Linux fanatics losing the plot?

Linux fanatics losing the plot?

Summary: commentary Laura DiDio. Her mailbox must be bursting at its seams with hate mail from Linux devotees.

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commentary Laura DiDio. Her mailbox must be bursting at its seams with hate mail from Linux devotees.

DiDio is no stranger to the Linux and open-source community at large. The Yankee Group analyst has come under fire on several occasions for her perceived anti-Linux stance.

She's copped a lot of flack and has been accused of skewing research results to portray a negative light on open-source platforms like Linux, and accusations range from bribery to DiDio being disingenuous about her methodology.

DiDio was one of the more vocal analysts to comment on and during the SCO vs IBM court case. Her quotes conjured up a cronyism link -- apparently, her bias stems from being a longtime acquaintance of Ray Noorda, the man behind the Canopy Group, SCO's largest investor.

So it comes as no surprise when the latest salvo was fired -- DiDio was severely criticised after a survey by the Yankee Group gave Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 a higher rating over Linux.

The majority of small and medium businesses surveyed found Windows Server 2003's quality, performance and reliability equal to or better than Linux. The conclusions were based on responses from 509 companies from various industries in North America including healthcare, academia, financial services, legal and government.

Windows better than Linux equals flawed research. This was the sentiment amongst some open-source software advocates and it's clear DiDio felt the wrath of Linux fanatics when she told ZDNet UK: "There's an extremist fringe of Linux loonies who hang out on forums and are disrespectful and threatening because you disagree with them ... that can hurt the Linux community."

But what's really scary is DiDio's work has put her personal safety at risk. "I've had these nut jobs calling me [at home] at 11 o'clock at night," she said.

Why do people behave in this manner? Are they driven by passion or some form of ulterior motive?

I can understand where DiDio is coming from. Having been in her shoes [no death threats yet], if an article has so much of a hint of negativity against Linux, the wave of criticism from this faction will know no bounds. Any attempt to reason with them has proven challenging in the past.

The Yankee Group data highlighted one very promising and positive point -- more than 50 percent of companies said they plan to install Linux in parallel with, or in addition to, existing Windows operating systems. Unfortunately, there was more focus on the "Windows beats Linux" aspects of the study, which by the way wasn't funded by Microsoft.

Hopefully, in time, the fanatical nature of some Linux followers will be replaced by proper and robust debate based on benchmarks rather than emotional outbursts. It's time to let the facts, not the heart, do the talking.

Fran Foo is ZDNet Australia managing editor.

Topics: Open Source, Government, Linux

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32 comments
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  • I must admit that I agree with Laura DiDio on the fact that outbursts will hurt the OSS community. People do not like fanatics. In fact if someone is as p****ionate about something as some of the OSS community are, then most people would consider it an unhealthy obsession.

    I have been a Microsoft User since I started in computers almost 15 years ago. I have many friends who use and endorse Open source applications and operating systems over Microsoft products. Although I agree with them on most things in regards to Linux, if I do decide to disagree with them it can almost become a bashing match. I have never defended Microsoft as p****ionately as my friends defend Linux. In fact I accept the flaws that Microsoft has and praise other products when I find them to be better, but my friends cannot do that. This total lack of open mindedness from these people makes me reluctant to explore the idea of implementing open source apps due to the fact that if I find that I'm not happy with it I will be told that I am incompetent by my friends.

    In this case it is only my friends and I can accept the ridicule I receive from them. Out in the real world though, I believe that people will not receive the hostility that is shown by the OSS community towards other platforms well and that it will make people hesitant to implement these platforms. Not many employers would like to employ someone to oversee their networks that will jump down their throats if he/she suggests by that Linux is not as user friendly as his/hers old operating system.
    anonymous
  • > Why do people behave in this manner? Are they driven by p****ion or some form of ulterior motive?

    Well, you said it best - they are losing the plot. Bits missing upstairs and all that...

