggest that Taco and Hemos practice restraint on when they post inflammatory links and to warn people to keep their responses on the up and up. It seemed like the best method for the Mac community.

This isn't anything new. Let's just change our ways quicker than other advocates.

Re:Quite right. ...Not so sure... (1)

flesh99 (32039) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829201)

1) Resistance is sometimes necessary. It is not entirely bad when an inaccurate article draws flames. We can only hope that the flames are tempered by the presence of more numerous polite comments. And, hopefully, the percent of flames will not exceed the degree of inaccuracy and/or malice in the article.


Whether or not someone is inaccurate flaming only proves that those who respond that way are not capable of responding in a calm and collected manner. Any flame-mail sent under the banner of Linux advocacy is wrong. If this can be publicized the public will see only the hot headed children amongst us, this can only hurt us.


2) The Authors are always free to selectively cite and publish negative emails in order to disproportionately prove "rudeness" on the part of Linux advocates. Since they will quite likely feel defensive, this is always a possibility. Scott Hacker, for example, provided no data on the percentage of flames versus constructive criticisms. It may be that the negative comments were not at all representative of the whole.


You read /., I assume on a fairly regular basis. How can you not assume that most of the e-mails he received weren't flames, we flame each other all day here. I think he probably got mostly flame responses, due to the fact that most of us who are intelligent didn't bother to send any e-mail at all. There was no point.


Re: Not as far as I've seen. (1)

dbullock (32532) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829202)

This is precisely my point; not as far as you've seen. If infiltrative FUD is taking place, it is most certainly a covert operation.

The fact that the flames work to Mindcraft's advantage (to the extent that they are worthy of posting on their front page) makes them immediately suspect.


Jeremiah - these weren't forged. Two of the emails were from noted columnists. One was Tom King, an ex-lawyer turned computer talk show host, and the other was from Joe Barr, a columnist at Linuxworld.

Neither had denied sending the emails, and in fact have defended their position. Not only are they well known, public figures, their emails were some of the worst ones posted.

The linux community needs to stop looking at every problem person as a Microsoft shill. We need to apply peer pressure on our colleagues to tone down their vitriol a notch or too. Demonizing Microsoft and Bill Gates just makes you look like a zealot to those you wish to convert. Nobody trusts zealots because they're incapable of having a balanced viewpoint by defintion. Frankly the conduct of those two almost makes me want to switch to BSD (and the 9 boxes I run at the office). The only thing giving me hope is that the real doer's (Linus and Alan Cox types) are looking at the Mindcraft tests with a positive eye, learning what they can so that they can address what problems they do find.

And who am I? The IS department head who you want to convert (sigh).

Re: Not as far as I've seen. (1)

dbullock (32532) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829203)

Please, let me believe that the flame composers are working for the other side. I don't want to face the prospect that the standard bearers of my OS of choice are a rabid horde of social retards.

Verify it for yourself. Check out Tom King and Joe Barr's emails on the Mindcraft Net Rage page. Their URL's are listed. I've contacted both of them to protest their advocacy techniques as being harmful and irresponsible to the community. Both of them called me a Microsoft shill and said they have a right to say whatever they want (which I never disputed).

Tom King is at www.computalk.com
He's a radio talk show host.
Joe Barr is at www.pjprimer.com
He's a Linuxworld columnist.

We have met the advocacy enemy. They are us.

Re:impersonators, reputation, and more... (1)

dbullock (32532) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829204)

My point? Someone can't really hurt you or your group's reputation unless they have a plausible premise. Anonymous flame mails aren't plausible; they could have come from anywhere including Microsoft. We should, however, as Linux advocates, do our UTMOST to distance ourselves from prominent pro-Linux flamers. Otherwise the critics who say we're a bunch of teenage punks will have a plausible premise.

I agree. And we need to be united and public about it. Use email. Write people civil emails and apply pressure for them to be constructive, and not destructive.

Demonization and zealotry belong in churches, not in operating system discussions.


Advocacy Unleashed (1)

PhoneMonkey (32729) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829206)

Oh, I can tell you about advocacy.

