EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.08.08

There is No Community and There is No Communism, Either

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Interview, Kernel at 11:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“…it can be seen as a myth and a damaging stereotype which makes Free software users and supporters seem like a sinister conspiracy.”It was several days ago that we mentioned the fact that there is no “the community” in Free software. We cited a nice short article that addresses this issue. The ‘community’ does not exist. It’s merely an attempt to portray Free software as “communism” or a dangerous clique which is always scheming to take over the industry, wreaking chaos in the process. In other other words, it can be seen as a myth and a damaging stereotype which makes Free software users and supporters seem like a sinister conspiracy. It’s a demonisation tool, also.

The Linux Foundation has just announced a new series of audiocasts which makes its debut with a Linus Torvalds interview. The 451 Group has already dived into this first audio and it makes the observation that even Linus agrees with the above. “There is no open source community”, argues Torvalds. Here is a fragment from this excellent analysis:

How can software vendors engage with the open source community? An important step, according to Linus Torvalds, is to stop believing such a thing really exists and start engaging in the development process.

This specific issue is worth emphasising particularly because many times in the past Jeff Waugh tries to wave the “community” wand and claim that we do not serve “the community”. A few of this site’s readers, as well as ourselves, took offense in Jeff’s remark and the especially use of the word “community”, which was seen as out of place.

While on this subject of “community” smears and myths, we wish to present a set of very relevant articles which show how stereotypes get used against Free software. It’s easy to discredit that whom you successfully demonise.

Article #1: Are Linux users really a feral bunch?

It is, however, uncommon for a writer to set out to deliberately provoke Linux users with over-the-top stuff – just to prove his contention that said users are a bunch of ferals.

Article #2: How Not to Treat Your Readership

Given how the technology and methods the Linux community uses are constantly villified, ridiculed, and held in contempt by competitors; by ill-informed IT professionals and hobbyists; and now by journalists who use lies and outrageous comments to hold the community’s response up for ridicule–is it any wonder why the community is so defensive in their responses?

That’s not a justification of bad behavior, but it certainly puts such responses in another light.

Articles (1) and (2) were actually published to address the issue of provocative articles, sometime written by those who are secretly hired by Microsoft [PDF].

Article #3: Myths Stymie Linux Growth

The problem here is that the powers that be have created enough FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about Linux that most decision makers feel it is safer to stick with Windows (including XP). That FUD is fueled by many myths and misconceptions about what Linux can and cannot do.

Article #4: In Defense Of Open Source

Naysayers position open source as a sort of geeky pleasure that’s best reserved only for unwedded twenty- and thirty-something males residing in basements owned by parental figures. That the Linux platform is the product of a wide network of hobbyists. That the solutions which subsist within the Linux system are not worth equal attention to big-name products from firms like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, and others.

Article #5: Astaro “paved the way” for VC-funded open source companies

“Back then, to base a business on products built using Linux and open source was a fairly new idea. We were out in the market for fundraising and venture capital, but the investors we talked to were very averse to the idea that with open source that you would not own your intellectual property. Our employees got the idea, and the customers loved it, but the investing community seemed allergic to open source. We were forced to bootstrap for two or three years until we could show traction.”

Article #6: Meet Mark Radcliffe: The man who rules open source law

Matters such as SCO’s Linux assault and Microsoft’s hints of legal action against open source software makers and users tend to dominate the public discourse around open source code.

Some of the examples above were intended to show the impact of FUD and misconceptions that are fueled by stereotypes and fear. This can also lead to legal action and responsive legislation.

Article #7: German and US researchers lay low, question just how far new law will go

Moore notes that most Linux distros are now illegal in Germany as well, because they include the open-source nmap security scanner tool — and some include Metasploit as well.

Last week, the United Kingdom adopted similar laws.

Article #8: From Zero to Holy $&*#!

What if Linux and Free and Open Source Software became illegal to use due to “national security?” Never mind the fact that the American military uses it. Never mind the fact that Microsoft funded both political parties in the year 2000. Never mind that Richard Stallman has accused Microsoft of enabling terrorism in the first place.

Article #9: Top 5 Linux Myths

The sheer ignorance regarding casual Linux users astounds me to no end. While I’m not interested in pointing fingers, there is a lot of misinformation about the Linux community, and we will help to dispel some of these myths, once and for all.

1. Linux Users Are Cheap. Ah, this is one of my favorites. It seems that Linux users have long since been seen as cheap, despite the fact that so many of them in the States earn up to six figures. First, define cheap? Are we cheap because we choose not to buy brand new everything with every release of our selected OS?

