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A case of not so curious opinion

Apparently Mr Wong has been watching the BN Irc channel.  Hiding in the shadows?  Is this the way an announced Microsoft employee should behave, even if it is allegedly in "his spare time"  One could be forgiven for asking the question, if his implication about the BN site is true, why does he not simply ignore it?  Strange that he would spend his spare time watching a IRC channel or is it?

Apparently Mr Wong has been watching the BN Irc channel. Hiding in the shadows? Is this the way an announced Microsoft employee should behave, even if it is allegedly in "his spare time" One could be forgiven for asking the question, if his implication about the BN site is true, why does he not simply ignore it? Strange that he would spend his spare time watching a IRC channel or is it?

This is my chance to give my opinions to the article featured here:  http://armchairtheorist.com/2009/07/21/the-curious-case-of-boycott-novell

It is written by a chap called Johnathon Wong and he works for Microsoft.  He decided to make his opinions known on the website Boycott Novell and Roy (the sites owner)

So this is my story.  Let me start by saying my job is not relevant, I have no financial interest in any platform/software suceeding.  I am a husband, a father and live in a small village in South East England.  Before I make my observations on Mr Wong and his opinions, I would like to take you back to August 08, as this was the date I finally removed the last ties I had to Microsoft software at home.  For a long time I had been dual booting, but it was only when I had spent months of never booting Microsoft’s software that I decided to remove it completely.

For your information I started my computing life with the ZX Spectrum, then the Amiga (which I still love) and hit PC’s around Windows 3.1 (in relation to home that is)  I never liked Vista, although it has to be said I cannot and will not fault XP (infact if you look back on this blog, for a Linux view, I defend and champion XP quite a bit)

Sorry, I digress.  Back to August 08 and my break from Microsoft products at home.  After a few weeks of getting over the initial fear of having nothing Microsoft on any of my systems, I decided to do a little posting on forums, blogging and talking in chat rooms.  I was keen to discuss my experiences away from Microsoft products and was looking forward to getting into debate about the merits of each system.

How wrong was I.  From day one when I dared to suggest an alternative to Microsoft products I was met with a often vulgar and regularly offensive barrage of abuse.  Now what ever anyone thinks about my views, you will see from all my posting history that I am never vulgar, detest swearing in posts and I challenge that behaviour robustly in others.

I found Boycott Novell as a result of reading about similar experiences that a Linux advocate had and he mentioned Boycott Novell.

Now let me say, I don’t agree with everything anyone says, that goes for Roy and any other site I visit.  I have read many claims about Roy and talking from personal experience (not hiding in the shadows of an IRC channel) I’ve found him to be polite, pleasant, intelligent (whatever you think of his views he’s certainly got the tech knowledge).  It is my opinion that it would be very unhealthy if everyone agreed with everyone else and I think all the Boycott Novell chat room users have differing views on many subjects.

I don’t believe Microsoft is around every corner, but what I would first like to do is challenge Mr Wong and his facts as he is not (IMO) telling the whole story.

Before I do that, I would like to ask him: “What on earth is a Microsoft employee doing, hiding in the shadows of an IRC channel in his spare time?”  – You certainly didn’t make your presence known to me, you made no effort that I saw to engage in conversation and if, as you suggest Roy is so wrong (and nobody agrees) what on earth are you doing posting on the matter?  Do you do this for all the alien conspiracy websites?  what about the fake moonlanding theories?  If you do, you must be a very busy chap.

Mr Wong, I’m not sure if you are old enough to remember them, but I was present for the ST/AMIGA “wars” of the early 90’s.  Trust me, they were nothing like this.  This whole Linux/Microsoft “war” (for want of a better word) has taken a far more vulgar and dubious tone.  Sure there are people on both sides that take some issues too far, but then during my time of the 16bit wars, I cannot recall a Commodore employee doing what you are doing now, even if it is in the spirit of “your own time”

Correct me if I am wrong, but surely the fact that you identify yourself (if albeit a little later) that you are an MS employee, then really you couldnt be impartial could you?  If you had an honest held belief that another product was superior to Microsoft’s would you be able to post about it, even in your spare time?  of course not.  I think Redmond would have something to say if you wrote an article saying that the Ipod was better than the Zune (for example)

Mr Wong and his assumption that the link to his blog is good enough for ID of his job, I believe are mistaken, Ive found that I get very few hits from avatar and comment links because I don’t think the majority of people can be bothered to click on them, I certainly dont.  My WordPress’ stats are available to me suggest that I am correct. (I can publish if anyone requires, just like my hits, I make no secret of how many people visit)

