Grahame Morrison – No feuds on his watch?

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

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. David Gerard says:

    The phrase you’re looking for is “concern troll.”

    Remember that the purpose of sites like TechRadar is to get ad clicks. Measure each article for its ability to get ad clicks.

  2. All of that, and he didn’t cover the horrendous fights going on in the Browser arena? IE9 does one thing, Safari 4+ does another, Firefox 4 does another Chrome, Konqueror, Opera, etc. You know why he didn’t mention browsers, one of the areas where the conflict is hottest? Because it blows his thesis out of the water. The end result of the browser wars is that users have far more choice, and far better browsers than they did two years ago.

    Because the combat between teams drives innovation. While Microsoft had no competition, they sat on IE 6 for years, even though it was a bug ridden piece of garbage. For Windows users Firefox 1.0 changed that. It’ got people interested in options, and they started using them at a huge rate. Microsoft tried to stem the tide of user defections with IE7, and failed. They then tried with IE8, and failed again. The end result is that we have a healthy ecosystem containing a wide selection of browsers, that gives the user CHOICE.

    Grahame Morrison is either an idiot, or a Windows user.

    1. openbytes says:

      Hi Mad Hatter!

      Feuds are bad!!!!!! ahhhh they kill things!!!

      We should never have had the browser wars!!!!!!!! We should all be using IE because its the greatest thing ever.

      On a serious note though, I think his ethos would suit Microsoft perfectly……no competition, no choice, no opinion, everyone using MS products……. “Resistance is futile”

  3. David says:

    I read his article. It made sense, unlike your post which seemed to take everything out of context and twist the original meanings. That, or you simply refuse to “get it”.

    There IS too much arguing, often over minor things. And I found his points quite easy to follow. How you could try and attribute meaning which was not there makes me question your intentions.

    “Healthy debate” is one thing, but some of the ridiculous arguing over the smallest, and stupidest of points in some places is anything but “healthy”.

    Also, the idiot insisting Mr Morrison’s “ethos would suit microsoft perfectly” needs to get some perspective. Unsuccessful troll is unsuccessful.

    1. openbytes says:

      Lol, misreading seems to be your speciality here “David” since the comment referring to MS ethos was mine.

      Quote “but some of the ridiculous arguing over the smallest, and stupidest of points in some places is anything but “healthy”.”

      and thats NOT want Mr Morrison said. Read his work properly. Where is this alleged war between the DE’s? Ive not seen it. As I say, stirring the pot.

      David, you have been here before haven’t you so the fact that you purposely take a opposite view is no surprise. – Thats fine David please feel free to return and continue debating, I welcome that, just how about you try coming back and relying on evidencing your views instead of just using insults. If you need help, just ask.

  4. KimTjik says:

    It looks like hypocritical nonsens. A couple of months ago his response to “when will you know for sure that this is the year of Linux on the desktop”, as part of a “who are we” for “Linux Format”, was the following:

    “When PulseAudio works correctly. In fact when PulseAudio is put to death. With fire.”

    Hence I understand why he doesn’t like “moral high ground” and prefer compromise, since he himself doesn’t seem to follow any particular set of principles; yesterday it was “to death with…” and today it’s “stop the feuds”. Or maybe it’s a game of semantics? A quick death in fire in contrast the meaning of a feud, a long dragging argument.

    No, I’ve never heard about the Python vs. Perl feud. Neither have I heard about a Django vs. Ruby-on-rails feud. If Graham gets busy writing about it though, maybe he can start one? Program languages serve different purposes, so there’s not so much to fight about really. Sometimes you see arguments, but not about which language is better, but what language to choose of ones’ own or organizations’ work, maybe extended to a wider framework. Just like when a guy suddenly questioned C as the language chosen for developing the Linux kernel, and got straight responses from Linus and others that other languages might have more sophisticated features, but C is chosen because it doesn’t forgive errors. That’s not a fight, or feud, it’s just a practical decision.

    Several lobby for a cosy attitude towards Microsoft and adding points by making cheap shots at individuals working for FSF. I listened to Linux Outlaws podcast from Oggcamp, and there too some (not the Linux Outlaws team) argues that it’s silly to talk about Microsoft as evil, or writing M$. Why bother to criticise such banalities, when there are plenty of struggles going on involving both Microsoft and other companies? I’m not a supporter of the here visible “Windows 7 sins” campaign or similar, but there’s not enough time to waste it on indifference.

    1. openbytes says:

      David obviosuly missed the same points you and I did. But as I say, he would have anyway. He is a regular.

      If Grahames post had been soley about Mono, I would agree that there is a “feud” on. However that “feud” has not hurt mono at all (unless the Mono advocates are telling lies) so I can’t see the problem with Mono either.

