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GNU is Not Unix

Attacking Open Source 235

Paul Bristow writes: "John Taschek of ZDNET has written a superbly under-informed criticism of the entire open source movement, based on the fact that Mozilla isn't offically released yet. Look at the article here to see him completely ignore apache, the kernel, fetchmail, KDE/Gnome and all the other great open source projects that make the internet possible and livable in. " Remember: If you are going to e-mail them, or respond in here, respond in a calm, intelligent manner, refuting the points they make without flaming - we all represent the Open Source Community.
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Attacking Open Source

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  • What amazes me the most is that open source has gained so much momentum without showing any goods.

    Hmmmmm, let's see:
    • FreeBSD - Hotmail, Yahoo!...
    • Linux - 28% of Web servers
    • Apache - 60% of Web servers
    • Sendmail - no figures, but I'd guesstimate it's above 80% of mail servers
    • XFree86 - literally ALL Freenices...
    In two years, one of the more high-profile open-source projects - Mozilla.org - has released exactly zero legitimate copies of its browser.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Mozilla had serious problems in the start because nobody in Open Source community considered it "pure" enough. Mozilla is hence anything but "high-profile" Open Source project...

    Notes to John Taschek:
    1. get your head out of your arse
    2. return that fat cheque back to you-know-who
    3. research the Open Source movement and its "high-profile"projects
    4. publish an article on Open Source movement
    I can almost smell the Taschek's burning flesh from the flames coming :D
  • by Jacques Chester ( 151652 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:19AM (#1098134)
    Hello all;

    An article of this sort generally falls into the category of "punditry". The gentleman in question probably had a deadline and was a few hundred words short of a real article.

    The solution in these cases is to put on one's pundit hat and literally pull a story out of one's [CENSORED]. Symptoms of such stories include:

    • Lack of Substance - Such stories have no real point - or - what point they do have is unoriginal and no new or compelling evidence or arguments are presented.
    • Lack of Depth - I think we can see that here. The fixation on Mozilla to the exclusion of other (highly successful) projects means that either he did not know about, or would not acknowledge such successes.
    • Lack of Supporting Evidence - no links, no quotes, no references to "authorities" (usually ESR), no statistics, no research. Just pure spout.

    What should be your reaction, O Gentle Reader? Ignore it. As others have pointed out, ZDNet will soon learn that anti-OSS/Freedomware stories = /. effect = page impressions = dollars.

    People who receive attention tend to repeat the attention-getting action. It's just one of those things :)

    be well.

    --
    "Don't declare a revolution unless you are prepared to be guillotined." - Anon.

  • I don't know if i'd call free "earth shattering".. it's only free if you have the time and bandwidth to download it, though it's certainly cheaper in stores than other OSes (usually anyway.. the corel package was in the $90 range last time i was at best buy).. and open source isn't really earth shattering either, since the only difference it makes to Average Joe User is that it's harder to get some programs running since he (Joe) has to figure out how to compile it first.

    Now if it were free (and commonly available in a free state), open source, easy to use, and had at least a reasonable chance of being capable of utilizing all the resources of a typical off-the-shelf PC, That would be 'earth shattering'.. but i guess 1.5 out of 4 is better than none.
    Dreamweaver
  • I actually removed Linux from my work machine, because the guys kept calling me a "Linux zealot" and an "open source fantic".

    And which middle school did you say you worked at? It's a shame peer pressure is so bad there; I hope you manage to stick up for yourself better when they start pushing drugs.

    What other things of merit do you avoid because the Roseanne Barr fans of the world don't understand or enjoy them? There's a wonderful world out there which exists outside of the commercial, least common denominator, predigested pap which snags the biggest wedge of the marketing pie charts.

    I don't think Linux, for example is for everyone, or even for a large minority everyone, and it will be years before it is. But is that any reason for those of us who are more comfortable with computers and more demanding of our software to avoid using it today? And if among those users are a vocal minority of easily excitable immature zealots, should you hate them so much to avoid using the same software they do? Keep in mind that every operating system (including Windows), political or religious belief system, country, state, race, etc. has a similar gang of loud idiots who can make the whole group look bad if you're foolish enough to pay attention to them.

    People can remove Linux for good reason, too. It might be too difficult, it might not run software you need, it might not work with hardware or peripherals you have. "The people at work are picking on me" is not a good reason; it suggests you need to find a new job, not a new OS.
  • This is the usual troll-fare which ZDNet spews out all the time. Remember that one of their star columnists is Jesse Berst whose article "You could get fired for using Linux" was one of the classic FUD pieces of recent years.

    I think ZDNet does this sort of thing intentionally just to get people to their site so they can demonstrate traffic to their advertisers. Journalistic integrity be hanged! If you can't draw people to your site by saying intelligent and knowledgable things, then surely you can get them there by spewing out inflamatory misinformation which is guaranteed to draw flames.

  • Chill out, Wah. Okay, so you were rejected again. This still isn't the place to get your message out.

    Well, we all know slashdot sucks, so get it posted on kuro5hin or something. Actually, its a good article, so if you don't, I will. But I'd rather you did, since you have that nifty "Retort". :)
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • It might be more productive to send John your comments, rather than post them to that useless ZD talkback page.

    Email: John_Taschek@zd.com

    Copy to:
    pankaj_chowdhry@zd.com
    henry_baltazar@zd.com

    See the following DejaNews article:
    www.deja.com/=dnc/[ST_rn=ps]/getdoc.xp?AN=487122 708
  • Another thing Open Source developers don't do is buy full page ads in ZDnet rags to pay your salary! Bummer!

    I find I can work in Linux all day and get everything I need to done. Generate a report? LaTeX has better output than any WYSWYG word processor I've ever seen. Browse the web? Netscape or Mozilla do a pretty good job. I've even been playing with XML recently with Mozilla. Dynamically generate web pages with headlines from a multitude of sources? That's why God made Perl. Serve those web pages? Apache does a fine job. Route E-Mail? Nearly every E-Mail you get likely went through Sendmail, though with ZDnet obviously being a Microsoft shop most of your internal stuff probably goes through an outlook server with half the capacity at three times the price.

    I've got spelling checkers and graphics programs and a GUI environment that Windows users drool over. I've got a system that I can leave on all the time because I never have to worry about it crashing.

    And I've got a system that will run amazingly fast on Merced when it comes out. Due to what SGI and IBM are doing to Linux to prepare it for Merced, I had to upgrade my Merced expectations from "underwhelmed" to "You know, this could be big." I'd originally failed to take into account the prospect of Linux on Merced. Where's your 64 bit Windows now, Mr. Taschek? Microsoft did it once and it was a horrible flop. Do you think they'll do better on Merced? I don't. Especially with them bleeding employees whose options are now worthless and who are very concerned about a possible impending breakup of Microsoft.

  • Most of us know how important some of the Open Source projects are to the health and well being of the internet. But the average user isn't interested.

    An real world analogy would be roads (the internet) and vehicles(individul PCs). I have very little real knowledge about what make a good road. I don't have the education to know how to slope the curves or the right combinations of materials to use. All that I know is that some roads are more annoying to drive on than others. Most people don't know how the internet works, they just know that some parts are slower than others.

    While I know the basics of how engines work, I wouldn't be able to tell you any details about the one in my car. I know how far I can drive before filling up with gas and how much it would cost me. Similarly, most people don't know the internal working of the computers, but they do know how many and which programs that they can run on it.

    To extend this futher. I do know the audio system in my car pretty well and am always willing to upgrade it. This would be analogous to the applications that people use on their computers.

    So, to sum up this entire analogy. While advancements in road and auto construction are very important and exciting to the engineers, they don't generate the same excitement in the end users. They are more interested in getting higher quality music out of their stereo system.

    To apply this to the computer world. Many of us here get excited when an improvement is made to the items that run the internet and individul computers. But to the average users, they could care less. They are more concerned with the applications.

