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Tribalism Is the Enemy Within, Says Shuttleworth 655

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
climenole points out a post from Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth about internal strife in the free software community. He wrote, "Tribalism is when one group of people start to think people from another group are 'wrong by default.' It's the great-granddaddy of racism and sexism. And the most dangerous kind of tribalism is completely invisible: it has nothing to do with someone's 'birth tribe' and everything to do with their affiliations: where they work, which sports team they support, which Linux distribution they love. ... Right now, for a number of reasons, there is a fever pitch of tribalism in plain sight in the free software world. It's sad. It's not constructive. It's ultimately going to be embarrassing for the people involved, because the Internet doesn't forget. It's certainly not helping us lift free software to the forefront of public expectations of what software can be."
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Tribalism Is the Enemy Within, Says Shuttleworth

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  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:59PM (#33088054)
    The public expectations of software are not particularly rigorous -- it shouldn't crash too often, it should look moderately pretty, and it should get them on the web. Done, done, and done. Can we go back to arguing and tribalism now?
  • Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dward90 (1813520) on Friday July 30, 2010 @03:59PM (#33088074)
    "Tribalism is when one group of people start to think people from another group are 'wrong by default.'"

    This is 90% of what makes the American government unworkable.
  • by Daetrin (576516) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:01PM (#33088136)
    If you can figure out how to convince people to reject tribalism and operate in a completely rational manner then promoting free and open software will end up being small potatoes, you've probably got a nobel prize waiting for you.
  • by dward90 (1813520) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:06PM (#33088240)
    It is a problem. Tribalism is different than debate, dissent, and competition. It's a state of being unable to engage in meaningful debate or to accept constructive criticism. There is (or should be) a middle ground between a "mono-culture" and the inability to accept new ideas from a member of an opposing group.
  • by k-zed (92087) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:07PM (#33088256) Homepage Journal

    ...or, rather, people who design and perpetrate software like:

      - networkmanager
      - dbus
      - gconf & gnome
      - pulseaudio
      - mono
      - ...

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:08PM (#33088298) Homepage Journal
    ...Or a bullet....
  • by Alaren (682568) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:12PM (#33088384)

    Look. The idea that people who are part of another group are "wrong by default" is frustrating and often short-sighted. Group-think is to be avoided.

    That said, I would characterize the vast majority of so-called "tribalism" as simple competition. It's okay to disagree, and it's okay to disagree strongly. Part of evolution, whether we're talking biology or software, is competition. One does not just "fall" into the Ubuntu camp or the Fedora camp or whatever; one makes an initial choice based on (often inarticulable) value judgments. Then the "burden of proof" shifts to outsiders. If you want someone to switch "teams" after this point, it's not enough to argue that your presented alternative is marginally better. You will only win converts from other teams with genuinely compelling improvements--which eventually stand to benefit all comers.

    Point being, it's entirely appropriate to say another group is wrong by default. Advocates for change always bear the burden of proof--which means advocates for change are always wrong by default.

    It is possible to take this too far--to refuse to listen to any argument, to refuse to acknowledge any talk of change. That is probably the kind of fragmentation Shuttleworth thinks he sees, but... I think he's wrong by default, and he has not presented sufficiently compelling evidence to persuade me yet. All I see is healthy competition and passionate defenses of competing goods.

    (FWIW, I run Kubuntu. I switched to Fedora a couple versions ago, then switched back. I am not a coder (I'm a lawyer) and my choice of distros depends mostly on a preference for KDE and stable drivers straight off the ISO.)

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:13PM (#33088398)

    He didn't seem at all to be saying there should be a mono-culture. He stated that it was a problem that people in each individual clique seem to often, rather than being cooperative and working with the other groups (or even respecting) them, things tend to devolve into "my is better than yours!" attitudes. It's not even always between distributions. At a recent open sources convention I attended, though it wasn't really open hostility, I saw a lot more devotion and mild animosity between Gnome and KDE users than between Ubuntu and Fedora users.

