Linux

Linux vs. Windows: Suspending logic and reason for blind faith

TechRepublic member dcolbert discusses his opinion about the "many eyes" vs. "security through obscurity" security model debate. He thinks that both are a mystical, spiritual belief that an end user comes to believe through blind faith rather than logic or reason.

Recently, several outlets picked up the story that there were hundreds of security flaws in the Android Linux kernel, with 88 of them classified as "severe" - but that wasn't a surprise to me. All code has flaws and errors. What surprised me were the responses I read in the forums.

Of course, Apple and Windows users were all over the fact that Android has 88 severe security flaws that have just been publicly revealed and remain unfixed. But the Linux faithful, as they so frequently do, left me just shaking my head and wondering how people can become so disconnected from logic and reality in blind devotion to their favorite OS or kernel.

In this case, the arguments centered around the "many eyes" versus "security through obscurity" models of security. Those who defended Linux pointed out that the issues were disclosed, which illustrated the superiority of the "many eyes" approach to kernel patching. They further argued that while iOS, OS X, and Windows 7 / Win 7 mobile certainly have countless security flaws - many of them severe - we can't compare them to Linux, because those platforms are closed-source and no one knows the total number.

This is where my mind starts doing an endless-loop error cycle and the smoke starts pouring out of my ears. Maybe my non-evolved mind is simply incapable of comprehending the finer intricacies of logic that are the sacred providence of the Linux community - but there's something in that logic that just doesn't pan out.

In bullet points, the argument seems to be:

  • Linux is open. Many eyes observe the code.
  • By observing the code, the issues come to light quickly and are promptly addressed.
  • Other platforms are closed. Only privileged eyes observe the code.
  • Since only privileged eyes observe the code, issues may be buried and are less likely to be addressed.

Now, I don't disagree with these basic ideas. In fact, they make sense. But I think we're missing a couple of points.

Who are we afraid of? Not the privileged eyes who would bury and hide security flaws in code. We're afraid of people on the outside. But by the very argument above, the people on the outside are at the same disadvantage as the "many eyes" who protect Linux and are unable to protect closed-source platforms.

The reason the "many eyes" model cannot protect closed source is because the code is closed. Likewise, those who would exploit security flaws in closed-source platforms face the same basic obstacle. They don't have access to the raw source code to scan it for security flaws.

On the other hand, the same reason the "many eyes" model works on open source makes it inherently more vulnerable to those people on the outside who we are afraid will try to exploit security flaws. There is an inescapable logic here - that the first points go hand-in-hand with the counter points.

But there's still more going on beneath the surface, and this is where it seems more like blind metaphysical faith and less like the rational logic that's as dry and analytical as you would expect the Linux community to be. There seems to me to be an implied threat here that goes something like this:

"Linux can be self policed by the community of developers who use, enjoy, and support Linux. The source is open for them to review and correct, and this makes Linux a stronger, more secure, safer platform. Other platforms, on the other hand, cannot be reviewed by the end-user and developer community."

So far, so good... but:

"Closed-source platforms, on the other hand, may obscure their severe security flaws, and the bad guys (who have unlimited skills in being able to find and exploit closed-architecture platforms) will take advantage of this by knowing and exploiting those security flaws for who-knows-how-long while the keepers of the flawed code hide the flaws and risks."

That is where it goes wrong. If open source is safer because it enjoys the benefits of the "many eyes" security model, it's also more at risk because the evil eyes can more easily discover and exploit the security flaws that do exist.

The whole fatal-loop exists in this logic. Quite simply, if closed source is less secure because it cannot be reviewed for security weakness, then it is more secure because it cannot be easily reviewed for security weakness. If open source is more secure because it can be reviewed for security weakness, then it is less secure because it can be reviewed for security weakness.

Obviously, the conclusion that "Linux is more secure because it is subject to the ‘many eyes' security model" argument by itself is a valid, inductive argument (but not necessarily true). It's only when you expand it to include the (implied) premise that the closed-platform security model is therefore less secure that the argument becomes an invalid, deductive argument (and therefore false).

The Linux community approaches this as a zero-sum "Linux Wins/Other Platforms Lose" discussion, but just because the argument that the "many eyes" security model is valid and inductive (but not proven) doesn't mean that the "security through obscurity" security model is invalid and disproved. In fact, by itself, the "security through obscurity" security model is also a valid, inductive argument - although it's ironic that this is only the case until it tries to compare itself against and disprove the "many eyes" security model.

