Of all the things most valuable in today's "online world,"
credibility is perhaps the most important. It is a shame that
credibility seems to have fallen by the wayside to make way for
hit-clocking catch phrases and topics. Linux has unfortunately
become a victim of this practice as the "technology pundits" embed
"Linux," "Open Source," "GNU," and "Free Software" in their
I do not intend, however, to assault Linux, FreeBSD or any other
Free Software. Instead I would look toward the pundits, or rather
technology pundits, a phrase that simply amazes me. How exactly
does one become a technology pundit? What does technology
encompass? Does it mean that these pundits know everything about
nanotechnology and one-click shopping? What is a pundit?
I believe the definition the technology pundits would refer us
to is "an expert in a given field." That does not seem to fit.
Technology is a pretty wide field; is there a college that offers a
So what exactly is happening here? I will tell you what:
magazine writers, as they have always done, are becoming the
equivalent of ambulance-chasing lawyers. They are lapping up the
buzz words like a dog drinking antifreeze. The effect on their
credibility is not too different from antifreeze on a canine's
Many Free Software users and advocates simply ignore the
rantings of hit grabbers and, while that seems okay, there is an
underlying problem: how many programmers, administrators, engineers
and hackers make the big decisions in corporations? I would
chance to say there are more people who know next to nothing about
technology making the big decisions than those who do understand
technology. For these people, what the technology pundit says is
Pundits are in effect making a bad situation worse, making the
In addition to screwing up things in general, technology pundits
suddenly get pop star syndrome at some point in their careers. Most
of these so-called experts in all things started out on the right
foot. They were experts in a given field and wrote ABOUT THAT
FIELD. Suddenly, however, now that they are famous, their opinions
about everything technical are accepted as fact.
Not only is that self-delusional, but it equates people who may
have once been great technical writers to the local rag featuring
an alien marrying Elvis (and not the vi clone!).
In my personal opinion the biggest problem with all of these
folks is their lack of credibility; some of them even come right
out and say they have no credibility. With the loss of credibility
comes a betrayal of trust to the intelligent readership. In
essence, it sets everyone back.
So what about me? Well, I have never written about anything I do
not know about, until now. I mean, for all I know, they could know
everything about Software Engineering, Market Trends and Physics,
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