  • by c0l0 (826165) * on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:14PM (#33088406) Homepage

    Strange how he speaks of "lifting Free Software to the forefront", whilst all he's _really_ doing is trying to lift Ubuntu to the forefront.

    Mr. Shuttleworth apparently knows that "the internet doesn't forget", yet he (I assume it was him who heralded the changes made) chose to tone down the role of Free (as in freedom) Software in the "Ubuntu Promise" over the years in a very silent yet continuous manner, and led Ubuntu to act against some of the principles of the early (think 2004 to 2006 or so) days of the project; principles that I happen to value. Getting into bed with vendors of proprietary software in a way that doesn't benefit others in the Free Software eco-system is something I despise, for example: Canonical is actually getting proprietary AMD/ATI graphics drivers before anyone else gets them, probably under NDA or whatnot. I also don't like their "partner"-repository that contains nothing but proprietary software, and is advertised and presented as a Really Great Thing(tm), not as a sometimes (probably) necessary evil. I don't like how Ubuntu's more and more about doing "their thing" without contributing back to the upstream projects they base their product on, and how they actually try to differentiate themselves from their competitors by making technically bad decisions in the wake of all this (think client-side window decorations, and putting window controls to the left because of that - just doesn't make any sense to me). There were many other occasions on which Mr. Shuttleworth and Ubuntu chose to somehow, somewhat upset parts of the Free Software community, either by what they stated or what they did. I just don't think Mr. Shuttleworth is entitled to put Ubuntu under the banner of Free Software, at least not as it stands today. If someone on identi.ca, or whereever else, is arguing against Ubuntu, it's just that: someone arguing against Ubuntu. It's certainly not an attack on Free Software.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:14PM (#33088416)

    The public expectations of software are not particularly rigorous -- it shouldn't crash too often, it should look moderately pretty, and it should get them on the web.

    Hardly. Most public expectations of software are that it will crash too often and it'll be complicated to the point of unusability. Free software already rivals proprietary software in meeting these expectations.

  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:14PM (#33088418) Journal

    If you can figure out how to convince people to reject tribalism and operate in a completely rational manner

    I've found the best method is to involve family. I've known people who were racist but once their brother or sister was dating someone of that race, they broadened their view a little bit. It's usually a slow process, but it helps them get past skin colour once they get to know the individual personally. Which tends to happen at a lot of family functions.

    So - Mister Shuttleworth, if you can get your sleek and graceful Ubuntu women to date some strong and burly Red hat men, you'll find this kind of tribalism slowly disappear.

  • What a hypocrite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:22PM (#33088594) Homepage Journal

    Mark doesn't like it that we don't just all cooperate in making him even more wealthy. We're not his unpaid employees, even if that's the way he treats us.

  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:26PM (#33088670)
    If you're talking about pure socialism, then I agree. However the same argument could be made for pure capitalism. I think the best systems are the ones where we strike a balance between the two.
  • by radtea (464814) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:27PM (#33088692)

    in addition to Bush's idiotic 700 billion banker bailout

    Strangely, I never heard a word out of any of these people when Bush was running up huge deficits... their voices only became so massively amplified when a Democrat walked in to the Oval Office.

    I wonder why that is?

  • by 1000101 (584896) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:29PM (#33088728)
    Only 52 comments in and it seems there is already a disproportionate number of posts moderated Offtopic, Troll, or Flamebait than a typical /. thread. All this and we're just talking about the possibility of tribalism being a problem in the free software community. Perhaps Mr. Shuttleworth is on to something.
  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:31PM (#33088746) Homepage

    Yeah, stupid socialism. It doesn't work anywhere except everywhere except America. Oh, and here too, but not for health care or higher education. Socialism is only for the Department of War^wDefense, Libraries, and the Fire Department. Everything else is slavery. I mean servitude. It's confusing because I'm talking about slavery, but using the word servitude because slavery has these negative connotations which are directly attributable to unregulated socialism. I mean capitalism.

  • by Applekid (993327) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:32PM (#33088780)

    Strangely, I never heard a word out of any of these people when Bush was running up huge deficits... their voices only became so massively amplified when a Democrat walked in to the Oval Office.

