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Editor's Note: FUD! Huh! What Is It Good For?

Feb 06, 2004, 23:30 (34 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)


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By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

About every other day or so, I see a talkback or get and e-mail asking me why I deign to run "FUD/garbage/crap" on Linux Today.

Good questions, those. There are times when I sit there and wince when I click on the Submit button to put a story in the queue, because I know it's going to cause a ruckus. There are also just as many times when I click the same button in fervent hopes that a ruckus will be started, because something stupid is going on and I think readers should know about it.

I have been told many times that a news site dedicated to the advancement of Linux and Open Source should not contribute space to the opinions of Rob Enderle and John Dvorak. Nor should it print the statements of SCO, or news about Microsoft's latest FUD tactics.

Much as I'd love to oblige all the wishes of LT's readers, that isn't going to happen.

First off, this is a news site. Regardless of its focus on open source technology, I have an objective to present as many sides to an issue as I can find on the Internet. If someone within or without the Linux community says something that disparages all or part of Linux's legion of projects, then I have an obligation to run it. How can I do anything else?

After all, do you really want to not know what opponents of Linux are saying about the software? If it's false, then you need to be ready to correct the falsehood. If it's true, you need to be ready to correct the problem.

Second, even if you or I do not agree with what is being said, it is important to remember that many do agree with what FUDsters are writing and saying. The message, unfortunately, is validated by endless repetition and lack of public understanding. But I believe it still needs to be heard, at least once, so everyone's clear about what's said.

I do draw a limit on how many times the same message is repeated on this site, good news or bad. When GNOME or KDE makes a new release, you're only going to see a link to one announcement here, not an endless procession of articles on the same topic from every other tech Web site on the 'Net.

The same holds true for opinion pieces. If someone like Enderle calls the community a bunch of hoodlums, I'll run the article--once. When (not if, he's a bit predictable that way) he does it again, however, I'll skip the link, because I know he's just looking for more hits from LT and other aggregate sites.

Agreeing or disagreeing with media articles is something that we will all continue to do. If you don't like the article, post a talkback, or send a note to the author. Try to educate them, not berate them. You'd be surprised how many of them listen.

Some won't, of course, their minds are made up, and no amount of convincing is going to change their ways. That's too bad, really, since a close-minded pundit is eventually going to lose most of their readers as people gravitate towards the next new thing. Keep that in mind, too.

Recent events and manipulations by certain companies have demonstrated that Linux may be fighting more than a technological war--it seems to be in a struggle for the hearts and minds of the IT community, thanks to vague insinuations from SCO and other proprietary firms.

Linux Today is proud to be a participant in the Linux community, and I will continue to show as many aspects of issues as I can, even if it does mean showing off a few warts and wrinkles from time to time.