Posted by: Garrick | January 14, 2008

F/LOSS and name calling.

A very nice post from Ubuntu Planet member Melissa Draper regarding open source and free software advocates continuing to badmouth proprietary and commercial companies such as Microsoft and Apple.
This behavior does not help out the cause of Open Source software and FOSS.

Here is a link to the original post on Melissas Blog, and also one to Planet Ubuntu.

It’s not uncommon within the F/LOSS community for our number one single corporate challenge to be misspelled; and no, I’m not talking typographical mistakes. Misspelling Microsoft as Micro$oft, MicroShaft and so forth, are a plague within F/LOSS communications of all types. They are commonly used in pathetic demonstrations of spite for the mega corp, or in a lame attempt to appear cool. But that is all it is; pathetic and lame.

Performing and/or tolerating such mockery does not make our community any better, and in fact, it actually speaks to the detriment of our arguments against proprietary software; we will never win this epic argument by namecalling.

For example; we loathe it when proprietary software representatives such as Mr Ballmer are rude enough to stage stunts such as calling Open Source the software equivalent of cancer. Their namecalling does increase our respect them, or have us rushing to join their cause. It turns us further away from them

The same happens when we return the insults.

Sure, we can make jokes about them in our regular conversations, in private — there’s little harm in that. However when we go public with these insults — such as posting them on forums, on publicly archived mailing lists, or spat at their face during presentations or question sessions — we are doing the same thing as them. When we do that, we have sunk to their level.

When we sink to their level, it does not make them respect us. When we sink to their level, it does not make them any more likely to see purpose in our cause.

When the opposition has to resort to unfounded insults or namecalling, it means we have the stronger argument for which they can find no other way to respond. When we resort to namecalling, it gives them the same impression.

So please, for the love of all that is good in the F/LOSS world:

Don’t sink to their level.


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