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Linux.com: Have We Come to a Fork in the Road?

Sep 28, 2000, 08:29 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Dominico)

"Sometimes, I think I've got ringside seats at some sort of boxing event. "On tonight's ticket, we've got the welterweight battle that you've all been waiting for... Wearing the shorts emblazoned with a tiny foot, it's Gnome! And in the other "korner", it's KDE! Following that match, it's the heavyweight fight of the decade - Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation, versus, well, just about everyone!" In the background, the theme music begins to blare deafeningly from the speakers... "It's the...eye of the tiger, it's the G-P-L...."

"These are just the highly visible examples, though. The desire to flame one another seems deeply rooted in the soul of the community, which is odd for a group of people who are supposedly dedicated to choice. We have a long history of flamefests - E vs. Sawfish, vi vs. Emacs, QPL vs. GPL, non-free software vs. free software... There's certainly no doubt that we are an opinionated group of people. Think of all the energy we spend arguing, though. Isn't it counter-productive? For that matter, who's to say that any of us are "right"?"

"The simple fact is that Linux and free software are all about choice, yet we forget this when we wage these flamewars. We negate the very concepts at the center of our revolution. You simply can't say, "Linux is about choice, as long as you choose what I think it right". That's called hypocrisy. While we are certainly all entitled to our opinions, we need to practice respect for those whose opinions differ from ours - even when it comes to proprietary software, and licensing issues. Remember the great PC vs. Mac wars (which still rage on, with the imminent arrival of OSX)? Where did they get us? Nowhere. Was anyone swayed from one side to the other? I doubt it."

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