    I wonder why that is?

    That's easy to explain. Much like how the grass is always greener on the other side, criticism is louder when it's against your side.

    How appropriate considering the topic at hand of Tribalism.

    I would love to see these Tea Party guys share in some of the power to see if they live up to their claims. And Libertarians. And Greens. If the stranglehold of the two corrupt powerhouses were to be shaken with some decent 3rd party action without the populace mourning "wasting" votes within my lifetime, I can die a happy man that that the country I love will be on it's way to rediscovering her path.

  • by canajin56 (660655) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:32PM (#33088784)

    You have it backwards. Triablism is the opposite of competition. Tribalism isn't "I prefer my project so I will make it better than yours" it's "You are an idiot, why bother competing when I'm already better and always will be". It's not "I like this feature we should do that too" it's "That feature is in Windows, it's garbage, lets not even think about it!"

    Also, explain how racism isn't prejudice...

  • by RoccamOccam (953524) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:34PM (#33088808)
    This type of action by Bush was the reason his approval numbers were so low - he lost his conservative base. Conservatives were quite outspoken about this. That being said, the fiscal bailout was quite different from the "stimulus" package. The fiscal bailout was almost completely a set of loans and the large majority of those loans have been repaid. The "stimulus" package, on the other hand was mostly a giant boatload of pork-barrel spending.
  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:38PM (#33088882)

    This is 90% of what makes the American government unworkable.

    yeah.. All those congressmen are crooks. ... Except mine.. he's okay..

  • Interestingly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:39PM (#33088904)
    The comments following the blog post are more informative than the blog post itself.

    Redhat and Canonical serve two entirely different groups of people, so it's pretty pointless to bitch about what each have or haven't done for their respective groups.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:40PM (#33088906)
    Yeah except that whole part about making Linux easier to use, and accessable to average users. Not everyone wants to learn the intricate details of how their OS works, some of them just want to use it.

    It may not be the distro for you, but to dismiss it as adding very little to the OSS community is intellecutally dishonest. Ubuntu was very helpful to many people for getting started on Linux. I myself started using it a year ago, and recently switched to Arch Linux because I was ready to learn more about how the sytem works. Ubuntu opened the door, and I'm very greatful for that.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:40PM (#33088918)

    They seem to provide source and comply with the GPL, what else did you want?

  • by agoliveira (188870) <adilson.adilson@net> on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:47PM (#33089032)

    Ubuntu is bringing free software to the masses as noone else has done before. Nobody forces you to install proprietary software from the partner repository or anywhere else and when Ubuntu detects that a proprietary driver, for instance, is available for your hardware it tells you that it's not free software and you can choose to ignore and keep using the free one.

  • actually (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ak3ldama (554026) <james_akeldama@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:50PM (#33089096) Homepage Journal

    I think poor Marky (insert underlying vocal connotations of tribalism) is just upset that people think they don't contribute anything. Here is a quote [jonobacon.org] from an article Mark linked to:

    Likewise, I don't think it is fair to undermine Canonical's contributions just because many of them exist outside of GNOME.

    I personally think that this IS fair. If they are going off on their own implementing features outside the mainline GNOME project and those associated development routes then that is there prerogative but we absolutely can undermine their work. Any extra work they do just for the whims of their project is going to be by reality less useful to others. The argument can be made that GNOME could be more accepting of the work and interest of others - which in the end they do try to move their additions upstream... Also the definition and application of the word "contribution" is made vague since these contributions are to their community and not to GNOME. As a related side note: this issue of upstream changes and doing what they want to on their own is the VERY reason why I like using Fedora.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:51PM (#33089104) Journal

    Well you heard at least one voice - Mine.

    I posted often and frequently that the Bailout Bill was stupid, and that I was happy the Republicans voted it down. Then the Republicans turned-around and voted for the second, revised bill Nancy Pelosi came-up with, and I started calling them Bastards instead of Republicans. And then I joined a Tea Party in December of '08. It's not my fault you chose not to hear my voice. You also chose not to hear my voice in 9/12 when I said going to war was a dumbass decision, but was passed near-unanimously by the Congress (both D's and R's).