    The rest of us in the FOSS community do other things like:

    - write open source software
    - sell services around it
    - present facts in comparisons
    - admit when others do things better than us

    Whether Windows 2003 is a better server system than various Linux distros depends on many things, really. I would not trade any of the Linux servers for Windows, having to live through NT (back when it was called that) nightmares for quite some time in the past. But that's just me. Every person will tell a different story, I'm sure.

    One thing is certain - if someone wants try out our stuff (we in the community like to refer to all FOSS software as "ours", although it's not entirely true - just one of the benefits that come with the territory :-), it all there to be downloaded and used. New versions are available daily and with every p****ing month we are getting more and better stuff out.
    anonymous
  • Hmm, why must you spend your time defending "astroturf". Just like an academic who touts they have discoverd cold fusion, this person is suffering the same fate. We work a "science" in IT and stating blatantly false ****umptions/conclusions is surely going to get one flak just like telling everyone you have a car that uses fuel as water. This so called survey was just that, a SURVEY. You as a journalist should know how flawed that can be as a method of discovering truth. You have also conveniently left out the results of this persons latest survey, which clearly indicates that within 1 year, the respondents now put the TCO of Linux ON PAR with Windows. The fact is, (and the industry is slowly catching on), that the Open Source method delivers very high quality software. All the studies in the world can not defeat the reality out here in the trenchs of SME land.... Linux, can does and will continue to work very well in a business environment. Thems the facts. While you roll around on plastic gr****, there is a growing wave of successes that are slipping under yours and quite a few other radars....:-)I prefer playing golf on real gr**** anyway.. :-))
    anonymous
  • > This total lack of open mindedness from these people makes me reluctant to explore the idea of implementing open source apps due to the fact that if I find that I'm not happy with it I will be told that I am incompetent by my friends.

    Now, now, don't be a cry-baby. FOSS is a club (of sorts), and you have to qualify to join. Show them that you really want to learn the stuff and they will welcome you with open arms. If they don't, maybe it's time you find a new group of FOSS friends?

    Here is the thing - open source software comes with, well, THE SOURCE (and lots of documentation). So, you are supposed to READ before you ask silly stuff. Nobody is going to do your homework for you. Unless, of course, you HIRE someone to do it. Then you can ask all the silly questions you want ;-)

    That being said, there are many, many FOSS apps that suck. Just use others.
    anonymous
  • Sysadmin from Sydney seems under the illusion that to use Linux or OSS you need to join an unofficial club of sorts ... what a load of crap!

    I have been using OSS for ten years, and beyond joining a LUG list (for my own benefit) have never found anything that requires any form of membership.

    The many friends I have installed Linux for are not intrerested in anything remotely like a club. They are only interested in an OS that does its job without falling over whenever they choose to do something outside of the square. Not to mention that abomination called the MS Windows EULA.

    My peers and I originally chose OSS because we had actually read the MS EULA and felt we are unable to comply with the terms within, without losing the effectiveness of the tool (PC) we choose to use for various tasks. Not one of us owns a PC for the sake of it, we have them as tools.

    One other thing, I am not afraid to put my name by my opinion.
    anonymous
  • > Sysadmin from Sydney seems under the illusion that to use Linux or OSS you need to join an unofficial club of sorts ... what a load of crap!

    It pays to read before posting and to not ****ign literal meaning where there is none. So, here is the key sentence:

    "Show them that you really want to learn the stuff and they will welcome you with open arms."

    > One other thing, I am not afraid to put my name by my opinion.

    Uh, oh, you're so brave ;-)
    anonymous
  • Yup Linux Fanatics are losing the plot alright!

    The plot ran along the lines where common people read up Didio's Report and then stopped from switching to or stop using Linux. Probably the plot also had people convincing others who were interested in using Linux to stop doing the same. Maybe the plot also involved dishing out 100s of Dollars every year so that People like Didio can be hired by Microsoft to churn out more such reports.