    If the Open Source community wants to win more of the non-Geek type people to their cause, then they are going to have to create more car steroes. Rehashing the same old agruments are just going to fall on deaf ears.
  • The real truth is that open source just IS.
    I mean, we wrap it up, put licenses on it, talk about how it will change the world, and try to push it on people.. but in the end, it's here because it's been here for a long time.. it's here because, to a certain segment of the computing community, it's how things should be done. It's here because of poeple who like to share.
    So. Companies can complain, journalists can complain, they can all say how Open-Source is a 'dead end' idea.. but the fact is, it's been here longer than these commercial companies have.

  • > why would ZD, a free market or for profit company, hire a reporter who is of such obviously low caliber and who writes such poorly researched articles.

    Because unemployment is way low, and anyone with the first clue about IT already has a real job.

    When the current economic bubble pops, this guy will be back to sacking groceries or pumping gas, which he may actually be qualified for.

    --
  • yeah - some here think that a large flaming pile of dung icon would be better ;-)
  • After reading this article, I'd have to come to two conclusions:

    1. This article was designed in order to generate traffic and earn revenue.

    2. The guy that wrote it has never ventured past the Microsoft environment.

    I've been on both sides of the fences- NT administration and *NIX administration, and have seen this opinion expressed a million times by the Microsoft guys. They'll see you working at the command line, somehow associate it with DOS, and then jump to the conclusion that since NT is "better" than DOS, NT is also better than whatever command line you're working at. I couldn't tell you how many time I've heard "No GUI? It must suck then." or "Windows 2000 can do it." When you start thinking from the perspective that most NT guys are _amazed_ that Windows 2000 has an ftp and telnet server, you start to understand how this article was written. Apache doesn't have some huge chunky GUI to configure it (a few good ones though), so a large majority of uninformed people tend to think IIS is superior. This pretty much applies to all open-sourced software that is considered standard by the *NIX people- they don't see any pretty login screens so they assume theirs is better. Note the _only_ software he gave any props to was mozilla- which happens to be a nice, graphical app.
  • ads3.zdnet.com
    since there is a number in the ads i sugest enter it * for junkbuster or more numbers for /etc/hosts
  • by IO ERROR ( 128968 ) <error.ioerror@us> on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @04:47AM (#1098147) Homepage Journal
    Somebody's gotta respond to this troll. I don't have any mod points so I guess it's my turn.

    OK, I'm sick of /.ers assuming that everyone who reads /. must be some kind of American, white, male Linux user without a life.

    I am a white, male, American, Linux user. And I have a life. I know there are others on /. who have different attributes, either they're not white, or not male, or not American. You aren't a Linux user.

    And as the title says, "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters". There's nothing about open source in there at all.

    So what matters to you? How come you haven't submitted any stories about it? I occasionally submit a story I think people on here will be interested in. And I maybe read 1/3 or less of the articles that do get posted. Not everything on here is going to appeal to everybody. The idea is you can choose what you're interested in!

    I do not represent the open source community. I do not run Linux. In fact, I was curious about it before I came here, but a year's worth of zealotry and bigoted postings have pretty much put me off of ever running Linux at all. Why should I associate myself with such a narrow-minded group of people? Trust me, zealots do nothing but put people off. Linux could do without them, and /. certainly could.

    If you were curious about Linux, /. is the wrong place to go. Nobody here knows anything about Linux. :) All joking aside, there are lots of compelling reasons to take a good hard look at Linux besides the zealots, trolls, and OOG THE CAVEMAN.

    • It's a rapidly developing yet stable Unix-like platform easily competitive with Windows NT (2000).
    • It runs on cheap commodity PC (and Macintosh, and lots of other) hardware like the box that you're probably using right now.
    • You don't have to reboot every time you change a setting or install some software.
    • The graphic user interfaces are a lot nicer than Windows.
    • You can actually get work done with it.
    • It pours 48% hotter grits down your pants than Windows.
    That said, there are a few reasons you might not want to use it exclusively: for instance, incomplete hardware support for such things a nVIDIA cards, incomplete applications and file format support for such things as MS Office documents. But these things are being worked on with all deliberate speed.

    So if you want to be ahead of the game when Linux emerges as a REAL market force, and have no doubt that it will (yeah, I'm one of the zealots, I guess), then you'd do well to learn your way around it now.

    In fact, I'm sick of every single "open source" project getting a whole story here with every release, even when it's 2.999a 0.6pre3 or some other incomprehensible version number.

    I think you're confusing /. with freshmeat.net [freshmeat.net].

    This isn't a hardware site is it?

    Yes and no. Sure there's a place for hardware. But there's also a place for: (take your pick) The Almighty Buck, AMD, Amiga, Announcements, America Online, Apache, Apple, Be, Beanies, BSD, Bugs, Caldera, CDA, Censorship, Christmas Cheer, Comdex, Compaq, Corel, Debian, Digital, Department of Justice, Education, Encryption, Enlightenment, ePlus, Games, The Gimp, GNOME, GNU is Not Unix, GNUStep, Graphics, Hardware, It's funny. Laugh., IBM, Internet Explorer, Intel, The Internet, Java, KDE, Links, Linux, Linux Business, Linuxcare, Linux Mandrake, The Media, Microsoft, Movies, Mozilla, Music, Netscape, News, Patents, Perl, PalmPilot, Privacy, Programming, Quake, Quickies, Red Hat Software, Science, Silicon Graphics, Slashdot.org, Space, Spam, Star Wars Prequels, Sun Microsystems, SuSE, Technology, Toys, Transmeta, Television, Unix, Upgrades, United States, VA, Wine, and X. So if you don't like what you see, quit whining and submit a story [slashdot.org].
    ---

  • I think that's exactly what the author had in mind -- the ESR line that opening the source of an already popular proprietary product will increase profitability. If you limit the discussion to that issue, then BIND, Apache, Linux, sendmail and all the other success stories cease to be relevant and you're left with Mozilla, which, as you've noted, is the poster child of "Open Source".

    Personally, I think that in five years when the smoke has cleared, it'll turn out that it was Apple that really understood what "Open Source" is and is not good for. (Keep the parts that really matter to you, but allow the hackers to carry your flag into areas you wouldn't have gone on your own.)
  • As a _desktop_ operating system, Linux has improved quite a lot since the release of Red Hat Linux 5.0 some years ago, but the lack of true equivalents of ACPI Plug and Play and DirectX (though you can get around that with OpenGL), plus somewhat iffy printer support still indicates that Linux has still a ways to go.

    Yeah. I definitely have a hard time typing into XEmacs or StarOffice without DirectX. :-P

    ITYM "gaming operating system."

    --

  • John Taschek's comments are pretty brutal given the wide exposure ZDNet gets, but not unexpected from a journalist whose job forces him to be a generalist. Taschek probably would have little idea of where to go to get open source software to address a given need. Moreover, it would not be his first choice anyway.

    What this speaks to is not the availability of "the goods", but how well the average person perceives them to be available (and anyone who writes an article such as Tashek's can be lumped into the average, at least where open source is concerned). This is not to attack Tashek (although personally I wish someone would), but to suggest that if open source wants to attract his kind of casual user, the inherent "promotion" from the community should be different.

    How desirable that is I will leave up to this capable community of users, developers, and admins. I just wish that Tashek in his rush to get in a (weak-ass) submission would think about the damage he is doing. If his article was factual, we could take his words as a peer issuing a healthy challenge, but instead they just do damage by distorting facts.

    -L
  • Ever stop to think that maybe Linux zealots make up the larger part of their userbase?

    Excuse me, but make that Linux users not zealots. I like to think (hope) that most people here are not zealots. Unfortunately, zealots tend to talk louder than the rest of us, so their numbers seem overrepresented. (Not to mention trolls playing the zealot.)

    Personally, I think zealotry in an OS is pretty damn sad. There is a lot more to life than what set of bits you put in your computer.