Article #10: OpenSSL gets hard-fought revalidation

After a long and arduous journey that included a suspended validation last year [...] OpenSSL has regained its FIPS 140-2 validation

“We called it the FUD campaign,” he says. “There were all kinds of complaints sent to the CMVP including one about ‘Commie code.’ [...] Silly or no, each complaint that’s filed really slows down the process.”

“…the ones they did see often contained redacted, or blacked-out, data about who had filed the complaint .. in some cases, proprietary software vendors were lodging the complaints.

Article #10: Tech writers think Ubuntu is for morons

What is it about Ubuntu Linux that makes otherwise competent technical writers switch to Moron Mode? Everywhere I turn, I see articles on how to do obvious things in Ubuntu. Books on Ubuntu concentrate on listing every insignificant detail of every obvious procedure; things that are inherently self-explanatory are explained in depth. Subjects that have any inkling of technical complexity are skipped because, “Whoa — those are way too hard for you stupid Ubuntu users to grasp, so let’s just skip them and pretend everything’s peachy.”

Article #11: IT Pro Learns Lesson Through Linux Install

Repeated efforts at Nationwide Mutual Insurance to try Linux on the mainframe faced internal opposition, some of it from IT employees worried that a mainframe-based server consolidation would be a threat to their jobs. They “fought tooth and nail to keep it from happening,” said James Vincent, a mainframe systems engineering consultant at Nationwide.

Their resistance taught Vincent a lesson that he put to use after the Linux project was finally approved in 2005. Part of Vincent’s job involved working with the employees who had feared the project, including IT staffers who worked on Unix systems.

Article #12: The commie smear against open source

Because proprietary companies will always spend more of their money on marketing than open source outfits, it pops up regularly in the best of places, such as at Time Magazine recently. Or Microsoft sends CEO Steve Ballmer to London, so he can rant about how his lawyers are going to make all Linux users pay Microsoft for their stuff.

It’s nonsense.

This is not “the gift economy,” as Justin Fox calls it in Time. This is people taking advantage of the fact that the Internet has no distribution costs, which means marketing costs can also sink to zero. No ads in Time doesn’t make you a communist.

Article #13: Free software, free speech

I can understand that a teenage, underprivileged geek reacts like that, but not mature people who are blessed with the gift of words and the privilege of a good education. Regular visitors of my blog know that nothing outrages me more than people who apply these guerrilla tactics. Whether it is Ian Ferguson who said that “the flaming Linux bigots should take a backseat”, Mohit Joshi, who equaled GNU to communism or the more recently Bruce Byfield, who obviously couldn’t take the heat anymore and decided to proclaim unilaterally that all bloggers who don’t agree with him are automatically “conspiracy theorists”.

Article #14: Sounds like another fanboy rant to me

I found this comment while I was browsing through an MS-Windows oriented site where a blogger said something nasty about Microsoft. It isn’t even worth to refer to the link, because it has nothing to do with this story. It’s about the name-calling these Microsoft fans do. I heard ‘zealots’, ‘bigots’, ‘advocates’, the whole lot. Words I never knew before, because English is not my native tongue. I don’t mind to be called a fanboy, because that is what I am. What may be not too clear to these Microsoft zealots is why I am a fanboy. It’s not because I really dig this “free the software, free the world” ideology. That came much later. It’s because I like this “gimme the source” idea.

[...]

As a matter of fact, I think that Microsoft itself has created the “Linux fanboys” they are complaining about, just like all the legal trouble they have found themselves in the last few decades. In Dutch there is a saying “wie goed doet, goed ontmoet”, which means that all good things come to those who make them happen. I think the reverse is true as well. So next time you call me a “Linux fanboy”, remember why I became one. To all those “Windows fanboys” I’d like to say, I’ve become a Linux fanboy because I have used Linux for a long time. Have you? I know first hand what MS-Windows is all about..

These references will hopefully prove valuable for one purpose or another.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. Robuka Kenderle said,

    January 9, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Gravatar

    Zemlin interviewing the charismatically challenged Torvalds:
    best cure for insomnia.

    I expected fluff and by god that’s what we got.
    Im surprised Zemlin didnt give Linus’ johnson a tug or two to get him nice and comfy.

    While I will listen to Linus talk about the kernel and stuff that interests him, I have yet to be interested in anything he has to say. Who he is is what makes it interesting.