    Oh and by the way the Tea Parties date back to December 2007 when Bush was still in office. It was originally started by libertarian Ron Paul, who then stepped aside after his campaign was finished, but the momentum continued without him.

  • by ultramk (470198) <ultramk AT pacbell DOT net> on Friday July 30, 2010 @04:53PM (#33089144)

    That's because all generalizations are false.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:00PM (#33089284)
    How is this any different than any Linux distro? It sounds to me like you're arguing against the basic concept of free software...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:04PM (#33089346)

    actually.....probably both..... sadly

  • by operagost (62405) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:05PM (#33089362) Homepage Journal

    Strangely, I never heard a word out of any of these people when Bush was running up huge deficits

    That's because the TEA parties weren't happening yet. Trust me, if you'd listened to talk radio, read the blogs, watched something other than MSNBC or CNN, etc. you would have noticed. By the way, Obama has more than doubled the Bush deficit. Now THAT'S huge, in the way that an elephant's huge until you see a sperm whale.

  • Are you really advocating a Salvation Army model of free software? "Come have this hot meal, and all you have to do in return is listen to our sermon"?
  • by moranar (632206) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:12PM (#33089488) Homepage Journal

    "He"'s killed Debian? Sorry, but he didn't point guns at anybody to get users and developers. Build a better Debian, don't give us the "it's all Shuttleworth's fault, waaaa!" crap.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:19PM (#33089576) Journal

    No what's "wrong" is that I am being forced to pay a $950 Fine because I exercised my Pro-Choice right not to buy hospital insurance.

    I have no problem with not taxing people who don't have health insurance, as long as (1) they receive no medical care they do not pay for up-front, including ambulance corps/first responders and (2) they are permanently not eligible for public health care (including medicare).

    Because free-loaders like yourself (face it: if you choose not to have medical insurance, you're a free-loader; only the luck of not having extraordinary medical claims makes it otherwise) are costing ME money.

    Oh, and by the way -- random capitalization and the co-opting of terms with specific other meanings just makes you look like a lunatic. Might be one of the reasons many of us consider you to generally be trolling.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:27PM (#33089654) Journal

    Tribalism is not just what makes large software projects difficult. It is quite literally the cause of almost all of mankind's problems. Everything, from street corner graffiti to civilization threatening global warming can be tracked back to tribalism.

  • Re:Politics (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:30PM (#33089692)

    I think you've got a good point to make, but I'm not sure people understand it.

    The main point is... do Americans even understand what Socialism is any more? Or has the word truly been hijacked and destroyed just like in 1984 - George Orwell?

    You can tell when a word is used for it's emotional impact rather than its meaning.

  • by TheEyes (1686556) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:32PM (#33089736)

    No what's "wrong" is that I am being forced to pay a $950 Fine because I exercised my Pro-Choice right not to buy hospital insurance.

    Oh, so you want me to pay to keep the emergency rooms open, so you can use them when you get in a car accident and need them? That "fine" is a fee to keep the hospitals open, so that when you need them they'll still be there. The current situation is that you, and people like you, are opting out of the health insurance market but still expect the emergency rooms to remain on standby, which is why hospitals are going out of business and health insurance companies keep having to raise rates.

    It's just like the police or fire department, except that 100 years ago we decided to lump those services together and make them publicly owned--taking the market away from private security firms and fire deparments--while leaving doctors to the tender mercies of the insurance companies. Doctors at the time just didn't have good enough unions to do the same, at least in this country.

  • by Toonol (1057698) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:43PM (#33089914)
    Good example of the Shuttleworth's point.
  • by moranar (632206) on Friday July 30, 2010 @05:49PM (#33089994) Homepage Journal

    So the developers left the project for better money and it's his fault for offering them jobs? Fascinating!

    You're not helping your case. Is it so hard to point out what the evil was in offering money for jobs? Was the SABDFL all evil like and cackling when he said "Help me DOOM Debian and you'll get 30 silver coins each! BWAHAAHAHA"?