    To the guy who originated this thread, I'd like to say: don't let the idiots put you off. If you are in this industry, you owe it to yourself to try Linux, not because it is "better", or even because it is going to "win", but because stretching yourself technologically is the key to long term success. Using just one system is stagnation. (And that goes for all you guys who've never used anything but Linux as well. Learn windows even if you never intend to do much with it. Seeing another approach, even a poor approach, is a learning experience.)

  • If that's not marketer-speak, I dunno what is.

    --
  • Don't blame the author for wanting to uphold the status quo. Open source is a relatively new paradigm in a world full of old, tire, and worn out paradigms. He fears open source, and so does a majority of people that write about or make purchasing decisions in IT. They feel that if they don't pay huge amounts of money for a broken product with pretty packaging in a shrink wrapped box that they are being ripped off, and aren't getting value for their money.
  • Nothing helps boost a falling Internet stock like being at the receiving end of the /. effect every once in a while.

    "Hmmm...the stock price is dropping like a stone. Better write a clueless article to piss off the open source crowd."

    A short while later...

    "Wow, would you look at all the irate geeks. The stock just recovered another 5 points! Good job John!"

    Really, whose cause are we helping by flocking to sites which write such tripe. We should elect one or two individuals to set them straight and not inflate their "eyeball" count, any more than necessary.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hm. dunno about IBM. Seems they are too often overlooked as a source of good open source software. Ever hear of alphaWorks [ibm.com]? What a huge cache of high-quality software, much of which is open source. (And as far as OS licenses go, the IBM public license seems to be a very nice and clean one.)
  • Nope, it's "bad". In fact, it's evil. Why?

    Well, for something that's supposed to be so gosh-darned "Intuitive", why wasn't it designed right the first time?

    If I close a program, it goes away. Why would it still be there?

    If I drag a file to the trash, it's gone, waiting to be deleted perhaps. If I drag a disk to the trash, it isn't deleted at all! In fact, it spits at me!

    ...and god forbid if you try to eject something and the Mac wants it back later.

    (How do you confuse a Mac? Take its CD out and put a different one in... (infinite loop, always asking for the *other* CD...))
    ---
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu].
  • Is it just me, or does that entire article just seem like a taunt? I mean, there's no actual meat to that article. It doesn't have any real point to make. It just comes across as an elaborate way of saying "You suck!", then the author stands back and watches what happens. If 3 people agree with him or thousands get out the flamethrowers, zdnet is raking in the revenue, because its anti-opensource and it appeared on slashdot.

    As it has been said before, There are MANY MANY successful open source "products" that are in use today, and have been in use for several years now. Some of which, such as sendmail, predate even the earliest version of windows.

    As for the hype factor, the difference between open source and every other dot-com company that hopes to rake in an obscene amount of money in an IPO, is that most of the time, open source projects are not started with such delusions of grandure. Nobody spends $200 million to hype the latest release of the linux kernel. For the most part, open source projects are focused solely for those that might find them useful and if nobody else is interested, the authors probably couldn't care less. Hype isn't even a factor.

    Face it.. Its just a taunt. Please react appropriately.

    -Restil

  • This guy Taschen asserts that "AOL tapped an abundance of good programmers who did all the work for free." However, the majority of the progarammers were Netscape employees, being payed explicitly for working on Mozilla. Of course, AOL owns Netscape, and has for a substantial part of the time that Mozilla has been in development. So AOL in fact paid employees to develop Mozilla, and kept the project open-source at the same time.

  • The article is clearly written with one purpose only: to troll as much of hits and replies as possible.

    Do not give it those, it should not be awarded - it's that much purposely lacking in insight.
  • I am in the process of writing an official response to one of ZDNet's "Leave Microsoft alone" articles. As I believe that ZDNet is doing this to gather eyeballs, I would like to propose that slashdotters stay away from ZDNet for a period of 2 weeks.

    There are 2 possible outcomes. Slashdotters don't add up to a significant number of hits on ZDNet, and the boycott is ignored, or ZDNet takes some minor damage because we don't visit.

    HOpefully, either way we get what I would refer to as "responsible journalism, and not the amateurish dribble that I constantly find when referred to ZDNet articles.

    Well, lizards can be mean...
  • There is a wierd tone in this article; the author confuses the development/maturation of the open source movement , (which is a myriad of software licenses centered around distribution arrangments, and modification of the original software), with the development of a single open sourced project, Mozilla.

    There are several large scale open sourced projects which are/have been key to the internets growth and development.

    Just to back up my projects statment from above...

    Apache
    .*BSD
    Linux
    Sendmail

    There are THOUSANDS of other projects (gnome, php, mysql) which are all variants of open source which have PUT up.

    The article may not be worth your time.
  • When I first read this article, I thought, "this guy is just trying to create a little steam.." and it made me angry. Open source has been one the most revolutionary and liberal computer policies of all time. I never post, but I feel strongly about this one.. I am a journalist, and this article seemed like poor journalism to me. I respect the opinions of everybody, but he uses references that make no sense.. such as open source being "all hype and speculation and no fundamentals" What sort of fundamentals is he referring to? He is trash talking the movement yet he has no physical evidence of any harm that open-source has caused. (Not to mention the fact that he avoids sobjects such as the beauty of Apache and how crappy the internet would be without it) And what sort of goods is he looking for? He never actually states... I think he is referring to profit.. sure open-source software isn't the best when it comes to economics, but it is a very forward way of thinking.
    Viva la GNU!
  • Sourceforge [sourceforge.net]: 4081 Projects and 25264 reg users
    FreshMeat [freshmeat.net]: ~10'000 entries (ok, not all open source)
    google search on "open source": ~100'000 hits (linux ~800'000, windows 95/98/2000/NT ~800'000)

    definitively insignificant!!
  • yea, sorry. numb (a.k.a G27) already slapped me down. Just got a bit excited. I'll be patient now....it's over here too... [wahcentral.net]
    --
  • Nah, he'll read the emails. Expect an article in a week or so about all the rabid Linux people with emails saying, "Hey you stinking pile of shit. You better take it back or I'll beat your fucking ass." ZD does this a couple times a year, and without fail, it works.
  • Not if you're using a nice ad remover within squid. Wroks perfectly :)
    But remember to turn it off for Slashdot ;)
  • A girl named Michael ?
    Are you sure your not a big fat transvestite that can't get laid either ?

    This is what happens when you start giving people iMacs. I'm guessing tangerine.

  • Its even worse when someone who should know what their talking about starts knocking open source:

    Gorden Bell, President of QNX [rebol.cz]had this to say when quizzed about open-sorce kernel code:

    "Open-source kernel code may have its advantages, but, for the majority of e-devices, it's the wrong model," said Bell.

    "Rather than burden embedded teams with the time-consuming - and expensive - task of modifying and maintaining kernel code, we offer a more productive approach: an OS architecture that can be extended using application-level tools and developers. It's friendlier, faster, more cost-effective - and much more reliable."

    Hmm, bad move lets assume ALL developers haven't the skills to hack the kernel and produce something productive...way to go QNX!
  • The article is about "open source." RMS and GNU are about free software.
  • I just submitted it there. I think I messed it up though, vote for the second one. Thanks.
    --
  • This is from zdnet.com:

    HTTP/1.1 302 Found
    Date: Tue, 02 May 2000 16:24:03 GMT
    Server: Apache/1.3.12 (Unix)
    Location: http://www.zdnet.com/
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1
    Connection: close

    --

  • > since there is a number in the ads i sugest enter it * for junkbuster or more numbers for /etc/hosts

    Kind of like Usenet trolls and spammers, who keep adding different numbers to their name in hopes of avoiding the killfiles, eh?

    --
  • ZDNet [netcraft.com] runs Netscape on Solaris while PCWeek [netcraft.com] runs Apache on Solaris. The article was originally posted on PCWeek.

