Home > GNU/Linux, Jono Bacon, linux, Linux, Richard Stallman > Walking away from the fray

Walking away from the fray

December 10, 2012

I had written something about last week’s Richard Stallman-Jono Bacon dustup over the weekend, but then realized that it would just be more-of-the-same on a topic upon which too much attention was being spent.

The tl;dr version of what I wrote, and then deleted (you’re welcome), is this:

Richard Stallman — who is a great programmer and thinker, but who exhibited again why he’s not fit for a leadership role in anything — once again threw diplomacy and tact under the bus, even though he is, to a significant degree, right on the shopping lens issue. But shunning Ubuntu, at its core, flies in the face of freedom — people should be free to use whatever they want as an OS, even if it allows others to see what one is doing (though smarter folks would realize how bad this is).

Meanwhile, Jono Bacon — rather than doing the smart thing by ignoring Stallman’s blog post — drags out the tired Ubuntu policy of ad hominem response to any and all criticism, throwing in a FUD accusation for good measure, before — wait for it — offering what he considers an “olive branch.”

Yawn. Wake me up when Ubuntu decides to make the shopping lens issue an opt-in rather than an opt-out.

The best writing I’ve seen on this comes from Benjamin Kerensa in his blog here. So I’ll let Benjamin drive for now while I go take care of some more important things.

UPDATE: Jono Bacon writes an apology here.

This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy, Larry the CrunchBang Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.

(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and develops business software at Redwood Digital Research, a consultancy that provides FOSS solutions in the small business and home office environment.)

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  1. Bruce Byfield
    December 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Careful: weighing the pros and cons of an issue is a slippery slope. You might get a reputation for being reasonable and adult, and that’s no reputation for any writer to have. 🙂

    Seriously, it’s good to see someone not falling into the trap of thinking they have to take sides.

    • December 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Reasonable? Moi? Ha! 🙂

  2. coradrum
    December 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Are you being ironic? Because what you do is exactly the same thing. By the same logic you apply, toy are against freedom. Kinda boring and redundant your writing on this. Wished it went further. Hardly journalism, just a personal blog, passing, obvious thoughts really.

    • December 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Quick question: Are you being ironic? I never said this was journalism. It’s commentary, which means that it’s my opinion. Also, it’s pretty simple: Don’t like the blog? Don’t read it.

  3. December 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Here’s my one-sentence analysis:

    The bad publicity isn’t worth whatever upside there might be from the shopping lens.

    • December 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      Steven: You’re right, and I think — at least I hope — they realized this when unleashing the shopping lens onto the public. But there’s no putting that toothpaste back in the tube. As an aside, their PR problem isn’t so much that that they are trying to spin this, but they’re doing such a bad job across the board. I don’t know if this is handed down, like just about everything else, from the throne of The Mark, or whether Canonical’s PR department just, well, sucks. Also, I don’t understand why the higher-ups (that would include Jono) at Ubuntu/Canonical don’t understand the simple concept that criticism isn’t necessarily opposition. When people are critical of Ubuntu/Canonical, they go completely batshit crazy, as if they’re expected to be above reproach or everything they’re doing is God’s gift to FOSS.

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