:: choice ::
go green!  go red!  go blue!
random good link:
Die Grünen
random evil link:
Edmund Stoiber
random quote:
"You can never do just one thing."
visit kde.org! visit debian.org!

On recent Anti-KDE blogs.

Being an avid reader of blogs in the Free Software world, and especially in the Free Desktop world, lately, I see there is an increased amount of blogs that try to put KDE in a bad light. Today's example on Iain Holmes blog made me realise that it's time to publicly ask people to stop exhibiting this pattern in the public.

This kind of sidekicking other Free Software projects puts you and the community (GNOME in this case, but it universally also applies to KDE, the Freedesktop and the Free Software community) as a whole in bad light. While it's probably fine to make an ass out of yourself, please don't apply the same logic to others. Therefore, if you consider bitching about The Other Desktop (be it KDE, GNOME or whoever else's offering) in public forums, please keep the following in mind (and don't expect me to list new things here):

  • Trying to ridicule other Free Software people's work is counter-productive to the cause of getting more people to use Free Software.
  • Stating bad things and forgetting about the background for convenience reasons shows only one thing well: You're too narrow-minded to see the big picture, and you don't do any effort to try to really understand the thing you're bitching about. In 99.9% of the cases, the world is not as black-and-white as you are so conveniently trying to put it.
  • It also puts your community into bad light, and it makes collaborating for those who are less narrow-minded much harder. Don't throw sticks between your own people's legs.
  • It doesn't help the adoption of Free Software and the Free Desktop at all, in fact, it shows that you're immature.
  • It might provoke the same kind of reaction from the other side, leading to a vicious circle of mud-slingering with the consequences I'm outlining in this post.
  • Diversity is one of the principles of Free Software, your pattern of behaviour shows a deep lack of understanding of this concept.
  • Remember what today might be a funny and smart post, it can be tomorrow's reason for an employer to not consider your application because of a lack of vision, understanding and diplomacy in dealing with diversity. (Replace "employer" with "potential girl-friend" at will.) Don't shoot yourself in the foot.
  • The Free Software cause is best served by being open-minded, collaborating with each other and being honest and positive about your own and other's achievements.
Those who look behind this kind of posts wonder about the real reasons for this immature and harmful behaviour. My personal guess is that there's a fear of others outrunning your pace of innovation (which is absolutely normal in competitive innovation, sometimes A leads, sometimes B does, in total both win in terms of speeds compared to being the only player). Then, there's an uncertainty how to cope with this in a collaborative fashion (there's a lot of potentially shared technology in KDE4, you know?). The net result is doubt for those who consider trying a Free Desktop -- they'll just wait until the community shows it's mature and working as one on a good user experience. That's the people you're scaring away, yet it's by far largest part of the desktop market. Remember, there's one vendor monopolising the market, by concentrating your effort on the other Free Desktop, you're trying to fight for a 3% - 6% slice of the market (which probably aligns much better with your offering, and thereby it has much less of a competitive advantage. That is "interesting", "unique" and "challenged", but probably not very "smart" from a marketing point of view.).

So here's my call to weapons:

People of the Free Software community, discourage this kind of counter-productive behaviour and fight for a wide community of freedom-lovers that grows beyond trying to downplay other's achievements.

On a positive note, I do know that this kind of behaviour is not the common case in either community. In fact, I've worked together really well with people from other Free Software projects (including GNOME) in the recent past. Unfortunately, only bad news is news, so this is what gets picked up by the media. And unfortunately, it needs a lot of people not peeing in the pool to see a pattern of a nice bunch to make up for one rotten apple.

[ Wed, 26 Sep 2007 14:55:13 +0200 ] permanent link

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© Sebastian Kügler
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