Bonum Certa Men Certa

GNU/Linux Advocacy Needs to Become Stronger in the Face of AstroTurfing

"In the Mopping Up phase, Evangelism's goal is to put the final nail into the competing technology's coffin, and bury it in the burning depths of the earth. Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, "he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2." --Leaked Microsoft document

Summary: In the age of 'Scroogled' and other AstroTurfing campaigns we need to become more vocal, not less vocal, in support of GNU/Linux

"The year of the [GNU/]Linux desktop" is a phrase that we used earlier today. FOSS Force correctly calls the phrase "a comical punching bag for a number of years."



We need to change that.

Just as the Pirate Bay and Pirate Party helped change the connotation of the word "pirate" (more commonly used these days to refer to copyright infringement) we ought to change the connotation of the phrase "the year of the [GNU/]Linux desktop," insisting that this year is already behind us. Judging by the number of Android devices, this is undeniably true for "year of Linux".

FOSS Force explains that the "phrase has been At the turn of every new year the question can be found on hundreds of Linux-centered websites."

It adds that: "The fact is, we’ll never see “the year of desktop Linux.”" This actually relates to a later post from FOSS Force [2], which Robert Pogson responds to in [3].

Giving up on the phrase or conceding (as suggested above) would actually just serve the FUD, or in other words this would make it seem like the FUD was legitimate and true. We need to battle the FUD, not surrender to it.

Surprisingly enough, the Linux Foundation has just published an article from an FSF basher. The article itself is quite good and it is titled "Why Arguing That Windows is Better Than Linux Makes You Look Silly" (we have already rebutted many such arguments over the years).

Jim L., who have been a good proponent of GNU/Linux in recent years (even in IDG), adds his views to the article [5], but he goes as far as chastising advocates of GNU/Linux, Android, etc. Some strong GNU/Linux advocates like Robert Pogson have already responded in the comments and as my wife put it, "I would usually agree. However, a lot of anti-Linux is not fanboyism but part of 'Scroogled'-like whisper campaigns. A lot of anti-Windows is reactionary. Some of the comments here already point this out. You cannot always turn the other cheek."

What we need to understand id that much of the anti-GNU/Linux 'journalism' from sites like ZDNet (that's what the original alludes to) can actually be traced down to editorial control. Many writers in ZDNet are connected to Microsoft (some are current or past Microsoft staff) and the parent company, CBS, works with Microsoft. Framing OS wars as two camps of "fanboys" fighting against each other is willingly putting a false image and turning a blind eye to Microsoft PR agencies, which we know are manufacturing GNU/Linux-hostile articles ('Scroogled' AstroTurfing is one example).

The bottom line is, GNU/Linux advocacy is often facing opposition from a corporate propaganda effort, not a grassroots effort. We oughtn't just like the PR agents win. We ideally need to expose them. In recent years Microsoft was exposed rallying propaganda agents in sites like Reddit and YouTube.

Related/contextual items from the news:


  1. Making a Difference the Linux Way
    The year of the Linux desktop.

    The phrase has been a comical punching bag for a number of years. At the turn of every new year the question can be found on hundreds of Linux-centered websites.

    “Will this be the year of the Linux desktop?”

    The fact is, we’ll never see “the year of desktop Linux.” Not the way we imagine it anyway. Many of us long for the time when Linux will become a well known alternative to Microsoft Windows. That just isn’t gonna happen.


  2. Meeting Windows User Expectations With Linux
  3. Making a Difference
    He makes some good points, that don’t actually support his thesis. I can give a single counterexample that shows the error of his ways. There are places on this planet where GNU/Linux is a well known alternative OS on the desktop.


  4. Why Arguing That Windows is Better Than Linux Makes You Look Silly
    It seems as though you can't throw a rock on the internet without hitting an article which argues for the superiority of Windows over Linux. With titles like “Five reasons I'd rather run Windows 8 than Linux”, these articles are a dime a dozen.


  5. Who cares about Windows versus Linux?
    Platform wars are as old as computing itself, but they never seem to really die off and go away, they just morph into new ones as technology itself changes. Linux.com takes a look at the classic Windows versus Linux battle, and why the Windows advocates make themselves look silly by bashing Linux.




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