Mr Wong highlights Linsux

So now we move on to Linsux, of which I have very little to say.  What I will ask is that any adults reading this post actually go over to the forums at linsux and read what these people post about and the tone in which they do it.  Mr Wong doesnt seem to quote the types of posts on that forum (I expect he was merely concentrating on BN this time and will maybe consider doing a follow up article) ;)

To save you clicking, let me highlight some of them here (and please excuse my use of #, but I refuse to put swearing in my posts)  These are posts from the administrator of the site and I think it shows the level in which they operate, which it appears Mr Wong was not prepared to show on his “article”  Keep in mind too that impartiality on Roy’s opinion could be argued as the admin has the following under his avatar  “Windows 7 == The standard”

“Yeah, no sh#t. Now it’s time to see Roy’s response and put it in Flames. lol”

Now keep in mind Mr Wong suggests that Linsux represents the Linux community, lets look at some of the admins opinions on FOSS etc:

“Linux almost 100% of the market share of netbooks but people protested and Windows started being thrown on. Once 7 comes out, the Linux numbers will, once again, go down.”

“Seriously? Canonical is actually a Linux company and they finally release Launchpad code?  So, Microsoft beat an Open Source/Linux company to releasing something under one of the GPL’s. Freaky.”

“But, when you’re whole system can only really use Google products (at least until Office online comes out), what do you do?”

“Has anyone checked to see if he has brain cancer or some sort of tumor?  For once, I’m being serious. His actions are getting more and more erratic. It kind of makes me wonder. And, if not, then he needs to just f#cking stop, already.”

So this is a Linux user representing the Linux community is it Mr Wong? (and more importantly the admin of the site)  Afterall, in your post you did say “Here is a post from the Linux community Linsux.org:” I wonder how many of the real Linux community would agree with the points made at Linsux Mr Wong?  Mr Wong do you really hold these type of views in regard in one hand yet suggest that Roy has issues in the other?

C.O.L.A – Comp.os.Linux.Advocacy

Here is another example on strange happenings.  Take a look at this particular newsgroup and see that an innocent topic on an Linux IT related subject is met with a barrage of personal remarks.  I recently tried to prevent the usual abuse by ending my post with the following:

“To save certain posters time here, can we just say that I’ve already been called all the offensive names under the sun, it will save some people typing them if we just pretend you’ve already offended me and I’m very upset. :)”

To which I received the reply:

“What about your family? Can we start in on them?”

Need I say more?  The thread of this is called  “IT Pro’s speak on Linux (market research report) & Linux on the shelves again!” It was hardly a “conspiracy post” and if you read my article about it here: http://openbytes.wordpress.com/2009/07/20/it-pros-speak-on-linux-linux-on-the-shelves-again/ I would hope you would agree its not as if I am shaking my fist at the sky and talking to invisible aliens.   I am certainly not a conspiracy theorist.

Conclusions

Everything above is not paranoia (since I’m not suggesting anything, merely highlighting the actions that have been taking place)  I don’t see Microsoft in every shadow (thank God) but I do have an honest held believe that Linux/FOSS is far superior to Redmonds offerings and for that I am subjected to the type of behaviour Mr Wong claims Roy does to him.   I don’t believe in playing the victim Mr Wong and this post would not have been written if you hadn’t made the statements you did.

I look forward to seeing you write an “expose” on what you claim was the Linux community (Linsux) and I look forward to maybe hearing why you think that I (and other users/advocates of FOSS) are abused frequently on the net.

I really don’t believe you will give an answer though.  I would ask kindly though Mr Wong, if you are trying to represent the umbrella of views of BN (and that includes Roy as well as the many users who go to the chat room to DEBATE – check the logs Mr Wong, its not all patting each other on the back).  Mr Wong your summary of Roy and BN are not one that I recognize and since I consider myself of sound mind and body, one of us has a problem Mr Wong, is it me or you?

As always, I let the readers decide whilst I am typing a similar post about the COLA regular Moshe.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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Online tech writer, novelist/author of sci-fi literature and co-host of the TechBytes Show! I believe in multi-culturalism & diversity. Luton Town FC supporter.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “A case of not so curious opinion

  1. Thank you for your response.

    Your obvious sarcasm about alien conspiracies aside, if only everyone on Boycott Novell engaged others the way you do, perhaps they would have a lot more credibility and mindshare compared to what they have today.

    First, a mea culpa. I didn’t realize that Linsux.org is not a “Linux community”. In fact, upon a second visit to the site, I realize that is is far from being representative of the Linux community. I have updated my blog entry to reflect this fact.

