10 Days as a Linux User: A GNU Perspective on things - The Rebuttal

Posted by tadelste on Aug 27, 2005 9:26 AM EDT
Lxer; By Tom Adelstein
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After carefully reading Clarence Ladson Jr.'s story of 18 August 2005, I realized Flexbeta and the author may have tricked me and other readers. Ladson's story had little, if anything to do with a GNU Perspective. So what exactly would you call it?

Publications circulated the story widely. Who knows how much syndication the article received? I would expect that "Flexbeta" had a rather large couple of days with regard to visits and hits.

I read the article with an expectation that the writer would reach an educated conclusion and possibly enlighten his readers. He did claim he swore off Microsoft for ten days. As readers moved through the story, I imagine many thought they would learn something new or important about information technology.

What did we learn? Well, that depends entirely on ones perspective. The writer presented what we in the trade call a slant. You can define a slant as presenting a story with a bias. You might think of it as "the writer biased his presentation so as to influence readers in a specific way".

I write with a slant. I cannot imagine any writer who doesn't slant his or her coverage. Since anywhere I go, I'm always there with me, I attempt to follow the rules of ethical conduct. I would not characterize myself as a disinformation junky. I tend to think of Clarence's slant with less than the standard serious writers would use in the trade.

Let's look at his conclusion to give you an idea of his slant:

I guess I just sort of absorbed the hype that Linux is better than Windows which has been chanted nearly everyday on all technology sites but one thing I learned from the dedicated group of guys that run the Seattle Linux user group is that it’s all just a fad right now and so is the hate people have for Windows. I’m amazed that they would say that but it made me think for a while about all the reasons why I considerably denounced Windows before and they all turned out to be either bunk or the pressure of being on the popular side of the argument. I’m sure that Linux or it’s Unix brethrens will work out masterfully for a large majority of computer or device users out there but in my current situation, I have no strong need for it other than to have it around for Wardriving here or there and that it’s fine to simply be a Windows user.

So with all the rhetoric of the article and the cheering now and then for open source, Ladson's bias erupts nicely around the last page of the article. As a student of the craft of writing, I thought he did an expert job of leading the reader though a maze of experiences before landing the final blow. Actually, he did a masterful job for a "college student in Tocoma, Washington (who) works in robotical and anatomical engineering. "

Music From Another Room

When I consider the percent of people on the planet who don't have a computer or access to a computer, I find statements like

I wake up, take a shower and then groom myself. I then head downstairs and turn my television on which just so happens to have a Windows Media Center PC hooked up to it. I then head over to the kitchen which happens to have a Windows powered laptop which I use to somberly browse the net while I eat Captain Crunch out of the box and throw milk down my throat. I run off and get dressed but not before I synch my Windows CE powered pocket PC and then I drive off to school...

somewhat interesting. I'm no bleeding heart, by any means. But, what would one say to an article written by a captain crush eating member of society whose bias seems to feed off a remarkable sense of thinking the world revolves totally around him?

I'm not convinced that Clarence shares much in common with people who have a vision of a world that works for everyone. In fact, I'm not convinced that he has a firm grasp of what it might be like to have lost ones job because of the anti-competitive tactics of Microsoft. He might not even know that Microsoft brought a defamation action against Sergio Amadeu, President of the National Institute of Information Technology (ITI) in Brazil for aiming at disseminating free software among Ministries, State owned companies and governmental bodies, for his aggressive declarations lacking any kind of technical foundation about the use of the software developed by Microsoft.

A place exists for Linux that goes way beyond Clarence's world in which he finds himself "wiping away some tears" because Linux does not run the game Battlefield 2. Also, to consider open source software a legitimate alternative lifestyle similar to vegetarianism characterizes this author and certainly people like him as simply "out of touch".

Do I have contempt for Clarence? Not really. From what I read, I would consider his worldview one that represents decadence. I don't find anything inherently wrong with decadence. But, you won't find much sympathy for his tears in Bangladesh or Bagdad.

Then again, I wonder how many people of this ilk even think about such things.

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Not just "works FOR people"... DrDubious 4 3,961 Aug 30, 2005 11:24 AM

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