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Civil war? What civil war?

July 3, 2007 Leave a comment

Leave it to Lindows — I’m sorry, “Linspire” — chief FUD officer Kevin Carmony to try to make Benedict Arnold into a freedom fighter. In his June 27th bleatings — I mean, “writing” — about the possibility of GNU/Linux splitting into two separate camps, he says that this is “nothing new for Linux.” True. And also, he outlines the difference between advocates of KDE and Gnome, Debian and RPM (and I’m assuming here he’s talking about the installers) and Distro A and Distro B.

However, that’s where reality stops and fantasy steps in.

Carmony says: “These divisions are quite material, and dilute significant energy and efforts across competing standards. However, we accept this as the price we pay for freedom of choice.”

That’s Kevin’s world. Meanwhile in GNU/Linux circles on the planet Earth, not much can be further from the truth. Where are these so-called “competing standards” — Debian installer vs. RPM? You use one, or the other, and either (or both) work for you. Or not.

As for desktop environments, I don’t use KDE because I actually prefer Xfce as a desktop enviroment. Having tried it, I understand how cool KDE is (and it is). It doesn’t stop me from recognizing the contributions KDE makes to distros that offer it, and I certainly don’t belittle the efforts that KDE folks put into their environment. But it’s just not me; so far, I’m a Xfce guy.

This is not a “division” — this is just a variety of people using the distro of their choice. And in nearly all cases, a great majority of distro users like their distro but don’t wish any other distro ill, save for maybe the ones who pay protection money to the racketeers in Redmond.

I can’t be in the minority in seeing a distro I don’t use as a potential one to try, rather than one to bash. But even if you did favor one distro family — Debian or Red Hat or whatever — over another, the variety of distros out there makes the landscape more familial rather than adversarial.

To bludgeon and obliterate another distro because it’s not the one you use — that’s so Microsoft. So much so, Kevin, that it’s been my observation over the past year or so that this is not the prevailing mindset in the GNU/Linux field — unless you sell out your distro to the nearest digital centurion for 30 pieces of silver.

Speaking of Microsoft, Carmony also tries to take “high morale ground” (note to Kevin: Get a better writer and editor for your stuff — it’s “high moral ground”) in preaching that GNU/Linux developers ought to respect the IP of others, but he makes no mention about how Redmond has little, if any, respect for IP until they can unleash their legal dobermans.

So, vaya con Dios, Lindows — I won’t be using you, and I won’t be considering you a true GNU/Linux distro any longer. And you can bet I’ll keep laughing with everyone else when your misguided mantra of achieving a better Linux through Microsoft comes up.

[FSF Associate Member](Larry Cafiero, editor/publisher of Open Source Reporter, is an associate member of the Free Software Foundation.)

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