I am a linux user myself. I have a box at home I have set up as a server, and often spend time on it. It's a good, sturdy little machine, and I'm quite attached to it. So I was a bit amazed to be set upon by the hounds of advocacy.

When the Be Gimp port story came out, I made several posts about what I thought were very positive things about the BeOS. Nothing negative was said about Linux, in fact, Linux was not even mentioned.

The flames began. I had people tearing me apart on the message boards, and began receiving nasty, obscene, and hateful mail. I mean vicious.

I was offended to the point of posting some of them on my website. I couldn't believe it.

Well, I guess I can. I used to be a very regular poster until a few months ago when I dared to say I liked the Mac OS. After 35 obnoxious emails, and several hateful posts, I was pissed enough to leave Slashdot, returning only this week.

People need to understand that advocacy like this will not forward their calls. Instead it makes the average linux user seem a febrile six year old.

Reasoned arguments, not flaming emails, will bring the linux movement to fruition.

BTW - flame me if you must from this post, why make it different form any other one with less than glowing comments.

Advocay Unleashed (1)

PhoneMonkey (32729) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829207)

Please ignore post of same name at bottom, hit wrong button...

Oh, I can tell you about advocacy.

I am a linux user myself. I have a box at home I have set up as a server, and often spend time on it. It's a good, sturdy little machine, and I'm quite attached to it. So I was a bit amazed to be set upon by the hounds of advocacy.

When the Be Gimp port story came out, I made several posts about what I thought were very positive things about the BeOS. Nothing negative was said about Linux, in fact, Linux was not even mentioned.

The flames began. I had people tearing me apart on the message boards, and began receiving nasty, obscene, and hateful mail. I mean vicious.

I was offended to the point of posting some of them on my website. I couldn't believe it.

Well, I guess I can. I used to be a very regular poster until a few months ago when I dared to say I liked the Mac OS. After 35 obnoxious emails, and several hateful posts, I was pissed enough to leave Slashdot, returning only this week.

People need to understand that advocacy like this will not forward their calls. Instead it makes the average linux user seem a febrile six year old.

Reasoned arguments, not flaming emails, will bring the linux movement to fruition.

BTW - flame me if you must from this post, why make it different form any other one with less than glowing comments.

Re: Not as far as I've seen. (1)

cobbe (33799) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829209)

Two responses to that last paragraph:

  1. Occam's Razor (or Ockham's, or ...). If there are multiple explanations which fit observed reality, choose the one which requires the least complicated theory. (Until, of course, it no longer explains reality.)
  2. Another razor, which I have seen attributed to several people: "Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity."

More subtle zealotry... (1)

CynicX32 (34604) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829210)

Not all damaging zealotry is of the obscenity-laced kind. I find much of the "good" advocacy to also be pretty zealotous. For example, the fact that no article about Microsoft can be posted without immediately being called FUD, and no one can possibly agree with any of it, even if it does make some good points, because they are obviously astroturfing.

These memes - FUD and astroturfing - occur in probably every 2 out of 3 posting on /. and in numerous other places. They don't get anything done, and frankly they make people look bad. You heard the term FUD bandied about like it was gospel truth - but maybe some people actually *aren't* in the pay of Microsoft. Ever think about that? Maybe some people actually do like Windows. Doesn't mean they get a paycheck from BillG, doesn't mean they're trying to spread the wicked FUD (is there any more nebulous a term?)...

Many might reply to this saying that I am, in fact, a Microsoft mouthpiece. That is sad, and that is zealotry just as well as if you flame my mother.

IMHO (and not Microsoft's)

ryan

Re:Why not drop news stories? (1)

kamileon (35033) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829212)

I read Slashdot so I won't have to read ZDnet, Wired Mag, etc, etc. It's nice to have one centralized point for Linux news, humor, hardware, etc. And besides, reading it on these other sites, you miss all the interesting discussions that arise.

Geek-grrl in training
"Despite the high cost of living, it remains a popular item."

