To stir or not to stir?

7:39 pm gnome, humour, libre graphics meeting, maemo, marketing

That is the question…

I am honoured to have become the latest GNOME personality to catch the eye of Sam Varghese.

Sam feels I was unfair in my characterisation of him as a “shock jock”. He may be right… he says himself that the definition of a shock jock is “a slang term used to describe a type of radio broadcaster (sometimes a disc jockey) who attracts attention using humor (sic) that a significant portion of the listening audience may find offensive.” Clearly, since Sam’s not funny, I was unfair. Sorry Sam.

I take issue with Sam’s massive leap (which reminds me of when my maths professors used to say “obviously it follows…” at the end of complicated theorems) when he says that I “have to fight the perception that any of [our] major sponsors is making nice noises to the other camp”.

First, as I have told Sam on numerous occasions when he contacts us for answers to leading questions, we do not think of KDE as “the other camp”. Second, Mark Shuttleworth doesn’t exactly avoid a perception that he’s a fan of KDE. Later in the same article, he says that he thinks that KDE have got a nice rate of development going, and are driving innovation better than GNOME. He’s the first top-paying member of KDE eV, which is roughly the same amount of money annually as Canonical gives to GNOME.

And Mark’s not alone. Nokia are sponsors of both Akademy and GUADEC, as well as investing heavily in both GNOME (through Maemo) and QT (and paying the wages of some KDE developers).

What Sam has trouble understanding is that I have an issue with sloppy journalism. I like the KDE developers, we get on well, and I’ve done a lot of work bridging gaps between projects – whether it be through the organisation of Libre Graphics Meeting or FOSTEL, or my participation in the FLOSS Foundations group, or the numerous conversations I have with KDE board members about any number of subjects (including Akademy & GUADEC colocating).

So when Sam sets me up as a shill, or as someone who has a problem with KDE (or considers them competitors) he’s ignoring a body of evidence that suggests otherwise. But then, with Sam, that’s par for the course.

5 Responses

  1. jdub Says:

    Sadly it’s very much a case of “don’t feed the troll”, but I’ve made (and still make) the same mistake with Sam on occasion.

    I think it’s hilarious that he so hopelessly misunderstands the actual levers of motivation involved.

    Very few IT journalists in Australia have any respect for him (it’s a tight little community, and he’s a well known tool / plagiarist among other things).

    :-)

  2. jamesh Says:

    Wow. He went from complaining about you insulting him to comparing you to the Taliban in a single article. That’s pretty smooth.

  3. Chris Sherlock Says:

    I wrote a comment on Sam’s “editorial” that it was as interesting as reading an Oracle installation manual, but much less informative.

    What IS with that man?

  4. Sebastian Kuegler Says:

    It’s a shame that more and more people who stand out in the Free Software community are becoming subject of those cheap shots.

    If for one enjoy reading your blog and emails, something I cannot particularly say about Sam’s writings. Boy what a waste of time, or as someone else put it so eloquently:

    “Great Minds Discuss Ideas; Average Minds Discuss Events; Small Minds Discuss People.”

    Keep up the good work, Dave!

  5. Troy Unrau Says:

    After a fashion, I’m a little relieved to see that KDE isn’t the only community that has to deal with shitty journalists… for a while I was getting concerned that we were some sort of magnet for crackpots but Sam has eased my fears a little by balancing the attack across the open source world. :P

    This “the other camp” thing is really the main issue. The KDE and Gnome teams get along well — it’s those that sit in the peanut gallery that get polarized into the “other camp” nonsense. Sadly, when these people have a soapbox to stand on, it produces people like Sam (or SJVN).

    Happy hacking folks (from a friend at KDE)