  • I don't think he knows what he is talking about. He says that it is clear that Linux has a future, in one sentance and then the very next sentance he mentions that open source is strugling. Isn't Linux one of the biggest open source project of them all? I know that Redhat distributes only open source stuff on there ftp site and that consists of kde and gnome, windowmaker, enlightenment, sawmill, and afterstep. What about XFree86? That is also open source. Last time I checked I had the source to it. That is probably bigger than the Linux kernel. What is this guyt trying to say? There are a number of open source project that are doing fine and more people will gravitate to them because they realize that it is a model that works. If you are buying a program, you shoudl be allowed to get the source code to it too, and not have to pay extra. If you find a bug you can debug it if you know what you are doing. That is why open source works.

    I am an open source developer and I realize that it does not always work, on some projects, but the important ones do work. Having used Linux for several years now, I have noticed that it has only gotten better and easier to do things with.

    send flames > /dev/null

  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @05:03AM (#1098186)
    In the Slashdot parody, Suckdot, the leading headline was "Linux possibly defamed somewhere." More and more I'm realizing how dead on that parody was. Somebody says something misinformed or critical of Open Source or Linux (or more and more, the Athlon or GeForce), and raving lunatics get all bent out of shape. Yikes. I've been through two bad computer scenes--the Amiga and the Mac--and this is just as idiotic.
  • > As others have pointed out, ZDNet will soon learn that anti-OSS/Freedomware stories = /. effect = page impressions = dollars.

    Jesse Berst has known it for a long time. And he's even smarter than this guy - he writes anti-OSS on one column and pro-OSS in the next, just to make sure the flamers on both sides keep coming back.

    I wonder if these guys aren't being paid by the click?


    --
  • Clearly a one-sided view. It's mostly re-hashing what was said 2-4 years ago. Beyond things like Apache and Linux, there are the old-timers like Sendmail and Named. Then there's UNIX itself.

    SUN-OS came from BSD, which was an effective open-source movement (as opposed to a free-software movement). Back then, just about everybody who used unix had source. I remember seeing patches for everything from Filesystem bugs to chsh.
    The reason why UNIX got so good was that the USERS were able to fix bugs without having to wait for AT&T to get around to it with their handfull of programmers. Then AT&T folded it into systems III and V. Once AT&T broke (up) out of it's monopoly straight-jacket, they moved UNIX into a more and more closed-source space and the UNIX universe kinda stagnated until GNU created the space for LINUX to step in and re-ignit the open source base of UNIX.
    --

  • by kwsNI ( 133721 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:26AM (#1098193) Homepage
    Unfortunately, you're not too far off of the mark. The media has learned that honest, well thought-out reporting doesn't always get as many readers as controversial, uninformed dribble as long as that dribble is about something that the media's consumers want to hear about.

    It was kind of like the interview with Jon Benet Ramsey's mother on TV a few weeks ago. All of the ads show the reporter asking if she killed her daughter. Right, like she's been denying it to the police for the last 2 years but she's going to break down and admit it in front of 12 million people on international TV. So why did they play it? Because people want it.

    The only thing I can say is, I hope that most people that are interested in Open Source would be a little bit more intelligent than to trust a ZDNET article. But then again, maybe people are more gullible than I thought.

    Anyone that believes that ZDNET article, I have a nice list of e-mail addresses to sell you ;)

    kwsNI

  • OK, so make it "free, open source and popular"...
  • Didn't everyone read the section headline? Rumors and Comment. Obviously this is uninformed drivel, but that's OK -- it's just ZDNet giving the uninformed their say.

    He works for PC Week [pcweek.com] -- of course he's going to be afraid of the Free Software movement, because it promises to set PC's free. PC Week's bread and butter is M$ crap -- they need Microsoft so they can continue to publish their "1001 Ways To Reboot Your Computer" articles.

    darren


    Cthulhu for President! [cthulhu.org]
  • Most of these effects are because of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, not fungi. Fungi may serve to nourish plants in some cases, but not necessarily by providing nitrogenous compounds.

    OK, we're veering a little OT here. Yes, it is bacteria that fix nitrogen. I got this little tidbit from a lecture by a fungus expert some years ago, though: fungi play an important role in transporting nitrogen through the soil in temperate forests.

    Projects like sendmail, apache, bind, et al, are beneficial in certain applications, but are not indespensible, like the fungi. The Internet was functional long before opensource, linux, or other ABM-wank-of-the-week and will have descendents which will survive long after their demise.

    Of course the Internet existed before bind and sendmail, but I'd argue that without them today, it'd be more of a curiosity.

  • One of the talkbacks suggested a retraction due to cluelessness on the author's part. An editor appended a note to the talkback saying that it was just a commentary, not an article, so it was OK if the author hadn't done his research.

    I found that lame excuse more offensive than the original article it was trying to cover for.

    --
  • > All of which Slashdot has used before in their stories.

    I suspect that most /. readers realize that.

    Still, /. brings up topics long before I would have heard of them otherwise (e.g., I knew about the MP3 revolution well before my friends who follow the music industry did).

    Also, the discussions can be very educational by bringing up facts and pointing out spin that I might not be aware of otherwise.

    I find it very annoying to go to a mainstream news site such as abcnews.go.com, seeing a story that is obviously bullshit, and not being able to post a reply pointing that fact out to anyone who might not already know it. Similarly, I always wonder as I read the stories there, "What bullshit or misrepresentation of the facts is here that I am not aware of?"

    On /., contrary to the whingers' claims, you get a lot of diverse opinions on almost every story you read. And a lot of inside info, too (e.g., physicists replying to the cosmology stories, Jeremy replying to the Samba topics, etc.).

    So no, I don't get all of my news here, but I do feel like /. is a key information source for what's going on in the IT world.

    --
  • by GhostCoder ( 108387 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @08:38AM (#1098206)

    He just doesn't know it. He probably thinks he's written a provocative article to generate flame and hits, but (without reading the article intensely) I think he's right.

    Open Source has created good products, but it has yet to complete "The Project." And "The Project" is not necessarily a single product.

    Linux (feel free to substitute *BSD in this argument, or any other OS) has been in development for 10+ years. It gained fringe popularity 5+ years ago, and has achieved cult popularity in the last 2 years. There are thousands of developers working on Open Source projects for Linux in addition to Linux itself. However Linux still hasn't released a product capable of competing with Microsoft Windows on all levels. And I'm not talking about Windoes interoperability. I'm talking about ease of use, features for dummies, consistency among apps, and interoperability among other Linux systems. Linux is an incomplete piece of software. It's functional beta (very functional).

    Sure, linux competes quite well on the server side as far as pure performance, but all over Linux is lacking. Linux is still a long way from competing in the desktop world.

    Look at the article here to see him completely ignore apache, the kernel, fetchmail, KDE/Gnome and all the other great open source projects that make the internet possible and livable in. - Paul Bristow

    Livable, yes..but comfortable? For all?

    It's clear that Linux has a future and that it's still attracting smart people. Open source, on the other hand, appears to be struggling. The reason is simple: People gravitate toward products, and open source is not geared to create but to critique. It's best at tearing apart the establishment because it consists of underappreciated programmers who suddenly have a voice. - John Taschek

    This might be the most insightful (+1) paragraph in the whole article. "Open source is not geared to create but critique" I think that phrase is half right. Open source is geared to create...but the people in Open Source are geared to critique. The fragmentation in Linux is amazing, instead of helping to improve an existing WM people would rather write their own. I'm surprised everyone has settled on one Web Server. "It's best at tearing apart the establishment..." The establishment, I believe, is more than just Wintel or Proprietary software. The establishment is anything that's "established." The problem with having a bunch of hacker type people working on Open Source is that you get the individuality and righteous indignation of hackers. "I can do it better" or "my way is better."

    Now, granted, not all projects suffer this problem. Gimp, from what I've seen, appears to a very nice image manipulation program. Well done. But come on, BeOS managed to eclipse you all with a well-polished desktop OS in only a handful of years.

