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ESR responds to Ed Muth 65

Hygelac writes "ESR has written an article for Linux World dubbed "Halloween V". It's basically a reaction to Ed "The Sheriff of Nottingham" Muth's statements in a PCWeek article. Nothing earth shattering, but somebody had to do it, right? "
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ESR responds to Ed Muth

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The article by ERS was not bad, but publishing in in this way and attracting the attention of the mainstream press is just playing Ed Muth's game. Clearly it is ERS's intention for this response to be forwarded to the mainstream press.

    Responding to Muth's allegations just lends them credibility. Not responding helps everyone forget about Ed Muth and eventually about MS.

    The point is not whether or not this helps or hurts the case MS is trying to build up that Linux is competition. Linux *is* competition, serious competition, on several fronts. Trying to play a game of how this may be used in the trial is futile - the important thing is to use Linux and be proud of it, but not to apoligize for Linux in any way by responding point by point to such charges. Ed Muth can troll too - and that's exactly what he does for a living, with the help of MS "focus" groups to help him put out the best possible bait for suckers like ERS.

    Slightly off topic, but ERS's association with Apple doesn't help his image in the free software community. Apple is one of the worst offenders in abusing the legal system with bogus claims to software patents and intellectual property rights. Remember, these are the people who tried to claim an exclusive right to the concept of a graphical user interface, and who were themselves sued by Apple Records (Beatles) for using the Apple name without permission.

    The incessant focus on a few well-known personalities and on corporate involvement by the mainstream press is not what Linux is all about to me, and most current users. For us, Linux is a system we use at home and possibly at work as well. The press is caught up in the numbers game and seems to give Linux credibility only when it is endorsed by Fortune 500 companies - despite the fact that home users and small businesses have been using Linux for years in far greater numbers than these faceless corporations have.
    The corporate involvement is ok, but Linux is a system designed by a home user for home users. The fact that corporations have found Linux useful in their strategies is not central either to the ongoing success of Linux or our ability to use and enjoy it, but it can be a hazard.

    Only if fools like ERS allow us to lose sight of what is of most value and prosititue ourselves by adopting the standards of corporate America will Linux not succeed. Linux is right now on the verge of becoming a viable option for people who are not technical gurus and don't have corporate IT staffs to administer it for them - non-technical home users and small businesses. Not to mention schools and governments outside the USA that do have large pools of educated but underemployed professionals who can administer LInux. Corporate America's involvement is only a part of the picture, unless we make it so by prostituting ourselves to the almighty dollar.
  • That was a pretty scary picture of ESR.. If I was M$ I'd keep my distance from that fella..
    Skip
    --------------------
  • Oh come on, Ed Muth is easy to rebut. The Cult of the Dead Cow did a much better job in their Ed Muth rebuttal [cultdeadcow.com] (on an unrelated topic).
  • Well, at the company I work at this is definitely not true. I am not a member of the IT department, but there are basically 2 people who take care of all the Unix boxes, which out number NT boxes. There are at least 4 people that I know of that take care of the NT machines, and probably a couple more that I don't know. So, given this I would say the Unix boxes offer a better long term value than the NT boxes.

    It's the same where I work, except that instead of using NT and Unix, we use NT and VMS. We have one and a half VMS sysadmins (one fulltime guy and one guy that does a lot of other stuff as well as VMS) looking after our main production servers, and five people either looking after or learning to look after the NT servers - which are an armada of file and print servers, nothing mission critical, and thank god for that because they die all the time.

    And NT admins aren't cheap here in Australia, further weaking NT's claim to be cheap.

  • No.

    ESR ought to consider the negative impact of antics like these, rather than shooting from the hip. I still can't get over "Maid Tove" et al.

    Even the usual marketing suspects rarely sink so low. Maybe Eric could go to work for Apple.

    "Mac OS X -- runs way faster than those Bazaar operating systems, and comes in a spiffy case!"

    Feh.

  • I do enjoy reading RMS's opions. But I wish he try to remember that when he starts with things like "sheriff ED" that People look at him more as a linux zealot. He brings up very clear points and often hits the nail right on the head when It comes to FUD. Still unlike 2 years ago. The main stream press picks up his every word. They might reprint it more if He could sound more objective.

