Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Real FLOSS Community and the "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists"

I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!
—Peter Finch as "Howard Beale" in Network

I've written about my adventures with Roy Schestowitz and the fun folks over at Boycott Novell, and I've been the happy recipient of much interesting mail over the last few weeks, as well as the subject of a number of blog postings and articles, some more flattering than others, and the experience has caused a bit of an epiphany.

I've come to realize that our community and the people in it, are under attack. We are being disrupted, we are being defamed, we are being lied to, and, in some instances, we are even having our lives invaded.

More importantly, I feel as though I've started to see a consistent thread running through these attacks, invasions and disruptions. This attack comes not from Microsoft, but from a parasitical pseudo-"community" that attempts to pretend it's actually our community.

What I am seeing is people making a pretense of involvement in FLOSS and in our community, people who we don't actually know, people who never join us at conferences, don't work in projects, and only participate in mailing lists to instigate flame wars. I am seeing people who seem to be making a sort of religion out of "free software" and issuing their demands to the rest of us to do things their way. These are people who will excoriate you as something less than a "true GNU/Linux user" if you should touch a Macintosh or (heaven forbid!) a Windows box. These are folks who will berate you for buying a piece of software or owning an iPod. These are people who will classify you as a "freedom hater" if you express reservations about the GPL v3.

As I've said, our community thrives on disagreement, and we (mostly) deal with it in healthy ways. We reject uniformity of opinion and we always have. In stark contrast, this pretense "community" insists that their way is the One True Way, and we should all just shut up, learn the catechism, and do their bidding.

I've come to think of these people over the past several days as the "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists".

By way of a concrete example, I offer this email thread, from the ubuntu-devel list around the beginning of June.

It shows "Mark Fink" (a regular anti-Mono "advocate" who, as you will see, constantly points back to Boycott Novell and praises Roy Schestowitz, and who you may remember from that previous posting), asserting (without particular evidence) that there is "shameful censoring of mono [sic] opposition" going on, demanding that Mono (and consequently F-Stop and Tomboy) be removed from the Ubuntu default install, and further demanding that Jo Shields be removed from his involvement in Ubuntu and David Siegel be fired from Canonical, with much vituperation and insult directed at list members who attempt to help him see reason along the way.

"Mark Fink" and "Remco"--who comes in a bit later in the thread, and starts off seeming semi-reasonable, only to go progressively deeper off the deep end as things proceed--represent the "faux FLOSS fundamentalists" here.

Everybody else on the thread represents the "real FLOSS community", as do the vast majority of the hundreds, if not thousands, of subscribers to that list who didn't comment. Most of us on the thread know, or are at least aware, of one another; none of us has much of a clue who Remco and Mr. Fink are.

I appear, in increasingly testy form, a few times. The messages without line wrapping were actually posted from the countryside of Western Japan, where--as I mention--I was doing a Buddhist pilgrimage and posting from my iPhone.

Scott James Remnant asks "Remco" an intriguing question at one point, and maybe Mr. Schestowitz and Mr. Varghese would like to tackle this, too, sometime: if they're all so concerned about the presence of patents which Microsoft claims to both hold and actively enforce getting into their free software, why haven't they started a discussion about removing the Linux kernel from the default Ubuntu install?

I say enough is enough. We should put our collective feet down as far as strident demands from complete non-participants in the community go. We should say "no" to Faux FLOSS Fundamentalism, and people like Roy Schestowitz, Sam Varghese, "Penguin Pete", "Jason" of mono-nono, and the like, as well as the assortment of associated and sympathetic trolls who post endless anonymous comments to blog postings they dislike and start up flame wars on development lists.

The Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists have nothing to offer the community but their propaganda, their dogma, and their misplaced sense of entitlement. We need to reject those who demand that we all sign up for "Freedom the Way We Tell You To" and I think we need to make it clear to them that they need to either actually start participating in a meaningful way or simply stop "advocating" at us.

Plain old "freedom" is good enough for me.

AN IMPORTANT ADDENDUM THAT I SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO WRITE

I begin to detect a trend amongst the comments. People, let's get some clarity on one specific point.

I am not calling Richard Stallman a "faux FLOSS Fundamentalist" here. His name appears nowhere in this post, and, believe me, if I had meant it to, it would have.

Mr. Stallman has some other issues, as far as I'm concerned: poor judgment, a lack of willingness to even try to understand the point of view of others, a very peculiar inability to either acknowledge or see references to women (and I don't understand this at all, frankly) and a lack of good sense as far as how what he says will be understood, on a personal and emotional level, by the people to whom he says it.

Mr. Stallman wrote the GPL and the LGPL, and those have been valuable and important assets for the community. (The offer not good for GPL/LGPL v3, at least not yet.) No one can, or should dispute that.

Mr. Stallman has contributed a lot of excellent code in his time, and there's no way any one can dispute that.

Mr. Stallman did a lot of the seminal thinking around FLOSS (but he's not the only one who did. Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens and many others contributed their thoughts and ideas as well.)

Are we all straight on that? Mr. Stallman has unquestionably contributed, and participated, and I'm not referring to him, neither directly nor obliquely, neither implicitly nor inferentially.

So: I do not include Mr. Stallman among the ranks of the "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists". His taste in humor aside, he does not make a hobby of disrupting the community to get his way.

That said, when Mr. Stallman insists that I must call not call it "Linux", but "GNU/Linux instead, I must disagree. When Mr. Stallman insists that I must not call what we work with "open source" software rather than "free" software, I must disagree. When Mr. Stallman insists that I must not own an iPod, I must disagree. In general, when Mr. Stallman insists that I must do something contrary to common practice or the dictates of my own conscience, reason or will, I must disagree. (And if I ever happen to wind up out at a group dinner with Richard Stallman--an event which seems increasingly unlikely with each passing hour, and I'm really okay with that--and he attempts to order on my behalf, trust me, I'm going to disagree.)

Because that's not freedom. That's "do what Richard Stallman says," and that's the direct converse of freedom. I do note that many of the symptoms of the faux FLOSS Fundies seem to manifest as a sort of a "free software religion", where the most extreme end of the wide spectrum of views in the free, libre and open source software community (GPL v3 only! Microsoft is our sworn enemy! The Hyper-V drivers are a plot!) is taken as the only legitimate view, as gospel.

Freedom always wins in the end because it simply can't be gotten rid of: no one can tell you how, or what, to think.

96 comments:

Jeffrey Stedfast said...

I am in 100% agreement.

Their trolling has gotten way out of hand and they have been getting bolder and more invasive lately.

C.J. Adams-Collier said...

reminds me of a musical I played in the pit for:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI_Oe-jtgdI

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/photo.php?pid=957165&id=521571895

Tangent moved to my blog :)

http://wp.colliertech.org/cj/?p=495

candrews said...

You cannot simply "put our collective feet down as far as strident demands from complete non-participants in the community go" - doing so is akin to telling users that you're not interested in their input because they don't contribute to the code.

Users, programmers, designers, architects, strategists, and even Free Software activists *are* the community. Not everyone contributes with code - everyone does contribute with what they believe to be important, and as advocates of "open," you need to respect that.

Remember that these same so called "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists" started the movement in the 1980's that lead to the lively and open communities we all enjoy today, and without them, we wouldn't have licenses that I guess you like (given your tone) such as the BSD or Apache licenses.

For example, 200 years ago, "fundamentalists" were touting the "One True Way" of All Men are Created Equal. People at the extremes drag the middle - that's how progress is made.

You may not like what people have to say, but you do need to respect them, and not simply exclude them from the conversation.

Christian said...

A very true word, one that I have been waiting for for a long time.

Thank you for being courageous enough to spell it out.

C.J. Adams-Collier said...

> as do the vast majority of the
> hundreds, if not thousands, of
> subscribers to that list who didn't
> comment.

You know... you're getting dangerously close to sounding like Nixon and his "Silent Majority" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_majority).

Oh, wait. We have discussion logs including the names of many contributors (and by implication, readers) of the list.

https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-discuss/2009-July/author.html

I guess I'm wrong.

C.J. Adams-Collier said...

@candrews:

> You cannot simply "put our collective
> feet down as far as strident demands
> from complete non-participants in the
> community go" - doing so is akin to
> telling users that you're not
> interested in their input because they
> don't contribute to the code.

Lefty has been pretty clear what he considers a "contributor" to be:

http://discuss.itwire.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=14668&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=28#p52124

I understand your concern, if you had not read the above. If you have read the above, and you are still concerned, please let us know why. If Lefty had not clarified his statements, I would be concerned as well.

zekopeko said...

@candrews

He wasn't talking about "true" FLOSS activists from the 80's. He was talking about "Faux FLOSS fundamentalists" from the 00's.
He even gave you examples (with links).
Did you even read the post?

