[opensource] Re: ntSig Event Tonight

Jim Dinan dinan at cse.ohio-state.edu
Thu Oct 27 13:32:12 EDT 2005


Alex Pantaleev wrote:
>> I know that it isn't exactly open source, but it's always good to get 
>> out there and support your fellow students.  Plus, there is pizza.  ;)
>>
>> - jim.
> 
> Hi Jim,
> I am puzzled to find such an announcement in cis.opensource. I am sure 
> you know that, but it won't hurt to remind everybody else that "Academic 
> Relations team at Microsoft" is a glorified name for "Recruiting 
> Uninformed People to the Dark Side."
> I am not starting a flamewar. I don't think flamewars, or mentioning 
> microsoft at all for that matter, belong here. Those things defy the 
> idea of the OSS movement, and consequently, the name of the club and the 
> newsgroup.
> Thanks,
> Alex Pantaleev
> 
> P.S. This was a message intended for the newsgroup, but for some reason 
> I can't post there. Anyway, I thought you should know my opinion.

By all means, let's start a flamewar!  :)  And, I don't disagree with 
you, but ...

There is a fine line to be walked between being pro- Open Source and 
anti- Microsoft.  There was a time when open source was all about GNU 
and the foaming-at-the-mouth purists - and they're still out there 
fighting the good fight, but the tone of the movement has shifted from 
breaking down barriers to community building.  Open source now coexists 
across a wide array of heterogeneous platforms and a wide variety of 
computing lifestyles.

That being said, MS has historically had the most abysmal business 
practices in the industry.  They have also taken an aggressive stance 
against the open source community and against the adoption of open 
source and open standards software.  Despite this, I don't think we 
should react in kind.  In fact, this sort of treatment from Microsoft 
should even be taken as a compliment - it validates the fact that we are 
out here and strong enough to be considered their _competition_!  Not 
everyone gets this kind of recognition from the world's largest software 
vendor.

We do have lots of members who don't run Linux - and we're not the Linux 
club so IMO this perfectly is fine.  I want these guys to feel welcome 
too and I don't want anyone to feel pressured to switch.  There is 
nothing to be ashamed of if you need Office and/or you just need your 
machine to work.  I'm guilty too - WoW only runs in Windows (although I 
do cringe every time I see that bootup screen on my monitor).  There is 
a host of great open source alternatives for windows out there: firefox, 
thunderbird, openoffice, gaim, etc...  Imagine no advertising on your 
desktop!

The main reason I posted this was that I've had a chance to meet 
Anthony, the president of ntSig and he is genuinely open minded about 
open source and has expressed an interest in trying to collaborate on 
events and let people know about some great new opensource technology. 
Personally I am really excited about this.  I would really like to see 
our club getting out there and speaking to as wide a variety of 
audiences as possible.  I wonder, will ntSig have a parallel debate on 
their mailing list?  Something along the lines of "open source is a 
bunch of smelly, anti-private industry, anti-moneymaking, software 
anarchists."

If we're going to reach out to the community with free - as in freedom - 
software the first step will be to gain their trust.  Alex, you said 
'uninformed' and I think you hit the nail on the head.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on this.  I'd like to hear how the 
rest of the group feels.  Isaac, Nick, et al. I know you're out there 
somewhere too.  :)

Penny for your thoughts,
- jim, a retired foaming-at-the-mouth purist.


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