✍ Why Do Open Source Advocates Attack Each Other?

Maybe it’s a trend, or maybe I just noticed because I was looking, but following my article last week about the strange parallels between Life of Brian and the critics of the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movement, there have been a number of similar articles.

Former OpenSUSE community manager Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier wrote about the Party of Gno, criticising the negativity of campaigns that are about stopping people doing something:

In general, the programs are all about “no.” Or rather, “gno.” We all know how well anti-campaigns work. Any day now, “just say no” will have wiped out drug use for all time, right? And PETA will have convinced everyone to go totally vegan, too. Yes, negative campaigns can be effective. However, they require the audience to be receptive to the overall message.

Predictably, the backlash he faced from daring to be directly critical was substantial, not least from the denizens of microblogging service Identi.ca.

Read on over at ComputerWorld UK and join me in Oxford tomorrow at the Transfer Summit.

5 Responses

  1. This is nothing new, Simon, although it seems to have gotten progressively worse since last year, and continues to do so.

    It’s a commonplace that if you want to draw out the very worst of the anonymous commenters, and if you want to get raked over the coals on identi.ca, all you have to do is level some criticism, no matter how warranted or calmly expressed, of the FSF.

    Stuart Langridge has just written on his blog expressing his frustrations with members of the “free software movement”, who suddenly decided that he was “insufficiently pure” for their liking.

    • Click through to the full article and you’ll see I quote him. And, indeed, you!

      • Cool; that’s a good quote! (I think you need to clean up the formatting, though: your response is running into it.)

        Yes, businesses require that there be a tangible, definable, demonstrable value. “More free”, in and of itself, doesn’t mean anything more than “more melodious”, when it comes to software, and—contrary to the expectations of some of the “freer” members of the community—a higher degree of “freedom” doesn’t make up for a deficit in actual utility or usability. We have yet to see professional graphic artists flocking in large numbers to embrace GIMP over Photoshop, for better or worse.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Simon Phipps, Laura czajkowski. Laura czajkowski said: One of the blogs I always read as it usually has good articles and makes a lot of sense by @webmink http://is.gd/d0DJ5 […]

  3. i don’t think it’s anything new either, it’s just that with the popularity of microblogs in the past few years, the bickering seems to be centered in one place. therefore, more of a visible quantity. whereas we used to have to visit separate forums or blog comments to see it.

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