What Else is New


  1. PTAB is Safe, the Patent Extremists Just Try to Scandalise It Out of Sheer Desperation

    The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), which gave powers to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) through inter partes reviews (IPRs), has no imminent threats, not potent ones anyway



  2. Update on the EPO's Crackdown on the Boards of Appeal

    Demand of 35% increases from the boards serves to show that Battistelli now does to the 'independent' judges what he already did to examiners at the Office



  3. The Lobbyists Are Trying to Subvert US Law in Favour of Patent Predators

    Mingorance, Kappos, Underweiser and other lobbyists for the software patents agenda (paid by firms like Microsoft and IBM) keep trying to undo progress, notably the bans on software patents



  4. Patent Trolls Based in East Texas Are Affected Very Critically by TC Heartland

    The latest situation in Texas (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in particular), which according to new analyses is the target of legal scrutiny for the 'loopholes' it provided to patent trolls in search of easy legal battles



  5. Alice Remains a Strong Precedential Decision and the Media Has Turned Against Software Patents

    The momentum against the scourge of software patents and the desperation among patent 'professionals' (people who don't create/develop/invent) is growing



  6. Harm Still Caused by Granted Software Patents

    A roundup of recent (past week's) announcements, including legal actions, contingent upon software patents in an age when software patents bear no real legitimacy



  7. Links 18/11/2017: Raspberry Digital Signage 10, New Nano

    Links for the day



  8. 23,000 Posts

    23,000 blog posts milestone reached in 11 years



  9. BlackBerry Cannot Sell Phones and Apple Looks Like the Next BlackBerry (a Pile of Patents)

    The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple



  10. EFF and CCIA Use Docket Navigator and Lex Machina to Identify 'Stupid Patents' (Usually Software Patents That Are Not Valid)

    In spite of threats and lawsuits from bogus 'inventors' whom they criticise, EFF staff continues the battle against patents that should never have been granted at all



  11. The Australian Productivity Commission Shows the Correct Approach to Setting Patent Laws and Scope

    Australia views patents on software as undesirable and acts accordingly, making nobody angry except a bunch of law firms that profited from litigation and patent maximalism



  12. EPO 'Business' From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

    Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot further accelerate the ultimate demise of the EPO (getting rid of experienced and thus 'expensive' staff), for which there is no replacement because there is a monopoly (which means Europe will suffer severely)



  13. Links 17/11/2017: KDE Applications 17.12, Akademy 2018 Plans

    Links for the day



  14. Today's EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

    The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants



  15. Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

    Links for the day



  16. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

    The EPO's dictatorial management is destroying everything that's left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)



  17. EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

    Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. "computer-implemented inventions" (or "CII"), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope



  18. Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  19. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  20. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  21. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  22. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences



  23. The EPO is Now Corrupting Academia, Wasting Stakeholders' Money Lying to Stakeholders About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court/Unitary Patent (UPC) is a dying project and the EPO, seeing that it is going nowhere fast, has resorted to new tactics and these tactics cost a lot of money (at the expense of those who are being lied to)



  24. Links 15/11/2017: Fedora 27 Released, Linux Mint Has New Betas

    Links for the day



  25. Patents Roundup: Packet Intelligence, B.E. Technology, Violin, and Square

    The latest stories and warnings about software patents in the United States



  26. Decline of Skills Level of Staff Like Examiners and Impartiality (Independence) of Judges at the EPO Should Cause Concern, Alarm

    Access to justice is severely compromised at the EPO as staff is led to rely on deficient tools for determining novelty while judges are kept out of the way or ill-chosen for an agenda other than justice



  27. Links 14/11/2017: GNU/Linux at Samsung, Firefox 57 Quantum

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft: Sheltering Oneself From Patent Litigation While Passing Patents for Trolls to Attack GNU/Linux

    Another closer look at Provenance Asset Holdings and what exactly it is (connection to AST, part of the cartel Microsoft subsidises to shield itself)



  29. The Patent Trolls' Lobby is Losing the Battle for Europe

    The situation in Europe is looking grim for patent trolls, for their policies and the envisioned system (which they lobbied for) isn't coming to fruition and their main casualty is the old (and functioning) EPO



  30. Unitary Patent (UPC) is Dead to the EPO and ANSERA is Not the Answer as Patent Quality Declines and Talented Staff Leaves

    EPOPIC comes to an end and the EPO does not mention the UPC 'content' in it; ANSERA, in the meantime, raises more questions than it answers and IP Kat makes a formal query


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts