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The Post-FUD Era has Begun 139

Several readers have written in with a great rebuttal at ZDNet, adddressing the recent Metcalfe articles attacking Linux. Calling this change the Post-FUD Era, it does a great job of dissecting the new attacks on Linux.
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The Post-FUD Era has Begun

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  • How to counter this? I hate to say it, but logos-based counter-FUD probably won't work here anymore. It's like trying to fight a rapidly spreading forest fire with a garden hose. We could watch with helplessness as the flames start igniting, or we can bring out the big guns...

    Marketting, marketting, marketting. Expos (we got those already), Local User Groups (got those, too), and small to medium sized businesses (three for three) are key here. Organization is key here.
    Linux is already well-equipped to handle the flames with a few sparks of its own.

    Lets add one more to the list. Linux now has some giants in its corner, whose marketing machines are just about to kick into gear with regards to marketing Linux. IBM, SGI, HP, Sun, Oracle. Pretty potent forces in marketing in their own right.

    In the past, M$ has been able to fight them off by presenting a unified solution against the infighting of the giants. Now the giants have a unified front that they can present to combat M$. The message can vary slightly, as each giant has their own agenda, but it will still have the same core arguement: the logos that Linux already has established.

    This not to say that we no longer have to be vigilant, but rather that the emotional-based FUD will soon find it's own competition, provided by large corporations that have an interest in seeing Linux succeed to break M$ down.
  • This may be a little offtopic, but I raise my hand. I think all the hype is to be expected though... Linux is now coming into the public eye. I'm a fairly recent convert myself; I had never even heard of Linux until the Wired feature. I admit, I downloaded a distribution right away just because it was "cool" and something other than Windows. But after the "coolness" wore off I began to appreciate that Linux wasn't about hype, and it wasn't about being "anti-Microsoft" or anti-anything, for that matter. It's not even about the Open Source movement. Linux is about serving the user's needs. It's an operating system. Plain and simple. I have grown to love it because, in most cases, it does serve my needs much better than Windows can. There's no need for hype - Linux survived for years without it, didn't it? The Internet used to be the "big thing" that supposed gurus would talk about, even if they had no clue WHAT they were talking about. The Internet itself has been ridiculously overhyped, even today. Now that everyone* is on the Net, we have people claiming to be journalists and simply latching on to the latest "big thing." This whole series of Linux-bashing and Linux-bashing-bashing could hardly be called journalism, although Evan's rebuttal makes more sense than anything I've ever read by Metcalfe (plus, I think he's right.) But the hype will die eventually. And no matter what they may say, Linux is not a fad or Y2K hype - it will go on.

    *although i use the word "everyone" to illustrate a point, i realize that the majority of the world has yet to even place a phone call.

  • NT did stand for New Technology when it was introduced. Since it is now meaningless, it certainly doesn't mean Networking Technology.
  • Speaking of FUD, of course, I had a nasty experience of this type just a short time ago...

    The computer centre where I am is currently involved in upgrading computers, i.e. picking new computers out, choosing an OS, building new facilities, etc, etc. So I thought I'd drop a hint, and I asked the head honcho whether she'd considered Linux as an option. Of course, the answer was "No".

    So I asked why, and was given Starndard Reply No. 1776, "It is unsupported". And I mentioned RedHat (and others) *do* support their products, that's what you pay for. So then she launches into a long spiel about how vendors don't stock it pre-installed (I pointed out that some do), and that the vendors who do stock it are not the right, "approved" vendors to go to (I admit to being stumped by the sheer idiocy of this one). What it boiled down to in the end was that Windows NT was the Microsoft-supported one, and she was "familiar" with it. After this I was unable to change her mind with economics (it's cheaper), logic (it's faster, more reliable, etc) or anything else.

    Needless to say, *any* person in her position should be able to adjust to a new OS in a matter of days, if not weeks, but it was impolitic to comment on her skills at that point. So I let it drop, and we're apparently going to be burdened with Windows NT. Luckily, I leave the place at the end of this year, so I won't have to suffer much....

    What bugs me, though, is the sheer stupidity and persistence with which people believe that anything not Microsoft-certified is useless. We're going to use MS Word, MSIE, MS , and pay through the nose, because she's too blinded to see the facts. How do you get around this problem? It's certainly not one you can ignore, because you'll have to live with the consequence: Windoze on every PC.

    ....and no, it's not a substitute that you can go home to Linux. You'll have to spend 9 - 5 with Windoze.
  • Of course he's trolling, because there's nothing more fun for a columnist than getting a bunch of people frothing at the mouth. It's probably one of punditry's best perks to watch people go out and spew righteous flame with relatively little clue.

    Bob Metcalfe has been the editor of Infoworld for quite some time now, including the time when Infoworld was the only corporate computer magazine taking Linux seriously. They reported on Novell's Corsair project--you know, the one that became Caldera--on their front page when other Microsoft-happy journals were ignoring it or, in PC Week's case, subtly slamming Infoworld for reporting on such nonsense.

    Look, follks, every time someone casts doubt on Linux winning the world doesn't mean they're in the pay of Microsoft. It doesn't necessarily even mean they don't like Linux. Metcalfe likes to play the devil's advocate--he's been doing it for years. (Unlike folks like John Dvorak, Metcalfe also does admit when he's wrong, even going so far as to eat one of his own columns when he made some dramatic prediction that didn't come true.) But the record at Infoworld under his editorship doesn't exactly suggest an anti-Linux atmosphere, and it doesn't really suggest a particularly pro-Microsoft one. Remember, this is the publication that named Linux their top network operating system last year--and one that for several years kept naming OS/2 the best business operating system over Windows. (It also won for six years straight, I believe, in the readers' choice awards, suggesting that most of Infoworld's audience isn't comprised of Microsoft lackey's any more than the staff is.)

    And, sure, Metcalfe cares about attracting attention. That doesn't mean he doesn't care about being right. If you're a pundit, you call 'em as you see 'em. You may see 'em wrong. Does Metcalfe see it wrong this time? The danger of the attention storm that Microsoft will undoubtedly try to create around Windows 2000 should not be underestimated in its capacity to derail the attention Linux is getting now from corporate users, and that's the mindset ol' Bob is writing about when he talks about the potential of Linux "failing"--not that Linux will blow up and dry away, but that Microsoft will be successful in putting up a brick wall for it to run headlong into.

    Look: you can either puff up at the "trolling" and squawk a lot, or you can look for the points Metcalfe has that maybe should be kept in mind as Linux moves forward.

  • I also remember Evan's posts from that period. He was one of the first to suggest that Linux had
    value to a SCO reseller, and got some of his training dodging the resulting flames...since this
    was the early days when such a concept was scorned.

    I enjoy reading a good slapping, the delivery is definitely in the style of usenet rather than
    journalist speak.

    Of course, as other have noted, Linux advocacy seems less important given the very real strengths
    of Linux itself, and the increased presence.
  • Okay, I'm replying wondering one thing in general. that would be what is this original spew? I agree that it's a good idea to make sure you give feedback to all valid, or blatent statements for the most part. but at the same time, let us all remeber that this is to be oriented, or directed toward the original spew.
  • Well, you had your choice: Red pill or Blue pill. You went and ate both, what did you expect?

  • You write:
    >... if I submitted this to any english debate/political science teacher as valid
    >proof of anything I would be sadly disapointed with my mark.

    Apart from the fact that I don't know what you mean here (off the mark? What mark?), the English teacher would probably find "Gandhi" misspelled, and not capitalized.
  • Whatever it takes
    No matter how our HURD breaks
    I will be be right here
    waiting for GNU...
  • In the non-linux computing world (all stuff I have done with face-to-face for the most part) people seem to fear what they do not know or are unfamiliar with.
    This may be old hat however when it really comes down to it what they are doing is taking the path of least resistance.
    During my high-school days my school tended to use netware for it's server environment.
    I believe that this decistion was made in large part due to the path of least resistance in computer technolody. Also it is a reflection about what people expect to happen. Most people think that in 100 years that some sort of microsoft type product will emerge because they supposedly cater to the masses.
    This man would have to really take an uphill battle with this subject to get a good reading with most people so instead he takes an easier road to get better results.
    What I have found in my experience is that a difficult senaria for anything in life is one that tends to have a lot of choices at first. They as you get more aquainted with things it gets easier. You can probably do the same things with win9x/Nt products as you can with linux it just takes drastically more time than linux does and the results may not be as good because those choices did not exist already.
  • Well.. if any tally is correct and there are 12 million Linux users out there.. If ALL of them said something loudly, it would be noticed.

    Sure, there's a hypewave but it is somewhat justified. It's been a while since things WORKED on a lot of people's computers.
  • Man, that was totally uncalled for. Didn't your mother ever teach you manners?

  • Hahahaha. I love that.

    Moderate this up. It's specifically about something in the article, and it's damn funny.

    I miss the time when there was more moderation here.
  • I have an old copy of Byte Magazine from 1997. The headline on the cover is "NT5 - ready for the enterprise!" This is what I used to call 'the Marketing present tense'. Referring to vapourware as if it exists.
  • See the free-software-song page at;) ware-song.html []
  • Oh dear. Here we go again. I'm no great fan of Windows (I'm a primarily Unix sysadmin) but I'm tired of hearing that old chestnut `Windows [NT]has NO remote administration capabilities' because it's just plain false.

    Even without things like SMS, BackOrifice, and PC Anywhere, there's a great deal you can do from an NT machine. Let's see:

    * Add / remove / modify user accounts
    * Modify services on remote machines
    * Schedule jobs on remote machines
    * Modify SMB exports (shares) and permissions on remote filesystems
    * Monitor processes and performance statistics on remote machines
    * View and manage remote machines' logging information

    Yes, it's a very different sort of remote administration to what you may be used to from the Unix or VMS worlds, but it's there and in large part it's there as standard. Add the tools from the Resource Kit, and you've even got remote shell facilities if you really want them; if you want remote GUI control for free, you can always use the GNU GPLed VNC utilities.

    I'm no fan of Windows NT, but I won't see it bashed for the wrong reasons. Credit where credit's due, and let's criticise it for its real faults.
  • Hmm.. at least one person at ZDNet gets it... With all due respect to Metcalfe his Linux bashing does seem to be illogical.
  • G3RALD, TH3R3 U R!! 1 HAV3 B33N L00K1NG ALL 0V3R
    F0R U. D1D Y0U G3T THAT CRAC|'3D C0PY 0F

    $PAC3 CAD3T 2OOO

    THAT 1 S3NT U? Y0U 0W3 M3 SUM WAREZ 1N R3TURN!!!
    ------ ------ ------
    ALL HA1L B1FF, TH3 M05T 3L33T D00D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
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  • This is coming from ZDNet?

    Wonder if Berst will have anything to say re: Linux? (E.g., the announcements from SGI).

  • I imagine the FUD is going to get worse in the future. We need to remember that before we start flaming away, we need to be considerate and polite in our corrections. No sense leaving a bad impression on people that will cause them to say "yeah, i heard about those Linux fanaticals..."

    The article also failed to mention that Metcalfe critized Linux for being old technology. (ALL OS's are using old ideas, the basic OS concepts have been around for [around] 20 years.)

    Uhm, hasn't Ethernet been around for around 20 years as well? But that wasn't brought up for some reason ;-) (Metcalfe invented Ethernet)
  • by drivers ( 45076 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @06:40PM (#1769273)
    Richard-Stallman-as-Marx. Richard Marx!
    Wherever you go
    Whatever you do
    I will be right here
    waiting for GNU

  • This Metcalfe guy should know better. I think he just loves stirring up slashdotters and attracting more people to his column. Controversy sells papers, who cares whether you are on the right side or not? His prediction of the internet stock market bubbl collapsing on Nov. 8, '99 proves he doesn't care about being right, only about attracting attention.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I think by brain will explode. This is a ZDNet article defending Linux against an InfoWord article attacking Linux. I feel I have travelled to an alternate universe.
  • In the past few years I've heard a similar style in arguments against Unix in general from mainframe proponents in our big data center. It never gets to the point of objective comparisons and never includes a balanced view of trends. Those "arguments" seem to have died as Unix has continued to grow in our town -- where we now have about as many large-scale Unix machines as mainframes.

