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LinuxWorld: Linux advocacy

Sep 29, 1999, 18:16 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joe Barr)

"The dispute is over how we use and define the word advocate, I suppose. That and language in general, since language is the weapon of choice in advocacy. And this all just forces us to question what we mean by the whole notion of advocacy in particular. The debate embraces all of that and more, actually, since it's also in how we view ourselves..."

"Now that the definitions are out of the way, we can get down to brass tacks. Who cares? Why does it matter to me if I am labeled as a Linux advocate, or an OS/2 advocate, or as an anti-Microsoft advocate? There are two chief reasons: first, it matters because, when that label is affixed to a person's back (or forehead, or wherever it is that advocates get branded as such), any return fire he draws from opposing forces, for any reason, is aimed not just at him, but at whatever cause he is seen to represent."

"Secondly, it matters because, when you become an advocate, you lose the right of free speech. As an advocate you begin to speak from a script that you may or may not have had a hand in writing. You begin to lose your own voice, your own style, your own delivery. Everyone you're speaking for is watching and listening to make sure that what you are saying agrees with their take on the party line. Without apology I will say simply that I am not a political animal. Never have been, never will be."

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