Editor's Note: On FUD and Holiday Wishes
Jul 03, 2003, 23:30 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
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We have four modes of operation for the Linux Today web
First, there is the normal mode, which is about one story every
90 minutes. Then, there is the night mode, which slows the newsfeed
down to about one new story every two hours. Night mode, actually,
is being phased out of late, thanks to a very steady increase in
news items that don't allow us to slow down one wit.
This segues into the third mode of operation, the flood mode,
which occurs when there is so much news, we have to go to a every
hour news feed throughout the entire 24-hour day. (We did about 30
hours of that early this week, BTW.) Flood mode is something that
happens more and more frequently of late, and no, it's not because
of all the SCO nonsense.
For good or ill, more and more media outlets are getting
interested in Linux and Open Source, and the number of stories are
increasing dramatically. I know that some will decry an increase of
FUD stories, but I tend to think that even the less glowing reports
on open source technology are not entirely deliberately trying to
sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt (though the end results may be the
I do not seriously believe there is an ongoing media conspiracy
to try to drag Linux down. The world of tech media is too
fragmented and territorial for that kind of activity.
But, I do believe that some tech journalists are
operating under mistaken presumptions and outdated information. And
the people they are interviewing are operating under the same
Over and over I talk to IT people all over the world who say or
write "I didn't know Linux could do that." Cliched, but true.
Linux's strengths, which are immediately obvious to the Linux
community, are not as obvious to every one else.
And God help anyone who does get it wrong, as they suffer a
barrage of venemous and flaming correspondence.
I have this fond wish that instead of screeching and calling
every article that's negative about Linux FUD, members of the
community try to use their superior Linux knowledge to try to
politely educate members of the press or analysts or anyone in the
news talking about Linux where they got their facts wrong. Because
it's usually as simple as that.
And once in a while, we should accept that the negative comments
about Linux and Open Source might be right. In which case, just
swallow that pride and go out and do something about the
Are there individual efforts to create FUD? Of that I have no
doubt. There are too many people in the world whose livelihood
depends on Microsoft and other proprietary companies for there not
to be FUD. And are there biased journalists out there? You betcha.
Optimist I am, naive I am not.
Some writers I know will actually deliberately write something
imflammatory, then come over to this site or one of the other Linux
sites and watch their negative comments stir up a huge hornet's
nest. Then, a few days later, they'll write a "poor me/I told you
so" column pointing all of the hate mail they've been victimized
with. I personally find such behavior unprofessional in the
extreme, since they are essentially creating their own news to
justify their points.
So, no, the world is not perfect.
But while perceived FUD seems to be increasing, so too is the
level of objective reporting regarding Linux on the rise. Many
media outlets see the writing on the wall and realize that whether
open source can win or not, there's a battle on between open-source
and proprietary software. Many writers are out there trying to get
the real scoop on Linux, and not relying on their
Because if there's one thing the media loves to cover, it's a
good, fair fight.
Getting back to Linux Today, for a sense of completion I should
mention the fourth mode: the weekend/holiday mode, which is when
the newsfeed essentially shuts down and talkbacks are moderated at
a slower pace. This mode has some relevance now, since Linux Today
will be in holiday mode beginning tonight, July 3, and continuing
to midnight Monday, July 7, GMT.
For U.S. citizens, I wish you a safe and happy holiday weekend.
For the rest of you, I hope you will enjoy your own freedoms,
particularly with the ones you love.