    But now the new-fud mongers have a new hope: Win2K will crush Linux on the low end and the big Unix vendors at the high end. If this is all their advance fud spewers have to offer I'll just have to wait for the real battle, thank you. That is, if we don't all die of boredom waiting for Win2k to finally be released! ;)
  • Don't you love it how people love to classify things? You realize it's all political BS. Do you realize that the population keeps growing, the age people start using computers is getting younger and the percentage of population on the net, no less on a computer is going up? ZDNet, MetaGuy(tm) and Post-Fud are just big icons for little things.

    With all the noise of alternative OS's showing more than their heads and showing their power, it can be expected. The differences between 98 and 95 is only glamor. Free *nix is great. It allows the user ('administrator') to do a lot and have more fun with the OS than some games. Anyone remember Commander Keen?

    So great, linux usage inched up from x% to (x+y)% where y is not as great as x, but is significant. So where does that leave us? It leaves us with GAP and Old Navy clothing. It leaves us Saturn and Ford. No longer is the best looking OS Windows, now its *nix. (Linux more than *bsd; aren't these asterics wonderful?) No one to promote the sedan or bell bottoms! We want a new look, something "better" and that's what *nix is doing now with all of its improvements! So now ZDNet, just like the GAP, changed its style to attract people. It s all a popularity contest. Big surprise, no one likes the outsider.

    Unfortunately, some people can't stand the thought of male piercing or interracial relationships. That's what this MetaGuy (I swear I can't get his name to mind) is. He stands for the old way of doing things on a computer. He stands for the people who won't change thier ways.

    What's post-fud? It's like the post-gay-bashing period. Some goof had to put a label on the fact that people aren't listening to the days of old. Its not like the post-war era's, or the new FreeBSD 3.3 kernel. It's a statistic being reworded. Its another way of saying people are using NT less. It s another way of saying MS isn't doing as great as it could without another OS threat. Its saying we are out of recession. We've heard it before. I bet you a nickel that we hear more about post-fud, anti-ms, civil suit news. We've gone through InfoWorld, ZDNet.. I wonder if the Enquirer will do something next.

    I hope Slashdot doesn't post a pro-anti-fud link next time ;> maybe anti-anti-pro-anti-fud will now appear.

    FreeBSD user

  • This is quite interesting that someone is still doing this in this day and age. I thought that we got over Mcarthyism quite a long time ago and had grown up. Similar scatter brained tactics can be found in the so called "red scare" of the 1920's where everyone who wasn't a patriotic fanatic and took loyalty oaths every 5 minutes was considered a Bolsheviki Agent of Radicalism.
    Such people who charge that a movement like that with linux will fail are missing the point. Even if anyone did anything do totally kill linux someone would open something up a couple of years later. Seing the leaders of linux to compare to communists is quite amusing and illogical. Also he shows his lack of knowledge about how movements effect the general culture. Take a case in point with his reference to "tree huggers". I assume that he is referring to extreme individuals involved with various enviromental movements. What this does is two things against him; one he is setting himself against all those who are involved in any environmental reform groups, secondly he is saying that they didn't count and were(are) unimportant.
    Now take a pole how many companies can just cut down a random stretch of forest in say Yellowstone National Park in the United States? Hmmm... not too many! This is because there are groups like the EPA and various laws passed by all these "tree-huggers" that grew up into people who actually mattered main stream voters. The same thing will happen to linux and other products.
    When I see a piece of software that is produced by someone like Lary Wall (perl), or by the GNU Group/Stallman (emacs) I see quality products that people cared for so much they risked their reputations, spare time, social life to create something that held a principal so sacred that it needed to survive at all costs. Compared to propritary software which may still by of the same (or potentially higher quality) but the person did not make it the driving force of their life just to make a buck.
    This would be say the difference between someone who believes in say feeding the hungry or clothing the naked but just donates some money ($20 US) and someone who helps people en mass such as ghandi or mother thiressa. Were these people considered fanatics? Were they condemned? Well maybe at first but then society changed.
    Negative responses of this sort are mostly relegated to the WWII - Vietnam generation who had a negative outlook on life. People in the know and those who never gave up at first share these ideals too. It is in essence an ideological clash between someone who is a nihilist/pessimist and a person who is optimistic and cherry about society.
    Whatever happened to a balanced view of things perhaps a few facts on the issues? I don't know about you and all the others on slashdot but if I submitted this to any english/debate/political science teacher as valid proof of anything I would be sadly disapointed with my mark.
  • I agree very strongly...
    One of my friends loves to rant constantly about how linux is the best thing in existence and assorted related topics ...tired of it i am ( i use linux for everything except starcraft/alpha centauri/etc)
  • It's less of a philosophical choice. It's security. No one has yet created a GUI that is secure as, say NetBSD (without X). MS-Windows, Mac OS, BeOS and yes, even X... insecure. I don't know why, maybe someone does, but every mainstream GUI is full of holes.

    -A loyal X user
  • No, it isn't a joke. Gerald Holmes should be congratulated for exposing the international Communist conspiracy to subvert our computers and contaminate our precious bodily fluids.

    Don't believe me? Then why does Linux have a cccp command? The manual page says that it is a compiler preprocessor. That is what Linus and his fellow travellers would like you to think.

    Take a look at the intro [] man page for plan 9. What computer do they use for editing, login and remote file access? kremvax!!!

    Bill Gates makes sure that no commies can corrupt our children by enhancing Windows. Ask him for the source code, he will say "What are you, some sort of Communist?". Bill knows that "open source" is just a code word for the international Communist conspiracy.

  • We should take Bob Metcalfe's "predictions" as a blessing, the man is truely clueless. he said in 1994 I belive that the internet would completly colaps, and everyone would stop using it (He also said that one of the leading causes would be the imposiblity of find porn... yeh....)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I believe NT stands for Networking Technology, just like CE stands for Consumer Electronics.
  • It wasn't very difficult to make the transition from SCO to Linux -- it started for me mid-November, 1995.

