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FortKnox's Journal: The (Open Source) Tables Are Turning? 10

Journal by FortKnox
Are the tables turning?
Are people understanding the difference between advocating an ideal vs being a fanatic zealot?

I point you to Michael's Kneejerk Reaction Article. Michael puts on the table a very fanatical reply to O'Reilly's comments. And, as an additional whammy, he puts all his ideas in the article, instead of a post (when it was clearly written as if it was a post).

Well, the Slashdot crowd replied with a very awkward reply. They thrashed michael. It wasn't that it was just a zealotous attack against O'Reilly, but it was misinformed, and the community saw right through it.

Looking at most of the comments, it points to all the follies that michael assumed. I found some replies were a little too violent, but most were concise and had the right facts in it.

I, at first, thought this was just an example of "shashdot think" swinging against the flow, but now I'm starting to think that the "Open Source" crowd is mostly advocates that have a solid head on their shoulders. Its the Linux crowd that is full of zealots. Don't get me wrong. There are a TON of Linux advocates that think clearly and see both sides of issues, its just that there are also so many zealots that destroy the reputation of the rest.

Anyone sick of my advocate/zealot schpeels? I can start to limit them to only "when I can't help but comment on them". ;-)
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The (Open Source) Tables Are Turning?

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  • I don't follow your distinction between Linux and Open Source zealots.

    I think it's more this -- requiring the use of free software by the government is such an utterly stupid idea that even the most rabid Slashbot doesn't buy it.

    1) It involves redefining "freedom" and "choice" in ways that would make RMS cringe.

    2) For almost all of us, the role of government IT is to help the government run at its best, not to serve as a captive userbase for Linux and OpenOffice.
  • by sulli (195030)
    I think the idea of requiring the gov't (or anyone else!) to buy anything but the best product for the price is just moronic. O'Reilly is right, Michael is wrong. And the comments seem to mostly agree with me.
  • ...we see right through the gibber-speak.
  • Everyone reading your journal knows that. If it weren't for the fact that most of the yro stuff is posted by him, I would have long ago blocked this ass.

    I have a feeling that change you've witnessed on slashdot and elsewhere is because the kiddies aren't around. First, it's summer, so they don't have lots of spare time at school to screw around on Slashdot. Second, they just aren't as interested in Linux any more. It's no longer new, cool, Gen X-Y vs. Boomers, etc. Time for a new trend.

    What's left are the people who appreciate Linux and OSS for what they are: cheap, reliable, efficient.

  • While I agree that Michael may be a bit off in his assessment, I think the critical thing here that all of us agree upon is that the government should be using the best software for the job.

    Mandating Microsoft-only software for the government is as ludicrous as mandating Open Source software. Both show critical lapse in thinking that many American's and citizens of other countries have had to suffer with for decades!

    Hopefully, as more clued people get in office, things will change.

    Understand, that right now the software used in most government is not "the right software for the job", and that many governments will need to audit themselves to see where their information software actually does live up to their needs, but most likely, it currently doesn't and dispite issues like these that are suppose to make things beter, such an undertaking will take a looooong time to bear fruit, if it ever bears fruit at all. Don't expect these audits to happen anytime soon. I, and many of you, I'm sure, have seen many examples of government inertia before...sometimes change, especially in governments is painful and must be forced. I hope this won't be one of those situations, but I have my doubts.

    At the risk of disapointing many of I will present my thoughts on the subject which may seem like Microsoft bashing...it isn't....totally...

    I feel the use of MS Office in government is way more widespread than it needs to be. I have no problems with MS Office in the workplace, but when you are a civil organization, you should try to do more to get the word out to your constituents than providing your documents solely in Microsoft Word form. I've seen many a government website where they do exactly that, however, when even HTML versions of those selfsame documents would be sufficient!

    So while I do see Michael's point (government can't get stuck in Microsoft's platform trap if they can't use Microsoft in the first place), and his intent (providing the citizen with services not tied to the well being of any specific corporation) I can't agree with his wording, and what I've provided you above is my standpoint on this issue and mine alone.

    Just another data point. :-)

    • What's really funny is that our space program buys its equipment from the lowest bidder, but the rest of the government buys its software from the highest...

      Yeah, its unfair that I made such a broad generalization in that last statement, but its just to make a point.

      I'm not arguing that Open Source is, or is not, the best choice. Just that michael was arguing with someone who said "we shouldn't force ANYTHING onto the government".
      • "I'm not arguing that Open Source is, or is not, the best choice. Just that Michael was arguing with someone who said 'we shouldn't force ANYTHING onto the government.'"
        We can both agree there, and I think it deserves repeating. :D
    • Beautifully written Cliff! We should spend more time expecting that software/hardware vendors make the items usable instead of picking something because it's the hot technology at the time.
    • Bravo, Cliff!

      One more reason you are my favorite Slashdot editor...

If what they've been doing hasn't solved the problem, tell them to do something else. -- Gerald Weinberg, "The Secrets of Consulting"

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