    What I do take issue with is your accusation of me watching the BN IRC channel. I think one five second IRC session started by clicking on the webchat.freenode.net link publicized on one of BN’s IRC posts does not mean I was “hiding in the shadows”. I never intended to watch the channel or participate, and was merely interested in seeing how a web-based IRC interface would work. And for you to imply that me being a Microsoft employee has anything to do with it is just unfounded.

    If you had taken grief before when trying to engage on newsgroups or blogs or forums, my sympathies are with you. That just means that those newsgroups and forums and blogs are no better than Boycott Novell. It’s a real shame that fanatical close-minded communities like that still exist, but there’s nothing we can do about it. However, whatever your personal experience may be, that still doesn’t excuse the red carpet treatment I received at Boycott Novell when I posted there (as well as many people before me).

    If Boycott Novell wants to be a closed community with like-minded individuals only, fine. It’s Roy’s perogative. However, don’t go around advertising that BN is an open community that encourages alternative interpretations, views, and discussion and then go ahead and behave in that way. That is just hypocritical.

    What I realized from engaging at BN for a week is this. People there simply refuse to take a factual argument and address it. They would rather dig up dirt on who you are, discredit you because you work for so-and-so, and avoid answering the question. That is not open discussion. And that is why the BN community will never be able to win over moderates or those who do not have a pre-disposed hate towards Microsoft.

    I respect your opinion that Linux/FOSS is superior to Microsoft’s technologies. In certain cases, I’ll even agree with you. Afterall, I did come from IBM before I joined Microsoft, and had plenty of opportunity to work with Linux. However, I do take issue with the way opinions like these are delivered on a site like BN. Insulting other people and companies is no way to win their hearts and minds. And this may apply to Linsux and others as well, although my own experience is only with BN, so that’s what I commented about. Is it possible that we are both of sound mind and body, but we are just treated differently by Roy and BN?

    Oh, and I use an iPhone. I bought it before I joined Microsoft, so I figured I’ll continue to use it. And I do think in its current state, an iPhone holds a lot more appeal than a Windows Mobile phone. There, I said it. I guess I’ll be waiting for my pink slip tomorrow. ;)

    Lastly, thanks for tagging this post with wonderfully descriptive and constructive tags such as “shill”, “troll”, and my mispellen name. Did you remember to use a dollar sign for all of your Microsoft references above like such… M$?

    (Apologies for the misformatted comment above. Feel free to delete)

    Posted by Jonathan Wong | July 21, 2009, 8:01 pm
  2. Thank you for responding. As you will see other Microsoft employees have posted here and I have a simple rule “treat others as they treat you”.

    The Linsux issue is not one you need to take personal responsibility for, I wouldn’t expect anyone to fully research the background for everything they post, afterall this is a blog and you did provide the link so people could see for themselves.

    That being said, you represent Microsoft (albeit you make it clear you are posting in your own time) and I stand by my stance of you being restricted in what you say. Thats why (IMO) its more important for you to ensure that you are presenting the facts correctly.

    If I firstly may meet your last point with an answer first, again highlights that you should really check what I use the tags for here. Look at previous articles the tags I use are ones which I notice come in from WordPress as a result of google searches to my pages. Someone previously mentioned this before and I try to separate to make no implication. For example:

    ballmer, boycott novell, foss, fud, gates, johnathon wong, linux, microsoft, roy, shill, troll

    As you can see your name is between Gates and Linux. If anything an inference could be drawn with FOSS + FUD…..or what about – Roy, Shill, troll? Since these were all used in the context of the dispute between you and him, they are all relevant. If you notice though they are TAGS not the category. The category is NEWS. The issue of misspelling your name is very impolite, I am sorry. As for M$, why did you mention that? On one hand you suggest you can have a discussion with me and on the other suggest I would make a confrontational remark like that.

    I am not sure who your collegues are on the net, but since Microsoft is a company, it is a no brainer it has to make money (the shareholders wouldnt like it otherwise) if you are trying to suggest that Microsoft exists for the love of computing I believe you to be misguided. The same goes for Apple, Canonical, my beloved Commodore from yesteryear. Before you suggest that I only advocate FOSS, please check my numerous articles and opinions where I regularly state the place for proprietary.

    Quote “What I do take issue with is your accusation of me watching the BN IRC channel. I think one five second IRC session started by clicking on the webchat.freenode.net link publicized on one of BN’s IRC posts does not mean I was “hiding in the shadows”. ”

    That was not made clear and from looking at your article I did not see anywhere suggesting that to me, it implied you had been watching for a while. Thank you for clearing that up.