    Can Open Source beat Microsoft? I think so. Will it do it anytime soon? Probably not. But it's definately not going to do it with the current Open Source mindset.

    And you should all fear the capitalistic involvement with Open Source. Because if you think the lone wolf, righteous indignation of hackers is bad, then you haven't seen just what capitalism can do. All your precious Linux companies will be releasing competing apps, all vying for the title of best Linux company. APT, PKG, etc.. Want to see what I'm talking about? Just imagine what would happen if Microsoft decided to Embrace and Extend Linux. Released their own distribution then started slowly moving everyone to their apps, then slowly changing the playing field. Like the frog in a pot that doesn't realize the water is getting hot until he's cooked. Now once you've got that image in your head then realize that your Linux comapnie are already doing that.

    In closing I would like to say that I do not "represent the Open Source Community" (Hemos). In fact I'm a former Microsoft employee. I left my job 2 months ago, because I wanted to do something different, and for no other reason. I've watched the Open Source Community, and have even participated in select OSS projects. What I have written does not apply to all OSS projects, by far, there are some that are very effective and are not plagued by such problems, but I see a trend, and it's based int he same religious OS war that makes you hate Microsoft with a passion.

    Collaborate, cooperate, and create.

    -Joe

  • Check out his link. This is funny, cute, useful, and innovative, all at the same time.

    I'm downloading it the minute I get home.

    --
  • by xant ( 99438 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @09:06AM (#1098215) Homepage
    After all, Slashdot will report on the retraction as well. More hits, more ad revenue, no journalistic credibility lost. (There's nowhere to go but up anyway.)

    This is the kind of irrensponsible journalism that has led to the mantra "We're just giving the public what they want" in traditional media. The argument being that people WANT to see crime and death and human misery, since that's what they seem to be watching. The truth is, people watch it because a) they're not given any choice, and b) they feel socially and morally obligated to watch it. We live in a society where it can be embarrassing to not know what's going on in the news, while everyone else is talking about it. We also feel the need to know what the "dangers" of the real world are so we can protect our loved ones from them - the dangers having been generated and hyped by the media.

    My point is, this is the same kind of thing. /.ers feel socially and morally obligated to read this troll article so they can intelligently and accurately flame them for being such asses. They know it, so they're capitalizing on it. We feel a need to protect our "community" so we read about the "danger" facing it--namely Irresponsible Journalism.

    If I didn't believe that people (like Carnage4Life) were intelligent enough to see through most of this BS, this might be enough to make me reconsider my position on the 1st Amendment. Fortunately, I think we're all smart enough that the ass who wrote the original piece isn't demagogue enough to actually sway anyone's opinions.

  • it's only free if you have the time and bandwidth to download it, though it's certainly cheaper in stores than other OSes (usually anyway.. the corel package was in the $90 range last time i was at best buy)

    The beauty is: you buy it once and can legally make copies and install it on hundred of computers without having to pay multiple license fees.

    and open source isn't really earth shattering either, since the only difference it makes to Average Joe User is that it's harder to get some programs running since he (Joe) has to figure out how to compile it first.

    He doesn't have to compile, that's what binary RPM and DEB packages are for. And while the open source may not be directly beneficial to the average user, it is important for companies or government agencies who want real security, and for anyone developing software: if a system call behaves differently than you thought it would, you can always look at the source.

  • Computer programs started out open sourced. but now there is a closed source program too: windows, which shows that all closed source programs are instable, and are written by corporations lacking even the will to follow laws.

    Bah.. I'm no good writing Taschek style, I can't make the statements above last more than 3 pages..

    //rdj
  • by dlc ( 41988 ) <dlc@sevenr o o t . org> on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:34AM (#1098221) Homepage

    As cynical as this sounds, this article was probably written specifically to get our (collective) goat. Pretty soon the site is going to be slashdotted, and most of you are going to read the Talk Backs and probably enter some of your own. Every single one of these page views is 2 banner ads they push out there! This is all about ad revenue, folks! They have to know that this article is flamebait -- the author may work for PC Week, but ZDNet is not stupid -- but flamebait draws flames, and each flame is half a dozen banner ads.

    Whatever you do, view these pages with images off. Don't give them the satisfaction of the ad revenue.

    darren


    Cthulhu for President! [cthulhu.org]
  • Well, running XEmacs and StarOffice doesn't really require the equivalent of DirectX in Linux. (smile)

    However, if you're talking games with full 3-D graphics and EAX or Aureal 2.0/3.0 surround support, well, we're not quite there yet. The Linux programmers are aware of this and in fact I believe a project to develop the Linux equivalent of DirectX is well underway.
  • If a few idiots can turn you off from using a new product that may or may not be great when then does that say of you?

    I've been a slashdotter for over a year and a half. I suppose that I'm not nearly as Old Skool as some of the rest here but with the exception of the Katz Articles, I think that Rob and Hemos are doing a great job. They provide a place where people from our community can come together and share our thoughts.

    If you don't like news about open source projects, if you don't like news about new hardware, I think that I can recommend a few news pages for you. zdnet.com or cnn.com should be more like what you're looking for.

    I (and many more like me) come to slashdot because we can have some great debates. Even though I may disagree with the other parties, I can at least have a discussion that is more profound than "Do you think that Callista Flockheart is too skinny?"

    It is your desire to see /. dumbed down just to expand the user base? Just to get more eyes on the ads? Well I'm sure that if Rob and Hemos did that, sure Andover could make more money, at least for a short while. It would kill /. however, it would no longer be the /. that we know and love.

    Let me tell you the story of two musicians. Mc. Hammer and Vanilla Ice, both were hugely popular. Both made fantastic sums of money. Now neither of them could sell out a public bathroom for a concert. Why? Because they lost the respect of the people who put them on top.

    That's exactly what would happen to /. if you had you way.

    If you don't want to try linux because you're afraid. Fine. If you don't want to try linux because your current OS serves all of your needs. Fine. Don't blame anyone else for your decision not to try something new.

    LK
  • by Gord ( 23773 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @05:20AM (#1098240) Homepage
    Now that Mozilla has a 'only accept images from originating server' option you can easily browse without ads.

    Ho, ho, how ironic.
  • The "editor" that looked the story over was John Tsacheck (whatever). He's the editor of PCWeek. The magazine that ran the benchmarketing tests to prove that the Mindcraft tests were valid.
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:36AM (#1098248) Homepage
    OK, I'm sick of /.ers assuming that everyone who reads /. must be some kind of American, white, male Linux user without a life.

    True. However, if you think that the Open-Source community is composed entirely of while male Linux users without lives, you're as prejudiced as you claim other Slashdotters are.

    I do not represent the open source community. I do not run Linux. In fact, I was curious about it before I came here, but a year's worth of zealotry and bigoted postings have pretty much put me off of ever running Linux at all. Why should I associate myself with such a narrow-minded group of people? Trust me, zealots do nothing but put people off. Linux could do without them, and /. certainly could.

    A question: what do you run? I'm sure I could find zealots for any OS you could possibly be running, even Windows. You're right, they don't do any good for a community. But they exist in all communities.

    In fact, I'm sick of every single "open source" project getting a whole story here with every release, even when it's 2.999a 0.6pre3 or some other incomprehensible version number.

    No need to be overdramatic. A quick look at Freshmeat will tell you that what you said simply is not the case; where was Slashdot when the Bubbling Load Monitor 1.0 was released?

    The fact is, Slashdot tries to cover releases of the most important software to the Open-Source community (Linux, *BSD, Apache, etc). And occasionally if a piece of software looks interesting they'll throw that one in too, to get the word out. What's the matter with that?

    And I'm sick of every third article being about graphics cards. So what about YAGCB (Yet Another Graphics Card Benchmark)? This isn't a hardware site is it?