@lefty
Great post.

Lefty said...

You cannot simply "put our collective feet down as far as strident demands from complete non-participants in the community go" - doing so is akin to telling users that you're not interested in their input because they don't contribute to the code.

You mistake me: in our community, I include not just the coders, but the localizers, the artists, the user experience designers, the legal and licensing experts, the marketers, the users who make suggestions and provide feedback and even file bugs, in fact, anyone who participates in the projects in a meaningful way.

Users don't demand that Mono be removed from the default Ubuntu install in flame wars on mailing lists. Users are probably entirely unaware of the existence of Mono.

Users, programmers, designers, architects, strategists, and even Free Software activists *are* the community. Not everyone contributes with code - everyone does contribute with what they believe to be important, and as advocates of "open," you need to respect that.

As I said, my metric is participation. If someone wants to come to LinuxTag or FOSDEM and argue their views on Mono face-to-face, in a reasonable way (or conduct such discussion in a reasonable way on a relevant mailing list), I want to invite that participation, welcome it, and encourage it.

If someone wants to argue their views on Mono (just by way of example) by instigating flame wars on lists where the discussion wasn't appropriate in the first place, or by posting slanted and defamatory articles on an "advocacy" web site, or by attempting to disrupt the lives of people who have other opinions by finding out where they work and harassing their managers (this has happened to me), then that's Faux FLOSS Fundamentalism at work. I don't need to "respect" it at all. I need to point it out and decry it in clear and certain terms, and so do you.

Remember that these same so called "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists" started the movement in the 1980's that lead to the lively and open communities we all enjoy today, and without them, we wouldn't have licenses that I guess you like (given your tone) such as the BSD or Apache licenses.

I'm always fascinated at the way the people who take a different opinion than I do seem to think that they know the contents of my mind.

Sorry to disappoint, friend, but your "guess" is wrong. My personal favorite licenses are the MPL (because it's well-written, by Heather Meeks), and the OSL (because it's also well-written, by Larry Rosen). However, neither of those have wide acceptance in the community, so in practical terms, I "like" (and that's an odd way to talk about software licenses) the v2 GPL and LGPL. (I do not like the GPL v3, but it would take a whole 'nother entry to get into the specifics of why.)

For example, 200 years ago, "fundamentalists" were touting the "One True Way" of All Men are Created Equal. People at the extremes drag the middle - that's how progress is made.

Actually, I think there's a better case to be made that the "fundamentalists" ("What are you talking about? He's the King!") were the ones hanging the patriots.

You may not like what people have to say, but you do need to respect them, and not simply exclude them from the conversation.

I don't like what they say, I don't need to respect the people I'm talking about--they don't respect us--and we do need to exclude them from our conversations as much as possible. They're not interested in hearing our point of view, only in having us hear, and agree to, theirpoint of view. That's not a conversation, it's a sermon.

directhex said...

Correction: I don't work for Canonical

Vindicare said...

An angle that needs to also be considered in this context (and which I'm working on as well) is whether these people will simply stop when their initial goals are reached. Once Mono is out of the default install, is that it? I think not. However, other targets will not be as convenient as Mono, which obviously carries some emotional baggage that can be exploited.

I don't think someone like Schestowitz will fold up his lawn chair and go home. After the default installs he'll start demanding that Mono be removed from the repositories, and he'll use the exact same arguments he's using now.

I strongly believe that Mono is deeply embarrassing to people like Schestowitz, because it undermines his own basic argument that Microsoft has ever, doesn't now, and will never do anything of value to anyone. So the very existence of something like Mono is an anathema to him and his cadre.

Having cornered himself into the position that Microsoft must be destroyed in order for FOSS to go anywhere (which is stupid to say the least), he has nowhere to go but down, because I doubt Microsoft is going anywhere any time soon. They're not Sun.

But in the meantime, he'll continue to make everyone in FOSS look bad. All in the name of freedom - his own definition of it anyway.

Will Thompson said...

...demanding that Jo Shields [...] be fired from Canonical

Jo Shields, that well-known Canonical employee¹.

¹ Note: may not, in fact, be employed by Canonical in the slightest.

Lefty said...

Correction: I don't work for Canonical

My error, sorry!

Lefty said...

@directhex, fixed (I think, let me know...)

Lefty said...

...they have been getting bolder and more invasive lately.

I wonder if they're getting more desperate. Roy strikes me as close to clinically off his rails, frankly. He can't seem to tell truth from what he said was the truth any more.

They're universally despised, and heartily so, among the folks I know. Certainly I never heard a soul at GCDS say a good word about them and I heard quite a few bad ones...

Simba B said...

You know, I think Mono/.NET is the greatest thing since sliced bread and while I've never visited boycott-novell.com, I already hear way too much about these guys by way of my subscription to Mono's planet feed. If you don't think these guys have an argument worth addressing, then don't address it. Either they are saying things you don't want to hear (unlikely) or the Mono community is falling for the biggest episode of trolling in Internet history.

FWIW, I think there are "faux" FLOSS folks out there, but they're not that irrelevant group of losers. There are plenty of companies that release useless code dumps and leech off of open source code without contributing anything meaningful or useful back to the commons. That is a serious issue. These goofy trolls deserve no one's attention.

KimTjik said...

You have the right to disagree and criticize GPL or whatever for that matter. You view yourself as vocal and vocal you are in a world full of other vocal ones, with whom you're going to clash as long as you live.

What I don't understand, from your blog or what you write in other places, is how talking about them and us makes your cause any more objective and attractive for the totality of the community. You might be upset and hence loosing a sensible calm, but you article, even if it has some good points, draw a disturbing front-line between those who agree with and everyone else. It sounds familiar: if you aren't with us you're against us. You suggest that if I don't contribute directly to some code or travel across oceans to visit some conferences, or you don't know me, then I'm a "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists" because I don't share some of your views? You argue not by answering some comments by explaining that it's all right to disagree in a reasonable way, but that's a very subjective definition since I for example view some of your statements as unreasonable and my own reasonable. There's always an amount of blindness and nothing human is ever to become totally objective.

I see no conflict or problem in disliking Roy Schestowitz methods, but for some other reasons by a coincidence share a couple of his opinions. It doesn't make me a "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists", or does it? As it happens I agree with some of your opinions as well, but I don't wish to be proof of me being a member of the "real community", or more precisely I don't wish to see that distinction at all.

directhex said...

@Lefty, yes, the correction is exactly right.

The same folks have also in the past made demands of eviction from Debian for Debian Developers involved in Mono, too, FWIW. On BN comments, naturally.

mhogomchungu said...

our community needs these fundamentalists ..

most of the "community" wouldnt be here if the likes of fundamentalist RMS didnt carry out their views with a single mind.

linux has a single digit market share(around 0%) ..these fundamentalists are the ones who make it look like linux has a > 10% market share

They are, unfortunately, a double edge sword, they are a pain in the butt when they are against your views/course of action and they are a blessing when they support your views/course of action.

its understandable you calling them this way because they have their guns towards you/your views/stuff you care about and building ..i am sure you are perfectly ok with some of their actions when they are aiming at things you seek to change/destroy/build upon.

Lefty said...

If you don't think these guys have an argument worth addressing, then don't address it. Either they are saying things you don't want to hear (unlikely) or the Mono community is falling for the biggest episode of trolling in Internet history.

The "biggest episode of trolling" part is an increasing problem, as Jeffrey notes. My problem is that they're crossing a serious line, and trying to cause "in-real-life" trouble for people who disagree with them.

That's out of hand.

There are plenty of companies that release useless code dumps and leech off of open source code without contributing anything meaningful or useful back to the commons...

Indeed there are, and I sense a piece on Google's "Chrome OS" ("...and we want the open source community to help us!") plans coming in the future, but this comes first.

Lefty said...

What I don't understand, from your blog or what you write in other places, is how talking about them and us makes your cause any more objective and attractive for the totality of the community.

I'm getting positive feedback on it from people whose opinions I respect. Don't know what I can say beyond that.

It sounds familiar: if you aren't with us you're against us.

Actually, that's the other guys' position: if you don't hate Mono and Microsoft and Novell, you're against them. My position is that if you're not participating in some way, you're not truly with us.

And if you're not truly with us, and you're demanding that we do what you tell us anyway, then I'd say you were a "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalist".

You suggest that if I don't contribute directly to some code or travel across oceans to visit some conferences, or you don't know me, then I'm a "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalists" because I don't share some of your views?

No, I never suggested any of those things. If you can't code, you can localize, or write documentation, or report bugs, or provde feedback, or make suggsstions for improvements, or participate in a reasonable fashion on mailing lists that interest you, or help with marketing GNOME, or design web pages for gnome.org, or any number of things. Plenty of stuff needs to be done, and far from all of it is coding.