    Good rebuttle RMS.
  • RMS stands for Remittance Management System. I should proof read more. :4)
  • That was a much better piece than ESR's. Point by point refutation, no insults, a little bit of humor. People should read things like this and use them as guides for their own advocacy.


    --Phil (I quite enjoyed the comment, "This is the quote that wins the Ken Olsen Award.")
  • Do you agree that the Amiga and OS/2 had an extreme advantage over PC systems in EVERY way in 1988-1991? It was FUD press releases like those of Ed Muth's that got Microsoft into position stepping over its superior rivals - maybe you just weren't on the receiving end of that like I was. Go get 'em ESR!
  • All very well and good, and I don't have any nits to pick with the response. But enough with the "Halloween" titles already! It's starting to sound like the umpteenth sequel of a boring, predictable horror flick. (There probably is a horror flick called "Halloween [some Roman numerals]" out there already, in fact -- I just haven't seen it and have no desire to. Let's try to be more creative with our titles next time, eh? :-)
    -----
  • This gets on my wick too, and it's all too frequent.

    I guess it could mean "Loosen the ties on x so that it may run away", but it's far more likely that people just can't spell.

  • I second what jabbo said.

    It's hard enough to be taken seriously without regular injections of this sort of cornball D&D fantasy.

    thanks anyway

  • Erik's response was very childish.

    That's about all there is to say.
  • If you have Linux servers you have to offer a decent salary for a sysadmin with a brain.

    You can hire an MCSE (Must Consult Someone Experienced) for about $10K-$20K less a year, and gamble that he may not have to pay for support from MS.


    This may be true.. But you'll need quite a few MCSEs to run around rebooting all the NT machines, while the Linux sysadmin can do just about anything while sitting at his desk.
  • ESR Writes well. As long as he writes articles, he has my permission to throw his weight around as much as he has.


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • If you have Linux servers you have to offer a decent salary for a sysadmin with a brain.

    You can hire an MCSE (Must Consult Someone Experienced) for about $10K-$20K less a year, and gamble that he may not have to pay for support from MS.

    Or hell, just get some 16-year-old from Tek Systems.
    'You know how to double-click, right son?'
    :-)


    --
    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.

  • The New York Times says, "ESR is much better than Katz! I'm going to read him again and again!"
    -----
  • Those who claim that you can hire some 16 year old to admin NT have no clue as to what they are talking about.

    It takes alot more work to admin NT, both from an educational standpoint and a time standpoint. It is not just "point, click, and reboot".

    To properly admin NT, you need to understand the way Microsoft does things. You have to have the secret and arcane knowledge of registry hacks, incompatibilities, unfixed bugs, and the like. You have to be able to config and fix these things via the GUI interface in most cases or not at all.

    You also get to deal with "Master Browsers" (Which are assigned the same way the Medaeval Italians elected Popes), PDCs and BDCs and a whole host of weird concepts invented by Microsoft to fill MSCE classes.

    And it just gets worse with the Terminal Server version. There you get to deal with roaming profiles, apps that were never designed to be used multiuser, and a whole host of bugs.

    The idea that NT is easier to admin is just another lie. If you don't believe me, ask an NT admin.
  • You can hire an MCSE (Must Consult Someone Experienced) for about $10K-$20K less a year, and gamble that he may not have to pay for support from MS.

    Well, at the company I work at this is definitely not true. I am not a member of the IT department, but there are basically 2 people who take care of all the Unix boxes, which out number NT boxes. There are at least 4 people that I know of that take care of the NT machines, and probably a couple more that I don't know. So, given this I would say the Unix boxes offer a better long term value than the NT boxes.
  • The corporate involvement is ok, but Linux is a system designed by a home user for home users.

    I guess you could say that given that is how Linus started the whole thing, but I think it moved away from being designed for and by home users a couple years ago. I think a more accurate description is that from the Robinson essay referenced in the first post. Linux, GNU, XFree, and Open Source Projects in general are designed for users by users whether that user is a business or a home user. There are two things that happen first users have a need and write the code to fulfill that need by thenselves. The other way is where the user has the need but lacks the expertise to fulfill that need alone. The user then voices the need and often has it fulfilled by some one, especially if it is something that a lot of users might want. This is where the user is the designer, but some one else is the developer.



  • I agree.

