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Editor's Note: Climb on the Clueless Train

YACJ in Action

June 5, 2000

Daily newspapers tend to do a pretty crappy job of covering Linux, and my local paper is no exception. Today's edition carried a story on a local computer trade show where Red Hat Software's Bob Young is one of the keynote speakers.

In the article, the newspaper reporter--who is the Chief Conductor of the Clueless Train--didn't chat with Bob Young about the impressive growth of Linux-based servers, the exciting new desktop developments (KDE and GNOME) that should raise the prominence of Linux on the desktop, or the exciting future of Linux in a post-Microsoft world. No, he spent his time discussing the fact that the Linux 2.4 kernel was late, forcing Bob into a defensive position. Bob made all the right comments--that because Linux kernel development occurs in the open, delays like this are taken out of context by many people--but in the end, both Linux and Bob Young looked diminished because the Linux kernel was "late." (Check out Joe Pranevich's excellent explanation for why the kernel isn't really late.)

This, of course, shouldn't surprise me; this particular writer usually doesn't have a clue about what's happening in the real world. A year ago he wrote a review of Red Hat Linux that slammed the OS for using a command line (!) and said that Linux was fairly irrelevent, as its user base was in the low thousands. (As he wrote: "As a result, Linux users today number in the thousands instead of millions, and it is favored only by the technically savvy people who run computers for Internet service providers.")

It's not really my intent to pick on YACJ (Yet Another Clueless Journalist), but rather to point out the hurdles we Linux proponents face. Yes, we are passionate in our belief that Linux is a very good operating system, and yes, occasionally some of the members of the Linux community go a little overboard in their passion for Linux. But for the vast majority of Linux users, all that's really desired is a level playing field, where operating systems can be judged on their merits. Until then, we'll need to put up with the Clueless Journalists and put up with their FUD, sad to say.

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