    Lets face it ... Microsoft is a very "user-friendly" OS - Hey I can configure practically all the hardware on my machine with my Windows 2000 (never did like XP) with little or no trouble. I have the latest office with the Cute Wizards for helping me with formatting my Header/Footer. My USB Hard-disk was detected (NTFS Partition) without any cribs. Our office system administrator reads numerous articles about how to keep our Windows Servers up and running and most of the time they are.

    That being said - i got about 20 UBUNTU CDs (actually I just love SuSE Linux - don't ask why) sometime back and have been distributing around my colleagues and friends. Oh by the way I did not pay for the 20CDs (not a single cent/penny ... whatever) and i have installed the same at home. It works just fine - Browsing, E-Mail, Word-processing. That being said - why do i like Linux. It is an ALTERNATIVE. Or should I say ... THE ALTERNATIVE, for people who have had to do numerous patches everytime some clever kid releases a virus or worm on the internet. Every time my machine crawls down due to numerous processes that get installed on my system despite the patches being applied religiously(or shall I say diligently for the atheists here).

    Linux is FUN ... I found it to be - and know what, there are lots of people old (like my Dad who is 65), young (my cuz who is just 12) and geeky (like my tech lead who is all of 34) who seem to share a common liking for it. (Actually all of them would probably like the Macintosh better - but hey in Asia who can afford a MAC ;) even the MAC Mini).

    Linux (I think) offers the best it can - at a wonderful price. And the best that it offers keeps getting better every day. Only keeps getting better. I hardly use IE anymore - its either Opera or Firefox.

    Well ... on the development side - I still prefer Visual Studio (heard somewhere that the Chief programmer of Firefox likes it too). One must give MS credit for what it has done - but if Microsoft wants to stay ahead, it should continue to do what it should to stay there - not put out blatant reports about the fallacies of the other system.

    Make Windows as user-friendly as the MACs and as stable as Linux (Linux has never crashed on me - but to be fair never saw the BSOD on Windows 2000, though the machine hung on a few rare occasions) and top it all off on a decent price 50USD and I can bet that most people would still stick to MS-products.

    Else the competition (read LINUX) will get you as it seems to be getting better (ALL THE TIME)
    anonymous
  • Thank you Fran!

    This whole Linux/windows debate is completely out of hand. The real issue of which operating system is used comes down to so many factors more important than the straight low cost and reliability argument that Linux fans always fall back on. There are factors like security, useability, compatibility, software to be used, and many other reasons why you may choose one OS over the other.

    No-one can even say windows is best for desktops and Linux for servers - even that argument is too simple, and the correct choice even in those two examples can only be answered by looking at the unique requirements of each customer in turn. With regards to total cost, in some cases, a Linux rollout will be more expensive than a pure MS rollout, in other cases it will be a lot cheaper (TCO is not a simple formula).

    I personally am completely sick of being labelled a Microsoft stooge by Linux technicians. I don't cl**** myself as a windows tech or a Linux tech - I like hardware, and will choose the best OS for the purpose.

    For instance, for my OWN purposes, I would consider the best OS for the G5 dual to be Linux; the best OS for all-round and everyday desktop use Windows XP on x86 architecture; the best server OS arguably Mac edge, but for cost efficiency Linux (or unix) on dual xeon architecture (or even P4). Oh yeah, the best OS so far for smartphones? Symbian UIQ, not Windows Mobile! No-one can claim I am biased towards Microsoft!

    Most of the businesses I work for use Windows XP. Why, because it is cheap and reliable. Don't laugh Linux fanatics, I ran 200 windows XP machines on a lan for two years, with very few problems. Few enough problems for one guy, me, to handle on his own, and I still had time to sit at my desk and browse the web during the day. It works out to about one day of maintenance/repairs per machine per year, including routine upgrades of hardware. That's desktop machines not servers. I think that is quite good, and that was in a company that refused to upgrade machines on a regular healthy schedule; much of the time the machines were over-utilised. They got slow, but I made sure they were efficiently setup so that crashes were rare (and I could browse the web more during the day!)