    I haven't been around the biz.* newsgroups (heck, newsgroups at all) for many years.

    As for ZDNet, that's a longer story...
  • Chalk that lack of moderatio up to two things, 1) more users than ever before. and 2) Those darned moderation points. You only get five or so, with all the comments that get posted on slashdot, even on a single article, you can't really moderate enough. They should change it so that you can moderate unlimited for a week or something, then they rotate.
  • These three concepts were originated by the Greeks because they were the first to dabble in what we call today Democracy. The main focus of Democracy is speech-giving, and the concepts they discovered still hold true today.

    Nothing about today's discourse really differs from that of the Greeks. Back then, they talked on podiums to large crowds. Today they talk on the internet to large numbers of web surfers. The underlying concepts aren't any different, merely the medium is.

    I'd suggest taking a public speaking course to gain a better understanding of the issues here. Trite, indeed. ;^)

  • dude, you don't sound so smart in your reply. but I guess the magic of Gerald Holms is lost on you....
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I don't think Ziff-Davis gives a rat's a$$ who wins, as long as they sell magazines, or ads on their web pages.
  • I've seen a counter to the Pathos example and that is "It's about freedom, like free beer".
    This comment is effective in 3 ways....
    It's effective for the same reason calling open source "communist" is effective. However not everyone views communism as a bad thing EVERYONE wants freedom.
    It's short. Sound bytes carry well. Some people have short attention spans and it just makes life easy when you can make it quick and short.
    Some people don't take notice unless you say "sex" or "beer".. sex is more effective but "beer" is more politicly correct.
  • Wow! So Gerald Holms is reading /.

    He was on last quickies []. This guy is real funny. He can make Microsoft look bad better (worse?) than anybody else.

    But be prepared to be sued by his lawyers if you read his pages and use ``Linus'' (sic.) ^_^
  • If someone actually presented a well-reasoned, accurate, and unbiased opinion as to why X is better than Linux, I really don't think it will be called FUD. Fact of the matter is though, X probably isn't going to be MS Windows and it probably isn't going to be anything from Apple either.

    You really need to start reading the articles attached to the discussion. They, as a rule, have been based on lies or ignorance: linux doesn't have a GUI, linux is 70's technology, linux is a communist plot, linux threatens the purity of our precious bodily fluids, linux has cooties, et cetera. It's exactly them same as smear campaigns from bad politicians. You tear you opponent down so much that you are the only option left. It doesn't matter if you are just as bad or even worse. You got everyone to have fear, uncertainty, and doubt about your opponent. That is the nature of FUD.

    I'll tell you why Linux, hell any UNIXish OS even VMS, wins over Windows for me. One word: telnet. Even before you consider ANY other issue, telnet puts Windows out of the running. The Reason: I'm not a sysadmin but I am working for my school's sysadmin this summer; we are doing the y2k updates for the whole school. We have a large number of Win NT machines(350+) that we have to go _on_site_ to fix. If we used ANY UNIX we wouldn't have to worry about y2k in the first place but even if it did I could just open a telnet sesson and run a shell script. Windows has NO remote administration capabilities. As to Windows remote management software like PC anywhere and MS SMS server, one is a security hazard and the other is incredibly expensive. I should never have to pay extra for such a simple feature anyway.
  • We have daemons, so we might as well have ethos &cetera.
  • by evan_leibovitch ( 74771 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @09:14PM (#1769297) Homepage

    Not all the readers out there are smart enough to understand the message intended by ignoring someone who spews. If someone has an audience that buys his arguments, and no rebuttal comes, this silence could be interpreted as an inability to rationally rebut the original spew.

    I stand behind my decision to confront this stuff rather than pretend it didn't exist. Yes, it draws more attention to the original spew, but that attention comes in the context of ridicule rather than authoritative opinion. And it was important (to me, at least) to call attention to the kind of spew that people will start encountering when recommending Linux to their employers or clients.

    There are times when you let a ranter flail away in silence. Other times -- especially when the speaker has an audience -- that it's necessary to sound the BS alarm before anyone gets sucked in by sophomric namecalling masquerading as cleverness.

    PS: This is not a pissing match between ZD and IDG, it's me alone calling attention to something that happened to come from InfoWorld. I have a lot of respect for Petreley and other writers at IDG.


  • Jerry Pournelle is Bill Gates' clone. He must be getting a percent of Windows sales or something. No one can like NT THAT much. He calls his NT box "Princess" is that sick or what?

    P.S. I call my Linux box, Thor. Because it is almighty, and invincible.
  • Ok.. I have to ask.. is logos and legos(tm) related? (I had to ask)
  • You can never say that passion about something is a terrible thing. People are passionate about Linux and want it to succeed because they believe it such a great product. But perhaps what makes linux so great is not that it is a product but more of a philosophy... Besides what the hell else would we read here on slashdot if not for the eternal nt/linux wars huh? It just wouldn't be the same without it.

    linux domain names for sale on ebay:
    (goto ebay auction) []
    ps. I really hope it goes to a slashdot user.
  • I'm a linux user, not a marketing agent. I don't give two sh*ts about how linux is going to kick W2Ks ass or vice versa. I also don't care if the open source movement changes the computer industry. None of these thing interest me. If we have a technically superior OS why do we have to prove it everyday. It is pointless. I remember when linux was underground, it had nothing to lose. It broke the rules and grinned. Now linux users get pissed off when somebody makes baseless critisisms. I like linux, not really because it is better than all of the others but because i'm comfortable with it. So i'm sick of the hype. Metcow may have invented the ethernet, for that i'm greatful, but that doesn't mean I have to agree with everything he says.
    - Another Pragmatic Man
    ^_^ smile death approaches.
  • well, when opposing people start using emotional arguments (in fact these are not arguments since they are emotional...), that means the war is in good way to be won.

    but beware, this is not won already, and in fact the toughest part is to come.

    Linux advocates are good techies, that's why they can effectively answer technical arguments. But they are rarely communication people. And there are thoses young people who trigger the "flame" thrower quicker than they think. This can be devastatous for linux.