    Not entirely, but hardware is a part of it. As is software. As are most other aspects of computing. And graphics cards are in fact important to the Slashdot community; a community is best served by its journals if they contain things which are important to the community at large. Most Slashdotters run some kind of "alternative" OS, whatever that OS may be, and we've never had good graphics card support in any of these. So it's important to know what's going on.

    In short, /. is not just for Linux, and people should try and remember that otherwise they will just alienate a large proportion of their user base, and *gasp* lose advertising money. And that's what'll hurt them.

    You're correct. However, Linux is a part of Slashdot, and a rather large and important one. Perhaps you don't like it, but that's what the article filters are for. Use them if you don't like what Slashdot has to say.
  • You misunderstand QNX. They are not saying that users of QNX couldn't hack the kernel, (if they made source avaiable) they are saying that they have better things to do.

    I run FreeBSD at home. I have the source on my system. I don't hack the kernel. It isn't that I couldn't do so, its that I have better things to do with my time. I'd rather play mandolin (sort of cross between 12 string guitar and violin, but much older then guitar) then play with kernels.

  • by darkbabbit ( 172002 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:38AM (#1098253)
    There is an underabundance of open source products that the general public would care about.

    Netscape 6 is the first product to come out that the general public would care about and the author was clearly not impressed by it.

    Instead of attacking Open Source bashers with the same old arguments, prehaps the Open Source community should re-examine its priorities and posistions.

    There are people out there who are not seeing the benefits of Open Source code as there hasn't been sufficient code written that would interest them. Most of the code to date has been written by Geeks for Geeks. This was fine until the Open Source community started pushing Open Source as THE WAY to publish software. Suddenly, non-Geeks started taking interest. But as most of the software is being written for Geeks, most non-Geeks only see an absence of software that would help them with their computing tasks.

  • This article summarizes all the reasons why I get all my 'net news right here at /. - because of spin, media pressure, sensationalism, etc... Sites like this are no better or different than television news shows. They are after ratings (hits) to please their sponsors (banner ads).

    The only groovy thing I can say that ZDNet has had its hands in lately is Computer Stew [thesync.com].

    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @04:01AM (#1098257) Homepage Journal
    Looks like they're duping us left and right with this baiting and FUD. :) Because, notice that they do not ever publish a retraction to something like this unless it is legally inaccurate or slanderous. If its inciteful yet within the bounds of the law, it doesn't matter if it's truth or a blatant lie.

    Don't feel too bad about this; it's like letting a troll get your goat (troll? goat? Err, never mind).

    A lot of times, the better trolls (like the Mindcraft study) uncover useful things to work on. Even if they don't, Free software cannot be damaged the way commercial software is by FUD. The typical FUD tactic is scare away customers, scare away investors, then revenues and capital flees and the product shrivels up and blows away. Free software doesn't work that way; as long as somebody with the requisite skills finds some tiny piece of a project useful, it will survive. You can slay a dragon with a sword, but not a slime-mold. While public battles noisily rage on, free software continues to qutiely creep into a million dark corners from which it can never be entirely eradicated, and from any one of which it can erupt with uncontrollable exponential growth.

    In this context, there is no bad publicity. Even this kind of blatant troll serves the cause. I wish ZDNet and every other news organization on the planet published one of these every day. Nothing would suit me better than if the public were absolutely saturated with this kind of swill.

    There's a Hindu story about a man who didn't believe in God. Every day he went about his business, he constantly said to himself "There is no God". When he died, he was surprised to find he was instantly united with God. Why? Because every waking moment of his life he thought about God.

    To write in hot prose that something doesn't amount to much is to deny your words by your actions.

  • By "bad" I don't mean "bad system," I mean "bad vibes." There was so much advocacy among Amiga and Mac owners that I just couldn't stand it. In both cases, there was a degeneration into "let's try to beat the PC!" which dragged everyone into the much and slime. Every game had to try to outdo some PC game. Every app had to try to outdo some PC app. In the end, the underdog system came out looking like a wannabe.
  • I don't know if i'd call free "earth shattering".. it's only free if you have the time and bandwidth to download it,

    This months issue of Maximum LINUX enclosed a 2 CD set of LINUX & Mandrake. The magazine was about five bucks, making the CD's a give-away. We are not likely to see PCWeek enclose a copy of DOS2000 anytime soon, are we?

    .. and open source isn't really earth shattering either, since the only difference it makes to Average Joe User is that it's harder to get some programs running since he (Joe) has to figure out how to compile it first.

    The advantage to Joe User is that the code has been subjected to peer review. I have not read a single line of code (yet) from BASH, KDE, StarOffice, or even the LINUX kernel, but I have the comfort of knowing that hundreds of geeks have. Bugs get found and squished very promptly once you get enough monkeys in front of typewriters. With Windows, Joe must place his faith in the QA team and Beta testers... and wait for the next Service Pack.

  • > I expect something a bit more than "Open source is dumb because you can't make money off it."

    It's almost enough to make a guy wonder how much MSFT he owned before the bottom fell out.

    --
  • Morons like you thanks ;) need to learn that a MAINFRAME is not a PC. Linux and Unix are not TOY OPERATING SYSTEMS, they require INTELLIGENCE from the user

    ..and the vast majority of GNU/Linux installations are compiled on which mainframe architecture? Or did you mean to slag off about 9 in every ten /. readers?

    can you show me a multi-terabyte 24x7 rock-solid Access application running on a PC ?

    ..24*7*365*10 rock-solid Anything application running on a zero-redundancy microprocessor-based architecture...

    snide comment about sysadmins, you reveal your own inadequacy

    or my long memory

    CPU cycles are a PRIVELIGE, not a RIGHT, and that privelege must be EARNED

    Your point being that I go to work all week, EARN money, save that money for a year, spend that money on a computer, on software for that computer, and on the resources I need to keep my knowledge up to date, and then i STILL need to earn, er, what exactly? Or does this only apply to machines bought with my tax money rather than the bit I'm allowed to keep?

    Unix centric ... idiotic non-CS attitude

    Let's not get into the One True System thing again, please? Or I'll be forced into another rant about the joys of Multics or how much i miss playing with a 3090, and that can get VERY boring VERY fast. By the way, don't CS courses teach you how caps lock works anymore?.

    I long for a return to the days where a glass wall separated the competant from the idiots, where machine time was granted to people who NEEDED it, rather than simply wanted it.

    another name for you. Ted Nelson. A little out of fashion perhaps, but clearly mightily relevant.

    Feeling old and grouchy now...
    TomV

  • In two years, one of the more high-profile open-source projects--Mozilla.org--has released exactly zero legitimate copies of its browser.

    Maybe true, but at least they've been able to stay more-or-less on schedule [mozilla.org] with development.

    In fact, the best parts of Netscape 6 have nothing to do with openness. The most important part of the browser is not its unique blue interface. It's AOL's obvious attempt to tie in the browser to a bunch of for-profit proprietary services.

    Huh? This guy apparently never heard of NGLayout [mozilla.org] (which, unfortunately, AOL's marketing people keep calling gecko [mozilla.org]).

    But open-source advocates should face the facts: Put up some goods or your establishment will be ripped apart, too.

    This is so obviously a troll that I am beginning to think we should apply /. moderation to ZDNet.
    ---

  • Yes, in theory /. isn't a Linux site. But really, what would a non-Linux/BSD user find of interest here? Perhaps the science stories, but that's about it. So why do you read /.? I'm not attacking you -- I'm just genuinely curious.
  • Proprietary Software is (so far) a closed road to nowhere
    by Bero, Red Hat [redhat.com]


    Richard M. Stallman, the closest thing GNU has to a cult hero, calls Microsoft Windows a disruptive technology.


    Microsoft Windows is not a disruptive technology. It's a wannabe operating system, and OSes aren't a thread to anyone - and if they were, it surely wouldn't be a good thing. Richard apparently is referring to the proprietary software movement and the sea change behind Microsoft products that has made them unsettling to more than one or two OS vendors.