Re:This is democracy. Get used to it. (1)

kamileon (35033) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829213)

Bread and circuses. Welfare and Jerry Springer. Behold the power of democracy.

Community Response (1)

JJSway (37912) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829218)

This is similar to the issue of harassment. And the way that has been handled is for companies to have clear statements of policy and respond appropriately to complaints.

In this case, the Linux community's statement of policy is the "Linux Advocacy HOWTO".

The consensus of the responses to articles such as this one, seems to be that we wish everyone could refrain from using gutter language. However, in many cases, the original article/posting seems to be taunting the community which guarantees at least some flames.

So, when flames are published (or even referred to), it would be really slick if one of the Linux portals either gathered comments that are more representative of the whole community or invited a representative of the community to post a response. That would hopefully make it to some of the mainstream press and demonstrate that the community does have its act together, in spite of a relative few who can't control their tempers/tongues.

Re:Quite right. ...Not so sure... (1)

Sun Tzu (41522) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829219)

While I agree with the general advice of this article, I think the concern is a little overblown. Some points:

1) Resistance is sometimes necessary. It is not entirely bad when an inaccurate article draws flames. We can only hope that the flames are tempered by the presence of more numerous polite comments. And, hopefully, the percent of flames will not exceed the degree of inaccuracy and/or malice in the article.

2) The Authors are always free to selectively cite and publish negative emails in order to disproportionately prove "rudeness" on the part of Linux advocates. Since they will quite likely feel defensive, this is always a possibility. Scott Hacker, for example, provided no data on the percentage of flames versus constructive criticisms. It may be that the negative comments were not at all representative of the whole.

3) A few Anti-Linux folks can be counted on, now that the Linux flaming reputation is widespread, to supply a small amount of obnoxious flames for PR reasons.

4) This is not just characteristic of the Linux crowd -- it applies to OS/2, BE, Apple, and even mainframe supporters. The difference is one of scale and timing. There are *lots* of Linux supporters connected to the Internet. Their timing is coordinated by the /. effect to vastly amplify the apparent magnitude of the flaming.

5) In a large enough crowd, there will always be some jerks. As Linux becomes ever more successful, expect there to be even more jerks. Nothing can be done about that.

Will the offenders even read this column? (1)

empath (44572) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829221)

Seems to me that the type of people who do this sort of immature thing will skip right over the title of this article, in search of something to flame. For some of these people, I imagine it's fun to do this, and no amount of article writing will get them to stop. We need to call up their parents, and in the only way they'll understand, let them know that there *are* actual people on the other side.

Excellent article (1)

shadrack (49555) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829224)

You hit the nail on the head. I've been using and programming for Windows for several years. And one of the reasons I won't do anything on a Mac (or use and/or own one) is the constant stream of insults and put downs from the holier than thou Mac community. I simply don't want to be identified with people who have turned a computer into a religion.

Not only do they rag me for using Windows, but when they find out I write sofware I suddenly become one of "them", i.e. someone with a degree of technical competance, the very antithesis of the proud to be untechnical Mac crowd.

Please all, lets not let Linux turn into that. The more I use and learn about Linux, the more I like it. It doesn't mean I'm going to put down someone elses decision to not use it.

Once again, great article.

Civility, Objectivity are precious (1)

Dan Kegel (49814) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829225)

I agree. Case in point: a linux-oriented magazine recently ran an editorial slamming the Mindcraft test mercilessly, using hot-button words like "scam", "fiasco", "sham", "suckers", "propaganda", and "mind control", among others.

What was he trying to do, incite a riot? And why did he not want to admit that there might be performance problems in Linux?

IMHO it's more productive to turn the other cheek, and work on fixing our own faults. That's why my page on the Mindcraft benchmarks [kegel.com] is relentlessly objective and focused on helping everyone, rather than cutting anyone down.

Check your road rage at the door, folks. One thing that helps me is, when I write an angry email, I let it sit for a while, and then when I'm calmer, I rewrite it until I'm sure everything in it is reasonably fair and true. It's so easy to write stuff quickly that isn't really accurate.