    You want to protect Linux ? answer quietly to these arguments. Just answer by exposing what these arguments really are, like it was done in this article. When people attack you with false or irrelevant arguments, the most effective behaviour is not to answer emotionnaly, neither it is to keep quiet (they continue to talk and finally it goes into some heads). The Answer is to explain what is the author goal and how his arguments are used. Probably some arguments will be serious and reveal weaknesses in Linux : do not be afraid of it, instead work to solve them (that's our best strength). Calmly facing what others can say, it will reveal how their arguments are vain, and spectators will learn not to hear the arguments. Authors reputation will dive into ablossom.

    Be not like them : be not partial. Be impartial towards Linux : say where it fails (and aim to correct) and say (respectfully) what is irrelevant talk. The childish talk will turn against any who tells it (even you/Linux if you use it).

    If you want the best Os and software : do not deafen ! Listen to weakness and correct them.
    We know our strengths, we do not know all our weaknesses. In a conflict, weaknesses are more important than strengths...
    And contrary to proprietary software, we can very effectively correct weaknesses because we do not have stock holders who can sell if a weakness is found in our product, we have no interest to hide such things...

    so what to do ? Explain, explain, listen to and correct software weaknesses... and calmly explain !
  • LOL!!!!!!

    That brightened my day. Seriously.
  • I've read plenty of negative Win9x/NT stuff. If you go check the material published in late '95 (when Win95 first came out) and early '96, you'll see the progression from flackery to punditry. I don't have specific references handy, but one writer whose negative comments I recall reading was Walter Mossberg of the NY Times. He's hardly the only one.

    I'm not sure I get your point about Slashdot. If there is a link here to an article in a mainstream publication that slaps at M$, does the article not count as negative coverage of M$? And you'll find that many of the recent spate of pro-Linux articles linked to from /. mention Windows disparagingly. When the "next great thing" comes along, the writers will no doubt be mentioning Linux disparagingly, too.

  • After reading Metcalfe's most recent article, and thinking back to his previous 2, I began to wonder.. Is perhaps "from the ether" not a reference to his creation of ethernet, but instead a reference to Metcalfe's substance abuse problems?

    Ever seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?
    I believe some of his rants could have come from an ether-induced haze... ;)

  • Is it fair to characterize the Linux development process/community as communistic? Lets see... centralized control (what puts the "red" in Redmond anyway?), iron curtain erected around their source code - exposing to the world what they want it to see and covering up deficiencies, rolling over dissenters (isn't this what the monopoly trial is all about), resulting in a bloated, inflexible, lumbering, bureaucratic morass that never quite works as expected but there's not a whole hell of a lot you can do about it. Sound familliar?
  • NT: Not There (never will be)
    CE: Caveat Emptor (buyer beware)

    It all boils down to:

    Closed Source: Tyranny
    Open Source: Democracy
    EULA: Fascism
    GNU: Bill of Rights
  • Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt, FUD, is a method of marketing and method of writing pre-digested press releases for journalists to spread around as news. Used by companies who wish to gain an economic edge over competitors usually when technology is not favorable. Its designed to bring critical thinking into the consumer's minds, but FUD is terrible with bringing a complete argument into discussion. Its simply a marketing tool.
  • Similar things with OS/2. When OS/2 introduced a new feature, the press depreciated it. Later when Windows introduces the same feature (or an implentation which is not so good) the same columnists praised it as being the "best thing since sliced bread".
  • I always thought that NT stands for New Technology. Interesting tidbit:

    Take WNT and change each letter to the previous in the alphabet. You get: VMS. There is a connection between NT and VMS.

    Of course, this could all be bunk like Arthur C. Clarke's HAL rolled to IBM. He denies that this was intentional.
  • Gerald Holmes has shown us the way: Mock the FUD-meisters unceasingly. There is no better answer to Metcalfe's blathering name-calling and subtle accusations than Holmes' blatant stupidity.

    Let us expose this new round of FUD for what it is -- utter BS.

    When Metcalfe calls Linux "communistic," let's chime in and agree that all Linux users are communistic satanists with long hair, people who disregard technology for the sake of destroying capitalism. Anyone who cannot immediately see the lunacy in such claims once made is beyond salvation and will remain a Microsoft drone no matter what the argument. The rest will plainly see that this new FUD is just bologne.

  • Dude that was rough, but true!

    Not everything is FuD some of it is constructive critisism. Lets get off Metcalfe's d*ck and improve linux's weakpoints.
    ^_^ smile death approaches.
  • When he made said prediction, his argument was that the lack of central control would be the Internet's downfall, and that it would be replaced by a hierarchical system with a well-defined control structure.

    Bob Metcalfe seems to be a control freak, unable to imagine any enterprise being successful without a centralised point of control.

    One wonders whether, had he not lived in an earlier age, he'd have been predicting the collapse of capitalism, and the inherent supremacy of Soviet-style socialism, by virtue of its centrally planned command economy.
  • by deity ( 8806 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @10:23PM (#1769317)

    How about:

    "And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good--Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

    Every once in a while, someone out there in the Real World tells me "Oh Linux is great, but the corporations and the masses aren't buying into it." I can talk until I'm blue in the face, and I usually do a pretty good job of showing why Linux really can take the server/desktop space, but recently I realized that what we should focus on, more than anything else, is actually doing the work. Not talking about doing the work, but actually doing it--writing the code, providing the support and documentation, and helping others install and use Linux.

    Linux has gotten damn far on these principles, and as long as millions of people are using Linux and developing Linux, it will continue to surprise the naysayers.


  • I'm curious, because the same MSVC++ program should run on all the Windoze platforms, shouldn't they?

    And what makes W2K horrid as a server? Stability? I wouldn't want a development machine crashing either, although I guess one could afford a few more BSOD's if only one person is using the system.

  • I quite enjoyed Metcalf's articles, but the rebuttal seemed to take itself far too seriously... in fact it could almost have been written by a thin-skinned slashdotter. Some people have no sense of humour.
  • Kinda like the Simpsons halloween special where the store mascots turned into monsters...