So, we can't hold the Linux community solely accountable for not paying enough attention in their Logic of Reason 101 classes when they were earning their IS degrees. There are a lot of people in each camp guilty of committing the same logical fallacies when defending their own pet OS. For some reason, though, I think the Linux community should be held accountable to a higher standard of expectations - certainly more than the unschooled masses of Windows users.

I suppose there's an argument here that a lot of Mac users have higher education and graduate degrees, and maybe they should know better, too - but it seems to me that Linux attracts the kind of devotees who pride themselves on their razor sharp, superior intellect, logic, and reasoning. Is it just Ubuntu watering down the Linux gene pool?

Really, when you get right down to it, there are only a few places where people are willing to suspend logic and reason for blind faith. Many people in the Linux community are the first and most vocal to attack others who behave superstitiously or hopelessly biased along partisan lines. Yet they quickly slip into the same behavior when defending their own platform.

The other thing that a Logic of Reason course will teach you is that it's impossible to argue a conclusion drawn from metaphysical belief. In the case of platform superiority, it seems clear that conclusions are drawn from the same pool from which people determine their spiritual belief or (frequently) voting preference.

Ultimately, I'm not voicing my opinion about which is superior - the "many eyes" or the "security through obscurity" security models. Instead, I'm proposing that either one is a mystical, spiritual belief that an end user comes to believe not through logic or reason, but through blind faith.

Once you realize that, it becomes pretty clear that it's futile to try and argue or reason with anyone who has drawn their line in the sand on either side of the discussion. How do they know? "Because I've seen it myself," is probably the best answer you're going to get, which is effectively the same as, "because I can just feel it inside." Personal feelings drawn from personal experience do not provide truths.

I haven't seen a compelling argument either way to convince me one way or another. I've read and heard a lot of opinions and a lot of unsupported "evidence" provided as fact, but in the final analysis, the superiority of one security model to the other is largely a matter of personal opinion and conclusions drawn on faith - and that reduces the platform/kernel flame wars to bit-based, binary holy wars.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

611 comments
RedHugh82
RedHugh82

Let's ignore the fact that you present yourself as more logical than the entire Linux community yet you make many assumptions and ask very little questions about the theories of "many eyes" and "security through obscurity" and about how people would come to such conclusions. Let's also ignore your own logical fallacies here such as the assumption that those that believe in security through the "many eyes" and also even the "security through obscurity" approach do not have perfectly logical and valid reasons to do so. Let's ignore the fact that because you aren't convinced of the reasoning behind these theories that others who don't agree with your thinking do not have the ability to form reasonable conclusions. Let's not ignore the fact that Linux updates are more frequent because the flaws are seen by more people and that the next logical step is that making the code more obscure prevents these frequent updates which provide better security to say nothing of the more secure locked down nature of any Linux OS. Sorry but I don't respond to trolls well, so I'll just ignore all that and say cool story bro!

MadMockers
MadMockers

This article is obviously biased. You completely ignored the fact that with security by obscurity, a security flaw remains open until someone actually uses it. That leads to guaranteed damage, from any security flaw. Just because source is closed, doesn't mean people aren't willing to find exploits for that software. In fact, due to the closed nature of the source, there is more reason to look for security flaws in closed source software because of the high probability that it won't get fixed. Sure, many eyes includes evil eyes as a subgroup. But the majority isn't. On the other hand, anyone looking to exploit closed source is obviously attempting to cause harm. Your closed minded view is based solely on the false assumption that closed source can't be exploited, even if an exploit exists. So in conclusion, your statement that the "security through obscurity" disproves the coined "many eyes" security "method" is clearly incorrect. While neither system is perfect, I would much rather be using an operating system that has a chance of a security flaw being exposed before it can be used maliciously. And get it patched nice and fast. What I definitely would not want is a piece of software that may have a security flaw, but no one is reviewing that software, so chances are the flaw (if it exists that is) won't be fixed before it is used maliciously.

