Is Mr Morrison "stirring the pot"? Does he actually think differences of opinion or "feuds" are harmful? We all remember "Ah....Youre killing FOSS"

I read an interesting article by Grahame Morrison entitled “Feuds and rivalries are damaging open source” (where all the quotes are taken from) which I start (and not beat around the bush) by saying is complete rubbish in my humble opinion.

After digesting his discourse I came to the conclusion that either he doesn’t understand the concept of different opinions being productive or simply wants to join in on some imagined “damaging” conflict in order to attract readers.  The article is not what I would expect TechRadar to publish and to be honest, its slightly cheapened Techradar credibility for me.

For a community that’s supposed to rally under the noble banners of freedom, fairness and fraternity, the world of free software is chockfull of disagreement, feuds and simmering rivalries.

Before we look at this comment, lets put something into perspective here.  We are talking about technologies, not world peace, global warming or famine.  There are plenty of other far more important issues in the world than software.  I don’t know about anyone else but I can have a disagreement with someone and actually get on with my life afterwards.  If that person (or opinion) returns again, fine, I debate again.  Its hardly detrimental to my life and Ive often said if overnight Linux (for example) was to wiped off the planet, it would hardly be the end of my world.  I’m an adult.  I hope you are too.

Now it might come as a shock to Mr Morrison, but the open source community (or any other IT related one) is not a collection of people patting each other on the back and agreeing blindly.  We all have our opinions and in the Open Source world, we have the flexibility to exercise a considerable amount of choice in our solutions.  In the FOSS world differences are championed, its maybe one of the reasons why the end user has so much choice and afterall, if everyone agreed that Transmission was the only BT client of choice, then we wouldn’t have Deluge and the plethora of others (as I said in a previous article here)

….Rather than promoting the use of open source, this division does more harm than good. The Gnome desktop is pitted against KDE, while Xfce dislikes them both

How silly.  I personally don’t like KDE and have Xfce as my DE of choice.  I do have/use/like Gnome too (and Fluxbox and Enlightenment) how is this damaging to the respective techs and how is Mr Morrison suggesting this “choosing of sides” is damaging a DE?  Utter rubbish.  Mr Morrison, I repeat, this is tech we are talking about and at the end of the day I would consider any such rivalry of little consequence.

Could Mr Morrison mean the devs themselves?  If he is then his point is even more ridiculous since competition (friendly or not) has shown in the past to produce better end products for the user.  If Linux/Mac never existed, do you think that Vista would have been replaced so quickly?  Thats one example, Im sure you can think of many more.

….If that doesn’t scare you off, take a look at some of the articles by the FSF’s President, Richard Stallman…..

So why then Mr Morrison are we seeing not only an increase in usage of Linux, but a larger deployment of FOSS technologies all across the IT spectrum?  I don’t see many people being “frightened” and I’d suggest that the only frightened users were those from the early days of Linux when it was not as “out of the box” as it is today.  The FSF has opinions that I don’t agree with, Canonical has ideas I don’t agree with….so what? They are opinions and I think the vast majority of users will base theirs on a mixture of many sources/views on the net.

In the end, those are the only things that are important, because without users there would be no work for the Foundation to do at all. It’s high time everybody lightened up.

Are you "scared off" as Mr Morrison seems to suggest or do you think (like me) that competition (or his words "rivalries") are good for the end-user?

We are already “lightened up”  Do you seriously think anyones world would come to an end if KDE was to remove competition (for example)?  Even though I am not keen on it, I think I would cope.  In the meantime I welcome healthy debate and disagreement.  To do otherwise would at best make for a dull community and at worst be dishonest.

Lets keep the “feuds” going, in my opinion they are great for the FOSS/Linux community.

Or should we all just stop what we are doing, move back to Microsoft products and all pretend that we agree with each other?  I don’t know if Mr Morrison has failed to grasp this whole concept anyway since whilst he was mentioning about “feuds” between DE’s, he seemed to completely miss a far bigger (and perhaps aggressive) “feud”, that being the Mono issue which he managed to quickly mention in a few words.  He claims Python versus Perl, really?  Ive dabbled with Python (which I stuck with for personal reasons, nothing to do with any “feud” that I honestly haven’t seen.)

Anyone seen this Python V Perl feud and can anyone evidence where it has damaged or hindered either product? and I wonder if Mr Morrison will think that my article which dares to challenge his opinion, counter productive in the same way?

I’ll let my readers decide and whilst they are at it, we can remind ourselves of an article by myself on the claim of “Killing FOSS”

….This eclectic position slowed progress toward version 3 of the GPL licence – used by most open-source projects

Did it? and how was this detrimental to the FOSS world we live in today?  I would love an explanation of that.  Specifically, what has suffered and how?

My question to Mr Morrison would be: How are these “feuds” of yours detrimental to Linux/FOSS?  Do you not agree its far more popular now than ever before?  In fact why don’t you evidence an example where a difference of opinion in community (or in your words feud/rivalry) is harmful to a product?

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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