As far as conferences go, it's safe to say that, no matter where you live there are open source groups and events which are accessible to you. Get involved on a local level. No Linux user groups in your area? Start one.

And the question isn't whether you disagree with me, people do that all day long: it's about whether you're willing to accept that I disagree with you.

Lefty said...

our community needs these fundamentalists ..

I respectfully, but vehemently, disagree. A lot.

most of the "community" wouldnt be here if the likes of fundamentalist RMS didnt carry out their views with a single mind.

I disagree. A lot. The progress that has been made has been made more because of open-mindedness that because of single-mindedness. I would cite the progress of Linux (no, I won't call it "GNU/Linux") versus the progress of "GNU/HURD. That's where single-midedness gets you.

linux has a single digit market share(around 0%) ..these fundamentalists are the ones who make it look like linux has a > 10% market share

Not only do I disagree, but I don't even see how this would work.

They are, unfortunately, a double edge sword, they are a pain in the butt when they are against your views/course of action and they are a blessing when they support your views/course of action.

I would never consider folks who have become so zealous about their cause that they're willing to interfere in people's real lives to further it as "a blessing". And I don't want them on my side.

its understandable you calling them this way because they have their guns towards you/your views/stuff you care about and building ..i am sure you are perfectly ok with some of their actions when they are aiming at things you seek to change/destroy/build upon.

Your certitude is entirely unfounded, I'm sorry to have to say.

ilgaz_public said...

How hard it is to figure that people dislike the entire Mono thing and especially ppeople behind it?
It is not some sort of organised attempt nor people are trolls. They are ordinary people just doesn't like Microsoft and their puppets installing trojans to legendary open source distros like Debian.
I am almost sure that you guys will somehow make gnome 3 impossible to use without Mono, that will be the day the Gnome is really, really dead.

Dylan McCall said...

"why haven't they started a discussion about removing the Linux kernel from the default Ubuntu install?"

This is a little bit off topic, but I wonder what would happen if Mono was officially renamed "Mono's Not DotNet", (a recursive backronym from "Mono."). The scores of people who believe the situation with Mono is any different from "GNU's Not Unix," or the kernel itself, would suddenly need to lay their claims more evenly.

Seanbot said...

David, I'm glad that you're still going strong. BN and the fundies have been WAY out of line with trying to invade personal lives.

I met some of the Mono developers at OSCON today, and you know what? They're really nice guys. Educated, respectable gentlemen that are well-versed in their fields.

I came to OSCON representing Linsux.org, and the developers and reps there honestly welcomed me with open arms. We held incredibly deep discussions about building communities, idealism, advancements in technology.

What escapes people is the fact that THIS IS WHAT FOSS IS ABOUT. It's not stupid arguments on a mailing list, it's not FUD spread by a shitty journalist. It is collaboration, sharing, and friendship at their most basic human levels.

As a representative of the Linsux.org community and a Linux.com blogger, I firmly extend my hand out to you. I respect you for what you're trying to do for the community.

Cheers.
-Sean

Seanbot said...

Coincidentally, I saw Mark Fink at OSCON today. Boy, he is uuuuugly. No wonder he's so hateful behind a computer.

Khaled Hosny said...

"Fundamentalists" built GNU, wrote GPL and founded FSF while you were busy working for Apple building proprietary operating system. So, if it were for pragmatists we would most likely still stuck with Windows and Mac today. So, sorry I'm going with fundamentalists who care about my freedom not pragmatists who are only interested in leeching what free software movement has built.

Lefty said...

How hard it is to figure that people dislike the entire Mono thing and especially ppeople behind it?

Well, after spending a week in Gran Canaria, and no one expressed feeling of "hatred" about Mono (people who "hate" it--I'm not anyone's feeling actually rise to that level of ferocity), but everyone said that they were sad that Miguel de Icaza couldn't join us this year, I'd have to say it's hard. Really damned hard. Impossible, maybe.

(Relatedly, I have to regretfully inform you that we had a table for stickers and such. Among others, there were a bunch of "Mono" sticker, just the name and the logo, and a variety of the usual FSF stickers--"Defective by Design", "Bad Vista", etc. The Mono stickers were snapped up, and people used them. For the most part, the FSF stickers didn't move. I suspect if they'd simply left some that said "Support Free Software" rather than a lot of negative stuff, they'd have done better. Sadly, they seem to be mostly into negativity these days.)

It is not some sort of organised attempt nor people are trolls.

Yes, it is. Yes, they are.

They are ordinary people just doesn't like Microsoft and their puppets installing trojans to legendary open source distros like Debian.

No, they're a small bunch of fanatics who loathe Mono and Microsoft and Novell with a hatred that is fervent and irrational. And they insist, as you seem to be close to doing, that everyone else has to hate them the same way.

And if you're so concerned about Debian, why aren't you on the team? They'd welcome the help.

I am almost sure that you guys will somehow make gnome 3 impossible to use without Mono, that will be the day the Gnome is really, really dead.

As oppsed to just "really dead"? Where do you see it today? I think it's thriving.

I can't know the future, and neither can you, but if you're right, you'll simply have to use a KDE distro. You could start right now, and spare us the undirected indignation. Whining at me certainly won't change anything for you.

Dylan McCall said...

"Fundamentalists" built GNU, wrote GPL and founded FSF while you were busy working for Apple building proprietary operating system. So, if it were for pragmatists we would most likely still stuck with Windows and Mac today. So, sorry I'm going with fundamentalists who care about my freedom not pragmatists who are only interested in leeching what free software movement has built.

No, actually. You would still be waiting for GNU Hurd. For that matter, you may not be waiting for anything, instead stuck with Windows or MacOS (without the Unix stuff).

You probably wouldn't know about free software, thanks to the complete absence of Linux, which is largely responsible for the surge in functionality that has been enjoyed for the last two decades.

Even if you were using a free software desktop, your nearest music player, wireless adapter, graphics card and printer wouldn't work, either.

Lefty said...

"Fundamentalists" built GNU, wrote GPL and founded FSF while you were busy working for Apple building proprietary operating system.

Khaled, when I was busy working for Apple, Stuart Cheshire, who reported to me, spent 95% of his time (at my direction) working on ZEROCONF with IETF, which work resulted in RendezVous/Bonjour, which (at my instigation) was the first--to the best of my knowledge--real open source project released by Apple.

The folks I'm talking about aren't remotely comparable, either in vision, in drive, or in actually producing something of substance, to the folks you'd seem to be talking about. They haven't built anything, written anything (except inaccurate news article, strident anonymous blog comments, and inflammatory messages on otherwise well-behaved developer mailing lists), or founded anything.

So, if it were for pragmatists we would most likely still stuck with Windows and Mac today. So, sorry I'm going with fundamentalists who care about my freedom not pragmatists who are only interested in leeching what free software movement has built.

Seeya, Khaled! No need to apologize to me. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

I can't honestly say that I'll miss you. (After all, it's not like you've been participating in the community or anything, is it?)

Lefty said...

Coincidentally, I saw Mark Fink at OSCON today.

Hm. I suspect a namespace collision.

If you see him tomorrow, ask if he's the Mark Fink who was posting about Mono on ubuntu-devel in June. I'm sure there's more than one, and ugliness, while a shame, isn't a crime.

I would not leap to conclusions here.

Lefty said...

I met some of the Mono developers at OSCON today, and you know what? They're really nice guys. Educated, respectable gentlemen that are well-versed in their fields.

Indeed they are, on all counts. When I see the way some of these folks run down Miguel de Icaza, it makes me glad they don't go to conferences. If I heard someone standing around, bad-mouthing Miguel the way the folks on Boycott Novell do, we'd have words. At first.

Verofakto said...

When I see the way some of these folks run down Miguel de Icaza, it makes me glad they don't go to conferences.

Poor Roy doesn't go to conferences. He's afraid he might be jumped by the Novell Special Black Ops Team.

Seanbot said...

As a sort of bonus, all three of us sat down and made fun of Boycott Novell. Your name came up, and they thought it was bullshit than anyone would have to deal with the sort of invasion of privacy that you're going through.

Isn't it interesting that sometimes the people who are the most controversial in a community are the nicest people?

Lefty said...

Isn't it interesting that sometimes the people who are the most controversial in a community are the nicest people?

I've rarely met anyone who I didn't think was at least pleasant. I've made some great friends in the time I've been working with the FLOSS community, and--since it's a global community--I've got friends from Santa Cruz to Tokyo.

One of the reasons I get especially irked about this is related to remarks I made at the closing of last year's GUADEC in Istanbul.

I'd never been to Turkey before, and I was amazed and impressed at how a conference like GUADEC could bring together so many people who were so different in so many ways, yet who could all come together, not to disagree, not to debate, not to argue, but to share.