  • by David Greene (463) on Friday July 30, 2010 @06:09PM (#33090240)

    It's the great-granddaddy of racism and sexism.

    No. This statement displays a complete lack of understanding of what racism and sexism are. They are not about differences. They are about power. They are about one group of privileged people wielding power over another in order to keep their privilege. They are not about individual thoughts, opinions or actions. They are about systemic and institutional bias. This lack of understanding in U.S. culture is why we're still dealing with these problems and why many people don't acknowledge they exists ("well I'm not a racist...").

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday July 30, 2010 @06:34PM (#33090498)

    "No what's "wrong" is that I am being forced to pay a $950 Fine because I exercised my Pro-Choice right not to buy hospital insurance."

    That'd be OK if you also forfeit your right to call ER if you have, say, a sudden heart attack.

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday July 30, 2010 @06:40PM (#33090570)

    "I posted often and frequently that the Bailout Bill was stupid, and that I was happy the Republicans voted it down. Then the Republicans turned-around and voted for the second, revised bill Nancy Pelosi came-up with, and I started calling them Bastards instead of Republicans."

    Except that without the bailout you'd probably be out of the job, without unemployment benefits and in the middle of The Greatest Depression Ever. And I'm not exaggerating a bit. Without the bailout money the banking system would have collapsed.

    But don't worry! Tea party stupidity has won in the end. And instead of more stimulus spending (which IS needed) USA has budget cuts and 'deficit reduction'. So look forward to enjoying deflation and stagnation! Cause that's what you were asking for.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday July 30, 2010 @06:47PM (#33090648)

    You're making that up. There is nothing, certainly not in the modern usage, in the term socialism that indicates it must be applied to EVERYTHING. Modern economies are always (at least I can't think of an exception, and that includes the US) a mixture of socialist and capitalist economic models with some economies incorporating more socialism and others more capitalism.

    Americans do have an awfully warped idea of what socialism is, and do their very best to deny that there's even a possibility they could have any taint of it's evil in their country.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Friday July 30, 2010 @06:59PM (#33090790)
    My suggestion would be to not allow any mention of political parties on election ballots. It's easy to implement, almost trivial, but would get rid of a LOT of ridiculous, party-line voting.
  • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:04PM (#33090844)

    Actually, you're wrong.

    First, 'communism' is an ideal like 100% laissez-faire pure ideal capitalism. So there were no true communistic countries. So the phrase 'the economic side of communism' does not really mean what you think it means. As ideals go, communism is OK (personally, I'd like to live in a communist world). Of course, communism turned out to be perfectly unachievable in the real world :)

    Next, the word 'socialism' is waaaay overburdened. It can mean USSR-style command economy OR it can mean a form of society oriented towards well-being of its members. For example, Sweden is often characterized as 'socialistic' even though most of social services there are provided by private for-profit companies.

  • by David Greene (463) on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:09PM (#33090912)

    No, it's not the same at all. The people who accept scientific consensus on climate change are backed up by research. That's not the same as blind faith leading to monoculture and non-acceptance of contrary ideas. It's up to the deniers to prove the research is wrong and to this date, they haven't.

  • I have run Debian "unstable" for 12 years and only had one downtime day because of it. Its quality is pretty close to that of a released distribution. And it is updated daily. Perhaps the failure was that Debian didn't market it.
  • by TheEyes (1686556) on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:41PM (#33091266)

    Well of course private insurance companies are a scam, and are designed to extract the most money from people at the most vulnerable times in their lives. The better solution is to make healthcare infrastructure a public good, just like firefighters and police.

    Unfortunately Joe frickin' Lieberman killed that idea back in September, when he killed the public option. So we don't get to have nice things like low-cost pharmaceuticals, or hospitals who don't have to employ twice as many insurance reps as doctors, like the rest of the civilized world. We get to share a healthcare model with Mexico and Iran, which results in us paying three times as much for a lower life expectancy than any European nation.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:42PM (#33091280) Homepage Journal

    I've got almost half a million in the bank, and can easily afford to pay my own bills, thank you very much.