    What amazes me most is that proprietary software has gained so much momentum without showing any goods. It's a dot-com--all-hype and speculation and no fundamentals. It's like an onion in a bushel of apples. Someone might notice that it looks and tastes different, but peel away its layers, and there's nothing there.


    In several years, one of the more high-profile proprietary software projects at its time - Microsoft Bob - has released exactly zero used copies of its interface. It won't be until Microsoft throws a copy into open source that anything usable will be released. And the result is a product that might have some good but not earth-shattering.


    In fact, the best parts of Microsoft Bob have nothing to do with proprietaryness. The most important part of Microsoft Bob is that it runs on Windows - it's Microsoft's obvious attempt to tie in the product to a bunch of for-profit wannabe OS products.


    Although Microsoft has had incredible stock market valuations at one time, it's very much down to earth right now. This means that they'll quickly have to expand beyond valuations centered on Windows.


    Microsoft took the bait, creating MSN, an online service that, while fairly bad, had not much to do with Windows. Perhaps Microsoft needed to add another color to its spectrum. Maybe it will next buy AT&T to flesh out its all-American offerings.


    It's clear that Windows has a future and that it's still attracting dumb people. Proprietary Software, on the other hand, appears to be struggling.


    The reason is simple: People gravitate toward products, and proprietary software is not geared to create but to make money at the cost of freedom, stability and usability. It's best at tearing apart the establishment because it locks out valuable programmers who might want to improve the products.


    But proprietary software advocates should face the facts: Put up some goods or your establishment will be ripped apart, too.


    Are you a proprietary software advocate, or do you just not care? Let me know with the "Reply" button below.

  • *BSD, most of the important Unix tools (thanks to GNU), Perl,

    To be fair, it should be noted that GNU were busy developing and distributing software long before ESR coined the term "Open Source", as were many other groups. Perl similarly developed essentially independantly of the modern, primarily advocate-driven "Open Source" movement. It is likewise true that Mozilla, the "Open Source" flagship, has been floundering on the rocks for a significant period of time.

    I guess we should note that the typical Linux distribution has very little code developed by the "Open Source" (i.e. post-ESR) movement, and lots developed by other groups.

  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:06AM (#1098291) Homepage
    Write a stupid story, you get thousands of hits from Slashdot, boosting the figures you give to advertisers. If advertisers pay per click rather than per view this won't work though.

    ZDNET ought to have custom advertising for stories such as this, advertising which is aimed at the Slashdot hordes.
  • by panum ( 161455 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:08AM (#1098295)
    Sometimes columnists do just that. They write an article and put lots of provocative senences there in order to stir up a (fiercy?) discussion. After all, journalists feel happy if their products make people to react somehow.

    I remember when the local newspaper had a column which sugested that fattening foods should carry extra taxes just like booze and cigarettes. The reasoning was, overweightness causes lots of diseases and is expensive to society in form of sick leaves and so on. You can guess the readers were not amused about the idea. But the columnist was rewarded - he (she? can't recall) made the readers to talk about the column in homes, offices and schools. Not bad.

    -P
  • I don't know what's more disturbing, that ZDNet published a steaming pile of dung like that... or that Slashdot is driving traffic, and therefore ad revenue to ZDNet.

    Looks like they're duping us left and right with this baiting and FUD. :) Because, notice that they do not ever publish a retraction to something like this unless it is legally inaccurate or slanderous. If its inciteful yet within the bounds of the law, it doesn't matter if it's truth or a blatant lie.

    It draws the eyeballs. Thank you, Yellow Journalism [k12.mn.us]!
  • This is the same Stallman who thinks that Linux should be called GNU/Linux but that all of the other contributors (e.g. MIT/X, BSD, etc) should be ignored in the naming?

    Let's not try to take the moral high-ground by quoting Stallman; it's always a bad plan.
  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:09AM (#1098303) Homepage Journal
    From the last paragraph of the article:
    But open-source advocates should face the facts: Put up some goods or your establishment will be ripped apart, too.
    Are you an open-source advocate, or do you just not care? Let me know in the talkback below.


    ZDNet writes articles like this every once in a while that are blatantly false simply to generate traffic and comments (if you don't believe me look at the size of the Talkback and compare to other stories on ZDNet). To put it simply, there is no way that a reporter that is employed as a technical writer for a tech magazine cannot know of the successes of Open Source. Apache, *BSD, most of the important Unix tools (thanks to GNU), Perl, etc cannot be completely unknown to this writer or whoever he bothered to ask while researching this article. I wouldn't waste my time responding to this obvious troll either by posting to ZDNet or bothering to send him an email.

  • A study by ... erm... PBS, I think, found that middle school aged children trust advertising more than news for exactly that reason. The advertisers have a clear agenda, so you can correct for that, whilst double talking adults (at least that's my recollection) had so many agendas that it was impossible to separate spin from fact. I suspect that's why so few people watch the news or read newspapers these days

    Johan
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:09AM (#1098307)
    Come on /. editors! You'd think that from yesterday's 10 page article by RMS [slashdot.org] you'd have learned to sort out Free Software from plane ole Open Source. Slashdot needs to take an active role in promoting the difference -- at the very least by using the appropriate label in a headline!
  • by RayChuang ( 10181 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @06:02AM (#1098309)
    The commentary on ZD Net tells me I should make some comments on the current state of Linux.

    As a _server_ operating system, Linux works great for workgroup to departmental data server and also as a small Web server. However, what I do find interesting is that many of the machines that run corporate-scale databases, major e-commerce sites (note I said _major_ e-commerce sites) and web portals run either Sun Solaris, IBM OS/390 or AIX, or FreeBSD. Hopefully, the upcoming Linux 2.4.x kernel will allow very-large-scale data transactions and this will allow Linux servers to run large-scale e-commerce sites (something on the scale of things like the big online bookstores).

    As a _desktop_ operating system, Linux has improved quite a lot since the release of Red Hat Linux 5.0 some years ago, but the lack of true equivalents of ACPI Plug and Play and DirectX (though you can get around that with OpenGL), plus somewhat iffy printer support still indicates that Linux has still a ways to go. Hopefully, once these issues are resolved within the next 24 months, Linux will finally be a viable operating system even for first-time computer buyers, with ease of support for hardware changes as a customer upgrades the computer.
  • It's like an onion in a bushel of apples. Someone might notice that it looks and tastes different, but peel away its layers, and there's nothing there.
    ...therefore, onions don't exist. It was all a collective misidentification. Go back to your apples.

    -- The Apple Growers Almanac

    (...now... if we could figure out how to put banner adds on each layer of the onion and get them to peel away each layer... yea... we'd be on to something...)

  • For years, ZD has observed that the only way they can get large groups of people to be active on their site is to post flame-bait. Every two months or so, Jesse Berst or one of the other trolls will post a "story" about how the Apple iBook looks "girlie" or that the Macintosh is doomed to disappear. Within hours, hundreds of Mac zealots swoop in to speak up for their beloved platform.

    Lately, the Macintosh community has woken up to this tactic, posting stories at places like LowEndMac warning about ZD's trolling. The next step was obvious: Find another loyal, tight-knit community on the net and flame them. Open source is a ripe target. In a couple months, I'm sure it will be a story about Red Hat being "beleagured", complete with FUD about all LINUX distro's in general.

  • I actually agree with you here, even though I run Linux as my main OS, I also run Windows 98 and Windows 2000.

    There are many things wrong with slashdot - namely the large number of people from the US who think their law is the world's law (storie about UK email thingy yesterday, Russian lyrics site).

    There are also many good things about slashdot, a general alround summary of what is happening in the world of technology, well Linux technology :)

    However, I suggest you read the article, you may not like Linux, and I do suggest you try it, just once even, not everyone is a zealot. The article referred to here is not the sort of thing that is not good for open source in general, it is very narrow minded and badly-informed, or else is just flaimbait.

  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:46AM (#1098316) Homepage

    I see a rather large smoking gun at the scene of the crime....