Hardly. (1)

Desert Raven (52125) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829226)

I've seen all of this "up close and personal", and it ain't Redmond doing it. On our local Linux User Group list, a company (primarily NT) put out a notice that they were hiring Linux admins. (I happen to know that they're considering switching) Instead of being welcomed with open arms, they were barbequed for being an NT shop who was obviously completely ignorant of the real world. Needless to say, the company was NOT impressed, and I highly suspect will be delaying if not outright abandoning their move to Linux. I regularly get ignored on the list because I run a 50/50 Linux/NT shop, even though I've got years more experience with Linux than most of the group.

The Linux crowd needs to grow up and realize that this is just an operating system, not a religion. Total domination is not necessary, but being taken seriously is of paramount importance.

Atleast we Beers don't try to make BeOS a GPOS!!! (1)

agtofchaos (56094) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829227)

We beers (BeOS users) don't try to make BeOS a GPOS. Many of us use it as one, but we don't push it as the Windows replacement. We push it as a multimedia and internet appliance OS because it is better than linux (god forbid!), Winblows, MacOS and all the other *nix's and bsd's at those areas. Multimedia isn't as simple as artists and musicians. I believe it was alex st. john (the guy who started and headed the directx project) that said that games are the ultimate test of an OS's multimedia capabilities. Linux will ultimately fail if you people don't get some humility and try to do like what we beers are doing, we are redefining the OS market. We are trying to kill windows by pushing an OS that is a master of a trade instead of a master of no trade. If you Linux users, advocates and biggots try to push it into M$'s own territory you will lose. Windows is the best GPOS (not saying much) and you can't win against a company that puts billions of green backs into marketing its POSOS (Piece of shit OS). You linux users will win by not trying to fuck around with win32 OS's on the desktop and working only on making it a perfect server OS!!

SlashdotPAC! Seriously. (1)

reve (59221) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829230)

First, foremost, and marginally related:


Slashdot regularly feeds us newswire stories on issues relating to computers and the law, be it privacy, cryptography, censorship, or taxation. But often conspiciously lacking from many of these stories is contact information -- which lawmakers should be contacted if an individual thinks the implementation of these laws is a poor (or for that matter, good) idea?


A journalist might skim through the email they recieve, but a politician's staff is damn well going to tally it all up. Most /. readers are living in a representitive democracy of some sort, and if people have a need to articulate their viewpoints outside the forum which /. provides it would be damn handy to have a nice mailto: link.

Sure, we whine about being reamed by the government, but how often do we actually do something about it?
Granted, the author's urgings in regards to clarity and eloquence apply in this scenario as well. "t4x3z suK!" would not fare well, but I think my point has been illustrated.


Second, and directly related to the wonderful world of Linux advocacy:


Keep in mind who the target audience is. This is to say, suits. The usual arguments don't work, the bottom line is everything. Microsoft releases a substandard product. Great, yeah, just about every business has cut something to make a few extra bucks. This is pragmatic business planning. It's not a moral issue, it's only decisive if it affects THEIR finances. And be realistic about it. Even if they were GPF'ing once a day, that's what, ten minutes of labor? Hard costs are about the same -- a blanket license for linux with support isn't going to be that much cheaper than NT if you figure in switch over costs. Think out the arguments fully.


And finally, directly related to the previous comment:


What would be the legalities of some enterprising individual set up a linux support/distro as a federally registered non profit? They could hock their services to a business -- who could write it off -- pay their employees liberally, and then dump all the excess money back into the community. Seems like a tricky but valid plan to me.

Or maybe I just should have slept last night.

Quite right. (1)

Colm@TCD (61960) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829231)

This article is worth printing out and keeping by your bedside. Even if I think the negative effects of excessive advocacy are overstated in the article, it's definitely the case that they are there. Be reasonable in all your works...

