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 Tilting at Windmills: A Response to Rob Enderle

While you may have been given the impression from reading Mr. Rob Enderle's viewpoint articles that all of the GNU/Linux community is openly anti-Microsoft and wants you to move right away to GNU/Linux, let me tell you that this is simply incorrect. I will not bother to take Mr. Enderle on in a point-by-point tit-for-tat argument, for it is pointless. There are many other voices that are already rising to that challenge, and I don't care to be strung along allowing Mr. Enderle to set the tone of a debate or battle.

The truth is that no one cares one way or another what you use. We do not care if you choose to continue to be locked-in to a proprietary vendor who will handsomely reward people like Mr. Enderle for writing articles such as those he continues to write, in the sure and certain hopes of starting a flame-war. This is what we call trolling or being a troll. It does not mean that we are saying he lives under a bridge and demands a fee for crossing; it means that he is actively seeking negative comment to then use that to say that his point is correct. It is similar to running into a meeting of any political party and then screaming curse words at the audience and then complaining later of the brutal treatment you received at their hands

 (Submitted by Chuck Talk Wed Sep 17, 2003 )

  The simple truth is that the community was and is quite happy doing what it does on its own without interference from the proprietary world. That is the absolute and undeniable truth. Mr. Enderle does not wish you to see that truth and will do whatever he can to fan the flames of anger in order to proclaim himself some innocent victim. I don't buy it, and in fact, I am always disappointed when I read these whining pieces for they simply ignore the fundamental reality.

That reality is that the community has been quietly and happily developing software infrastructures from freely available sources that were never stolen from anyone. We have been doing this for reasons that Mr. Enderle cannot fathom, for it simply does not reward Analysts for coverage of our development. That is his basic problem (and those who join in these trolls against the community); he fails to see how he can earn money from a business that does not need analysts to promote its usage. We survive on the reputation of the products, not the reputation ascribed to the community by any analyst. That means analysts are unnecessary and therefore are likely to see us as a threat.

Actually, they could choose to play a role, but that is up to the individual. It requires real work to be an analyst covering the free software and open source movement. You cannot merely rely on some company paying you to write favorable articles and come to their pre-paid conclusions. It simply will not work and be accepted by the community. We do respect people pointing out problems when they have no agenda, no axe to grind, no hidden motives. I will openly declare that I both use and develop from free software and open source, and do it for my own personal usage. I am biased toward free software and open source and I am regularly critical of Microsoft with good reason.

My reason is that they have made a mockery of the Justice system in this country in my eyes. They have bought and paid for a settlement with the government that no other monopoly has ever been able to achieve in our history before. They are their own watchdog for their compliance in the antitrust trial. This is some sort of sick joke being perpetrated on the people, and is not (in my opinion and by my own admission) anything that I can accept as fair just or even remotely acceptable. That was not what originally drove me to use GNU/Linux though. I was a user of the BeOS, Mac, and the BSDs and GNU/Linux is but a logical progression in that chain. It had nothing to do with my usage of GNU/Linux. I like computing, and I enjoy things that do not insult my intelligence and try to make my computer a first grade reader.

That seems to escape the wonder boys of Redmond. In fact, it seems to have caused them a great deal of anger. The very fact that people might even be meeting somewhere without them has caused them much grief. They cannot stand the fact that they are not being talked about everywhere by everyone. They will do anything to change that, as is evidenced by the fact that they will send out people like the Gartner Group, which Silver Lake Partners owns a 46.1% controlling interest in by the way, the C|Net and ZDNet crews, the Yankee Group and even our old pal and frequent distraction, Mr. Enderle, out to write articles critical of free software and open source.

In case you have never heard of the Silver Lake Partners, they are founded by people like Bill and Melinda Gates, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, Steve Ballmer (and I bet, Scoot McNealy, though I am not certain of that). Now, if these people own 46.1% of the voting stock for an analysts firm, can you really trust what they have to say? That is like saying that Halliburton won that $7 Billion no-bid contract in Iraq based upon a free market economy. It just doesn't wash out in the truth cycle. In fact, it is transparently suspect and only the shouting of analysts seems to grow louder with every rock overturned and the bugs scattering for cover.

The fact is though that Microsoft has decided to crash the party. Microsoft's analysts have crashed the party (GNU/Linux) as well, and have decided that being tossed about is the fault of those who are holding that party. They are gate-crashers, and I dare say that they would toss us out of their parties, so why do they expect to be allowed into ours without repercussions? I ask you this: if you were having a nice backyard get together with friends, would you allow a few hundred gate-crashers to suddenly come in and take over the party? If you are honest, you would say "No, I wouldn't, or it depends on how they act."

Well, now imagine if the gate-crashers suddenly started spreading rumors about the hosts, saying bad and malicious things. Now you would toss them out on their ears and not really be too concerned about their treatment wouldn't you? Of course you would, if you can be honest about it.