Our hosts in Turkey were so open and giving in sharing their culture and themselves, and to be in a place that was at once so completely different than anywhere I'd been before--and I've been to a lot of places--and yet so familiar, not just familiar faces, but familiar sorts of discussions and interactions, the familiar circles of hackers siting on the ground, laptops open... That was remarkable to me.

No matter where GUADEC is happening, while it's going on, it always feels like home to me.

mdi said...

Some folks seem to be confusing Stallman's integrity with the word fundamentalist.

They are equating the fact that Stallman is seen as uncompromising in the public eye with the attribute of being a fundamentalist, and by extension claiming that their own fundamentalism is OK, since Stallman is in their eyes a fundamentalist.

First of all, Stallman is not a fundamentalist in the religious term. He uses copyright law as a tool to achieve a social goal, a progressive goal of improving the common goods. This is not fundamentalism, but pragmatism.

On the other hand we have what we colloquially refer as "fundamentalist" in the same loving and tender way that someone would refer to a Muslim Fundamentalist, or a Christian Fundamentalist, or a Mormon Fundamentalist. Plain, down to earth, scary people.

People that put their religious beliefs ahead of people and goals. At some point, both the religious fundamentalist and the zealots lost the plot.

I know it might be flattering to think that you are "just like Stallman" for the vile you spew. But Stallman backed his vision with actions.

He wrote gcc, he wrote gdb, he wrote emacs, he organized and got things *done*.

The "Faux FLOSS Fundamentalist" have none of those attributes.

Lefty said...

Sigh.

People, let's get some clarity on one specific point.

I am not calling Richard Stallman a "faux FLOSS Fundamentalist" here. His name appears nowhere in this post, and, believe me, if I meant it to, it would.

Mr. Stallman has some other issues, as far as I'm concerned: poor judgment, a lack of willingness to understand the point of view of others, and a lack of good sense as far as how what he says will be understood, on a personal and emotional level, by the people to whom he says it.

Mr. Stallman wrote the GPL and the LGPL, and those have been valuable and important assets for the community. (The offer not good for GPL/LGPL v3, at least not yet.) No one can, or should dispute that.

Mr. Stallman has contributed a lot of excellent code in his time, and there's no way any one can dispute that.

Mr. Stallman did a lot of the seminal thinking around FLOSS (but he's not the only one who did. Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens and many others contributed their thoughts and ideas as well.)

Are we all straight on that? Mr. Stallman has unquestionably contributed, and I'm not referring to him, either directly or obliquely, either implicitly or inferentially.

Any questions?

Ismael Olea said...

+1 !!

silentcoder said...

I do think I count as a contributor, I have led several FOSS projects, and today I lead two very major ones. One is the only well developed and continuously maintained FOSS cybercafe manager - something which in my home continent on Africa has been an invaluable resource to have.

But I want to comment on this line:
"why haven't they started a discussion about removing the Linux kernel from the default Ubuntu install?"

From the other FOSS project I lead I say: actually we have. In my position as the lead developer of Kongoni I can say this outright - we didn't just start a discussion on it, we did it. We replaced it with FSFLA's linux-libre kernel which removes the non-free aspects of the kernel and cleans it up. Build on the free parts, but get rid of the parts that are problematic.

The exact same thing is found in blagblag and gnewsense and every other distro the FSF lists as a free distro (Kongoni will be on that list fairly soon, we're currently being evaluated and making the requested changes).

In short, some of us who really are contributors, who genuinely care about freedom and who work really hard for it - are agreeing that mono is a problem... you never talk to us though. You point out a few nutcases who do despicable things like invading personal privacy (I have consistently heard Stallman talk about how evil that is and none of us supports such an action) and then dismiss all of us as hating Microsoft !

I don't care about Microsoft, I'm scared of what the degree of power we've given corporations in the last thirty years are doing to the world - but I feel the same way about Nike as I do about Microsoft- they have too much power and not nearly enough accountability.
That has nothing to do with the reasons I distrust Mono.
I would have felt the exact same way if Mono had been developed by IBM but had the same potential patent problems.

Why don't you engage with us - normal geeky folk, who believe that freedom is more than convenience - who would rather risk losing a few users than ship a non-free wireless driver because the fact is that the person who would leave because of that would have done more harm than good to our community anyway.
Talk with us about our concerns about mono, and engage with us about how we can mitigate those. Nothing would make us happier than to be able to endorse mono in default installs, it's a useful tool - but you are just ignoring our concerns.

You are, in other words, as irrational and unwilling to engage in reasonable discussion with us as the people you are complaining about.

Which is why Kongoni will not include mono until the risks associated have been somehow fully addressed. Which is why I won't waste my time building a Kongoni version with a gnome desktop in fact - the system is really easy to remaster, if somebody wants to I can't stop them, in fact, I'll encourage them - but if there is a non-free package in their system or if it include mono in the default installation - I will not use the infrastructure I put together and paid for to host it for them.

That infrastructure exists to promote Kongoni, a truly free distro, a version that is not truly free does not deserve to ride our coattails.

Lefty said...

Why don't you engage with us - normal geeky folk, who believe that freedom is more than convenience - who would rather risk losing a few users than ship a non-free wireless driver because the fact is that the person who would leave because of that would have done more harm than good to our community anyway.
Talk with us about our concerns about mono, and engage with us about how we can mitigate those. Nothing would make us happier than to be able to endorse mono in default installs, it's a useful tool - but you are just ignoring our concerns.


Just because I haven't had the chance to engage with you in particular, don't assume I haven't had discussions--perfectly reasonable ones--with folks who feel similarly.

Don't misunderstand me: you're perfectly entitled to feel whatever way you like about Mono, and take whatever action you feel you need to--up to the point where you start demanding that other people do it your way, too. (And I'm not suggesting that you would do that--although there are certainly people who would.)

If we have differences, we can discuss them, we can try to persuade one another, but if it comes to the point where one or the other of us decides that those differences are irreconcilable, then that's the end of the debate, no harm, no foul.

You are, in other words, as irrational and unwilling to engage in reasonable discussion with us as the people you are complaining about.

Well, I don't think that's true, and it's just a little presumptuous to make the assertion before you made the attempt.

Look, the SFLC has an opinion on Mono, which you subscribe to. Canonical's legal department has a different opinion, to which I more closely subscribe. I'm more than happy to allow you your view, and I'd hope that you'd be equally happy to allow me mine.

If so, then we're fine.

If not, if I'm an "enemy of freedom" now, or a "Microsoft shill", or a person to be shunned, or you're going to get three dozen friends to all send me anonymous hate mail or call my boss, then that's where we part ways. That's the point at which I'd consider that you've gone off the rails.

thoughtfuldoc said...

Excellent Post.

These are some phrases from penguinpete's blogs about zealotry

We are at war ... fighting for our lives
Microsoft is waging a jihad
call us infidels

and a cartoon of a plane crashing into a tower.

He seems to equate people who disagree with him to terrorists. He scares me a lot more than microsoft and mono.

Lefty said...

He scares me a lot more than microsoft and mono.

That's how I feel. I said to a few people at Gran Canaria that if I really believed these folks were representative of the free software community, I'd go back to working at Apple.

Kerberos said...

I agree 100% with this article - but it's much, much worse than you realise.

Distro's make up the first point of contact for 99.99% of people exploring Linux, and these communities are entirely saturated with the faux FLOSS fundamentalists. They seem to exist entirely to debunk, deny and shift the blame for any problem onto the user themselves - or Microsoft when they can. They exist to defend Linux' honour against criticism (irrespective of how valid).

When I first tried Linux, as I was wanting to roll it out in my internet cafe, there was a lot wrong with it that prevented me doing so. I thought 'hey, I'm a programmer, I'll get involved' and started trying to have a discussion about it on various forums. Needless to say the flamewars that resulted were legendary and made one fact painfully clear: you're not allowed to say anything bad about Linux.

As a result of this (and being called an idiot Microsoft fanboy for wanting a bootsplash) I eventually gave up on Linux as being an immature OS from immature people - possibly debatable, but that is how I felt about it. I was willing to contribute, but not willing to deal with a community of fanboys who's aim is 'defend any criticism at all costs, irrespective of truth'.

After a few years of this most open communities become a self-congratulatory echo chamber and any counter-opinions seem more and more strange to them (and are treated with more and more hostility). Simply because everyone who has a counter opinion left long ago, or never stayed.

As a software developer myself I don't want to hear from the people that use my software - I want to hear from the people that don't, and then find out why.

What Linux needs most of all is feedback from normal users and experts and most importantly, the people that don't use it (and why), yet the community is largely acting as a gatekeeper around the main developers shielding them from any contary viewpoints and calling anyone who doesn't agree with their 'it's perfect' worldview a moron (or paid shill is the current favorite).

KimTjik said...

@ Lefty

Plenty of stuff needs to be done, and far from all of it is coding.