    After months of silence out of Redmond, the themes of Microsoft's coming FUD campaign against Linux are beginning to emerge like a zombie army from the fetid mists of Redmond. And who should that black-armored, axe-wielding figure riding point be but our old friend Ed "Sheriff of Nottingham" Muth, apparently recovered from leading with his chin last time around and ready for another go at Linus and his Merry Men of Sherwood.

    Does he realize how ridiculous this sounds to anyone in the real world? Heck, even Wired authors aren't this strange.

    The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

  • There was another response posted on Linux Today here at http://www.netrinsics.com/Famous.html [netrinsics.com]..

    This one is a bit more thorough..

    Ben
  • Eric S Raymond has contributed much to open source, and I respect him for it. But he needs to soften his tone, seriously. Frankly, MOST of the Linux PR machine needs to soften its tone. The more that we try to demonize Microsoft, the more we look like a bunch of frothing lunatics. Let Microsoft commit market share suicide on its own.
  • This response is the kind of Linux advocacy that we need, much more than what Eric S Raymond did.

    Again, that web page is http://www.netrinsics.com/Famous.html [netrinsics.com].

  • Why?

    I hear people on /. saying "It's all about the code." all the time.

    But this isn't the code speaking for itself it's self-proclaimed Linux evangelists in a slanging match with Microsoft. This is just playing MS at their own game.

    To some extent Linux and OSS movement are based on personality cults so Linux needs personalities to rally around but does it really need zealots and self-proclaimed evangelists? No, only religions need those.
  • Absolutely. If you want Linux to be better than MS's offerings, make it better - don't waste time on slanging matches which produce nothing but entrenched positions and bad press.
  • ESR has a lot of goot things to say ... sometimes he's downright eloquent. I think he's right on with his dissection of Ed Muth's rhetoric.

    If I recall correctly, Ed Muth merely stated the standard MS rhetoric about the shortcomings of Linux. ESR replies by immediately resorting to insults and name calling. While I thought ESR's response to the Halloween document were insightful, lately his writting has really degenerated into the infantile. He has, apparently, shed his eloquence and any respect for the guise of infamy. Hardly the spokesperson that the Linux community requires.

  • ESR has a lot of goot things to say ... sometimes he's downright eloquent. I think he's right on with his dissection of Ed Muth's rhetoric. But I wonder why nobody seems to have any faith in his alliance with Apple and their "public source" bandwagoneering. I think it has more to do with Apple's reputation than ESR's, but ESR needs to watch out for stuff like this because it can have a detrimental effect on his reputation as an OS pundit.


    Apple has built quite a reputation for stringing developers along with promises of nifty hardware and superior operating systems, only to pull the rug out from under their users/developers at the last moment. I'm excited to see that they've joined the Open Software movement (at least in words, we'll see about deeds soon enough..). I'll be interested to watch what happens when people really start making changes to the Darwin code. Steve Jobs is a control freak of the highest order, and it makes me wonder how enthusiastic he really is about turning his baby over to the hordes.


    For ESR to associate himself with Jobs could work out badly in the long run when Jobs pulls one of his standard about-face maneuvers. OSSers will become disenfranchised not only with Apple but ESR because he lent his name to their cause.

  • asking that Ed guy if Linux is good is like asking Burger King if MacDonald's makes good hamburgers.

    By the way, I think it's funny that a guy called burger would own a fast food chain
  • Actually, a lot (most?) of M$ networking is still based upon IBM PC-LAN, which was designed much like the Token Ring topology as far as Master Browsers and such. This is, IMHO, Winbloze's biggest problem. They strapped a bloated GUI ontop of a 1985/6 peer-to-peer LAN and called it innovative! Oooh, please show me more....
  • I think it might be better to let MS dig it's own grave. The open software community need not lend a hand. Press releases like we have seen from MS are very calculated to bring desired "results". Those results being: The DoJ and (more importantly the John Q. Public), will eventually see Linux as a threat. If Linux vs MS articles appear long enough and generate enough press then MS campaign will have been successful. The outcome of that is: The general public has absolutely no idea of what Linux and open sourse is about, and won't anytime in the future, but they will lower thier anomosity towards MS.
  • ESR, encouraged by the huge attention the original 3 Haloween documents got (of which only one had anything to do with Haloween), has kept that title when talking about things completely unrelated to the leaked MS memos. Now we have two more which are simply childish word fights with Ed Muth's public statements. Is anyone else sick of the 'holy war' with MS this is turning out to be? For one thing, most MS developers are not bad people, they are just at the mercy of marketers and businessmen that put quality low on their list of important things. Forget about them.
  • I can spell - I know that it is spelled 'lose' and I had no alternate meaning in mind. It was just a typo that I overlooked. I'm actually an ok speller, believe it or not. If you want to know my opinion on typos (I understand perfectly if you don't) read a previous post of mine [slashdot.org].
  • If you have Linux servers you have to offer a decent salary for a sysadmin with a brain.