    You're still playing the lottery, pal. There are plenty of diseases and injuries that could eat that half million in just a fraction of the time it took you to collect it. Multiplied by the number of people in your family. Know how I know? I *used* to have a seven figure bank account, that's how. I got some sick people around me, and that whole self-insurance thing... yeah, doesn't actually work when the shit hits the fan.

    And... frankly... if you've got 500k in the bank, I don't even care to hear you whine about a $900 tax delta, regardless of the reason. You discredit yourself instantly. Buy some bloody insurance, they won't charge you the tax, you get great value for your money.

  • Wrong ring (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:48PM (#33091348)
    Redhat didn't enter the ring with Canonical over their contributions, that's entirely the wrong way to look at the situation. Canonical just can't seem to figure out why it's them verses everyone else. Canonical's all keen to wax philosophical about tribes, while the "tribes of old" so to speak have more or less met in the middle, broken bread and made up.

    You see, what Canonical is now realizing is that they're in a tribe all by themselves. And they can't handle this revelation becoming public, because it really shows just how little they've contributed back to the community over the past few years. This recent GNOME survey just shows how little they've done for GNOME. The Linux Kernel survey showed much the same numbers. And if we ran around to the rest of the big free software communities, I'm certain we'd see much the same numbers, yet again.

    Canonical, with its Secret Invite-only Design Team e.g., has built a nice big brick wall around themselves, doing lots of work within, but very little escaping at the border. They try to say they're doing "Upstream Desktop Software" work with things like Notify-OSD and their indicator mess, but both are so incredibly bad that no other operating system is using them, and their patches have been entirely rejected likewise. (Namely due to the absolute poor quality of the patches. I've reviewed a number of them myself, and in almost every case they break some of the software's functionality so that they can integrate their junk, which absolutely won't work outside of Ubuntu's environment. That shit wouldn't fly anywhere else, but they're Canonical, so we should merge their patch anyways, right?)

    Furthermore, they knew this was going to happen from the outlay; their upstreams set out visions, had meetings, and collectively decided as a community "We're going this way". Canonical then chooses to go an entirely different direction, and are pissed that nobody followed them.

    So yeah, they can whine until the cows come home about how people "fight with them", but until they prove themselves to be members of the community at broad and not members of their own kingdom, nobody is going to take them seriously. The big wars are over; GNOME and KDE have reconciled their differences and are working together. Vi vs Emacs is a funny anecdote for /. conversations. Now Canonical needs to decide if it wants a future with the community, or not.
  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday July 30, 2010 @07:54PM (#33091400)

    Or it could be that you're actually trolling. A low UID doesn't give you a blanket pass to troll and not get called on it, or blame it on "Ubuntu sympathizers".

  • by kiljoy001 (809756) on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:07PM (#33091512)
    No one forces you to release free software - some people purport that it an idealogical struggle so by releasing software they are fighting against a future owned by corporations that create for profit software. Others do it just because the see a niche need for software they would like so they create and give it away. How you decide to release software is mostly a personal decision, but in some rare cases some business decide it would better to release the source code to some product so they no longer have to actively maintain it. So in your 'unpaid employee' example, nobody is forcing you to make updates, or commit to churning out new code. If you feel taken advantage of, the by all means don't bother really. It's not hard to do. But if your feeling moody because someone else took your work that you freely gave away and made it popular, well maybe you shouldn't have gave it away in the first place, no?
  • by kiljoy001 (809756) on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:11PM (#33091542)
    Also I would like to add the purpose behind free software is that you can freely modify, change and update the code as you see fit, the fact you didn't get paid to create the software is another issue that is separate.
  • by bjourne (1034822) on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:29PM (#33091684) Homepage Journal
    If Wall Street speculators can gamble away the world so badly that it leads to the worlds worst depression ever, then the system already is so rotten from within that bailout money will only prolong the suffering.
  • by dangitman (862676) on Friday July 30, 2010 @08:54PM (#33091824)
    So, you made an entirely sincere troll? That doesn't make it any less trollish.
  • I don't want to make either impossible, but I'd like to have a system where the goals of the developers are paramount over those of gate-keepers.

