April 25, 2019

Sleeping with the Enemy - page 3

Looking at the Big Picture

  • January 26, 2001
  • By Michael Hall

So I filed the thread away as it wound down, chalking up some positive points for the people working on Evolution and the end users who contribute to the list.

Then the GNOME Foundation announced the GNOME 1.4 release date. I caught the mail and posted it to LinuxToday late a few nights ago, expecting it would generate a little interest and little comment. Some low-grade snarkiness ensued, and ended with the usual recriminations between the KDE faithful and GNOME supporters regarding who's been the most rotten to whom. In other words, the "desktop wars" are still with us, even when the developers and the most constructive elements of their user bases themselves have settled on peaceful coexistence.

Thinking about the difference in tone, though, between an exchange involving a community of developers and users where at least one typical flashpoint had been presented and dealt with admirably, and another exchange that generated plenty of heat and little light over something as trivial as a planned release date, I realized that if I've been cynical about people in the Linux world, it's my fault for not getting out more.

The teams doing the work of building something, I find as I bring these two stories up with others, tend to be concerned with producing something they can be proud of. The cheerleaders are a mixed bag.

I suppose I could wrap up by offering some exhortation to all the people out there to be more constructive and pleasant in their public communication for the greater good of the outside world's perception of Linux. That's likely a waste of breath since the capacity of the worst trolls, flamers, and desktop warriors to behave poorly is topped only by their capacity to rationalize their incivility as somehow useful and essential to "the community."

The real moral of the story is that the endless debates and sniping just don't matter: the constructive work is happening out of easy reach by any yahoo with a web browser and too much time on his hands, and that makes the yahoos irrelevant.

I need to call my colleague and tell him he's taking the wrong people seriously.

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