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12.24.08

It’s Not a “Crusade”

Posted in Apple, Google, Interview, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An above-the-average-Joe shrewdly dismisses critics with words

ZONKER, THE community manager/leader of the OpenSUSE project has offered some disrespectful characterisations for those who highlight the issues OpenSUSE faces due to Microsoft/Novell. He uses words like “tin-foil” and “crusade”. We saw this one particular word, “crusader”, used very recently and it’s not the first time that criticism is dismissed by Zonker (or the OpenSUSE crowd) just like that.

In this new interview with Henry Kingman, a good question was raised, backed by links to actual (and factual) evidence:

…DesktopLinux collared Community Manager Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier for perspective about what it all means. Enjoy . . . !

[...]

Q4 — That reminds me to ask about the criticism Novell has taken in the past for its partnership with Microsoft. Specifically, Groklaw looked at Microsoft’s Patent Pledge for Individual Contributors to openSUSE.org and a couple of other documents, and concluded that Microsoft might be angling, through patent leverage, to get exclusive usage rights to work contributed to OpenSUSE.

A4 — I don’t want to dismiss people’s concerns. Nor do I wish to endorse them too deeply, however. With some of the criticism out there — we’re talking tin-foil hat time.

With regard to the Microsoft deal, there was some legitimate concern initially. But, we’re two years in, and it’s had no ill effect on the free software community at all. By now, I would hope that if specific contributors were deeply concerned, they would have moved on to contribute somewhere else, rather than making it into a personal crusade.

So with all due respect to Mr. Brockmeier, just as we don’t characterise Novell’s alliance with Microsoft as a “crusade” against the spirit of Free software or a “tin-foil”-like fear of Freedom, it would only be reasonable to discuss the points raised, and politely. Zonker totally ignored the observation made in the question, which specifically refers to Groklaw’s analysis. This response is similar to what we typically get when we raise this issue right here for OpenSUSE to respond to.

As we noted before, Zonker spends more time criticising Google and Apple than he does criticising his employer’s ally, Microsoft.

Even now he’s sort of attacking Apple and it does not seem like he ever criticises an abusive Microsoft that attacks GNU/Linux every other week.

If any company desperately needs a clueful community manager, it’s Apple. I’ve written before about the company’s issues with the App store and the way it treats developers (as have many others) but it looks like they’re still having a hard time getting a handle on developer relations.

And what about Novell? Did it consult with OpenSUSE developers? It’s important to remember why Ted Haeger quit.

There is a lot of hypocrisy coming from Zonker. He sold his interests for a wage, convincing himself that promoting greed at the expense of ethics is acceptable, but as readers from the developing world often remind us, this only means that he becomes part of the problem. He not only refuses to find a solution but he also opposes legitimate critique. That’s a bit like fascism, to be a little blunt.

It’s worth mentioning that some new download/update numbers have come out of OpenSUSE. They are not so stunning compared to counterparts.

Other numbers i have so far …

* 23518 smolt profiles uploaded. Please read this how to use it.
* 104742 updates (counted unique ip’s)

For the sake of comparison, from the openSUSE 10.3 release:

Approximately 40,000 for openSUSE 10.3 GM. 45,913 were counted, but you have to subtract pre-GoldMaster installations in October.

There are no analogous measures here, but if registered installations can be equated to smolt profiles (which they can’t), then this is not an encouraging figure. We know for a fact, based on conversations with people, that the shadow of Novell/Microsoft is harming OpenSUSE.

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4 Comments

  1. Ted Haeger said,

    December 28, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Gravatar

    Personally, I think that the first comment of Zonker’s that you cite is humorously accurate.

    The agreement has turned out to be of no noticeable consequence to Free Software, yet there are people who still dedicate huge amounts of time and effort to criticize it. Tin foil hats, indeed.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 28, 2008 at 2:43 am

    Gravatar

    Ted, I beg to differ.

    If you believe it made no difference, then you must not have paid attention. It led to FUD attacks which prevent some companies from considering GNU/Linux (yes, I hear stories). It also promoted OOXML, discriminated against GNU/Linux in hypervisors and so on and so forth. I could go on and tell you the many things that happened, but it’s all in our archives already (Q2).

  3. Dan O'Brian said,

    December 28, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Gravatar

    It led to FUD attacks by you against Free Software projects, Microsoft was already making FUD attacks.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 28, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Gravatar

    Against what projects? The ones that sell “peace of mind”? Or .NET?

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