Certainly. My question was on the other hand not directed at coding in general, why I wrote "some code", and only an example of one among many services. Yes I'm active in all those ways and some more. My reservation has to do with the tone of your opinion, since it conveys a message that if someone doesn't belong to your circle of acquaintances then he/she is probably not a part of the "real community". Maybe that's not what you meant, but that how it comes across.

The comment by Silentcoder illustrates my concern. I know others, actually many, sensible and reasonable folks, that share the same views as this commenter. As it is now one with such views would really need to dig deep among the comment section to find hope of being even close to the "real community" you're talking about.

I choose to post my comment here, since over at ITWire you're argument foremost with Sam Varghese became very tense and inflammatory and little connection to real issues.

...

Whatever we pretend Mono is close to the centre of the argument. I'm surprised at the arguments in favour of Mono. If the argument is that Linux/GNU resembles ideas of Unix, so if someone doesn't like Mono he/she should question even the kernel, I feel even more compelled to be careful before accepting anything based on Mono. First such an argument does only question whether the source of it really understands the structure of Linux/GNU at all. Secondly, what's the point in arguing in favour by spreading doubts about other projects while not presenting any solid proof of Mono's usefulness, pros and why it's a needed project? I've looked for but not found any rational explanation to why we need Mono.

Lefty said...

Whatever we pretend Mono is close to the centre of the argument.

"The" argument? We're allowed just one...? Maybe it's at the center of your argument, but it's not necessarily at the center of mine, and if it's not, you're being dismissive of my concerns by suggesting that they're pretending.

I'm surprised at the arguments in favour of Mono. If the argument is that Linux/GNU resembles ideas of Unix, so if someone doesn't like Mono he/she should question even the kernel, I feel even more compelled to be careful before accepting anything based on Mono.

I think you misconstrued the point of the comment about the kernel: that being that you can conceivably point at any component in the stack and see potential for patent issues if you look hard enough, with Microsoft, or with someone else. That's the fact.

This singling out of Microsoft as some sort of arch-enemy which makes their patents (or potential patents) twice as dangerous is not really a reasonable view.

Here's the thing for you and silentcoder: since the folks I'm talking about are so vocal and so disruptive, you folks, who may well have rational arguments to raise around Mono, have to work at least twice as hard as everyone else to seem sane.

That's not my fault; it's the fault of the mailing-list-disrupters, the anonymous comments, the posters-of-false-"news".

See, if Roy Schestowitz publishes 15 articles a day, all full of lies--and Roy lies like a threadbare rug--people start to just figure that any argument they hear about Mono is going to be coming from some nonsensical troll, unless you lay the groundwork to make it clear that's not what you are.

All I can tell you is to distinguish yourselves: be extra-polite, and doubly-rational; do not post anonymously, establish an idenity, and build a reputation. If you want to distance yourself from the nuts, do so clearly and publicly.

As I said, there were plenty of reasonable discussions of Mono at GCDS. The discussion won't stop, but you want to make sure that you're entering the discussion as a participant whose there to share ideas, and not projecting the air of a person with a sense of entitlement and a list of demands.

Christian said...

Secondly, what's the point in arguing in favour by spreading doubts about other projects while not presenting any solid proof of Mono's usefulness, pros and why it's a needed project? I've looked for but not found any rational explanation to why we need Mono.

Firstly, nobody here 'spread doubts about other projects'. This is simply not true. Secondly:

The point is, nobody has to prove the programming language he/she uses is useful!

Since when do we prescribe what language someone is allowed to use? Everyone is free to choose to use whatever language he/she deems fit for the purpose - whether or not the end result gets adopted by any Linux distribution is up to those who make that distribution.

Personally I think that that final decision should be based on the merits of the application's usefulness, not on the language in which it is written.

The bottomline is, you should not discourage developers by discriminating against their preferred language.

KimTjik said...

"The" argument? We're allowed just one...? Maybe it's at the center of your argument, but it's not necessarily at the center of mine, and if it's not, you're being dismissive of my concerns by suggesting that they're pretending.

I'm sorry if it came across as a personal attack, it wasn't. Notice I wrote close to the centre, meaning it's not the one and only but drifting and reconnecting with a lot of stuff discussed. However I think we could understand each other without making it a semantic exercise.

My work is actually to a large extent Microsoft oriented administration, even though I'm trying and working at giving Linux and BSD inroads at the company where I work, and its surroundings, with slow but steady progress. Generally speaking: Microsoft is of very little interest to me. I don't care much about the company - it's a company and not an ideological think tank - and only react if some of its actions limit the freedom I view as rightful.

I think you misconstrued the point of the comment about the kernel: that being that you can conceivably point at any component in the stack and see potential for patent issues if you look hard enough, with Microsoft, or with someone else.

Maybe I did. Now you're closer to my core concern, which isn't Microsoft but the patent system itself. In my view the system needs to be overhauled to work as it was supposed to from its beginning. If that's done Microsoft, Trend Micro or any other company would likely function within more reasonable boarders, instead of viewing patents as a business in itself. Maybe we agree on this, maybe not, but you at least get a chance to understand my point of view. These questions are for me of more importance than Mono.

...

If you referred to me then I'm not particularly anonymous, even though not publishing any profile here. I'm only insignificant!

klattimer said...

I've been to my window, I opened it wide... I screamed

"I AM AS MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!"

Love that film

Pinheiro said...

"Freedom always wins in the end because it simply can't be gotten rid of: no one can tell you how, or what, to think."

This is not true as history told us several times.
We need people fighting for it all the time, and because freedom is something that only make sense in a group you need to fight for it influencing people, like you do here.
In a way you are trying to make people join your vision of freedom, so they can bee free as well.
But like many things in life the perception of freedom is different, for different people. For some freedom means steeping up wen something they feel will undermine they freedom, and prevent that from happening, In a way they are trying to make people join their vision of freedom, so they can bee free as well.

What is by any definition an attack at freedom is personal attacks that do not have anything to do with technical/law issues but just attacks at one's personality as a way of argumentation in the technical/law issues.
And you have benn a victim of those but so have others.

Just O Bare said...

@Lefty:

I take my bit of blame for things getting the way they are. I get angry, I take it personally, and now I just need to get over it.

I've gone to many of post like this spouting my anti-Mono message. In the end, it's done not a single thing of good.

I dislike Mono because... Exactly, it doesn't matter why I dislike Mono. I'll just uninstall it from my system and be done with it.

That's really all anti-Mono people should do. It doesn't matter in the end.

Lefty your post has touched me on a certain level. I still don't like Mono, but I really don't like the idea of Faux FLOSS. I've put way too much time behind spitting acid in peoples faces that I no longer provide bug reports or testing.

I feel horrible because I've place many a bad comments on Miguel's page as well. Things that I wouldn't normally say to someone who is simply perusing an intellectual curiosity that has become something much bigger.

There was a post on the planet about being sorry. I want to personally say that I am sorry for ruining blogs and spending way too much time setting fires rather than actually contributing anything.

Jeffrey Stedfast said...

I just found this quote by Linus Torvalds in an article about the Microsoft contributions to the Linux kernel:

I may make jokes about Microsoft at times, but at the same time, I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other
people and companies out.

There are ‘extremists’ in the free software world, but that’s one major reason why I don’t call what I do ‘free software’ any more. I don’t want to be associated with the people for whom it’s about exclusion and hatred.”


I think that echoes the sentiments in this blog post.

For your reference, the article is at http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7439/

directhex said...

Most quotable link ever: http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7439/

Highlights:

I think the Microsoft hatred is a disease. I believe in open development, and that very much involves not just making the source open, but also not shutting other
people and companies out.

There are ‘extremists’ in the free software world, but that’s one major reason why I don’t call what I do ‘free software’ any more. I don’t want to be associated with the people for whom it’s about exclusion and hatred.
--Linus Torvalds

Lefty said...

There was a post on the planet about being sorry.

Yes, that was mdz's, it was an excellent posting.

I want to personally say that I am sorry for ruining blogs and spending way too much time setting fires rather than actually contributing anything.

I think this says nothing but good things about you, as a person who gives some thought to things.

I definitely accept your apology, and am happy to be the first to welcome you back to the real FLOSS community!

(Now, go file some bugs! ;) )

Seriously, it's not even 9 am here yet, and you've made my day already! Thanks, sincerely.

Lefty said...

And, Miguel's a grown man, and a very nice guy with a big heart. If you posted an apology on his page, my prediction is that he'd be even happier than I am.

He puts up with a lot of unwarrented abuse from a lot of people. You might be the very first of them to have ever come back and apologized, though.

Lefty said...

Thanks to Jeff Stedman and Jo Shields for turning up Linus' statement on extremists and "Microsoft hatred". It reflects my thinking 100%.

Robert said...