    Ignore them, and they'll die.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you follow the link to Metcalfe's political views, you'll see that he's an old fart who's afflicted with the cold warrior mentality. He probably thinks that Democrats are communists.

    I wouldn't take too much stock in Metcalfe's opinions especially since he seems to have the wonderful ability to put his foot in his mouth. Remember when he predicted the demise of the internet?

    He is now a pundit on the technology front because he can't make it in business anymore. He got his ass rolled by Microsoft so thoroughly that he can't put up any resistance to them anymore. He can only see the MS line. Pathetic.

    The best thing to do is to refute his FUD politely or to ignore him, and then move on. If he persists in defending/promoting MS, then that'll be his problem. He'll be left in the dust again.
  • How much negative coverage of Win9X/NT have you ever read about in the standard media? I get 3 or 4 idiot PC mags a week (They just started showing up one day I don't know why) and You never ever hear anything bad about whatever the current Microsoft OS is. Security holes/bugs are never mentioned till the service pack is available. Even then, the articles are slanted to make us want to thank Microsoft for saving our data or fixing our computer.

    It will undoubtably be difficult to keep all the negative Microsoft coverage from /. out of your mind when you're thinking back but I guarantee there hasn't been much negative Microsoft OS coverage.

  • The only problem with dooming UNIX is that it is better than windows will ever be. The simeple fact is that Solaris is better than NT, as a server by far. Yes and the benchmarks prove that. Why do you think companies like Mindspring which is one of the larger ISP's (I think #3 in the US) use BSD? And they are not the only one. HOTMAIL Microsofts own toy uses Solaris and some HP servers, why o you think they ported there Internet Explorer to HP and Solaris. It certainly was not out of good will towards Sun. Yahoo also uses some type of UNIX for there servers, I believe it is freebsd or bsd but am not sure. Because UNIX is better than windows NT, and if Linux becomes more like UNIX than it will certainly become a better server than NT which is where it is heading. I think that we need choice and competition. Maybe with some Competition for the desktop, server, and palmtop markets Microsoft will be forced to makes its operating system better.
  • I know my man Humphrey Bogart pronounce it Like-uns, (If you havn't check out the best black-and-white melodrama Hollywood has to offer, Sabrina, you own yourself a trip to Blockbuster.)
    So please tell me how does Linus pornounce his name and Linux, thank you.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    i prefer The Clash's:

    My windows always crashing
    f_ck the taskbar
    f_ck the taskbar
  • absolutely cannot argue with this, but only to add: journalism on the web, if it doesn't come from a legit or semi-legit news source, sucks.

    most people cannot write. legit media helps us filter these people out. but anyone (hey, even me) can just post something to a web site hungry for submissions.

    i don't read /. for journalism, i read it for interesting tidbits and to see how people are reacting to news. in that, it works rather well.
  • I'm glad you don't see it as a pissing match between ZD and IDG, because frankly I think you'ld lose. Sure Bob Metcalfe is doing an excellent job of pointing out the irrelavent, but no one to date has managed to leave the sour taste in my mouth that that self contradicting hypocrit Jesse Berst managed to. Your article was the first one I've read on ZDNet this year because I was didn't want to bring his employer ad dollars. Jesse Berst may be all in support of Linux now, but after 9 months or so of die hard Linux bashing [] his only comment was "I've always said that Linux could become a serious challenger to Windows NT." [] No apologies, no admission of fault, only flat denial and a retroactive reversal of opinion, Linux became popular, so we've always supported it. Bull. Oh, and I don't think I'll get into your comment areas that are moderated to make sure they give the view that most readers support your opinion today. I like it that somebody is supporting Linux in the media, but if you want my support your going to have to come clean first.
  • I found it at JWZ's website [].
  • by gerald_holmes ( 62911 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @06:49PM (#1769333)
    Oh boy this Metcalfe now he makes a lots of senses finally someone who knows what he talks about he must of read my web sites pages I am quite convincing but I dont know if Metcalfe is quite as smart as I am I am very smart not as smart as Bill Gates but no one is that smart Bill Gates is really smart. /geraldholmes/ [] &lt- this proves the commie red nazi socialist pinko stuff.

  • by mrsam ( 12205 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @06:56PM (#1769335) Homepage

    I think it's quite an accomplishment that Evan Leibovitch even understood what Bob Metcalfe was talking about. Usually I don't even get that far. Most of the time Bob Metcalfe makes as much sense to me as Jerry Pournelle.

    Now THAT is a frightening thought: get Bob Metcalfe and Jerry Pournelle debating each other on any subject. The winner will be the one who is the first to bore the other guy to sleep.

  • It gets even more weird if you follow the FUDBuster link at the top of the story. One of the stories "busted" is by Jesse :)

  • ... That *anyone* could think W2k could "crush" linux (or the *BSD's). If they do, they simply do not have even the most basic grasp of what's going on here. Of the philosophical choices that keep may people from using GUIs even under Linux.

    Having tested W2k as a workstation for the last few months I admit it to be decent as a development platform, esp. with MSVC++, but as a Server? Forget it. It's horrid.

    Joseph Foley
    InCert Software Corp.
  • by craw ( 6958 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @07:03PM (#1769338) Homepage
    "Journalists" on the internet tend to repeat themselves, go around in circles, or produce articles that are fourth-hand rehashes of articles that appeared two week earlier in another forum. Furthermore, credibility of a "journalist" is not always based on what they say, but is sometimes based on who they were. This latter aspect is becoming more /will predominate as people realized that they can make big bucks off their good name.

    The fundamental question is what should one do. For instance, one could attempt to discredit them via flame wars (that doesn't work) or by insightful responses (doesn't work when dealing with the clueless or money-grabbing scum). Or one could simply ignore them. Given the nature of the internet, one could also polute the various newsnet groups with mindless comments.

    To me, the best way to respond is to ignore them in most cases. These people want lots of hits on their web site. The are used to being in the limelight; ignoring them is a way of saying that what they say doesn't even rate an response. Sorry, but if you are a pseudo-nerd, you know what silence means. OTOH, a good nerd would be oblivious to such an insult.