    At the end of the day I am sorry you missed the point with the alien comment. It was not sarcasm it was merely to reinforce that we all have different opinions and whilst we can go down the route of insult when we disagree, the best option is reasoned debate or simply to ignore. I am sure you are aware the web is full of opinion. Off or on duty you represent Microsoft IMO and your post did nothing to your credibility since you took assumption that Linsux represented the Linux community.

    I do not see myself as a victim, but I wrote this post because I interpretted your stance as one of being a “victim of being a Microsoft user”

    Quote “However, I do take issue with the way opinions like these are delivered on a site like BN. Insulting other people and companies is no way to win their hearts and minds.”

    I refuse to take a stance since I believe we are all responsible for our own comments only – hence the sites logo “cave quid dicis, quando, et cui.” – “Beware of what you say and to whom” however your article immediately introduced two different angles. On one hand it suggested the site had no credibility and was not supported or liked within the Linux community and then on the other went on to defend your possition as if it was. (complete with un-researched links) As I say, on or off duty, this to me is not how a Microsoft employee should represent the company, and whilst you can take pride in now declaring yourself as such, I personally believe there is a worth in anon posting since there is no “company line” to follow.

    Quote “Oh, and I use an iPhone. I bought it before I joined Microsoft, so I figured I’ll continue to use it. And I do think in its current state, an iPhone holds a lot more appeal than a Windows Mobile phone.”

    LOL. I think youre safe. No, that was not the point. Lets say for arguments sake I have your job. I use Linux and I honestly believe its a far better platform. I do my job at Microsoft to the best of my ability, but on a blog posting “in my own time” I say, dont bother with Windows go for Linux distro X. Do you honestly believe Redmond would tolerate this? Do you think any company would?

    Finally I would ask you to consider when you said:

    “What I realized from engaging at BN for a week is this. People there simply refuse to take a factual argument and address it. They would rather dig up dirt on who you are, discredit you because you work for so-and-so, and avoid answering the question.”

    I exposed a “user” who had taken the name of a Share/marketing education company and was using it on Twitter to promote Microsoft shares. I challenged it, investigated, the real company (Optionetics) contacted me and thanked me…now they have their name back. Its all documented here and on Twitter and I give full disclosure for you not only to contact the company concerned but to also confirm that when they offered me a “token of their thanks” I turned them down. – There is a worth to a little research and one could argue if you had employed it a little more robustly, you wouldnt have linked to the Linsux forum.

    Regards.

    Posted by openbytes | July 21, 2009, 9:14 pm
  3. Fair enough. I can appreciate your comments and the time you must of put in to write that.

    As for the M$ thing, that was just my tongue-and-cheek response to what I thought was sarcasm on your part by tagging your post with the terms I listed. But anyway, you cleared that up, so all is good. My bad. :)

    I think you said this best: “I refuse to take a stance since I believe we are all responsible for our own comments only”. I definitely agree, which is also why although I can understand why you think there is a worth to anonymous posting, personally, that’s just not my style.

    I always feel that a comment always carry more weight if there is a face behind it, as long as you as an individual stand behind what you say. I let others decide whether they accept my opinion or not, based on my credibility (or whatever is left of it after the Linsux fiasco. ;))

    You seem like a pleasant chap and someone that I wouldn’t mind having a beer with sometime.

    Take care.

    Posted by Jonathan Wong | July 22, 2009, 5:50 am
  4. It’s not hard to watch the IRC channel. Roy posts an IRC log of the day’s chat to his website, everyday. No sneaking around or undercover activity is required. Roy basically hands it out for all to read. You are trying to depict Johnathan as behaving like a spy. It’s disrespectful and inaccurate.

    As far as Roy is concerned, I find it interesting that you, like Twitter and some other fans of BoycottNovell, always publicly distance yourself from him by saying, “I don’t approve of everything he says”, yet you never clarify exactly what you do or don’t approve of. This would give readers like myself a better idea of just how extreme your beliefs are. I also think you overstate Roy’s technical knowledge. He makes plenty of inaccurate statements about how Microsoft products operate. I suspect you are simply buttering him up because ultimately you want him to post a link to your blog on his website, and he did just that.

