"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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