Open source advocates still called zealots

Open source advocates still called zealots

Summary: 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.

TOPICS: Open Source

"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...

Topic: Open Source

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • If the shoe fits...

    .... wear it!
    • You are.....

      Those Microsoft shoes really hurt a lot, don't they!
      linux for me
    • If The Treasonous Bush Nazi Ballmer-Sucking Micro$haft Nazi Trolls

      Off With His Head.

      Unlike Dana, I have NO problem w/being a zealot, b/c YOU are a traitor to the plurality that makes America great, Shade Troll.


      • RE: Open source advocates still called zealots

        When youre 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.<a href=""><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
    • M$ shills should look in the mirror for zealots

      Now the courts in US and the EU comission agrees with my opinions that M$ is buch of crooks.
      Open source is the mainstream movement and the new capitalism based on volunteers!
      Linux Geek
      • And that sir...

        Is why you have no money.
  • How about Microsoft zealots?

    I am certain any group includes a few wackies. Law of averages and all.
    • You mean like Ax, Headrock, Shade, Zealot, et al?

      Seems all the M$FT Zealots congregate here, because as my grandfather used to say, "Chickens hunt in packs...."
  • I find it funny...

    the a blogger calls what a journalist does worthless. Considering the difference in quality control and that you actually need facts to back up your statement, at least by general journalism guidelines. Sort of like "Open source has saved billions of dollars". I won't argue that it has saved money and will continue to do so, but to just toss out a number is hardly up to any sort of journalistic standards.

    It's almost like a mirror of open source. The software is decent, much like a blogger's writing, but not nearly as polished as the finished product. A well-written newspaper article is still worth paying for. This "death of paid journalism" line seems to come from bloggers who are upset people wouldn't be willing to pay to read their drivel. Much like Open Office which, as I've found, tends to be able to sell Office 2007 better than anything else I've ever found. I tell people to use it for a few weeks to try to save them money and they're willing to pay whatever I ask to get Office. When newspapers are gone we'll pay anything to get real journalists back.
    • How True! (re: I find it funny...)

      Great post, many thanks!
    • Billions saved

      I could have provided a link to the value of code, which we discussed in a recent post, but I chose not to. Sorry about that.

      I also get tired of having anyone who works at one outlet called a "real journalist" while I, who happen to work in this medium, get called a "blogger."

      Unlike The New York Times, I make corrections, quickly, and in line with the story. I also provide links to outside resources without asinine warnings "warning you're leaving our site."

      I treat the readers like adults. They treat you like children.

      But if you'd rather be treated as a child, your choice. Just remember you also have to pay for that privilege, in their view.
      • Good points Dana

        Perhaps I did some over-generalization. Not all bloggers fall victim. There is a difference between the value of software and how much was saved. When it's free you're still paying for something. The support contracts, the constant upgrade cycle, etc. Linux upgrades at a much more rapid pace than Windows, both a strength and a weakness. But to surmize that open source has just flat saved "billions" is silly. There is no real way to quantify that as there is not going to be a 100% accurate break down. Simply stating that open source has saved corporations of all sizes as well as governments money is what is called for. Assigning a figure that cannot be backed up is silly.

        Traditional journalists go through editorial reviews. But you're right, both have strengths and weaknesses. I spend a lot of time on blogs and I enjoy the cander between blogger and reader. I enjoy the way corrections can be done on the fly and information can be updated. I just wanted to point out the irony of your comparison.

        Both serve a valid function. Blogging, including your own posts, center around opinion more often than fact and the writer's opinion is almost always reflected in the writing. That's not how traditional journalism is supposed to work. You present the facts and perhaps varying viewpoints of other individuals. That is not to say that traditional media doesn't inflect their own personal spin on the message, it's to say that is not what I expect when I read a newspaper or watch the news. The only thing that should include the author's spin are columns, so I suppose bloggers are closer kin to columnists.

        I don't feel newspapers treat me as a child anymore or less than a blog either. The fact of the matter is traditional media should allow me to make a decision based on facts without the author's personal thoughts on the matter overshadowing the entire article. Give me the facts for that. I read your and other blogs because I like to see what other people think about a subject also because sometimes it makes me think of something in a different light. Much like your post about the pros of the blogosphere when compared to traditional news outlets.
      • so where is the Link ??

        Again, what that guy said is very true, you are a blogger, if you want to bea "real journalist" you have to earn your chops by posting factual, checkable, credable and well written articles with real facts and everything.

        and and FOSS in general is a good advertisement for quiality proprietary code.

        Proprietary code has the one great advantage over free, they need people to pay for it, therefore they need to create products people are willing to pay for OVER products that are available for free.

        In software you do really pay for what you get.
      • Not really...

        The voice in your writing is belligerent and
        condescending. You are indeed talking to the
        previous poster as if they were a child.

        Let's make a deal, if I have to give away my code
        for free, why don't you give away your writing,

        What's that? You have bills to pay? Well, so do I.
    • That IS funny...

      I find the opposite. It only takes people 10 minutes with that ribbon to be open to Open Office from my experiences.

      Anyway I find quit a bit of open source apps to be more polished than closed source applications. There are far to many applications out there to make a judgment call either way so I fail to see how you come to your conclusion. I CAN say that the majority of closed source alternatives I have dealt with have not been worth their cost over open source for the amount of extra "polish" they provide.
      • I don't expect a user to make a decision in 10 minutes

        I always advise them to give OO a few weeks. Almost all of them want Office afterwards. I've never had a user that didn't prefer the Ribbon interface 3 weeks after using it. Of course system shock makes them wary of it for 10 minutes. But a large portion of the population prefers it after extended use as evidenced by the extended ribbon in 2010.
        • You should...

          People need to maintain their productivity. As the MS zealots love to proclaim they don't have time to learn something new. If they can't get up and going on a simple office app in 10 minutes then something is wrong.

          But even in extended periods I find people that welcome the simplicity of OO as they are tired of dealing with the ribbon. Just last weekend I had to work with people that kept getting frustrated with Office trying to decide what they might want to do next. Now I'll give credit to MS on some of the context menus but the ribbon itself is a terrible UI idea. Not to mention is just takes up too much real estate.
        • Funny,, I haven't met a single person who likes the ribbon

          My company tried to roll out the new office .... it cause so many productivity problems that the software was rolled back and the upgrade was canceled.

          There is nothing productive about something that makes you waste time to do the same job you use to do with a click. And please don't suggest customizing the tool .... wasting time setting a tool the way you want it just to have all the work "erased" (ie: not available) when you move to another computer is in no way productive.
        • The Cursed Ribbon

          Frankly, I can't stand that blasted Ribbon. I have never come across anything more useless in all my software experience. I can never find what I need. With the old interface, everything was right there in front of you. That's why I switched to OpenOffice. If OOo ever did anything like that in future updates, I'd go find something else to write with.
        • Actually, M$FT Trollboi - They Don't

          I've converted many people from M$FT Office to OpenOffice, b/c for day-to-day word processing and spreadsheets (which is all 90% of people NEED, after all), it's perfectly good - and it doesn't cost a cent.