Bonum Certa Men Certa

Most Recent Podcast Reactions (GNOME and OOXML)

Further thoughts on last Wednesday...

As I stated last week, I'll reluctantly accept the blame for making no preparations whatsoever. Being as lazy as I tend to be sometimes I rarely proofread), I believed that just picking up the phone would suffice. This seemed to be a safe route to answering questions, some of which were collected in advance to be directed at opposing sides (more information on this will possibly come in a followup post).

”I was merely invited to the podcast and it was Jeff who planned everything and had peers arrange it.“Since it was not necessary, I wasn't prepared (nor willing) to make any planned and properly-structured statements. I was merely invited to the podcast and it was Jeff who planned everything and had peers arrange it. Rambling was to be expected if awkward silences were to materialise in the podcast (and indeed, Jeff was absent for a very, very long time). The session was plagued with technical difficulties and suffered from poor planning (no concrete and complete agenda).

People have said that I underestimated the impact of the podcast. Personally, I just saw this as an opportunity to reconcile with Jeff Waugh under a consensus that GNOME's stance in ECMA (on OOXML) is indeed very damaging to Free software. Bruce Byfield misrespresented me by choosing a headline that suggests otherwise. It's like putting a mouse next to a cat while the cat is asleep only to take a photo, and then claim that those two animals live together in harmony. Buy anyway..... I believed this story was over when Linux.com summarised with a new weekly video, but this debate was sparked up again owing to an article from Sam Varghese. From the article:

Sadly, Schestowitz hardly got a word in edgeways. He found himself up against Waugh, Miller and Bruce Byfield (also from Linux.com - both Byfield and Miller were quite obviously biased towards Waugh's point of view), and also Miguel de Icaza, the co-founder of the GNOME project, who phoned in and was allowed to stay on and speak whenever he felt so inclined.

[...]

I'm pretty sure, though, that Waugh will leave a comment below, questioning why he wasn't asked for input about this article - before he lets off steam against me (and not the points made in this piece) on a members-only mailing list. Last time it was the Open Source Industry Association mailing list.

GNOME has a great many strengths - but one of its major weaknesses is having a media spokesman who does not know the difference between news and comment. He makes the Foundation look very amateurish.


Sam's analysis aligns perfectly with E-mails I've received since the podcast. There are some interesting (maybe over-the-line) reactions in LinuxToday, including this one, which rubbed some people the wrong way.

It's sad that the GNOME foundation has turned into a mouthpiece for a company that seeks to inject patent ridden technology into open source software. To modify the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise... "Ironic. They could save others from death, but not themselves."


Here is another:

Do they want to alienate most of the open source community? If that's their goal then I must congratulate them: They really are succeeding. As an aside, I want to take exception on a paragraph in the article:

> Miller asked Waugh why GNOME and all the other major FOSS > projects had not joined together and taken a stand that they would > not support OOXML. Waugh talked around it - and the absence of > any genuine journalist in that discussion was made plain as nobody > tried to pin Waugh down and get him to answer the question. He > was allowed to spin and did so. No genuine journalist would have > allowed that.

In that case there must be virtually no genuine journalists, because that happens all the bloody time, especially in politics.


Elsewhere on the Web, a Mono skeptic had his say as well:

http://beranger.org/index.php?page=diary&2007/12/10/10/50/21-beranger-s-monday-rants-12-10"> BTW, Sam Varghese insists that (KDE takes stand on OOXML; GNOME dithers ) the KDE folks "deserve a round of applause" for having expressed their opposition to OOXML, whereas the GNOME guys... uh... the GNOME guys... they have screwed the podcast with Roy Schestowitz!

The show_119922.mp3 (13.7 MB) proves that Robin Miller and Bruce Byfield were obviously on the side of Jeff Waugh, which is obviously defending Miguel de Icaza (who has just finished speaking at the Microsoft-sponsored conference XML2007)!

Have I mentioned that BB is eating that thing?

After Mono, and now OOXML, what's next? Red Hat should realize that, should they not fork GNOME while they still can, they might be unable to build a "clean" GNOME for RHEL6, as GNOME might get very trickily tied to Microsoft by then!


Some said I was cornered in the podcast (being unprepared and nonchalant didn't help either). Others said that it was bad crowd and that they were possibly portraying the 'minority' as "extremists" who are driven by hate of Microsoft. There were those called it a set-up or an ambush.

I've always calmed down desktop environment flamewars until they were quelled. I even advocated GNOME, but the multiple identities in GNOME have become a cause for concern. If GNOME does not stand up soon and joins KDE's stance, the project will get in serious trouble. In a sense, it is already too cozy with Microsoft because Novell plays a role in this relationship as well.

True separability here is not likely to be approached because Novell is bound by Microsoft's terms and at the same time it commits changes to various projects. This does not just include Mono. We mentioned and predicted that a year ago in the context of OpenOffice.org.

GNOME needs to make a corrective statement to quiet down critics. There is no point in denying this. Even Richard Stallman expressed his concerns a couple of days ago (again).

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