ravindrad
ravindrad

How to enable to POP3 & SMTP in Squid

dcolbert
dcolbert

The vast majority of the posters who continue to post are Pro-FOSS and *nix advocates. Do you think it would have gone on this long and been so hot if I the post had targeted Windows or OS X users as the community full of advocates bordering on religious fervor? Which was, again - one of the things I said in the original post. The *nix/FOSS people have a particular need to proselytize that seems more pronounced than other OS cults.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Vulpine will have 250 posts in such a topic :). You should do it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Do you think that the difference between bottom-up advocating by pleased users versus top-down advocating by marketing departments has any affect on that "FOSS people seem more vocal than osX/Win people"?

dcolbert
dcolbert

I *said* these things here about Windows *and* Mac, too... And I had Vulpine in mind when I said them. I would have loved to have him and some of his friends join in on this, too. I might have broken 1k posts, had I gotten some Mac and Windows advocates irritated with this post. My original blog, re-read it... I said they *all* do it. I just said that the *nix/FOSS guys do it worse. I can always tweak the Apple community for a good, hot response. But I can't count on any community to respond quite like the FOSS/*nix community. And you know, as always, I've got to admit. Tonight, for the first time in awhile from home, I'm on my XP machine, not my Mac Mini, writing this. Same keyboard, mouse and screen though. That is the weird thing - they share a KVM... so, it is *pretty much* entirely the same experience. Hard to tell one apart from the other. If I put an Ubuntu or other *nix box on this KVM and switched around between the 3, though, I bet I'd know when I wasn't in Closed-Source land - instantly.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think that has a *ton* to do with it. Linux users *are* advocates. Win and OS X users are *users*. FOSS advocates are *marketers*. I think that at the highest levels (of the FOSS community), nurturing "Grass Roots Advocacy" of FOSS solutions is a deliberate thing. It is the only way they can compete with multi-billion dollar companies with giant advertising budgets. I've come to that conclusion through these discussions. It wasn't something I had really realized before this string of discussions started. Now let me ask you a question: Do you think that bottom-up advocacy is inherently more trust-worthy than top-down marketing? Is it less prone to hyperbole, exaggeration and reality distortion? Are people who *believe* in a cause more or less likely to engage in perceptual bias than a for-profit organization pushing a product that is key to their revenue? I mean, those are serious questions. When people are comitted to something. A religion, a political perspective, an OS... are they more likely to be honest and non-biased in their perspective, open to honest criticism... or less? I've got a feeling the response right after yours is going to say it all about *MY* opinion on this. I've got a feeling it'll be about the same response I would have got if I had screamed that Sarah Palin is a political genius on a San Francisco street corner (and that subsequently unicorns eating open source butterflies and pooping out rainbow colored secure FreeBSD kernels had magically appeared). But it isn't a trap. Who knows. It is just an observation. I'm honestly interested in your response to this, Neon.

apotheon
apotheon

. . . beyond taking pleasure in trying to "trap" and insult people. The very premise of the comment to which you responded implies insult.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Ok... I'll do that. When do they get here???

dcolbert
dcolbert

Start from little sparks. :) Although sometimes it seems the firebug might need to throw some accelerant on the flames.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

.. while standing over here with me beside this twelve foot tall bonfire..? (thank you for pointing it out though, I started this month home for a week with a sic four year old)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Ansugisalas = Windows boy. Ansugisalas != FOSS boy. Being an ass, even as skillfully as you do it, won't serve any good purpose. Using corrupt pseudologic and being flippant and doing noncommital runarounds won't either. I examined your point, it was pretty thin. You said you have to trust your clever friends about the d20? Why not trust your clever adversaries about the penguin? After all, you've demonstrated quite clearly that you have no better reason to distrust it than the fact, that you think it's a cult. I suggest that it's not, they're really just people who made the save against the illusory betterness of corporate code. Trust me on this one.

apotheon
apotheon

Your inflammatory style is largely to blame for flames (it's nigh-tautological, in fact), but I don't think people are specifically avoiding your other article. They are probably just not interested enough in you to make sure they're aware of everything you write, especially when you've been so inflammatory in the past. I wasn't aware of your other article. Maybe I should check it out now.