    Don't publicize the pathetic meanderings of a bunch of old farts or clueless newbies. Discipline is the key. Attack where you want to, don't respond to meaningless counterattacks. It is the disadvantage of youth (and an advantage of youth) to respond to a threat with an equally potent response. Okay, but do you want to be the agressor or the resondee? Most of you might heard of Sun Tzu. I also recommend that you read the Five Rings by Miyamato Mushashi.

    Remember: Discipline. Kick them in the nuts while you smile at them.
  • by Surazal ( 729 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @07:05PM (#1769339) Homepage Journal

    There are three aspect of any public discourse that are worth consideration:

    ethos: The personality of the speaker, although this could be extended to mean his/her reptation and so forth. Bob here has a reputation of being aa blowhard among geeks, but who knows about the "suits"? After all, he *is* the inventor of ethernet. His opinion carries weight because of that fact.

    logos: The logic of the argument. It used to be argued that logos was the most important aspect of any public discourse, but not so much any longer (one has only to look at advertisements one sees on TV and their effectiveness on their viewer to see this). After all, it's widely known among technical folk that a homogenous NT network environment is only asking for trouble (viruses, cost of ownership, security, and so on). But that doesn't stop the army of MSCE's out there from convincing CTO's nationwide to deploy them. Bob's logos is weak here. We know it, but not many others do. This is a problem

    pathos: The emotional appeal of an argument. This is the ringer here. Bob is appealing to the emotional tug strings of its readers (his use of the words "communist", "anti-American", and other examples are strong indicators of Bob's emotional appeal... he knows what buttons to push). This is why Bob's arguments against Linux are far more dangerous than the FUD from days past we've seen. Emotional arguments carry far more weight than logical ones.

    In the past the Linux community has been very good at fighting logos-based FUD. We've fought back with logos-based counter-FUD. It worked. Linux is pretty popular now, and the technical arguments against it are starting to look weak. Now the emotional arguments are starting to rear their ugly heads.

    How to counter this? I hate to say it, but logos-based counter-FUD probably won't work here anymore. It's like trying to fight a rapidly spreading forest fire with a garden hose. We could watch with helplessness as the flames start igniting, or we can bring out the big guns...

    Marketting, marketting, marketting. Expos (we got those already), Local User Groups (got those, too), and small to medium sized businesses (three for three) are key here. Organization is key here. Linux is already well-equipped to handle the flames with a few sparks of its own.

    And ignore Bob. Inventor of the stuff I use in my home network he may be, but his reputation has soured with me. I don't care about his opinions anymore, since they've long left the pasture and headed to the hills once he started shooting his mouth off. Though that won't stop me from spouting off on him every once in a while. ;^)

    He's only as controversial as we make him.

  • Raise your hand if you're sick to death of hearing how Linux will :
    a) kill Windows 2000
    b) be killed by Windows 2000
    c) change the computing industry
    d) remembered as y2k hype
    Doesn't anybody just use Linux without the pressing need for telling everyone how the experience went?

    Use Linux, don't use it. I don't care. It works great for me, so I'll keep using it.

    Pragmatic Man
  • You want a Y2K tool for NT? Check out Y2K Test And Fix ( far as I know, it is network deployable (although I am not sure about NT). Price? $25 per seat, with volume discounts. I know it might be a tough cookie to swallow considering that less than 6 months for now it will be useless...:/
    You want telnet?
    Microsoft sells pretty decent (and affordable-$150 list) package called Windows NT Services for UNIX, which includes telnet (client and server), NFS (client and server), KORN shell and password synchronization. I use NFS and telnet servers daily to connect my debian box with NT and they work as advertised.
    As for "X is better than Linux" - I won't go there. NT happens to work fine for me, same as NetWare 5, same as Linux. I think this is called freedom of choice.
    Hope this helps.
  • Marx. Zeppo Marx. (You know, the singing one that only showed up a little bit because he was kinda boring?)

    Or am I the only to ever hear Stallman sing the Free Software Song? It's out there somewhere, as well as the techno remix... *shudder*

  • You mean, 'it's about freedom, like free speech'. *Not* 'free beer'.

    RMS has compared free software with 'a free press', which seems to work quite well too.
  • I'm wondering when the Gerald Holmes movie is coming out.

    "Who is...Gerald Holmes?"
    Masked croosader for windos oh boy. Well buddy see this moovie cos gerald homes is in it an he tells you about how great windows is oh boy. Yeah so Gerlad is gonna tell you who he reely is. The hole movvie was filmed with a quickkam whihc was invented by bill gates Cause hes relly smart bcause he founded Mircosoft which was realy realy smart. No pinko commy linus users can come or else ill send my lawyers. Oh boy!!!!

    Somebody call Paramount. I think I have an idea. :-)

    Ethelred []

  • Linux sucks because no one can agree on how to pronounce it right?!?!?!

    Yeah, I guess he's right. And everyone knows how to pronounce Windows. Cra-shES

    And listen for yourself :)
    (xx should be the country code for your country)
  • I don't think it's reasonable to paint all ZDNet authors as Linux hostile because of Berst, any more than calling all of IDG that way because of Metcalfe.

    It's not uncommon for publishers to have, on the same payroll, multiple commentators with very differing opinions.

    Serving you through Disinformation.

    Please be advised that the official, correct pronounciation of Windows is "Blue Screen of Death". BSD may be used as an abbreviation, as we appreciate any appeals to name recognition, diserverd or not (recall our excellent leveraging of the X Window System's name recognition when releasing our, at the time, new product, ActiveX).

    Stop Windows fragmentation. Use the Officially Sanctioned Pronounciation(tm) noted above.

    Wince! (WinCE)

    are slang names referring to subproducts of The One True Operating System. The Blue Screen of Death product line is not fragmented, it is diversified. Please do not give informed^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H disloyal critics any ammunition for accusing Blue Screen of Death products of fragmenting.

    Thank You,

    Microsoft Marketing Machine
    Blue Screen of Death Technical Support Center subgroup

    Remember: It is spelled W-I-N-D-O-W-S, but it is pronounced Blue Screen of Death.

