Fanatics and Zealots: Mindless Warriors for the Cause

I like Unix. Not only do I regularly run Linux (a Unix clone) ina virtual machine, for years my firewall/internet services gatewayran the superlative FreeBSD (to finally be replaced by a solidstate device running an embedded version of Linux). Unix-stylecommand lineutilities are a staple of my day to day computer use.

Nonetheless, many of the loudest people who associate themselveswith Unix, Linux, or open-source in general are intolerable.

Case in point:http://blogs.technet.com/windowsserver/archive/2005/10/28/413255.aspx(read the comments, and the similar comments in the Slashdot discussion)

So Microsoft decided, for whatever reason (possibly just achanging shift in their development-group mindset), thatsymlinks are now a good choice, and this is the sort of responsethey get. This, sadly, is typical.

I’ve received this sort of feedback myself as well. For instanceI received the following email in regards to an article I wrote forMSDN magazine (one about SVG graphics, in which I talked about thecompressibility of SVGs via the specification’s inclusion of GZIP -GZIP the standard, not gzip the product. GZIP, and theimplementation gzip, is basically a wrapper around Lempel-Zivcompression, though strangely the critic didn’t feel the need toacknowledge them)

“Thankfully, the SVG standard includes native support for GZIPcompression (a standard documented in RFC 1952) . . .”

This is certainly correct, as far as it goes. However, youneglected to mention that “gzip” is one of a number of GNUutilities, the main branch of Open Source development. The authorsof “gzip” are Jean-loup Gailly <JLOUP@GZIP.ORG>, and MarkAdler.

While not strictly necessary, it would have been nice to mentionthat “gzip” came from outside the MS Windows world. It is somewhatdisturbing that Windows developers, and in at least one instance,Microsoft itself, use Open Source code without crediting thesource.

This was in response to an article I wrote advocating theopen W3C scalable vector graphics format, providing all sourcecode with BSD licensing, and including more links and references toopen source projects than you’re normally going to find in an MSDNarticle.

Nonetheless, I was the “enemy” to this guy.