    ZDNet is running from.... an Apache Webserver.

  • The "earth shattering" part is that it's free and open-source. These two qualities are what made Unix win agains all the other OSes in the 1970ies (even though it was almost free only for universities).
  • by ubi ( 23702 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:12AM (#1098333) Homepage
    I'm an engineer that works in Italy, but I also often write on magazines (favoutite topic: Linux!); consequently, I know various journalists and reporters.
    The thing is, there is a large number of them (should I say "us"?) who are requested to write on any subject without actually knowing anything about it, or just because they think they know enough. But I see that this is a common plague for all topics, not just computing... I do not consider Italian press to be valid, but I suppose this situation may occur in other countries.
  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:13AM (#1098335)
    How clever, never thought they'd post an April Fools article on the 30th of the month instead of the 1st.

    numb
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... we all represent the Open Source Community

    No we don't

    OK, I'm sick of /.ers assuming that everyone who reads /. must be some kind of American, white, male Linux user without a life. This may have been true way back in the distant past, but nowadays /. has grown and all different kinds of people read it. And as the title says, "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters". There's nothing about open source in there at all. Read it if you don't believe me.

    I do not represent the open source community. I do not run Linux. In fact, I was curious about it before I came here, but a year's worth of zealotry and bigoted postings have pretty much put me off of ever running Linux at all. Why should I associate myself with such a narrow-minded group of people? Trust me, zealots do nothing but put people off. Linux could do without them, and /. certainly could.

    In fact, I'm sick of every single "open source" project getting a whole story here with every release, even when it's 2.999a 0.6pre3 or some other incomprehensible version number. And I'm sick of every third article being about graphics cards. So what about YAGCB (Yet Another Graphics Card Benchmark)? This isn't a hardware site is it?

    In short, /. is not just for Linux, and people should try and remember that otherwise they will just alienate a large proportion of their user base, and *gasp* lose advertising money. And that's what'll hurt them.

  • Yeah, ZD is full of it. Whenever I start randomly getting one of their magazines for free (for some reason they give you partial subscriptions and then ask if you want to continue them), it goes right into the paper recycling without a second thought. :>

  • by Weerdo ( 24976 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:16AM (#1098341)
    The main difference between Mozilla and Sendmail, MySQL, Apache is that Mozilla IS high profile and is a testcase for the non-geeks (a.k.a stockbuyers) if the Open Source idea works...

    That column is a reflection of the outer world (and especially stock buyers) that open source for them doesn't work!

    Geeks and stockbuyers have different priorities..

  • I'm sure you've received many responses on your attack piece on Open Source software where you likened Mozilla's development cycle with all of Open Source software. I'm sure you've been reminded by a number of people of the successes of Open Source software like Apache, Free BSD Unix, Sendmail, Perl, and many others. I'm also pretty sure that in your self righteous way you managed to ignore those criticisms and still think that you were correct about this whole open source thing. I'm not going to bother to correct you on your misconceptions. I'm just going to tell you that I have a free subscription to PCWeek. A magazine of which you are the editor. I thought I detected an anti-Linux bias, and now I'm sure that with an editor like you the magazine could not remain objective regarding my favorite server operating system. I'm going to cancel my subscription to PCWeek and ignore any more of your Op Ed pieces. You have no credibility and obviously don't research your articles. Please educate yourself so that you don't embarrass yourself further. Andy Glover
  • Who cares what zdnet thinks? Or anyone else, for that matter? Good press, bad press, what's the fuss? Life goes on.

    I submit that mainstream press articles - positive or negative - containing no new or useful information need not be reported here any longer. They are, in effect, simply meta-trolls. We've heard it all before, and none of it makes any difference.

    Take two Valium and send me email tomorrow.

  • by Tower ( 37395 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @04:40AM (#1098353)
    I can't speak for anyone else here, but I'm sorry that you have been put off Linux or anything by "a year's worth of zealotry and bigoted postings". I'm not saying that you should use Linux - use whatever works for you. I run NT on one computer, 98 on another, and Linux on another box (and AIX at work). They all have their purposes, are useful for different tasks, and have advantages and disadvantages. You should try things for yourself, and see what you think. If you don't like linux, I personally don't care - it doesn't have any affect on my wallet, and I am not personally offended. There are zealots of every kind no matter where you are, both on the net and in real life. I've seen sites of MS zealots, BSD zealots, Linux zealots, nVidia zealots, 3Dfx zealots - whatever. Make up your mind for yourself based on the merits of a product, not what complete strangers claim they know.

    You seem to still visit /. even though you claim to be dissapointed with it. Why is that? You obviously see some worth in it, or at least enjoy it as entertainment.

    Whether or not you represent the open-source community, that has been much of the focus of /. since its inception - the site started with justa few people and their interests, and has grown significantly. The scope of the site has grown wider over time as a more diverse group has come to play, but there are some things that take a long time to change, and many people would rather that they don't.

    The majority of the projects that are announced here are usually fairly important, though there have been some things I've seen that made me say, "huh? How'd that get on here?" Of course, I say that about a lot of reposted stories that aren't open-source related (see: Dropsquad or Furby Autopsy).

    Remember - the only way to make change here is to submit stories that you think are of interest, and to comment on the ones we have. You can vote with your words or your silence.

    I don't let zealots bother me any more than Barney, the Teletubbies, the WB, or other inane behavior. Think for yourself.
  • > MS went Bankrupt?!?!

    No, I think it only dropped by 40% or so.

    --
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @04:40AM (#1098357) Homepage Journal
    How about pond scum?

    Seriously, I hope nobody takes offense. I have a tin ear for metaphor. I actually think things like molds, fungi, bacteria and the like are rather interesting.

    Actually fungi would have been a better metaphor. Without the invisible threads of soil fungus, trees would not be able to fix nitrogen and would be tiny and stunted. Free software plays the same kind of role on the Internet, not only popping up here in there in a visible and noticeable mushrooms, but projects like sendmail, apache, and bind quietly make the visible successes of the Internet possible.

  • Remember: If you are going to e-mail them, or respond in there, respond in a calm, intelligent manner, refuting the points they make without flaming - we all represent the Open Source Community.

    This IS Slashdot right ? Zealot central ? Well then why should we be "calm & intelligent" ? Everyone knows that the open source "community" has a "robust" approach to this kind of thing. I would suggest that instead of lying down and taking this crap and being polite, its time we let off steam. Hell ZD are NEVER going to change their opinion of us. And we SURE AS HELL DON'T CARE WHAT ZD thinks of us.

    Maybe this is where we start to reclaim Linux and Open Source for the elite nerds, and get it away from all this hype and marketing BS.

    By responding politely to ZD you give them a credibility they scarcely warrent.

    Flame them to oblivion. They are a bunch of clueless Windoze & Micro$haft supporters who don't "get it" and never will.

    Please do not censor yourself on behalf of these FUD-spreading misinformers.

    And as a zealots site, I would expect the editorial to reflect the zealous nature of the community it serves, and not advocate the non-flaming approach, when the flaming approach is equally as (in)effective, but so much more fun and in keeping with the elite spirit of Unix and Unix derivatve hackers.

    thank you

  • by StanSmith ( 100966 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2000 @03:18AM (#1098364) Homepage
    "we all represent the Open Source Community."

    No, some of represent the free software movement. Didn't anyone *read* the Stallman interview?

  • This article was on Linuxtoday.com yesterday. There were 29 comments when I read it.

    The overall opinion was that it wasn't worth reading. A ton of people posted that they didn't read it after the first paragraph and the rest posted that they read it but wished they hadn't because the guy was so dumb.

    aparently he's the same fellow who didn't apply the security patches in the hack the box contest between windows and linux. (it was too complicated to download them from redhat.com if you will remember.)

    I say the people at linuxtoday are right.

    this article is such obvious flame bait.

    everyone knows zdnet sucks.

    move along. nothing to see here.

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