Some hard love (Free software oriented, beware)

I’ve been a long time listener of the Linux Action Show by the duo behind what eventually became the Jupiter Broadcasting project. And quite frankly – I’m a fan: while I’m not a YouTube watcher (I don’t have enough free time in front of a screen) I’m registered to all their audio feeds and like most of what Bryan and Chris and co. are doing.

That being said, when they announced that the Linux Action Show is no more shall be from hence forth known as The Computer Action Show I was a little apprehensive – Bryan and Chris have grown quite a bit judgmental and critic of the whole open source/free software community at large, and often lashed out at companies and organizations that “hurt the open source community”, not by acting against FL/OSS but by not doing things in very specific ways that Bryan and Chris felt would be better for FL/OSS adoption in the general populace.

So when they announced this very serious change I felt that this is the final step in that saga and Jupiter Broadcasting is not going to air a Linux/Free Software show any more. After listening to the rest of that first episode, I decided its not going to be that big of a change – more of shifting attention towards general computing and technology stuff, which I like – so no harm done. I did wish that the new direction means they’d lay off a bit from bashing the free software community.

Boy was I mistaken. The second Computer Action Show episode released this week introduced a whole new level of bashing the FSF, and I can’t stay silent on that. I have a lot more to say but in the interest of bringing the discussion close to the source, I’m saying it on Jupiter Broadcasting’s blog. If you’re interested in this kind of (anti-)evangelism, I’d recommend listening to the show (where they also cover a lot of other interesting stuff, like the Nokia N900 which is going to be awesome) and then take a part in the discussion here.

Last thing – Chris and Bryan, if you’re reading this – don’t take it too hard. I think you guys are great and you do an excellent work with your shows. Keep being awesome, and I just wish you’d stop being so negative of the people that are doing the work – and yes, the FSF are also doing some good work even if its not always very public.

16 Responses to “Some hard love (Free software oriented, beware)”

  1. Chris:

    While we were hard on the FSF, you have to at least admit. This style of attack marketing that they do, only hurts things so much more than it does help.

    1. Their 7 sins sound like mad establishments of half truths.. Which sucks, because it weakens the positions of the real arguments behind the points they brought up… Because those real issues are now casted in the same “crazy light” as their points.

    2. The FSF, without question, does this stuff just for the attention. If that was not the case, they’d not do mass-PR press releases to everywhere. The bad thing about this, is it becomes another tail chase session… The OSS community ends up just doing more in-fighting over all of this, and Microsoft and other companies that gain from F/OSS’s loss just sit back and let us fight our selves… They never have to do a thing, we throw all the punches our selves.

    3. Their approach clearly does not speak to their target market, again, this reinforces the stereotype that OSS promoters are out of touch, and don’t understand the real world. When we loose that ground, all the positive and great things in the world will never be heard, because it all sound like noise from a bunch of people who don’t understand their needs.

    I consider my self a long time Linux promoter, via our shows, and in real life… And at the end of the day, it’s like getting a sucker punch to the gut, I feel like the FSF has pissed away a ton of hard work a lot of us have done to promote open source and Linux…

    I don’t say all that to detract from all the fantastic work the FSF has done, I would never intend for my comments to do that. But I think it is totally fair to acknowledge the good work, and criticize the very bad work they do.

    -Chris

    • Oded:

      That is indeed fair. I applaud your commitment to promoting Open Source and Linux and I do think that some of the campaigns that FSF runs sound a bit crazy which hurts the entire community (*). From my experience, this is just basic anti-establishment bashing – I know a few people that talk like that all the time, they don’t understand how off-putting it is for other people.

      Still what popped my fuses about your review was the way you attacked their points, which are basically valid, and it sounded like the gist of your complaint was that the FSF publishes half-truths and lies. Your valid criticism – like that the style is horrible and crazy – got lost in your enthusiastic attack on the parts they actually got right.

      (*) Other campaigns (like “Bad Vista”) are done very well, even if they are derogatory.

      P.S.
      I really tried not to bring the discussion to my blog, but since you answered here, I did as well.

  2. Eran:

    I saw the specs on the new N900 and it looks cool (especially with the Nose Cancellation headphones) but it fails on, what is for me, the biggie. And that’s the keyboard. As far as I’m considered, it doesn’t hold up to my K-Jam, let alone the G1. So nyah.

  3. Oded:

    What’s wrong with the N900 keyboard?

  4. Eran:

    Too small. Can’t go back on the quality of life. So either give me a 4 lines keyboard (like my K-Jam) or a 5 lines keyboard (like the G1).

  5. Oded:

    I think you are confusing the Nokia N900 new Linux based Maemo 5 tablet device that is scheduled to come out soon with the Nokia N97 Symbian touch screen phone that was released more then half a year ago and does feature a very small keyboard.

    The N900 has full 5 row keyboard which is (I think) larger then your phone’s.

  6. Eran:

    The phones are in: http://mediacenter.motorola.com/content/detail.aspx?ReleaseID=11799&NewsAreaID=2

    At first glance, I’m not really impressed.

    • Oded:

      It looks like a good Android implementation. The MOTOBLUR home screen looks interesting but it sounds like then N900 home screen only less impressive (somewhat like the N97 home screen).

      The rest of the spec is fine except that compared with the N900 is lacks the FM transmitter and the 32GB built-in storage (it only has a microSD slot for storage).

      It looks like a fine device – one of the better Androids out there, compare with the Samsung Galaxy – and if the price point is right then it’ll be successful.

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