Open source advocates still called zealots

The attitude of newspaper reporters like Vance dismissing people offering to save government money through new business models and development schemes as akin to a mob about to storm the castle has now gone beyond the pale. Frankly, I find his attitude intolerable.

"Look out, lobbyists: Here come the open-source zealots"

That's the lead from a New York Times blog post concerning the open source industry lobbying effort now underway in Washington.

In my post I made the point that the heavy lifting here is being done by one company -- Sun Federal -- and that this is less about the issue of open source vs. proprietary systems as it is Washington business as usual.

Ashlee Vance dismisses it all as "zealots."

The word zealot, descended from an ancient sect of Jews who fought both the Roman occupation and Jews who collaborated with the Romans (you know, the People's Front of Judea, above) is meant to refer to people with an excessive amount of fervor, militants, the intolerant.

Not of our class. Outsiders. Revolutionaries. The mob.

The attitude of newspaper reporters like Vance dismissing people offering to save government money through new business models and development schemes as akin to a mob about to storm the castle has now gone beyond the pale.

Frankly, I find his attitude intolerable.

We are no longer talking about something that is unproven, or risky. The open source model is a decade old. It has already saved enterprises, small businesses, and individuals literally billions of dollars. It has empowered programmers, it has built new fortunes. It's not communism, but capitalism at its very best.

Taking this good news to Washington so I, as a taxpayer, can join in the savings is celebration-worthy, not an excuse for snark.

It's the reporters who are out of step with these business values, like Vance, who ought to be watching their backs. While his employers are busy trying to force us to buy their product (and probably eliminating his audience) Jon Stewart is now what Walter Cronkite was 35 years ago.

This should not surprise. The newspaper industry is completely out of step with the Internet, with open source, with business reality. When you're trying to change the copyright laws and make people buy what they already deem worthless, maybe the latest business innovations do sound like a pitchforked mob at the gates.

But it's not the bureaucrats whom the bell is tolling for, Mr. Vance. It's people like you. If they're gonna drown, put a hose in their mouth...

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