03.05.09

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Who Are the ‘Zealots’ Anyway?

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boy charging

Summary: GNU/Linux advocates face aggression from the Microsoft ecosystem

HOW EASY it is to stick labels and stereotypes [1, 2, 3], continually assigning them to people whose ideas of Freedom do not intersect with the ideas of those who abuse and exploit for profit. To stigmatise is sometimes to daemonise.

Some month ago we saw friendly Boycott Novell protests in India getting dismantled by force [1, 2, 3] and there are other examples where defenders of the Microsoft ecosystem went over the line to suppress dissent.

Ken is a Free software advocate from Texas. He installs GNU/Linux on the computers of many children and families. He soon rose to fame for his success in this area and arguably became a local star after plenty of media exposure, so to hear about people verbally or physically attacking him for harming sales of Microsoft software is not quite so shocking. Here he is telling the story of what he needed to cope with.

In response, writes one person:

It already happened to me a few days ago when I was out wearing my new KPLUG T-shirt. In the parking lot at CV center, I was forced to physically defend my person and the honor of KPLUG from some moron who claimed that FOSS was illegal and had cost him his job, and that he couldn’t find work because he couldn’t do Linux. He likened the money I make teaching and consulting with Linux to blood money and expressed a desire to make me pay. I perhaps made a mistake in saying I taught a class in Linux and would be glad to teach him about it, because he grabbed my shirt in his fist and I responded aggressively. Um, luckily for me, our side won decisively.

Microsoft likes to characterise its opposition as “radicals”, “zealots”, “haters” or “fanatics”. How does it feel to see these perceived roles reversed? And how come the bully claims to be a victim? To merely antagonise crime is not to antagonise Microsoft, unless of course Microsoft and crime are synonymous.

So, to conclude, who are those ‘zealots’ anyway?

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3 Comments

  1. Frank Earl said,

    March 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Damn… Ken got assaulted and several others have apparently also gotten attacked. I’ll have to concur with Ken’s assessment on this- I’m not stopping what I’m doing, but I’m going to be more cautious about people around me.

    And, it’s going to get worse as things shift towards Linux and as the US economy flails around for a while yet to come.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Gravatar

    In private, Ken told me some worse stories.

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    Keep up the good ‘fight’.

  3. Peter said,

    March 6, 2009 at 2:27 am

    Gravatar

    Wow. I’ve been ridiculed many times and can recall an instance where someone in an audience listening to my talk was visibly angry. But I’ve never had anyone act in an intimidating way toward me.

    I’ve gotten the “zealot” treatment lots too.

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