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Monday, April 23, 2007

Bitter commentary in free software world

I've been long-time reader of Linux Watch, and its journalist Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (S.V.N).

He recently wrote a column, about Debian's latest release - new stable version, 4.0, codenamed Etch.

His comments, while harsh towards Debian Linux, are correct. He's mostly talking about decisions made by Debian developers in making this version, such as name changes for some applications, or flame wars led on developers mail lists.

But now, I've read comments by Debian developer Thaddeus H. Black, and some more by other journalist (can I say Debian-zealot? probably I can) Sam Varghese. These comments, while being probably correct by fact, sound like a bitter cry for me.

So, ok, Steve has very strong views and opinions about free/open software. But such comments are not adding anything to the issue. They seem to me, as like a developer being defensive and trying to justify and explain problems (nuances for my taste) in S.V.N's article, and
Sam Varghese article sound totally like disgruntled guy got offended by some "mistakes" and opinions. He's much more offensive in his articles, bashing everything not truly "open" with much persistence.

Some people don't get it, ain't? That's why combined, OpenSuse and Ubuntu have almost 5 times the rating of Debian, according to Distrowatch.

I don't really understand, why these people are so offended by personal choices of other people. If I decide to use non-free (in RMS sense of the free) software/product, it is like I'm being treated as heretic. It is like such a thing is a total abomination.

I think, all people should be more tolerant to each other and respect each other's opinions and decisions.

If S.V.N likes Ubuntu - let him. If I like Ubuntu let me. If I choose Gentoo let me.

So, just let me be with my fully functional system and I will let you do with yours, however incomplete it may be. I don't care if it is not "free" enough to you. It is free enough for me.

It is my choice after all.


Kevin said...

Hi Alex,
I'm someone who follows Debian, I too was taken aback by SVN's comments. But other DD's later commented that those are typical of him. He didn't take the time to get comments from anyone in Debian and used a few quotes out of context. We all know how FLOSS people will not answer emails about their project?! And how long it takes to get a reply to email?! Thaddeus as a long time member of Debian gave a calm reply to a rather harsh article. Facts are simply an email or irc away and we don't (mostly) bite :-)

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