    The goals of the user should be paramount, not the developer; once you release the code under a suitable GPL, you relinquish a level of control over how that software moves through the ecosystem (keeping only what the license allows you).
  • It's going to be difficult to balance but I'd like to work on it. It is not desirable to restrict distribution for a reasonable fee or support that supports the whole community, even if paid or sponsored. There'd have to be more thought on what makes the gate-keepers harmful. But I can think of a number of problems to be addressed:
    • The fact that when we go to lobby our users on issues important to us, they don't know us, they know Red Hat or Ubuntu even when we really wrote their software. Red Hat or Ubuntu get to form their opinions. It's a distance that is harmful to us.
    • Contrast this to the fact that generation 1 Free Software projects were often user-hostile, at least as the users saw it. That is something that Ubuntu has been more successful with than us, and we must fix that.
    • Proprietary device drivers should clearly not be allowed, to the extent that we can enforce that with contract or copyright law.
    • The lack of help from distributions on issues like software patenting that are important to Free Software is frustrating.
  • by turbidostato (878842) on Friday July 30, 2010 @09:21PM (#33092034)

    "The description I posted from M-W says it is a form of government"

    Hmmm... nope... I'll read it again... hmmm... nope, it doesn't say so.

    "1 : any of various economic and political theories..."
    "2 a : a system of society or group living in which..."
    "3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory..."

    So it's either some kind of economic or political theory, a system of society or group, or a society stage in a theory from Marx. No sir, it doesn't say anywhere on the text you bring up to attention that it is any kind of government.

    Since ceoyoyo in the grandparent post explicitly says that "Socialism is simply the idea that the public, either in the form of the government or directly in the form of a group of citizens, should own things, provide services, etc." which is basically a mix up of your references "1" and "2 a" it's clear that, within the limits of this discussion, ceoyoyo is right and ffreeloader is wrong.

    See? That's rational discussion instead of tribalism. You'd probably benefit yourself from trying it.

  • I've got almost half a million in the bank, and can easily afford to pay my own bills, thank you very much.

    Just wanted to let you know, if you blow through that because of unexpected medical bills (high probability, plenty of people with a hell of a lot more money than you have gone bankrupt because of it), I don't mind my tax dollars supporting your medicaid and emergency services. I mean, I think you're wrong, and shortsighted, but I don't want you to die because of that mistake. Peace.
  • The problem with the user being paramount is that there is often no quid-pro-quo whatsoever with the user. Of course they don't pay us. They don't contribute to the project. They don't help us when we ask for political lobbying against things that hurt us.

    If you want quid pro quo, then I do think you're restricted to either making commercial software or just hiring out your services. You're asking users to pay a price that would actually be higher in many cases than commercial software. They should not be required to sign onto your political agenda, if that was not in the license. I think you are, no offense (and I really am not trying to offend you here) letting self-aggrandizement get the better of you. Just because you write useful software doesn't mean you have the right to command the loyalty of the people who use it.
  • Re:Another master (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PouletFou (1221320) on Friday July 30, 2010 @11:27PM (#33092734)

    As long as government stayed out of the way the US economy was by far the strongest this world has ever seen.

    That is so 2007.

  • by GSV Eat Me Reality (1845852) on Friday July 30, 2010 @11:32PM (#33092764)

      Perhaps. But one can't deny that Ubuntu works, and works well, and is bringing the concept of open source software to a lot of people who would not otherwise have seen it.

      I am now thinking about a commercial-distribution-hostile license, just to make sure that community comes first.

      You can license any software you write as you like, but if the linux community is closed to the very concept of commercial proprietary software distributors - and there's quite a few of them on the professional side - then linux will die as a base-level operating system. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are saying. In any case I don't see that the Debian project is dead.

      With all due respect to all the people that have made Debian work (and by extension, Ubuntu) perhaps they should figure out a way to work together. From my perspective all this infighting is accomplishing is making it harder and harder for low level people like me (doing home user tech support) to convince the Average User to adopt Linux and stick with it. I'm afraid that I have to agree with Mr. Shuttleworth. If we want open source operating systems to gain any ground in user acceptance, we have to have a cohesive front end on the consumer side.

