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Salon: Triumph of the free-software will [Andrew Leonard follows up on 'Who Cracked Microsoft?']

Oct 31, 2000, 12:26 (10 Talkback[s])

"After five years of writing online and three years of covering the free-software movement, I've grown accustomed to my share of flames. I've even come to relish the fact that if I so much as look cross-eyed at Linux I'll get reamed as a "Bill Gates propagandist." It's OK; as a reporter, I figure I'm doing something wrong if everybody is happy with every word I write."

"But I'm not used to the kind of e-mail I received after I wrote a short speculative piece wondering whether any subset of the extraordinarily diverse group of people who fall under the term "free-software hackers" could have been involved in cracking Microsoft's internal network. I can shrug off the expletives or accusations that I am a Microsoft floozy, but it's a little less easy to be blasé in the face of the "shame on yous" and "you should know betters" that filled up my in box over the weekend. It's as if my mother was pursing her lips, shaking her head and wondering how a boy she raised could ever turn out so wayward. Those who knew my coverage of free software best were most dismayed -- I had betrayed them."

"Accusations of betrayal cut pretty deep. And yet, even as I wince every time I check my mail, I am paradoxically heartened by the anger. I originally became obsessed with covering the free-software movement because I was fascinated by the passion that motivated so many free-software developers or advocates. The severity of their response to my article proved to me, once again, that I was playing with a fascinating holy fire."

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