2008 in open source, news tops views

I don't see my job as just presenting facts, but offering context and, perhaps most important, stimulating debate. If you think about a blog post, even if it makes you mad, the author has accomplished something.

Robert WoodruffThe numbers have come in on the top 20 stories at this blog over the last year.

The big story is your preference of news over views.

Four of the top five, and seven of the top 10 posts, on this blog were hard news stories reported by our own Paula Rooney.

I happen to be a big Paula fan, so this pleases me. Most of her top reports were early word on releases of Firefox beta code. This shows the intensity of interest in this project by rank-and-file open source advocates.

Firefox may be the most popular consumer project of all time. Certainly it has a ton of market share. And if Paula gets her hooks into Open Office as well as she has Mozilla, we'll have lots more good things to read here next year.

But a few of my pieces also caught your eye, and while she will be reviewing her stuff over the next week I'll be looking at some of them.

Perhaps the strangest of the list was a bit of serendipity I engaged in this October, under the bizarre headline "John Galt is dead and Linux shrugs." It was the 20th most popular post here during 2008.

As with many of my morning fantasies this headline is a pun, actually a double-pun, referencing both "Marx is dead" and "Atlas Shrugs," Ayn Rand's hymm to "objectivism."

Objectivism had nearly as bad a 2008 as Marxism had in 1989, but my larger point was that motivations other than self-interest are powerful in the open source movement, as Linus Torvalds seemed to acknowledge in a Linux Kernel Summit interview.

In order to confuse readers still further, I ended with a quote, and began with a picture, of Robert Woodruff, the legendary CEO of The Coca-Cola Co., the man who did more than anyone else to create the city of Atlanta, where I live.

Mr. Woodruff marketed the city as much as he did soft drinks, and in later life built many of its important civic institutions, giving so many anonymous gifts he became known as "Mr. Anonymous."

The post drew 120 comments, many outraged, some confused. As one of my defenders on the thread asked, "Did he p*$$ in your cereal, or what?"

I like to think the answer to that question is, what.

The post illustrates some of what I try to do here, and what can make blogging different from traditional journalism.

I don't see my job as just presenting facts, but offering context and, perhaps most important, stimulating debate. If you think about a blog post, even if it makes you mad, the author has accomplished something.

Your continued support answers the question of what.

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