Greetings from the Linux Hater's Blog. Hopefully your blog entry makes the front page because it's one of the most interesting in a while. I posted the following in the current article's comments; my sentiments mirror Kerberos' from above:

Re: http://opensourcetogo.blogspot.com/2009/07/real-floss-community-and-faux-floss.html

Interesting blog post. Validating, too. If these guys are accused of being "paid M$ $hill$" then it just takes the wind out of pretty much every accusation elsewhere.

What David Schlesinger doesn't really understand that the "real FOSS community" either doesn't really exist or is hopelessly outnumbered, at least by volume if not by sheer numbers. I say "doesn't exist" because while absolute opinion uniformity is obviously a negative thing, some opinion uniformity is necessary to get things done. For example, you can't ship an app when every developer wants a different working environment (e.g. differing languages, libraries, base platforms, etc.), so, somewhere along the line, someone has to compromise. This doesn't happen enough in the "FOSS community", even among the workers.

I think it simply comes down to the hyper-individualists the FOSS philosophy, by design, attracts. A so-called personality flaw in these guys is their mortal fear of losing freedom through conformity, even when individualism doesn't make sense.

On the other hand, this "faux FOSS" movement is much more singular and organized. They all hate:

* Microsoft
* Paying for non-physical goods
* Market economics in general

They're also better at tag teaming. Reasonable people, such as in that GNOME thread, will actually take the merits at face value and form a debate. Meanwhile the zealots (though there seemed to be only one in this case), will assault unwaveringly with their original premise, irrespective of whether it makes sense at that point. Psychologically, to a reader, the zealot often appears dominant due to the opposition's inability to match intensity. Doing so all the time would make rational people seem irrational, but it has to be done often enough, like with this post, where the greater audience can clearly see the distinction. Unfortunately, posts like this are rare and usually go out of the way to pick something uncontroversially loony, instead of the more "moderate" and common illustration of the anti-Microsoft collective. Guys at this level also make the unfortunate mistake of conflating this FOSS fundamentalist group with all users, which, in turn, causes the general audience to conflate normally rational developers with the anti-Microsoft crowd.

So if guys like David Schlesinger are genuinely interested in differentiating this fanatical group from the "real community", they have their work cut out for them. They need to fight in the trenches (e.g. Linux Hater) and command a presence like a real political party and not just show up every four years to run for President.

The Open Sourcerer said...

"Users don't demand that Mono be removed from the default Ubuntu install in flame wars on mailing lists. Users are probably entirely unaware of the existence of Mono."

Totally untrue. I am a user. I remove Mono and would like it to be in Multiverse. That's where it belongs.

Ed said...

@silentcoder:

From the other FOSS project I lead I say: actually we have. In my position as the lead developer of Kongoni I can say this outright - we didn't just start a discussion on it, we did it. We replaced it with FSFLA's linux-libre kernel which removes the non-free aspects of the kernel and cleans it up. Build on the free parts, but get rid of the parts that are problematic.

I applaud you for missing the point so magnificently. What Lefty was pointing it is that, just like with Mono, Microsoft claims to have patents that are violated by the Linux kernel. Just like Microsoft, man! Your linux-libre kernel doesn't cover all of them, surely. How could it? Like with Mono, you don't actually know what is being infringed upon. I guess you need to dump Linux too, because the Big Bad Microsoft said that it has patents being infringed upon there. Heck, Mono hasn't even had that--the MCP protects it from those claims of infringed patents.



My sincere thanks and congratulations to Lefty. I don't think we've ever run into each other on the interwebs, but I tacked this one onto my RSS reader. Reasonable voices are too rare, and I like finding a good one.

Verofakto said...

If these guys are accused of being "paid M$ $hill$" then it just takes the wind out of pretty much every accusation elsewhere.

David was, in fact, accused of being employed by Microsoft, with that later shifting to being a patent cartel pawn among other things (my recollection of that might be off though, but I'm pretty sure that the only thing he wasn't accused of was kicking puppies).

In these people's world, claiming someone that disagrees with them is a "M$ shill" or an astroturfer is a common and agreeable tactic - to the extent that when they run into an actual Microsoft employee the subsequent "outrage" has to be exaggerated to the point of idiocy.

If you're bored one day, I recommend reading Schestowitz' IRC logs. It's hilarious how they sometimes lose it and use that tactic even on themselves.

Lefty said...

So if guys like David Schlesinger are genuinely interested in differentiating this fanatical group from the "real community", they have their work cut out for them.

Hey, I've shipped commercial operating systems at four different companies. I've argued with Steve Jobs, not lost, precisely, and kept my badge in spite of it.

I'm putting a stake in the ground. I've seriously had enough. I'm happy to start with the off-the-deep-end loons, because they're the ones who've gored my personal ox. I'll see how things look to me after that.

I don't hate Linux. I don't think much of people who make believe they're involved in it to enact they little power trips and try to tell me how to think about software.

I'm with Linus, on one specific point, I'm thinking. I may boycott the word "free" for a while.

Lefty said...

I am a user. I remove Mono and would like it to be in Multiverse. That's where it belongs.

That's a perfectly valid opinion for you to have, and removing it, if necessary on your distribution is certainly the correct thing for you to do.

As far as where it "belongs", if you want to do something about it, the answer is to run for the Ubuntu Technical Board, if you're qualified--you don't sound as though you are--and I'm not demeaning you by stating this fact--but if you're adamant about where Mono "belongs", you're out of luck. You need to find a distro more to your liking.

What you need to not do, is not start flamewars over your preferences as far as appropriate repositories go, nor post abusive comments in the blogs of people who disagree with you on this, nor harass the managers of the people who do make such decisions on the UTB. (I don't suggest that you, personally, would do these things, but there are a good number who would, and have, over just such opinions.)

We have this thing in the (real) community called a "rough meritocracy". This means you have to earn the right to participate in decisions, you don't just get to put your two cents in. If you want to make the hard decisions, you need to help out with the work in some way, and the harder the decision you want to make, the harder the work you have to do to earn the right to make decisions like that. It's a system that works well.

Does this help?

Verofakto said...

@Lefty - "The Open Sourcerer" is actually Alan Lord, another one of Schestowitz' pals. FYI.

Maybe you should start demanding disclosure :)

directhex said...

Oh, and it's worth pointing out that Alan here has declared Mono to be "a cancer". Here's the link: http://www.theopensourcerer.com/2009/05/04/re-spinning-famous-quotes-linux-and-cancer/

On a related note, did you see the ultra classy logo used by BN commenter Diamond Wakizashi on his blog? Check it out here: http://my.opera.com/BoycottMicrosoft/about/

Lefty said...

"Cancer". When I was 15 or so, I had a baby brother who died of a congenital cancer at the age of three, after a bunch of chemo that made him sicker than hell.

If this kind of hyperbole really harshes my mellow just a little bit, well...

This self-same "Diamond Wakizashi" (Really? How old are we here, Mr. Wakizashi*?) is telling the boys (and they appear to be universally male, some of the stuff on Boycott Novell's IRC channel...interesting) on Boycott Novell all about how Mono is like this parasitic wasp that lays her eggs (named "Tomboy", "F-Stop" and "Banshee", evidently) inside the poor unusupecting honeybee (GNU/Linux). The little parasites devour the bee, of course.

The thing is, when you make an analogy like this, you're simply retelling yourself, and hence reinforcing, what you're already predisposed to believe. It's a sort of cognitive dissonance. You're not demonstrating that this analogy actually has anything to do with Mono, but rather with the story about Mono you've been telling yourself all along.

Me, I'd say that if you're looking at software or corporations, and seeing parasitic wasps, that's a situation you might want to talk to someone level-headed about. Professionally level-headed, if you know what I mean.

I have to dig up this article again, but I was reading something that said that the very best way to become an extremist was to hang out with people who thought exactly the same way as you do.

The Hyper-V thing is another example. They start from an axiomatic basis that "Microsoft is the Living Spawn of Satan and Author of All That is Evil"--we've seen a little of it here--and reason backwards from there.

So, there's gotta be a secret patent "gotcha" hidden in there.

Or, Greg K-H, who works for...(wait for it...)...Novell, might just be a "Trojan"!

What? Greg's spent the last ten years as a secret double agent in the FLOSS community, worming his insidious way toward a position of influence and power, knowing that Novell would treat with Microsoft (LSoSaAoATiE), waiting for the opportunity when the valiant opposing forces were weakened by the dastardly attacks that have rocked their "community"...

How do they know? Well, simple: Microsoft is the Living Spawn of Satan...

You get the idea. It's like paranoia: it's a hermetically perfect system in its way.