      Grahame’s post struck me as a kind of “just suck it down” type post and we should all agree nicely. I’m not sure how it works in the Windows user word, but in Linux land, opinions and views are welcomed.

  5. John says:

    You would have a valid point of view if what we were talking about was debate within the community. Maybe name calling, back biting, and personal attacks seem like normal and acceptable behavior to you. To others this type of behavior is anti-social and just plain disgusting. To label someone’s empathy as concern trolling as one of your commentators did is incredibly lame. Grahame Morrison has every right to voice his opinion. It’s ironic that childish behavior like calling fellow Linux members retards or displaying pictures of feces on web sites doesn’t catch your attention, but a call for more civilized discourse does. Maybe you’re right at home in the middle of a bunch or mud slinging trolls. Others are not and find the behavior of the Linux community disgusting. How much proof of the damage this causes do you need ? Linux doesn’t have a small market share because it is inferior, or even because of Microsoft. If an OEM doesn’t see an advantage in pushing Linux when one is there, their competition will. If users see an advantage in installing Linux they will ( I’m yet to see a new system with P2P software installed, but users jump through hoops to get that installed). Why nobody wants to touch Linux with a ten foot pole is that it has a poisoned community that takes the fun out of every aspect of using the OS.

    1. The Mad Hatter says:

      David,

      I disagree. The problem isn’t too much arguing, it’s too little arguing. All too often the community devolves to herd behaviour, just like the Mac and Windows communities. Herd behaviour is fine for sheep and cows, but it’s disasterous for humans.

  6. openbytes says:

    Quote “Maybe name calling, back biting, and personal attacks seem like normal and acceptable behavior to you.”

    No it doesn’t. If you care to check back on my blog or twitter, I repeatedly say debate is fine, its when it gets vulgar thats when its the problem. Thats why I challenge it. Infact, Im challenging it at this very moment with the user M0she in comp.os.linux.advocacy

    Quote ” To label someone’s empathy as concern trolling as one of your commentators did is incredibly lame. Grahame Morrison has every right to voice his opinion. ”

    Of course he does, but in doing so he is trying to cheapen others opinions by implying its harmful to FOSS….please read my article properly. I have always encouraged debate and infact said before that I prefer it when people disagree since its not healthy for everyone to agree. My main problem with what Mr Morrison said was that he made an implication that rivalry was not a good thing whereas history has proved otherwise.

    Quote “Maybe you’re right at home in the middle of a bunch or mud slinging trolls. ”

    Im not at “home” but I don’t run away from them and Im not “scared off”. Thats why I expose them here.

    Quote “t’s ironic that childish behavior like calling fellow Linux members retards or displaying pictures of feces on web sites doesn’t catch your attention, but a call for more civilized discourse does.”

    Please don’t be another liar. I have challenged Linux advocates for bad behaviour when I notice it. The user 7 in COLA was one such user (Jo Shields is another). The reason why its Windows advocates that get highlighted is because in 99% of the cases I am approached by comments of them. If a Linux advocate came here with bad behaviour, I’d challenge it. Please hold me to that. I am not omnipresent so I can’t be everywhere at once.

    Quote “Others are not and find the behavior of the Linux community disgusting”

    And as Ive said before, the fault can be on both sides. I have personally found the Windows users behaviour disgusting and infact you can see evidence of it going on in COLA right now.

    Quote “How much proof of the damage this causes do you need ?”

    Wrong. Linux (whatever the market share) is far more popular now than it was two years ago….just look at its diverse deployment (forgetting the desktop increase) FOSS in general is increasing too…..IE is being eaten by FF and thats just one example. Damage? Rubbish.

    Quote “If users see an advantage in installing Linux they will ( I’m yet to see a new system with P2P software installed, ”

    Eh? If I am to understand you correctly, have you missed every distro with Transmission installed as default? Infact I can’t think of a distro Ive reviewed where a BT client was not included as default. Maybe you could elaborate there? Do you mean something else?

    Quote “Why nobody wants to touch Linux with a ten foot pole is that it has a poisoned community that takes the fun out of every aspect of using the OS.”

    So the popularity of linux has not increased has it? lol.

    There is no poisoned community any more than Windows, otherwise I could call Windows users pirates since the majority of users on any given swarm are Windows users.

    In anycase, you are posting here under the impression that I want mass migration to Linux. Please read back (and Im sure you already have) Ive said repeatedly that I’d rather have Linux as a small market share better than being flooded with Windows users wanting to know why they can’t get the “spinny cube” working like they saw on Youtube.

    Market share does not dictate a good system. No single person or community opinion can be responsible for the reception of a tech…..look how many crimes have been facilitated by a Windows system, does that “harm” Windows?

    I’ll leave you to think about that and maybe return when you have actually read my previous comments.

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