      I've been fixing computers for a long time, too, Bruce. In the last five or six years, the large majority of the work I've been doing is virus removal on windows systems. As I tell my customers, I'd love to be able to spend my time, and their money, just teaching them how to use their computers, rather than teaching them what not to do, and removing the malware. Linux can bring that back - but it's hard to recommend a particular distribution to anyone, other than Ubuntu, because there's no cohesive front end.

      I know that you or someone else will say that the strength of Linux is it's diversity. I don't disagree with that - I run a lot of different distributions here. But for the Average Joe User, that's meaningless. They just want it to work. Shuttleworth and all the people who work on Ubuntu have brought that "just works" metric pretty close to being something that Average Joe will use. Personally I don't think he's sacrificed any of the ideology inherent in free/open source software in doing so. Nothing worth crying heretic over, anyway.

      Cheers.

    GSVEMR

     

  • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @12:51AM (#33093154)

    I have been offered the online-perception-management services I'm talking about while managing at HP and Sourcelabs.

    So, because you have been offered such services, every time you are modded down on slashdot, it must be because of paid PR agents doing it, and Shuttleworth is paying them to do it? Get a grip.

    What made his statement hypocritical is that he was asking the Free Software community to all line up and pull in one direction,

    But he doesn't say that. In fact, he says quite the opposite. You seem to be a perfect example of the destructive "tribalism" he's talking about - somebody who instantly dismisses different opinions, simply because of the group they are associated with.

    It's not really anything for the community's own good - we need our differences.

    Yes, but we don't need trolls and haters.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @02:42AM (#33093490)

    "Do not be drawn into a tribal argument on behalf of Ubuntu" meant that the people he was talking to considered Ubuntu to be their tribe.

    Of course, it was addressed to the ubuntu community.

    Unfortunately don't be drawn in also means don't engage, and don't listen and don't learn that you're the wrong one.

    How so? A "tribal argument" is not the same thing as "engaging" or "listening." He doesn't say anywhere that they can't engage in discussion with other groups. That's just your extreme interpretation of it.

    I contend that these discussions aren't "tribal" and that they are painful but necessary. There are real problems with Ubuntu that we really should discuss with their community. But they've been warned not to engage.

    Again, a strange interpretation. Have you considered that perhaps you are reading too much into it?

    I'm sure there is plenty of room to discuss problems with Ububtu. But the way you are approaching it doesn't seem very useful, the way you assume conspiracy theories and jump to ad hominems.

  • by strikethree (811449) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @02:44AM (#33093496) Journal

    "...Or a bullet...."

    This. I used up all of my mod points yesterday, but this is the real issue. Some people are just selfish and will twist things to their own benefit, even if the cost is greater to the other person or people. People get killed over $5 during a mugging. Surely any rational actor would think that $5 is not worth the other guys life or the risk of getting thrown in prison... and yet it still happens.

    A bullet.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:03AM (#33094170)
    Stupid committees deciding to choose names like "iceweasel" to backstab firefox tried very hard to kill Debian from within but failed. Neither Canonical or Shuttleworth are going to be able to inflict as much damage to Debian as that. With respect to your undoubted abilities you are really overstating the case here to the point of misleading others into the sort of stupid tribalism the article is about.
    Your statement makes even less sense than saying something like "knoppix killed debian".

    I am now thinking about a commercial-distribution-hostile license

    Don't let anger and a feeling of lost control lead you to places that will look petty in hindsight.

  • by cynyr (703126) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @03:49PM (#33097096)

    paid kernel devs, like redhat and suse. Getting hardware vendors on board, like suse and redhat. Getting 3rd party software(like oracle) on board.

    Basicly something other than the closed launch pad, and some shiny guis for config files. (that work fine if you are on close to standard OEM desktops, but heaven forbid you have a hardware raid controller and want to run LVM or NFS on /.)

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