    I find many self-professed Linux devotees wouldn't have a clue about efficient setup of an OS; since Linux can take anything you throw at it without crashing, many Linux techs never come to understand how to run their Linux boxes more efficiently. When working on windows, they do nothing but whinge about Windows memory architecture (better than Win98, but still not as good as Linux), instead of realising that if they allow for it, (and understand it) they can get boxes running reliably (both server and windows xp).

    Many thanks for your article, I hope you don't get any hate mail, though I wouldn't be surprised. Even though in that article you haven't actually taken sides, I can see the Linux temples bursting with indignation! But please keep up the excellent quality of editorial you provide, it is a nice island of reason in amongst the turbulent OS wars!

    Best regards

    Max Riethmuller
    anonymous
  • I like using Linux a lot, and while I think it's great and still has lots of room to improve and innovate, for people to actually har**** other people over their opinions is just not on. Doesn't matter if we're talking about operating systems, politics, or religion.

    You can't convince people to your way of thinking by means of abuse, blackmail and heckling without having it backfire on you. The only way to convince people or teach people is to guide them, letting them see and discover the truth for themselves and in their own time.

    Once the average web-surfers are given the chance to try out a Linux machine in their home - when they find the system running faster, with less junk, and with loads of free software at hand, they won't want to go back.

    ....and for really serious work, there's always FreeBSD!
    anonymous
  • Isn't this the women who sighed the SCO NDA and said she saw linux code in Unix.

    Did she receive any flames claiming her IP was stolen as she herself has claimed against linux.

    Tell me did any of the flames she receive claim she was a communist, that her work was un American, or that the license she uses was unconstitutional. I seem to recall such nonsense being used to describe linux.

    Did she receive long email's claiming they gave that facts, yet all they contained was a paid report ( some of the blatant nonsense written by herself).

    What we have here is a professional flamer complaining she got flamed.

    No I don't think the linux fanatics have lost the plot, I think those opposing the industry sea change have reached the bottom of the barrel and articles like this are all that is left there to find.

    I noticed that your defending Didio, and least she is defendable, some of the article that have come our of the pro Microsoft/SCO camp are indefensible and cross the line of human decency.
    anonymous
  • > Isn't this the women who sighed the SCO NDA and said she saw linux code in Unix.

    Yup, she's the one. She's complaining about being called Didiot when she has come out with statements like this:

    "Within the open source community, there are a large percentage of tinkers and 'ankle biters' who are trying their hand at hacking. Some are even communicating with each other. So it only takes one or two of these groups sharing information to be able to pull something off. When you have this type of p****ion, it's hard to fight because these people are like virtual suicide car bombers."
    -- Laura Didio, the Yankee Group (www.yankeegroup.com)
    http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/3312451

    The hypocrisy of the woman is outstanding.
    anonymous
  • The "study" wasn't bad because of its results, but because of its methodology. Having a primarily Windows only company mail out a survey to their clients is likely to lead to results with people favouring Windows, as they're buying Windows products. Similarly if a study were performed by RedHat by simply mailing out surveys to their customers I'd expect the results to come back favouring Linux.

