Well, I need to do an editorial on this at OfB, but for now I'll just say it here. It annoys me to no end how upset people get when a fair, but critical, review of a person's favorite operating system is released. Back in October, I criticized Apple, noting in many ways they were no better than Microsoft and that GNU/Linux is a suitable replacement for average desktop computer users. I've yet to see someone prove me wrong. And yet, droves of Mac'ers came and flamed me for saying so. So, I wrote another editorial noting that they missed the point, and the same thing happened again.
Certainly, Mac users aren't the only ones to do attacking — although, based on my experiences, and those Fred Langa has written about, I'll say they are the worst. Anyway, the more recent problem has come from GNU/Linux users. In my current on-going series of review of GNU/Linux distributions, I've heard flames from both the Xandros and Mandrake camps. While I prefer Mandrake, I decided my associate editor Eduardo Sanchez's take on release 9.0's flaws was definately fair, and so we published a very critical review. Of course, even though the review mentions that we thought 8.2 might have been the best version ever, we are still “biased against Mandrake.” Huh… interesting.
At PCLinuxOnline, there are a lot of attacks about our take on Mandrake. However, there is also a former, disgruntled PCLinuxOnline editor who keeps ranting at anyone who doesn't agree with him that LindowsOS is the best Linux distribution out there. When one of the other editors tried to calm him down (and, by the way, it was a mutual agreement that this guy left — most likely since he was so pro-Lindows anti-everything else), the guy just started attacking the other editor even more so.
This is sad. While I think what OS people use is critically important to the future freedom (or lack thereof) of data, it shouldn't mean we get nasty about it. On that note, I'll transition into my other note for today… that is, why we should be concerned with our choice of operating system. With legislation like the DMCA and how it has been used (including the prosecution of Mr. Skylov last year due to the fact that his tool might promote illegal activity and those involved with DeCSS since it might be used for piracy - ever wonder if they prosecuted politicians since they might abuse power or take bribes?), there are good reasons to worry what companies like Apple or Microsoft (or Lindows.com) might do. The fact is, any time you depend on a strictly licensed, proprietary product to control your data and information, you are giving that company partial ownership of you and your work.I think this was summed up quite well by my friend Jens Benecke's signiture today:
When they encrypted TV (Macrovision) I said nothing - I don't have a TV.It's something to think about as Microsoft's Palladium initiative is pushed forward and bills like Sen. Fritz “Eisner's Best Friend” Hollings's CBDTPA continue to be discussed.
When they encrypted DVD (CSS) I said nothing - I don't watch DVDs.
When they encrypted the OS (XP,XBOX) I said nothing - I don't use XP.
When they encrypted the internet I said nothing
- there was no one left to talk to.