    You can hire an MCSE (Must Consult Someone Experienced) for about $10K-$20K less a year, and gamble that he may not have to pay for support from MS.

    Or hell, just get some 16-year-old from Tek Systems.
    'You know how to double-click, right son?'


    One of the big NT myths (or perhaps marketing lies) is that NT is cheaper to administer than UNIX. One of the reasons often stated for that is that NT admins are significantly cheaper and easier to find than UNIX admins. From what I've seen, it doesn't seem to be true, in general, NT admin salaries are only slightly below what UNIX admin salaries are. Secondly as others have pointed out, you need more administers for large NT installations than large UNIX installations for two reasons, first that UNIX is more reliable so it needs less administration, secondly because it generally takes 3 to 5 times the number of NT servers to replace UNIX servers, thirdly because NT's administration tools make remote administration and automating administration tasks with scripting more difficult than UNIX.

    I've also noticed that people who try to scrimp my hiring less qualified administrators pay more in the long run due to significantly higher vendor support bills. Microsoft also charges significant sums for access to technical information such as MSDN and TechNet, the analogs for UNIX of which are generally lower cost, if not outright free.

  • Well, at the company I work at this is definitely not true. I am not a member of the IT department, but there are basically 2 people who take care of all the Unix boxes, which out number NT boxes. There are at least 4 people that I know of that take care of the NT machines, and probably a couple more that I don't know. So, given this I would say the Unix boxes offer a better long term value than the NT boxes.

    I am a member of the IT department where I work. We have at least double the number of people maintaining NT servers as UNIX servers, despite the fact that all of our most important production systems are on UNIX and UNIX servers greatly outnumber NT servers at this point in the company (probably by hundreds). The same thing is true of Netware and OS/2 within the company, we have fewer people who maintain them than NT, and more boxes of each than NT. Of any server operating system we use, I'd have to say that NT offers the worst value, especially since it is the least reliable.

  • Well, for all the FUD that Microsoft is spreading about open-source tools, they should take a look at their own people. The MS Research Group has papers on their web site that were authored in TeX and stored in PS format. One of the researcher told me personally that Word sucks for writing technical papers.

    It's the hypocrisy that's funny - in a sick kind of way...
  • When I first read the Ed Muth interview, I was most struck by his statement that he didn't believe that the world's best programmers would give their best work away for free.

    I have two reactions to this:

    1) That code which I have written and released as open source WAS written for my employer while on the company clock.

    Why was my company willing to let me GPL code they paid me to write?

    Obvious!

    - We find Linux of value and the best way to ensure that it *remains* valuable is to pitch in and contribute to the effort.

    -The most effective way to debug *MY* code is to let as many hackers as possible beat it up to find the bugs and weaknesses (and send me fixes)! How can you beat that!

    2) What Ed Muth doesn't understand is that it's not 5 or 6 super-duper brilliant genius programmers giving away their work for free (although some of the worlds most brilliant programmers *are* involved in writing open source software). What it is is tens of thousands of reasonably competent programmers (with a few brilliant ones thrown into the mix) colaberating, finding each others bugs and working together to improve and expand the code.

    Microsoft remains blind to this in spite of how many times it has been publically explained in forums like this, and by organisations like opensource.org.

    This myopia on their part will be MS's ultimate undoing.
  • You forgot the $20 client access licenses to access an NT server. That gets expensive on a big network, especially considering that NT's inneficient use of resources and lack of scalability means you'll maybe need to pay that fee several times over for the extra NT boxes needed to do what one *nix box can do.
  • As the other comment points out, we might very well have printed Michael's story had he submitted it for publication. But it's certainly worth linking to. I'll put a link in Eric's piece.

    Bob

Truth is free, but information costs.

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