  • by DonkPunch ( 30957 ) on Tuesday August 03, 1999 @06:29AM (#1769358) Homepage Journal
    I feel a song coming on....

    Pragmatic Man, Pragmatic Man
    Doing the things a pragmatist can
    What's he like? It's not important.
    Pragmatic Man

    Is he a suit or is he a geek?
    Does he reboot NT every week?
    Or does his server run at its peak?
    Nobody knows. Pragmatic Man.

    With apologies to They Might Be Giants.

  • "ALL OS's are using old ideas, the basic OS concepts have been around for [around] 20 years."

    Longer than that. Unix was already fairly well developed when "The Unix Timesharing System" was published in the 1970 volume of CACM. Think 1950s-60s, not late '70s, for the development of OS fundamentals.
  • I by no means intended to imply that I believe all ZDNet authors to be blindly hostile to Linux. In fact I don't think any of them are, not even Berst. My point with Berst was that he makes no attempt to present factual evidence to help his audience come to a helpful conclusion. He instead searches for evidence, relevant or not, that appears to support his pre-ordained conclusion which has chosen to gain advertising capital from his prospective audience. Then, unlike Metcalf, if his flames start to turn against him he lies and says that he has always supported the system he vehemently bashed.

    I also do not suppose that all, or even most authors at ZDNet have this utter lack of integrity, but the fact that one such author exists and is not refuted by the publication is enough for me to discredit the whole thing. Any decent publication would publish a public apology and severely reprimand the sort of behavior I see in Berst. If I can't trust that the publication at least stands behind what they say then having read it I am no better off than before.

  • I would imagine that ZDnet doesn't mind letting an outsider "FUD-bust" one of their own columnists when said outsider does such an absolutely pathetic job of it. The poor guy was in way over his head -- ZDnet probably loved using his rebuttal because it makes them look unbiased by accepting criticism while still allowing their own guy to win by a knockout.


  • ...ZDNet has gotten a bad reputation for their past and present support of Microsoft. A couple of times in the past I've posted a link to the Linux Superguide [], as a story for Slashdot (odd how it never made it to the main board when it is a great resource. Some bias perhaps? ;-) It's an excellent resource for newbies and maybe some of us who aren't. It has Real Player interviews with Linus, Bob Young, of Redhat, and John "Maddog" Hall. The hosts of the show, "The Screensavers" on ZDTV, really tout Linux quite often and occasionally talk negatively about Microsoft. Ooooooo, imagine that! I think that the Ziff Davis properties are just doing a typical job of reporting. Of course certain writers are biased in certain ways and may slant their articles. Who doesn't do this when it comes to something they like? (Even if it may be something the rest of us don't like.) From what I've seen watching a bit of ZDTV, the indivduals are given quite a bit of latitude concerning what they say and/or report. I applaud that.

    Flame On!!


    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
  • Is this a joke?

    If so, then hoo! what a thrill!

    If not, I think _I_ know who the commie is.
  • While the Greeks did not have computers, the terms ethos, logos, and pathos have come a long way. However, the meaning of the words are still intact and are still studied because they still have some relevance. Take the word ethos. Woops, no relevance within the framework of modern day US politics. Logos: woops, no relevance as Congress obviously does not use logic. Ahhhh, Pathos still remains (maybe). Woops: maybe not.

    Question: does ethos, logos, and pathos have to be confined to the study of Greek cutlure, or do the have some relevance today? This response was not that bad in raising these ideals. The application of a philosophy should not be oonfined to the "trite" application.
  • Alright. I give up. What does FUD stand for? Someone email me here ( I've seen FUDbusters and few others and none actually say what it stands for
  • Hmmm... I vaguely remember these definitions being used in my high school speech classes (That was a long time ago... so long ago, in fact, that I was actually permitted to bring a gun to school to do a speech on gun safety, and it didn't even rate a story on the evening news).
    Anyway, the words were defined pretty much as stated above, IIRC. Probably not terribly accurate vis-a-vis the actual Greek translations, but useful nonetheless to label concepts that lack simple one-word descriptors.
    Of course, back then, ACs didn't really exist in the way they do today. But if they did, they'd rate a solid zero in the ethos department ;-)


  • I think that if Metcalf's comments were posted in the coments on slashdot they would probably be moderated down to flamebait....ignore them
  • Can I get a witness?!?

  • Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.
    It's the Linux community calls any comment that isn't decisively pro-Linux.

    Okay, that was a little harsh on my part, but the term has been rather overused in the last few months. Microsoft's anti-netscape practices were FUD... Bob Metcalfe is just opinionated :)

  • Linux became popular, so we've always supported it.

    Journalists aren't supposed to support anything. Journalists are supposed to just report on issues, and new technology, etc. It is when pundits think that they need to support things, issues, and movements, that the hype begins to reek.

  • by igaborf ( 69869 ) on Monday August 02, 1999 @07:50PM (#1769382)
    There's nothing surprising about seeing an increase in negative coverage of Linux in the media. This is a standard sequence of events that seems to take place repeatedly: 1) press discovers brand new "next great thing"--years after the clueful first learned of it; 2) press waxes enthusiastic and explains the "new thing" (incorrectly) to the hoi polloi; 3) writers realize they're practicing pack journalism and start to print negative articles about the no-longer-new thing.

    This is all aided by the staff curmudgeon. Most every sizeable publication has one, a columnist whose job it is to stir up controversy. (Not that the editors would put it that way. He's just "opinionated.") The first one of these I recall seeing in the computer press was Dvorak, back in the early 80s. Metcalfe seems cut from similar cloth.

    So you don't need to assume a vast right wing, er, M$ conspiracy to explain what we're seeing in the press. It's the norm. Expect to see more negative coverage of Linux from the muckraking side of the media in the next few months. Them it'll die down as they move on to goring someone else's ox.

  • Sure... lots of people use linux and don't tell anyone. We just never get to hear about it cuz... well, they don't tell anyone.

    Even you use it. And told. Kinda tricky not to do so. ;)

    -- (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

Neutrinos have bad breadth.