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08.12.11

The Real Issues, Not Gossip

Posted in Site News at 12:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Outcast

Summary: Why Techrights has been focused almost entirely on the issue of patents since its inception

THERE is a difference between covering what’s important and covering what gets more readers. Those two things are not the same (nor do they overlap), as tabloids clearly demonstrate. Techrights spent a lot of time covering Novell, which brought not so much traffic; but this issue was important. Novell was Microsoft’s pathway towards patent FUD, as tool for suppressing GNU/Linux adoption (now it is going after Java/Linux, or Android). But what bothers us a bit is extreme fascination with Ubuntu at the expense of other GNU/Linux distributions — something that has become somewhat less of an issue earlier this year because Ubuntu does not make it into the news so much anymore.

The only thing worse than the above trend (covering only one distribution) is the personification of operating systems. When GNU/Linux news becomes news about selected individuals, then the articles cease to be technical. They also become emotionally charged (people are mentally wired and good at hating people, not amorphous institutions). Having said that, if one is considered to be a “subjective” writer, this does not invalidate his or her opinion; it might actually be necessary in order to drive progress. “Balance” is hinged on the assumption that we must also cover and almost promote less civilised sides that are often outdated and seldom rational.

We often give credit to particular types of sites for driving everything forward. Phoronix, for example, is very good in that regard. Then there are some sites that produce detailed reviews, which are an invaluable (very valuable) service to the community and technical documentation/HOWTOs have their place too, although these are usually less like news items. Then there are pundits like SJVN, who do a whole mixture of things. But let us remember that Shuttleworth or Torvalds are not surrogates of GNU/Linux and to speak about their personal life as though it determines the success of Freedom is just plainly pointless. What we currently consider to be the #1 issue (for this particular area of IT) is software patents, so all of today’s posts will cover the subject as thoroughly as possible and provide a lot of external links for those who wish to know more.

Attaining the goal of software patents elimination is definitely achievable. Let us not be distracted by minor details that either affect one single person or one particular software package. Software patents can apply to all software and everyone who either develops or just buys products (and overpays). We can do something which actually matters to a lot of people rather than sink into the fringe of gossip.

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