It was an unresearched piece of dogsh*t (1)

GZ (62739) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829232)

"The Charity Case for Red Hat." Frank de Lange. (Author's side note: at the time of writing, the first listed user comment is EXACTLY what I am talking about. From an "Anonymous Coward" on Slashdot: "A good reply but the original article was such a vapid pile of unresearched dogsh*t as not to even garner a reply.")

Thanks, author, it was from me. And I stand by that comment. Because the article was obviously unresearched and a certainly an unprofessional piece of journalism, if you care to call it such. However, it was posted only on /. and not e-mailed out. Any journalist who can actually publish such a piece of fiction should be ashamed ( and possibly flamed in the hope he'll wake up) and I hope you are not defending him.

However, I agree that flames like these can only hurt the Linux community in the long run and personally plan on abstaining from such in the future and advice others to do so no matter how deserving people are of such treatment.

Flamers are partly why I haven't learned Linux! (1)

sspiff (63371) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829233)

I am interested in alternative operating systems but one the reasons that I haven't made much of a attempt to learn it is that I have seen so many Linux newbies get flamed on newsgroups and mesage boards. It not worth it to get a bunch of nasty e-mails, or worse yet, mailbombs or virus attachments.

At this point, I think the Linux community is coming off very badly because a minority of poorly mannered zealots are ruining the reputation of the community as a whole. A lot of people seem to scoff at concern over flaming, but Linux needs reasonable, helpful people in order to grow its user base.

I'm with you RatBastard. At this point I'm more interested in BeOS than in Linux. Why bother going to the trouble of learning Linux if I'm going to be flamed to a crisp for even making an attempt?

Re:Here's a benchmark we can win at - (1)

SpaceCadet (63397) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829234)

Actually, from what I can see, most Anonymous Cowards are people who don't wish to attract attention from the lamers and the flamers. Judging from the sh*t said persons generally post and email at the slightest provocation, can you blame them?

Re:Why not drop news stories? (1)

SpaceCadet (63397) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829235)

But LWN and LinuxToday only cover Linux. Slashdot covers BeOS, Mac, Windows, Science news, CDA and related laws, and other things not related to Linux, but interesting and/or important to most geeks. You don't care about that stuff? Fine, go modify your preferences to ignore that stuff. We don't mind.

Re:Yeah, but ... (1)

SpaceCadet (63397) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829236)

My objective is not to destroy Microsoft. I simply wish to use a good, solid, stable operating system that serves all my needs. Linux does that. If Windows did it better than Linux, then I'd use Windows.

Hell, you owe a lot to Microsoft. Without them, there'd never have been the sub-$5000 computer, much less the sub-$1000. Not counting Apple products, of course, which don't count for those of us who like to tinker. Microsoft may do things I don't like, and they may have monopoly powers in a lot of areas. So what? There are alternatives that I like. I like the fact that government can interfere in the day-to-day operations of a private corporation a hell of a lot less than I like the idea of Microsoft having monopoly power. It's quite simple, really; basic economic theory states that if a monopoly (Microsoft) begins to abuse their power, competition will spring up to replace it. Hence Linux, BeOS, Macintosh, Caldera DOS, Amiga, and OS/2. Yes, I know, none of these have been successful yet (aside, perhaps, from Linux) but the point is that people keep trying. As soon as someone succeeds, the monopoly is broken. And we are talking about a very short timespan as markets and business go.

Yeah. (1)

SpaceCadet (63397) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829237)

Four required semesters of Micro and Macroeconomics say you're wrong. Microeconomics deals with specific things, such as depreciation, taxation, and amortization. Macroeconomics is the opposite - the differences between capitalism and communism, the way market forces influence economic structures, and so on. Microeconomics may not say anything about power, but Macroeconomics does. And what it says is that monopolies that abuse their power - meaning that monopolies that provide good service, reasonable pricing, and adequate output are not susceptable to this - are always replaced by competition. Someone will eventually succeed in replacing Microsoft if they abuse their power.

As for "that monopoly may have access to laws to protect themselves from competition" - certainly, if we were talking about a managed economy. We aren't, to any real extent, so it doesn't apply. Microsoft can lobby for laws to protect their position all they like, it will not happen. If it had, do you really think they'd be in this lawsuit?