dcolbert
dcolbert

In that case, Neon, I'm not really certian you have the time-line right, but can't claim that you've got it *wrong*, either. In *my* mind... I did this post, and it was pretty civil and moderate, with a little bit of back and forth, but an overall positive vibe. Chip pointed this article out to Chad, if I followed things right, who wrote a rebuttal, that I answered - things got heated in THAT article... mostly because... you know, I like to be a jackass and take some funny swipes at the culture of Foss (Temple of the Penguin, Fat Beareded Basement Dwellers). I think it really got hot when I insulted someone's FreeBSD font. *Anyhow*... Then, angered, that fellow brought his venom back into this thread. Since then, it has been less of a mosh-pit, and more of the bar-room brawl that you've described. Although honestly, I've just been bobbing my head, darting out of the way, and cracking wise back since we headed down THAT path... But darned if the offended will stop trying to take my head off at the neck. If there is a *previous* blog that I missed that got people hot, then that is a coincidence. But I *think* I've actually got the chain of events right here. As far as "winning", I find it ironic that no one from the FOSS community who is represented here has shown up in my latest "discussion-refined" blog post. Not one person. No one seems to want to refute my glaring ignorance and misinformation in *that* thread... only in this one. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/tr-out-loud/?p=3002&tag=content;leftCol

apotheon
apotheon

I think it speaks volumes that dcolbert claims victory based on his ability to muddy the waters, regardless of making actually cogent points with valid arguments predicated upon evidence and reason -- and seems to think others have "lost" because they find his offenses offensive, even if their valid points remain largely unchallenged. It says something about his intended audience. It suggests his aim is to convince people who cannot or will not think for themselves, rather than appeal to the reasoning power of those who can and will.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

It identifies the previous link in the chain of custody that spilled into this forum. This article's discussion did not come out of nowhere but included a continuation of existing discussions and/or hostilities. A separation between previous heated exchange and this articles volley may have made a difference in who entered the discussion already with a hot head. I did also check my initial comment in this discussion and was happy to confirm that my entry was over technical details rather than politics.. I'm not sure I remained clear of the politics soon after the "20 min install" threads. But, I was only going back to establish the chain of events leading directly into this with that discussion spilling into this one.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I just went back to try and find the previous discussion. I remember it devolving into an argument over symantics, logic and debate theory where at one point you openly admit to this article being a social engineering test. That actually prompted me to skip ahead to this discussion and article re-reading it in more detail. No need to go back and find the reference. I'm not the type to deny something that I've said. You've got it *about* right, above. (Although your comments are just a paraphrase of what I actually said). I don't see how that changes the outcome or relates to this thread, but please elaborate and share your thesis. I was wrong in the specific terminology, and that certainly had an impact on the credibility of the *article*. I fixed that in a following article. But this article was designed with room for that flaw, were it to exist (I was not certain), and were it exposed. Either way, it established my *point*. But before I make assumptions, I want to know where you were headed with this. What does it prove or disprove about my most recent statements in this thread? I'd also suggest that the increasingly angry and venemous nature of the responses helped discredit the position gained by pointing out the flaws in my original argument. Having "won", the right thing to do would have been to walk away and call it just that, a victory. Staying and engaging, while growing ever more hostile and less rational and coherent, only served to make the opposition seem as lacking in credibility as I, if for other reasons. So, my admission of defeat may have been premature. I did not know at that time that the victor would go on to take pains to reverse that victory by his words and actions.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I just went back to try and find the previous discussion. I remember it devolving into an argument over symantics, logic and debate theory where at one point you openly admit to this article being a social engineering test. That actually prompted me to skip ahead to this discussion and article re-reading it in more detail. .. can't spot the discussion thread now to provide so I can't confirm the timeline as I remember it. it may have been his article after yours but his discussion before.. boo me.. If I can find and provide the solid reference links, I may come back to it. (yeah, this is shooting myself in the foot a bit here but I'd rather be thought of as incorrect but willing to admit it)

