Bonum Certa Men Certa

ZDNet's “Open Source” Blog Still Hostile Towards Freedom (the “F” in FOSS)

ZDNet



Summary: New criticisms of ZDNet bias and hypocrisy based on the past few days

THE importance of self expression is an area of debate where Stallman and Torvalds think alike. There are other such areas which encompass their similar opinions on mobile phones. But that's not the point though; the point we are trying to make is that these two great thinkers/engineers are not as far apart as the press tries to portray them (radicalising Stallman's image with selective quoting/footage and thus the creation of hostilities). GNU is just as important as Linux, but its philosophy scares some people who thrive in exploitative systems.



ZDNet's ownership has always made the site incompatible with Free(dom) software. We wrote many posts to explain this (e.g. [1, 2]), but that's the past anyway. Today we focus on what ZDNet calls the "open source" blog -- a blog that incorporates a bias that we explained last year. And to give some of the latest examples, Linus Torvalds is currently being criticised by Paula Rooney in this blog. She uses the headline "Torvalds vents about religious extremism" while referring to an innocent Torvalds post from a few days ago (we referenced it at the time). Then she adds:

I remember more than a few myself. Once I wrote an analysis that carried the headline, “Is Linus Killing Linux?”

It was hyperbole, of course, and designed to provoke interest in a story that examined who or what might become the controlling “manager” of the Linux kernel — or which commercial interest might try to hijack the code. [This was before the SCO lawsuit.]


This is not journalism. Rooney should know better than that. Her colleague Dana Blankenhorn is also sort of provoking by reversing truisms. Jason from The Source has already addressed this issue:

Over at ZDnet, Dana Blankenhorn tries to concoct some scenario where Google opening up a codec turns into an antitrust violation. I’m not shocked (considering the source), but there it is.


Jason also wrote about the Craig Barth incident, which ironically enough ZDNet is using (or trying to use) to cleanse its own image:

If there’s one thing to take away from the Ars / ZDNet / xpnet / WinSuperSite tardfight, it’s don’t go latching on to someone just because it appears they support your position.

A postscript

Also, is it just me or does ZDNet have the most idiotic tech community on the internet? Seriously, if you’re feeling smart and motivated read the comments there – I guarantee you’ll come out the other end drooling and suicidal. I think we can derive a formula that the quality of comments are proportional to the quality of the original content.


Let's remember that ZDNet is mostly just blogs, passed around as though it's a presentation of "news" (and aggregated by Google News for example). The reality is even more complex and we have explained this in previous posts about ZDNet.

"The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had "retired" from Microsoft last week.

""A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee's to post to ZDNet articles like this one," the email said.

""The theme is 'Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.' The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The 'memo' suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students," the author claimed."

--Wired Magazine



As a side note, regarding something we ought to touch on a little later, Blankenhorn's idol Matt Asay received this open letter and a followup for what seems like “Open Core” inside Ubuntu:

Part of your role appears to be figuring out how to help a Free Software company make money (monetise is not a great word). We don’t think “Open Core” is the right way. That might work for a proprietary company that just wants to leverage a community to do free marketing for them. We would like Canonical to be a Free Software company – and for it to make money.


We're sort of being pushed to suggest that Canonical gets close to Microsoft, but that would be foolish to suggest. The thing is, Canonical is just trying to find more sources of revenue; it's just a shame that it looks for revenue in the wrong places sometimes [1, 2, 3, 4].

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