Try studying the subject a little bit before you try to attack your betters on it. You'll look like less of a fool, even on those occaisions when you're wrong.

Bullsh*t. (1)

SpaceCadet (63397) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829238)

[Microeconomics d]eals primarily with supply and demand. You characterization of it is misleading. Microsoft still sucks, regardless of you rationalizations. (hotmail is a dead giveaway for Microsoft astroturfers)

I almost replied with a stream of vile invective. I didn't though, because I realized that I really don't care about your opinions, such as they are. So instead, I will make one last attempt to correct ignorance and stupidity.

I had a biology textbook that stated the human genome consists of 30 chromosomes. That don't make it so. Supply and Demand as a general topic is properly in the domain of Macroeconomics, unless you're discussing the specifics of it, such as actual price points for ratios of supply/demand. Neither of which has anything to do with what I was saying.

I never actually said Microsoft didn't "suck." I said I feel no need to destroy Microsoft. I still don't. Why should I? Their marketing techniques have caused damage to businesses not intelligent enough to avoid it, but they've also created a market for PCs among the general market, which caused PC makers to manufacture cheaper PCs. Which allows me to purchase a top-of-the-line PC for considerably less than a low-end PC could be purchased for 10 years ago. I may not like their OS or their products, but I feel no animosity towards them personally. I simply use better alternatives, such as Linux, and continue with my own business of engineering. The only reason I use Microsoft at all is to use AutoCad and to create native Word documents for clients.

In short, Microsoft has created a lot of problems for a lot of people. So did General Marks when he first started publishing his Mechanical Engineering handbook. Regardless, he still took hundreds of separate, individually expensive manuals, and combined them in one, relatively inexpensive handbook. Am I forced to use the handbook? No, there are now other handbooks available. But Marks was the first, and the one that created the market. Face it, like it or not, without Microsoft you wouldn't be able to surf the net, send email, or choose an OS, because computers would be something you might see on occaision but you'd never be able to use one the way you can now.

I can't resist, one last comment - I use Hotmail to filter unwanted mail. Not all of it comes from Spammers, you know...

Re:Quite right. (1)

danimal; (64106) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829246)

/*Advice from a college prof of mine, translated to code.*/


//Perform before sending

function eval_attitude()
{
$mail = $self.thoughts;
if($self.angry)
{
kill($mail);
echo "Have a smoke and create new message.";
eval_attitude();
}
else
{
send($mail);
echo "Mail Sent!";
exit;
}
}

My 2, DS

Re:This is democracy. Get used to it. (1)

bubbalou (98776) | more than 15 years ago | (#1829250)

I don't buy your theory. In a democracy, every eligible voter gets a chance to express themselves through their vote. In a society such as ours where "free speech" is also a right, one has the opportunity to be heard.

But, in many places here and abroad there's also such a thing as "fighting words." And in the legal definition of that term, someone is well within their legal rights to "pop you one" under the law (at least as I understand it) if you insist upon berating them with such language.

On the net, though, you can hurl any kind of immature, insulting and opinionated invective without fear of somebody "dotting your eye", so you end up with anarchy, i.e. a place without any form of courtesy and little rule of law. People hide behind their keyboards and say things they'd never dare say face-to-face.

In the U.S. we live in a democracy, but that doesn't mean we can spout off any time we feel like it, say, for example, in a courtroom, in a church, in your doctor's waiting room, in the supermarket aisles, etc. You'd get locked-up if you did, or at the very least people would look at you like you were crazy. Let's not confuse anarchy and democracy.

So now the question is: Why should the net be allowed to be anarchic? Why should people be allowed to be unrestrainedly obnoxious and vicious? Why shouldn't the net have netiquette?

I believe the anarchy part does serve a purpose in the unrestrained flow of ideas. That part of it is constructive. I also believe people have every right to their diversity, their opinions, and their God-given right to be jerks and immature @ssholes, but most of that flaming that emerges is about as useful to society at large as graffiti. I'd rather do without.

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