What Have You Done For Linux Today?Mar 30th, 2009 | By Mike Dailey | Category: Latest Articles, Linux and Open Source
Over the past week I’ve been blogging about the Linux vs Windows debate, or–more accurately–setting off a firestorm with an article I posted concerning the migration of Microsoft to Linux. In my article I challenged the views of j00p34 a fellow blogger and Linux advocate. My article was then responded to by another blogger, Hans Bezemer, who fired off a searing rebuttal. Between the three blogs we’ve generated quite a discussion.
If you take the time to search the web you’ll see that one or more of our blog posts have been picked up by other blog or news sites. Hundreds of comments have been posted so far. Dozens of people have joined in the debate, some posting great comments and some posting great blog posts of their own, like John Buswell’s Open Source vs Closed Source — Its about investing in People. The more I read the more I learn from the debate I helped to start, and the more it makes me wonder “what have I done for Linux today?”
Several comments to my articles made me pause for thought. Have I become a victim of the very thing I argued against, the lack of action on the part of the Linux community? Have I actually taken the time to invest something else besides my opinions towards the benefit of the community? Thankfully, it took the comments of a few new friends to help me reach my conclusion.
“You’ve posted an excellent comment to my article. Why not put that into a post? You may be right, we might be closer to each other than you think. Why leave it at a few flaming posts? Ok, let me make a few steps to your side. I’ll change a few things here and there, make a few links. You decide whether it is good enough to come to a mutual understanding. This is not getting us anywhere, I guess. I’d rather make peace than war.”
Thanks to Hans Bezemer, I understand that the Linux community does have some excellent people to lead the way. Hans and I have exchanged several emails since our debate, and I’ve learned that my views, while based on my own experiences and successes with Linux deployments and in using open source tools, may not be accurate in all situations. Hans opened my eyes to different views of the same opinion, and provided some really good insight. While I do think the debate over the better OS is dead, at least for now, with passionate and knowledgeable developers like Hans involved I’m entirely confident we’re heading in the right direction.
“I do really think we are on the same side. And I also think you are right when you say people get upset when they perceive you as being on the “wrong” side. I think this is not something about Linux community, you see this everywhere on the Internet. I did not think you are pro-Microsoft, but you can’t deny you called the responses upon yourself a bit. As you assumed my article to state “Migrating is easy, do it tomorrow”, other people assume their own things from your article. The reason that I wrote the article was by request from someone for some reasons which can be given to his boss for using Linux. Not to be seen as the only things to consider at all.
Where it comes to opinion I can’t say anything else than: I’m happy we can all speak freely.
I don’t think we differ in opinion about migration that much either. The only thing where we really differ I think is where you think it’s not at all possible to move a complete organization in the long run to Linux. Were it comes to moving part of the organization to Linux and making everything work together, I think that’s the only real success path for a migration. As a complete overhaul at once is undeniable a very big, risky and expensive project, which you probably can’t sell to anybody. (maybe in small organizations, I assume big organizations to be the subject here)
Thank you for your response. I like to debate, and as it seems we could have some very interesting discussions.”
The above is an excerpt from an email I received from j00p34, the author of the article upon which I based my original response. j00p34 helped me to realize that while I may not see it from my view on shore, there is a swift undercurrent beneath the deceivingly calm waters of the Linux and open source movement. If most Linux and open source community members are as well grounded as j00p34 it will force me to admit that I may have underestimated both communities; something I am happy to do.
Some will say that this debate was simply a rehash of the same type of debates we’ve heard for years. I have a differing opinion, choosing to believe that this debate had true value. This debate thus far hasn’t devolved in to the tired old “Linux is better” debate. This debate grew wings, and if only for a few days has sparked genuine conversation about important topics. How to sell the idea of Linux and open source to IT management; what arguments need to be made; and what quality of code must be delivered. These are all important discussions, and while I’m sure this isn’t the first time they have occurred I hope that the debate between j00p34, Hans and myself helped to keep some focus on the target, even if just a little and for just a few days.
So as I continue to ask myself “what have I done for Linux today?” I have decided to turn the question to the readers of this multi-blog saga. I’d like to hear your feedback on the following questions, which I put to you–the Linux and open source communities–in hopes that you will provide honest, constructive, and valuable feedback. After all, we’ve all got opinions, right?
What do you do for the Linux and open source community? How are you involved?
- What should I do to get more involved in the Linux and open source community? How can I help?