    The ST/Amiga wars were “nothing like this” because we are in an entirely different environment thanks to the Internet. Commodore hardly advertised at all, let alone hire outside help to promote their products via Electronic Bulletin Boards which were no where near as popular as the Internet is today. This war was being waged by the few users who were connected to these remote systems. Many of them weren’t particularly educated or intelligent, they simply wanted to feel like they were using the “better” machine. By the time the Internet had started to become mainstream in the second half of the 90s, Atari had dropped all development of the ST and Commodore whet belly up. Basically your comparison is entirely unfair because the users of either system didn’t have access to a huge network of websites, blogs, chatrooms, newsgroups, and forums from which they wage a war of any great size.

    Today’s Linux/Windows war, like the ST/Amiga war, was started by users, not company employees.
    It is individual users who do most of the fighting and the Linux zealots who cause most of the problems due to their feelings of moral superiority. Windows is already established. It is the Linux users that feel they must wage battle to gain more and more attention. You try to make it sound as if Johnathan is paid to surf the web and pick fights with people and that simply isn’t the case. At the same time you are trying to convince us that you are not a biased zealot. I’m going to call your bluff on that one simply because you don’t see BoycottNovell as the cesspool of irrational hatred that it is. I can find no other rational explanation.

    Posted by Yggdrasil | July 23, 2009, 11:21 am
  5. Firstly I must make my typing very clear. The many claims you make need addressing and since by the tone of your post you have either misread or simply making wild claims, I need to ensure I keep it as simple as possible.

    Firstly your suggestion that I claimed Mr Wong was hiding in the shadows is, at best your misreading and at worst a lie. I draw your attention to the use of a question mark when saying hiding in the shadows. I also stated he didnt make it clear what action he took and he took up the oportunity to do so. It was also fortunate he did since I was able to point out his reference to the linsux site, of which he made a correction after realizing what it was.

    You try to suggest I distance myself from Roy. That is wrong. I publically state that Idisagree with Some of what Mr Stallman says and if you care to check the logs of Bn you will see Ihave not agreed with what many have said….a subject of note would be drm, of which for reasons ive explained before is a necessary evil so to speak.

    I never suggested a similarity between the amiga/st wars other than it was two platforms competing for market share, which in essence what is happening here. I will be making a more comprhensive reply later since I am currently on the train having to type this basic response on an mda mail. You can call me out on whatever you want. I am getting tired of saying that firstly I stand by everything I say but secondly Iam very careful on what I type. You will have to do alot better if you are going to twist my words.

    Kind regards

    Goblin.

    *EDIT*

    I have now returned home from work and will continue and also elaborate on the above points.
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    If anyone has used an MDA MAIL you will appreciate how difficult it is to comment in web forums (predictive text does not help, neither does little battery life)

    I take exception to your comment of

    “You are trying to depict Johnathan as behaving like a spy. It’s disrespectful and inaccurate.”

    Which is wrong because far from Mr Wong finding me disrespectful he has said “You seem like a pleasant chap and someone that I wouldn’t mind having a beer with sometime.” (and as I said above, I used the ? and asked the question. Mr Wong responded and that is the end of the matter.)

    This could go around in circles (as it does on COLA) since Mr Wong states Im a pleasant chap and since I have not presented an opinion on who is in the right (merely that my experiences of Roy are vastly different to Mr Wongs) there is very little else to say.

    Whilst I have little time for someone who doesn’t read my posts properly, I do appreciate you visiting this site and giving your opinion. Maybe next time you actually ask my opinion on something first, then if you take exception to my point of view, you can challenge me on my opinions, not on a set of allegations between two other parties.

    I say again, there is not a single person on this planet I 100% agree with. I would hope thats typical of most users. We are all individuals. Roy deals with allegations with supporting evidence via external links. You either agree or you dont with whats being said. I do the same. Judge me on my work, judge Roy on his. As I said to Mr Wong (and I’m sure he agrees) we take responsibility for our own actions. I also take people how I find them. Mr Wong, like Roy is polite to me, I respond in kind. In this whole episode readers can see both sides of the issue and I’m sure are old enough to make up their own minds. Call it debate, call it right to reply, but above all else, its called freedom of speech and thats something I hope all of us here have, which is why I welcome pro/anti Openbytes comments.

    Regards (again)

    Goblin.

    Posted by openbytes | July 23, 2009, 12:40 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Are Speakers for FOSS Actually FOSS Supporters? | Boycott Novell - July 23, 2009

  2. Pingback: FLOSS WEEKLY INTERVIEWS ROY SCHESTOWITZ « OPEN BYTES – cave quid dicis, quando, et cui. - October 14, 2009

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Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson

Writer/Novelist of many facets both in the world of technology and fantasy/sci-fi. Co-host of the TechBytes audiocast and writer for both OpenBytes and Goblin's Domain. Supporter of free and open source software.

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