* for those not in the anime or samurai movie "know", a wakizashi is the second sword of a samurai, shorter than the more familiar katana. I'm not seeing a lot of bushido in Mr. Wakizashi there. If it were up to me, I'd demand that he turn in his swords and I'd cut off his top-knot. He hasn't earned the right to seppuku, he must live in disgrace. 私は日本語を話せますよ. 脇差さんは分かりません.

Lefty said...

On a related note, did you see the ultra classy logo used by BN commenter Diamond Wakizashi on his blog?

"Would Mike Godwin please pick up the nearest white house phone, immediately..."

Lefty said...

Another example that blew me away:

We haven't had the pleasure of a visit from Mr. WIlliam Hill, aka "twitter" on Boycott Novell, but he was expressing his conviction that the post-Katrina relief debacle was solely due to Microsoft's buggy software. As though if they'd used GNU/Linux (or GNU/HURD, just imagine!), magically all of those Federal agencies that couldn't figure out how to get one another on the phone would have become spontaneously well-coordinated.

One can only wonder and speculate...

Verofakto said...

Famously, Will Hill also once blamed the Mississippi bridge collapse of 2007 on Microsoft. I need to look for the link to the Slashdot comment, but I'm pretty sure he actually said that (or implied it).

Verofakto said...

Yes, here it is.

snkiz said...

I consider myself a member of the community, I don't contribute code (well a couple themes but I don't know how to code.)
by you definition I have no voice. I do my best with the skill I have helping people that were in my place 2 years ago(noob), and I share my thoughts and ideas with developers. does that make me a FFF? (faux FLOSS fundamentalist) you want projects by and for developers there lots of them out there. Maybe you'd be happy contributing to pidgin or something, they must be lonely after getting dropped by Ubuntu, IMHO partly because of that kind of attitude. Mono haters are annoying, but to dismiss them out of hand makes you just as bad.

Lefty said...

I consider myself a member of the community, I don't contribute code (well a couple themes but I don't know how to code.)
by you definition I have no voice.


That's not quite accurate. Even contributing a "couple of themes" gets you in as far as I'm concerned. I never indicated that I was only talking about coders, filing a bug is a pretty much a lifetime membership.

As long as you don't start disrupting the folks who are trying to get some work done.

I do my best with the skill I have helping people that were in my place 2 years ago(noob), and I share my thoughts and ideas with developers. does that make me a FFF?

Certainly not, and I think if you reread what I wrote, I said exactly the opposite. Those things make you a member of the real community.

A "pure user"--someone with UNR on their netbook, or SUSE on their laptop, but who doesn't involve themselves in the community in any way? I think of them as relatively "neutral", a supporter, but not a community member, really.

They're more like the guy who lives in your neighborhood but never comes out of his house: you're aware that he's there, in some sense, but you never have anything to do with him. And, as I've indicated, the bar to go from one to the other is low: just come out of the house and hang out.

Just don't be disruptive. Don't be divisive. Don't demand that things be your way, unless you're willing to do the heavy lifting to make them that way, and even then, don't demand that anyone else agree or even care.

Mono haters are annoying, but to dismiss them out of hand makes you just as bad.

I try never to dismiss a reasoned argument out of hand. I would definitely dismiss strident demands from someone no one's ever seen or heard of before on, e.g., the ubuntu-devel list that someone's being "censored" because no one is taking his demand that "Mono must be removed from the default install" seriously, especially when he starts a flame war over it with inapropriate name-calling, cursing, etc.

And I would take severe exception to his attempting to mess with the lives of people who disagree with him, just because they disagreed with him.

That's a Phoney FLOSS Fundamentalist.

It's the combination of non-participation accompanied by deliberate acts of disruption involving demands that they don't have the "credentials" to make.

A visceral and irrational hatred of Microsoft and a tendency to parrot the most extreme "free software" rhetoric, without really understanding it, are frequent--but not universal--accompanying symptoms.

Man said...

Thank goodness someone's writing about this. Direction to Linux ought to come primarily from those who have made some technical contributions. Not in a sense that only the smart can play the game, but in the sense that only those who can see over the dash should be at the wheel.

RMS may be rude, but he's made valid contributions. I may disagree with his actions, but I'll always do him the honour of listening. Varghese, Schestowitz and Fink, however, do little other than post editorial content as facts. These three latter individuals are not helping anyone. Instead they are fanning the flames of hate and misleading people who could otherwise become valuable community members.

It's funny, actually that the most extreme supporters of free software (excluding RMS) are the ones that seem to give the least back. It's quite easy to deify the GPL when you'll never have anything it wants.

There's a related lesson that I think RMS hasn't learned yet. The real problem with his speech isn't the fact that it's mostly comedic content in bad taste. It's that some people really take him seriously. They join the church of emacs, worship Saint Ignucious, and think women will always be substandard in the world of technology. They take the whole "non-free software is evil" thing to heart, and will sacrifice anything and everyone to eradicate this evil.

That is why his apology is needed. He is far too well-known and respected to be spouting things willy-nilly without thinking of the consequences. Not everyone is stable enough to moderate their thoughts and actions. It isn't just the Gandhis and Jesuses listening; it's also the Queen Isabels, Stalins and Pol Pots of the world. The most public supporters of a faction need to be the ones to decry unethical behavior, or else the followers will take things too far. He needs to seriously rethink his public appearances to bolster support for free software without encouraging divisive behavior.

Come to think of it, this applies to the recent Schestowitz issues, too.

Lefty said...

Man, that was a good comment, Man!

Yes. That.

Your two final point regarding what I have come to think of as "the Stallman thing" are particularly well-taken, and haven't been brought out strongly enough before this.

Thanks!

ICeDX said...

I am totally anti-ms, I'd rather not have microsoft technology in my OS. That's a freedom of choice I like to exercise. However I won't troll or be an ass and I plan to bring up valid points.

I'd rather run apps which don't have ties to Microsoft. As long as ubuntu and the others which include mono make it easy to remove I'll be happy.

The first thing I do on an Ubuntu install is apt-get remove mono-common libmono0

As for C# in general, even as a novice programmer I would never touch it even on Windows. I think c# will bring the decline in quality software, trading in your computers speed for their lack of expertise. System requirements keep getting higher because programmers have the mentality "well cpu's keep getting faster" instead of "how can I make my code run more efficiently".

And I will Participate, and contribute after I'm finished with my C++ book.

Lefty said...

The first thing I do on an Ubuntu install is apt-get remove mono-common libmono0

Absolutely the correct and appropriate thing (for you) to do.

As for C# in general, even as a novice programmer I would never touch it even on Windows.

I had an engineer who believed that Java induced brainrot, and while there may be some anecdotal evidence for it, I think the jury's still out.

But, that's why we have a bazillion different languages out there! I don't know Haskel or Eiffel or Vala, and some people actually love Lisp (((!))), and that's fine. But there are people who like C#, and they should be able to on Linux. I don't see why you'd discriminate against one particular language in the absence of a clear and present reason.

And I will Participate, and contribute after I'm finished with my C++ book.

Welcome aboard, you rock! You'll probably get at least a t-shirt out of it at some point!

ICeDX said...

Yeah I wouldn't want to force people onto C++ if they can't handle it! LOL

I'm not totally against mono, in fact I have a good suggestion for them.

Stop relying on Microsoft, break compatiblity with them and beat them at their own game (like they did with web standards). Stick with ECMA and add their own linux only extensions to it. Just like Microsoft has its own windows only extensions that are being reverse engineered and copied.

The anti mono trolls would be forced to shut up. We would also see real innovation instead of just borrowing from Microsoft.

Lefty said...

My understanding is that you'd lose (some) cross-platform compatibility that way, which is (I think) one of the goals...

Someone like Jeffrey would know a lot better than I...

ICeDX said...

They even have mono develop for Windows actually. This would assist in porting to their own extensions before even setting foot on Linux.

directhex said...

@ICeDX

Mono has a live introspective C# shell. Microsoft do not (although it's a TODO item for .NET 5.0)

Mono has hardware-accelerated data types (Mono.Simd), Microsoft do not (Mono.Simd apps will run, but unaccelerated)

Mono has a full multi-platform (PowerPC, ARM, etc) AOT compiler, allowing full C# apps onto platfoms which ban bytecode. Microsoft do not.

Mono supports indexed 64-bit arrays (more than 2^32 items in an array, for HPC operations), Microsoft do not

Those are the headline items I can think of off the top of my head

The Beez' said...

Bottom line: it is not up to you (nor me!) to decide who is a FOSS proponent or not. So don't act like you do.

robert said...

What I am seeing is people making a pretense of involvement in FLOSS and in our community, people who we don't actually know, people who never join us at conferences, don't work in projects

Dear Lefty,

I'm a member of the Debian project. I'm one of the core developers of GNU GRUB, and I think you're full of shit.

You should look at what people say, not at who's saying it. Your jihad against "non-coders" basically amounts to a cheap ad hominem attack.

