March 26, 2019

The StartX Files: Peace, Love, and Linux? My Foot! - page 2

Who are they kidding?

  • March 5, 2001
  • By Brian Proffitt

People accuse those of us in the media of stirring these conflicts up to generate page views. I think that's a weak argument. We don't generate this stuff, and for the most part, we certainly don't like it. Such issues are tiresome, repetitive, and completely unnecessary.

I'll say it once more for the folks in the back: there is no need to have any conflict between KDE and GNOME. Let the developers build what they want, let the users use what they want, and we'll all be better off at the end of the day.

The same solution certainly applies to the biggest brouhaha of them all: Free Software vs. Open Source. Never has a more vitriolic group of people raised their voices in such a fundamentally pointless argument.

If I were a developer, I would want to just pick the license I want based on what I wanted to do and just be done with it. If that happens to be an Open Source-style license, great! More in keeping with Free Software's guidelines, wonderful! Any other style of license, fantastic! Because, and I think this is a point we're all missing, a vast, huge majority of users simply do not care what the license is. They just want the damn application to do the job.

Should they care? I personally feel they should, but who wants to get caught up in all the hateful arguments?

Does this mean we should all just lie back and let others have their own opinions, regardless? Of course not. Asking people not to voice their opinions is like spitting at a forest fire to put it out.

But I ask you, in all honesty, is it really necessary to openly insult and degrade people just because their opinions don't match our own? Particularly when we all have such common cause?

I know from first-hand experience how hard it is to dial down the rhetoric. I myself have often hurled insults at Microsoft and other Linux-bashing companies and individuals. It's a natural reflex to come out swinging when what you feel strongly about is attacked.

The problem is this: if it were just us, maybe we could be content to lash out at each other's opinions and stances. But it is not just us: there are millions of potential Linux users out there, standing at the threshold, trying to decide to come in or not. If you think this in-fighting is not keeping them nervous, you're kidding yourself.

And, from an even more pragmatic point of view, the more we fight amongst ourselves, the more Microsoft can sit back and watch us make ourselves look like squabbling children.

It's time, for our own sakes, to stop the knee-jerk reactions of hostility and rhetoric. It's time to grow up and discuss our differences with a little more sense and a lot less showing off on how well we can flame someone.

Otherwise Peace, Love, and Linux will remain one big joke.

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