Bonum Certa Men Certa

Godwin 2.0

Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Recent smear campaign labels Boycott Novell a "software taliban"

Yesterday I found the following link to an insulting piece about critics of Mono, amongst other controversial elements that may prove harmful to the freedom of Free software. People whom the author disagrees with are being compared to the taliban. To be fair, the post may not be the original source of such strong terminology (it was most likely coined elsewhere based on prior observations where Boycott Novell specifically gets labeled that), but it is still akin to the cheapening of terms like "terrorism" in order to advance goals. Here is the part about Mono:

Whilst the software taliban’s fixation with Mono is unfortunate, their targeting of applications written using Mono is far worse. Many developers have chosen to use C# as their preferred language for application development on Linux. And a number of high quality applications have been the result. Why should the developers’ perfectly reasonable language choice result in the Mono uninstall fest that greets every new version of Ubuntu for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the application itself?

The title of this post is "The talibanisation of software," where "taliban" is apparently some kind of a dodge/workaround for Godwin's law.

“By using words like "taliban" they are dodging verboten insults like "Nazi" but coming across as shameless daemonisers nonetheless.”We have already explained how "religion" is used to smear passionate Free software proponents [1, 2, 3]; even "terrorism" is sometimes used as a slur. "It's becoming more common," says Glyn Moody, "we need to call it out as being Godwin 2.0"

Many of these tactics come about when the subject of Microsoft is brought up. A lot of people prefer to ignore Microsoft's constant attacks on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Now that an "open-source" (not really "Open Source") company agrees to a partnership with Microsoft it is only reasonable to raise doubts, without the opposite side resorting to name-calling, smears, distortions, and so forth. By using words like "taliban" they are dodging verboten insults like "Nazi" but coming across as shameless daemonisers nonetheless.


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