01.26.08

Quick Mention: Rebuttal to Stereotypes and Name-calling

Posted in BSD, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is truly a distraction, but it’s worth a quick mention. A few days ago we mentioned the "Microsoft Hater" label and its purpose. There is a good rebuttal that shames such a classification system.

Classifying people is even more dangerous. The best and the worst have tried and failed. Classifying people has been one of the core evils in human history. It has been used as an excuse to murder, deport, mutilate, enslave, exile and torture people throughout time. It’s what I’ve been calling “labeling” all the time.

One of the people who cannot restrain himself to venture in this field is Bruce Byfield, who is an excellent technical writer by the way. And he’d better restrict himself to this field, because his talents on other fields are – let’s say – limited. In one of his most recent articles, he tries to classify the FOSS community and consequently fails. I can easily find myself in several categories, which means the classification itself is of little use.

Yes, I do object to Microsofts business practices, which means that according to Bruce I must “hate Microsoft”. No, I do not hate Microsoft, because that’s an emotion. I merely think that the industry would be better off if its influence would deminish. That’s an opinion based on valid arguments, which is by any measure a significant difference. I do use proprietary software from time to time because there is no other way to fulfill my needs. Which makes me a “mainstream advocate”. And yes, I find $150 for an Operating System an outrageous high price, which makes me a “bargain hunter”. On the other hand, I maintain several FOSS projects, so I’m an “Open Source developer” as well.

We received feedback from a reader who urged us not to carry on with those 'civil wars'. He also shared insights on apparent attempts to fracture the free software world (BSD and GPL) by creating unnecessary hostilities (infighting).

“It’s akin to situation where criticism is dismissed as being “sexist”, “racist” or “prejudiced””It is important to remember that those who expose criminal activities are not “zealots”. They are not “paranoid”, either. If they are “haters”, it’s because they hate crime; they don’t hate companies. It’s easy — and very convenient to accused companies –to confuse the two things and claim that hate is directed at companies rather than companies’ acts. It’s akin to situation where criticism is dismissed as being “sexist”, “racist” or “prejudiced”.

Three levels of an intelligent discussion are said to involve: 1) ideas (ideology); 2) events (actions); and 3) people (ad hominem against a company or an individual). We concentrate on (1) and (2) by showing evidence, as in (2), and then relating it to (1). There is nothing wrong with this.

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