Seth said...

You can add Hans Bezemer aka 'The Beez' to that list. Another quack that doesn't help the community any. Seriously calling people stupid because they don't see your way? How does that help anything

Man said...

In terms of additions to Mono, I've been secretly hoping that they'd provide a solid cross-platform 3D library wrapping around OpenGL 2/3 functionality. A good wrapper for this would gain popularity quickly (since Mono is already being used in many games) AND remove the dependency on WinForms for GUI apps.

So, not only would we be silencing the FLOSS concerns (WinForms & ASP.NET separation from the core is already in the works by Miguel), but we'd one-up Microsoft and have a chance to further OpenGL (which is currently losing in market share to DirectX). People might switch to the Mono toolchain entirely (from .NET) with something like this.

If this was done in parallel with any necessary Windowing Server/Manager changes, the Linux hardware accelerated desktop development would speed dramatically. Also, considering that most .NET developers tend to make GUI wrappers, there's a high chance that we'll be courting people that will make and maintain configuration programs that are sorely needed. Which would in turn simultaneously court new users and reduce the burden on the existing users.

But no, it has a problem now. It's time to throw it away, not to think.

Lefty said...

I'm a member of the Debian project. I'm one of the core developers of GNU GRUB, and I think you're full of shit.

I'm glad you're a member of Debian, and have worked on GRUB. I'm sorry you've pretty thoroughly misunderstood what I'm saying here (and what Linus was saying in the next entry). As I said in my comments there, I wonder whether you might be actively looking for offense, but that's not a question I can answer.

You should look at what people say, not at who's saying it. Your jihad against "non-coders" basically amounts to a cheap ad hominem attack.

But that's just the point--it's all about what some people, people who do nothing but talk, people who will not even listen, are saying--and I haven't singled out "non-coders" but non-participants.

In fact, if you'd simply read my comments here before you posted your sense of personal offense, you'd have noted that I wrote (and early on, too), "You mistake me: in our community, I include not just the coders, but the localizers, the artists, the user experience designers, the legal and licensing experts, the marketers, the users who make suggestions and provide feedback and even file bugs, in fact, anyone who participates in the projects in a meaningful way."

Just goes to show how reading before posting could have spared you this unneeded psychic distress.

The folks who worry Linus, and the folks who worry me, do none of the things I describe in the quoted comment.

Typically, they call themselves "free software advocates", however they're advocacy is not aimed at, say, getting more users to use Linux (or "GNU/Linux, as they insist it be called), but to get folks working on Linux to accede to their demands about how that work should be done, typically something to do with Mono (or Hyper-V drivers or something else "Microsoft-related".)

Josh said...

I agree Lefty. But don't malign all of us who oppose Mono. I don't care for fundamentalists of any stripe -- be they religious or FLOSSy -- but Mono really is a waste of time. Mono will result in nothing but a win for Microsoft. This isn't religion, it's just common sense. Although Microsoft may not make a dime from Mono, its use promotes the platform which, in turn, drives profit away from Microsoft's competitors. That was the whole purpose of .NET in the first place: to put the pinch on Java.

Lefty said...

But don't malign all of us who oppose Mono. I don't care for fundamentalists of any stripe -- be they religious or FLOSSy -- but Mono really is a waste of time. Mono will result in nothing but a win for Microsoft.

There's plenty of room for disagreement on Mono--and just about anything else--as long as it's reasoned and doesn't descend into simple abuse (which is the starting point of the discussion for the folks who concern me, as Mr. Fink's "contributions" to ubuntu-devel demonstrate).

Me, I don't have a strong opinion. I find it, I suppose, less "intrusive" than Java, somehow; I use F-Stop and Tomboy, and I'm going to use Banshee after seeing Aaron demonstrating it at GCDS. That said, if there were credible alternatives that offered advantages and were non-Mono, that's fine with me.

People can argue about Mono all they want, in the appropriate places and contexts. Better still if they do it with a credible identity and stand behind their arguments.

Microsoft can't win: they're still focused on the desktop (as are we, but that's starting to change, I think), and even if they "win" it, they'll be in the position of the guy who cornered the buggy whip market in 1904..

satsujinka said...

Microsoft can't win: they're still focused on the desktop (as are we, but that's starting to change, I think), and even if they "win" it, they'll be in the position of the guy who cornered the buggy whip market in 1904..

If you're refering to cloud computing, you are probably mistaken. I'm not saying that a brief stint in the cloud wouldn't damage/kill Microsoft, but that cloud computing will fail (as it already has.) Ultimately, internet isn't accessable enough to the number of people required for it to be viable for the average user. Businesses will probably switch (as it allows better control of employees) but there aren't enough advantages for normal users to pick it up (especially since you can get a $100 netbook that'll do most of what you want.)

Lefty said...

Actually, I'm thinking more of "mobile devices": cell phones, cameras, navigation units, media players, e-book readers, "converged devices", etc., as well as dedicated devices like set-top boxes, media servers, "home gsteways", etc.

KimTjik said...

The folks who worry Linus, and the folks who worry me, do none of the things I describe in the quoted comment.

Do we know whether Linus agree with you on this particular approach to "real" and "faux"? I would be very cautious to use another publicly known figure as proof of my own opinion. We're free to interpret his words, and the quote published are good and sound. That however doesn't prove whether you, I or anyone else for that matter is or is not an "extremist".

...

Off-topic: Linus has strong opinions about a lot of things, C++ or C# isn't his favourites:

And if you want a fancier language, C++ is absolutely the worst one to choose... in many ways C is much superior to C++ (and even more so C#)... You can write bad code in any language. However, some languages, and
especially some *mental* baggages that go with them are bad.


This was part of a particular discussion and I didn't quote them to make a case against anything related to this article.

Remco said...

Interesting that you consider me part of the anti-Mono faux FLOSS fundamentalists community, because I'm not. I'm an Ubuntu user and an ubuntu-devel-discuss participant. Apparently anyone with an opinion that is not completely the same as yours, is a faux fundamentalist.

You may want to know that I still use Ubuntu, and I even use Mono. And I still don't want it as a default part of the Ubuntu installation.

Lefty said...

I only know what I surmise from reading the email. It appeared to me that you were busy taking Mr. Fink's part in this. I'll reread it and see whether an edit is warranted.

Remco said...

It appeared to me that you were busy taking Mr. Fink's part in this.

It appeared that way to many people. Towards the end of the discussion I posted that it hadn't been a good idea to take part in the discussion when it was started in such a flaming manner. Anyone agreeing with a troll just feeds the troll. The only way to save the discussion is to ignore it and start fresh a few weeks later. Lesson learned. ;)

Lefty said...

Do we know whether Linus agree with you on this particular approach to "real" and "faux"?

No, I don't, and I haven't asked him. Feel free to write him if you like.

It does seem as though we're talking about people with the same characteristics here: an overwhelming and irrational hatred of Microsoft, and a strong tendency to parrot "free software" positions, in their least nuanced and most extreme forms, loudly, repeatedly, and with an intention to exclude those who disagree with them.

Lefty said...

The only way to save the discussion is to ignore it and start fresh a few weeks later. Lesson learned. ;)

Good deal! You've demonstrated that you're educable, which shows that you've just got poor judgment, rather than some sort of pathological need to get your particular way. Welcome back!

I may have misjudged you overall, indeed, but I'm going to leave the article as is for two reasons, one substantive and one merely practical: the first is that, in the specific context of the thread I cite, I think the characterization is pretty valid (as you'd seem to agree, perhaps); the practical consideration is that the syndication on Planet GNOME is a bit broken and editing an article kicks it up to the top of the page, which some of the short-tempered and cranky ("What's this doing on Planet GNOME!?") find aggravating.

I get enough silly comment that are actually relatedto the topic of the article (and I don't include yours among these); I don't need to go begging for silly and irrelevant ones.

I promise not to call you a "Phoney Free Software Fundamentalist" on a mailing list, since you've evidently learned your lesson... =D

Lefty said...

...the syndication on Planet GNOME is a bit broken and editing an article kicks it up to the top of the page...

(And does anyone have any ideas what might be done about that? Also, is there any way to keep a specific article from being syndicated to PGO?)

Remco said...

Alrighty then. :) I don't think your blog entry has that much of an impact on my name, and if it does happen, I'll point to the discussion below it. If you find a way to make the amendment without stirring up new controversy, please do.

directhex said...

@Lefty

The way I take care of it is with tags - Wordpress (which I use) has per-tag RSS feeds, so I simply have the "debian", "mono" and "ubuntu" tags syndicated to different places, and can exclude a planet by excluding a tag

Dev said...

@Man:
In terms of additions to Mono, I've been secretly hoping that they'd provide a solid cross-platform 3D library wrapping around OpenGL 2/3 functionality.

Check out OpenTK.