Speaking of honesty, I think Mr. Enderle would do well to tell his reading public that he carries a grudge against IBM. The Internet is a wonderful thing for revealing things Mr. Enderle, and you still carry that grudge around from your days at ROLM. To borrow from an old Budweiser (tm) commercial, ôLet it go, Louie. Just let it go."

I would have more respect for you sir if you were up-front and honest about that, but I don't think you want your readers to know how you feel before you start your attacks. That would tend to undermine your lack of bias, I suppose, but it might have actually given you credibility had it been stated upfront. That is why I do not deny that I do not like Microsoft at all. That doesn't mean I hate them, it simply means that given their current actions, I do not like them, and choose instead never to work with them. They have made a moral choice to fight against freedom, and though that is their right, I don't have to accept working with them.

Further, I (and many. many others) see an openly hostile bias in the media toward our community coming fro websites that keep trumpeting the lines that we are somehow criminal for being intelligent and not wanting anything to do with the proprietary vendors. Microsoft and Sun Microsystems have both openly continued to fund the efforts of the SCO Group, who could not reach profitability at all, were it not for their continued and open monetary support for things that no one questions them about. The fact is, you never question the credibility of the SCO Group, when their statements are directly shown to be in contention with the recent statements as in:

"To my fellow folk in the Linux community, you need not fear. I specifically asked if, in making that broad a statement about UNIX, The SCO Group was making any legal claim to Linux. According to McBride, "obviously Linux owes its heritage to UNIX, but not its code. We would not, nor will not, make such a claim."

Read that again. Then think about it. Why have you not looked back over the series of statements from the SCO Group and seen what we see? Why do you never ask them the tough questions about their continued sales of stock (netting between One and Two Million apiece at the Director levels), or why Microsoft and Sun Microsystems continue to spend money with the SCO Group? Why do you not ask how they can believe that they will not be committing mail fraud when they send out invoices to the community for things they have not proved that they own? Why are you openly supporting this effort by them, if you are not being paid to do so?

The whole thing boils down to the fact that Microsoft and Sun and anyone else supporting this effort are very afraid of us. We could care less about them, and would have gone on doing so, but they started the whole battle with their attacks on us. They brought their weapons (analysts) to bear and began this whole charade. You expect us to buy the line that it is all in the interest of "fair competition" when yet we are but individuals who form a community who are having fun and developing our own futures apart from you. That makes you very afraid of us, for some unknown reason, and so you feel it necessary to attack us.

We are liberating ourselves from the yoke of oppression. If you would simply realize that, you might understand us. We are not a religion, though we may have advocacy of the free philosophy, we are not a cult, though we adhere to the rules of a meritocracy. Do you really know what a meritocracy is? It means that you are qualified to do your assigned role. Why should that bother anyone, except those who are not qualified? Obviously it does bother you sir, or you wouldn't try to use it as a weapon of some sort. I think it merely serves to point out the weakness of your arguments, but then I can think for myself.

If you wish there to be no "battle" then stop annoying us with these openly naive trolls for negative comment. That would end the "battle" immediately. Maybe if you tried open source software or wanted to build something on your own, you might come to understand why we do what we do. Can you imagine having to hire a plumber in order to change anything in your bathroom? Can you imagine how much the economy would suffer if there were no do-it-yourself industry? I can dare say that it would suffer far more than from the amount that plumbers lose in business by do-it-yourself projects are a boon to the economy. The laws of supply and demand simply mean that the proprietary companies have to come to grips with the ideation that they cannot be all things to all people.

It is truly sick and twisted that they keep showing up demanding to be seen and talked about. They are becoming the poster children for spoiled brats everywhere. Maybe they should see a corporate shrink and stop this nonsense. Some therapy might be in order, but I doubt this advice will be heeded. It seems that some people will do anything to get attention, even continuing the ad hominem. It is sad, truly sad to watch these men behave like spoiled little children who are angry they weren't invited to the party so they have to crash, and make everyone else have a bad time.

They simply need to grow up and go away. If you want to work with them, fine - just leave me alone to make my own choices without your constant drivel about free software and open source. You will never understand it, and it won't keep you in the style you are accustomed to living. Please move on and get a life of your own. The angry zealots you seek are not here. They grow weary of your attempts to display them as a bunch of religious fanatics. The only religious fanatics we can see are those that keep revealing themselves by calling us religious fanatics. The speaker often reveals much about themselves, Mr. Enderle, and you have done this quite well.

Unlike you though, I have no problem in stating that I am biased against Microsoft, because they send people like yourself out on troll missions, and they constantly talk in double-speak. I love free software and open source, because it gives me freedom. I don't have to rely on any one person or company and I can be freed from the vendor lock-in agreements. Goodbye single source gonad-hold, hello driver's seat for my development.

Let the world choose what they want, and quit playing these childish games. It grows tiresome.

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