    The commonly heard phrase "garbage in, garbage out," can help one see how helpful the results are of an over glorified survey from a skewed sample of the population. Heck, ignore the skewed sample, and just consider that this was simply a *survey* that was reported as a study. What's next, will a poll on slashdot asking "Which OS is better, Linux or Windows?" be reported as groundbreaking research?
    anonymous
  • I actually wrote about this in <a href="http://uni-fi.com/blog/index.php?p=20">The Consumer Linux Blog</a>. Linux was grown from fanatics. Who else would spend the time this community has spent to build software and an OS that can now rival one of the world's largest companies?
    So it doesn't surprise me that they would be this contentious about these types of articles. Business people and consumers a like have to realize that this is the foundation of Linux these fanatics that believe that this OS is means freedom. It's as sensational a topic as patriotism, abortion, or any other.
    anonymous
  • I find it interesting that several people have committed suicide primarly due to lies by the likes of Rob Enderle, Laura Dido, R. Yarro, and D. Mcbride (funded by Bill Gates) and yet, when Dido proclaims that she is getting calls, e-mail, everybody believes it. And according to the Norda's, Dido does NOT have their best interest at heart. You may wish to go to groklaw.net for the a very heartfelt explanation from the Norda's and then you may wish to go to the MS site for a quick look at Laura dido's latest journalistic integrity piece. Personally, I have found more truths directly from Balmer and Gates than from Dido, Enderle, and the rest of the ilk.
    anonymous
  • Anyone who claims to have received death threats from "members of the Linux community", and does not immediately turn over copies of those threats to law enforcement authorities for investigation, is either deluded or deliberately lying. Until a report is made public regarding Didio, Enderle, McBride and their turning over these alleged threats to the relevant authorities, I will give their claims all the credence their past proclamations have earned. That is, none whatsoever.
    anonymous
  • Darl McBride at SCO tried this when nobody believed he had a valid claim on Linux. Now Didio tries the same trick.

    Does she think that people will believe her more if they feel sorry for her?! Or is sombody actually paying her to accuse unidentified people from the Linux commmunity of threatening her.

    Is it that it nowdays is very hard to make Microsoft products look significantly better than Linux regardless how you ask the questions that they now feel the need to paint Linux people in black?
    anonymous
  • Fran, I think you are missing the point.

    Laura DiDio has a horrible record for accuracy. Because of this she has been (rightly) criticized. Rather than repair her record (or apologize for her mistakes) she blames those who've pointed them out.

    Consider her viewing of the SCO source code, and her conclusion that SCO was likely to win. She came to this conclusion even though she is not a UNIX/Linux programmer. For that matter she's not a programmer at all. She announced to the world that SCO had a real court case causing all sorts of problems for those trying to sell Linux solutions (loss of income is a serious matter). She still has not apologized for that (or indicated if she still believes in what she saw).

    Actions like that one, and the lack of responsibility shown by her generate a lack of respect by those her actions have injured.
    anonymous
  • You've missed the point. The facts *are* doing the talking. If DiDio has a problem with her life, she might consider publishing some facts herself, instead of the astroturf she's making a career out of.
    anonymous
  • Fran,
    Linux fanatics lost the plot a long time ago along with Open Source fanatics. They cannot comprehend why some people would be willing to *pay* for software. And they never will.

    They talk about facts and everything else, but they forget one little *fact* themselves. Other people have the *same* freedom as they do. So if they want to pay for software and be happy with what they get, so they should be. I know many people who swear by Microsoft products. They wouldnt have it any other way. But we dont hear these people threatening Linux and Open Source advocates in forums etc.

    It is sad see people like this and how low they are willing to go. But such is life. But look at it this way, if they life along with their operating system was so perfect, they wouldnt be resorting to these things now would they ?

    It all boils down to one simple thing. Some of these kids have too much time in their hands. I use Linux to as much as I use Microsoft products. I see benefit in both. I have been in the industry long enough to appreciate the goodness in both.

    But these *fanatics* are just bandwagon jumpers. Thats all they are thats all they will ever be. Why ? How can you know the negativity of an operating system if you dont use it day in and day out ? I do, so I know the crappy side of each of them!
    anonymous
  • Ohh.... come on..

    You can't equal thousands and thousands of enthousiastic people that form "the comunnity" with some idiots (?) that send Laura some hate-mail and call her at home.

    The latter is a totally other breed of people.

    It's a litte short-sighted to link those dispaced persons to a comunity that's in general helpfull and undersanding. Sure - there are some rotten apples in the basket, but that does not mean the appletree is sick.

    I think this article is biased to damage te community as a hole, and that's not a very fair thing to do. Does the autor never ever used some open software? I think he does. And if he does he bites the hand that is giving him free presents.

    Not a very nice way to say: "thank you".....
    anonymous