dcolbert
dcolbert

I have a unique knack for pushing people's buttons to the limits of their best behavior. Perhaps I've more frequently taken Neon to the limits of his tolerance, whereas Vulpine seems, in my experience, to have shown restraint when responding to many of my challenges that might cause him to display the kind of behavior you describe. Another possibility is that I simply play rougher with FOSS/Linux advocates, and therefore I may be responsible for this difference in perception. Vulpine has passion for Apple products, for sure, though. As a writer, I see people like that, Neon and Vulpine both, as assets who will contribute and create discussion - and infrequently, change my mind or make me re-evaluate a position. Neon has certianly been more successful at this than any other platform advocate I've encountered, here or elsewhere.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The problem is, I've walked into that "Irish pub" and minded my own business and been assaulted first so many times, and so many other "non-FOSS" users share this experience, that it is easy to come to the conclusion, in this case, that the Irish are louts. Personally, I'm half-Irish, in both the literal and the metaphoric sense as it relates to this conversation - and while the Irish often *are* louts, they're far more civil than the FOSS community as a whole. I hate to disparage the international "reputation" of the Irish by associating them such. (Seriously, all kidding aside, my family has very deep Irish roots - anything I say about the *IRISH* is in jest). On the other hand, I've been accused of indirectly attacking the FOSS community. I've never done any such thing. I've always been fairly blatent about my contempt for the FOSS *community*. In fact, I think it is the biggest liability that Linux and other FOSS products carry (and have claimed as much many times). So let me be clear - the thesis of this article was that the FOSS community is populated by quasi-religious fanatical nuts most of whom don't really care to discuss truths and realities, but instead are focused on ideals and perfect scenarios. The fact that a "preacher" having gathered a "choir" of other Foss Advocates claims this is the only time that a worthy discussion might be pursued on topics of The Holy Foss - speaks volumes to me about the nature of that. Anyone else is a heathen unbeliever spreading lies and deciet about the truer faith, in the eyes of the converted. I'm certain this type of personality would delight in burning me at the stake as a heretic, if he could. Which article of Chad's are you talking about, though? Did he release one prior to mine, or are you talking about his that was a direct response to this one? I didn't honestly know that Chad existed prior to this article. You know, the analogy isn't exactly right, come to think of it. It is like I walked in to the pub, brought a handful of mates, and we had a brawl with the Irish. Having certianly trashed the place and all the inhabitants of it, my mates have left to go have drinks in celebration. I've stuck around, and now 3 of the Irish have come back to their senses, and continue the fight with me alone - certain that they are "winning" a battle they have already largely lost. That one fits a bit better. You certianly can't claim any of the 3 of us are the brighest bulbs among the mob for acting as such.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Having someone common to rally against sure is bringing the Brothers of Foss closer together. So warming during this holiday season. Merry Christmas. Ansu, you're a poet, BTW. A regular Dickens. I don't know if I want anything to do with Chad sticking to me though.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm well aware of your other articles. I'm on the article list daily. The only articles I don't skim at minimum are ones where the title/intro does not interest me at all. Anything OS, Network, mobile device or security related; You can pretty much assume I'll be among the readers if not among the comments. It was an unfortunate timeline; this article dropped overlapping Chad's. The discussion begun in that article was carried forward based on the common opinions being expressed. Perhaps you'd have got less of a FOSS response had there been a cooling down between. " I *did* proclaim that the Linux advocates would be the most vocal - and that probably does create a chicken-or-the-egg situation " It sets up the theme of the article and overall discussion. You've already painted "Linux advocates" as the most degenerate of the three named groups. I'd equate it to walking into an Irish pub proclaiming "English and Scott's over-react but these Leprechauns are the worst for it" then I punch someone. It may be interesting to see what you can generate off Windows folks. I'd think osX folks easier to poke with a stick personal. (I'm so dropping my "cult of mac" in favor of "Church of the Worshipers of the Edible Rosebud". :D )

apotheon
apotheon

> If there were articles other than mine that held FOSS in a critical light, I missed them. Part of the problem here might be that you aren't reading much. Perhaps you should read some of my articles from the last few months where I discuss the security-braindead decisions of Richard Stallman and the GNU project, the Ubuntu project, and other free and open source software projects. I guess I should alter a single term (and some punctuation, since you misused a question mark) in your question to Neon Samurai: > Perhaps there is a little selective perception, here, dcolbert. Another part of the problem might be the fact that you are more critical of free and open source software for the sake of being critical of free and open source software, rather than being critical of specifics. You mistake the specific for the general, and use that as an argument. A third part of the problem might be that in this case Neon Samurai actually misidentified what you are doing with this article. Where you tend to write the occasional critical article, and such criticism is not limited to open source software, this particular article is not really an attack on open source software. It's an attack on people who like open source software. That equivocation of which you are so proud -- the bit about how you said that some people in other OS communities show similar characteristics -- is a common ploy used to give the offender wiggle room, to pretend reasonability and impartiality while actually launching a biased assault on people under the color of calling for objectivity. These are common, crass, and wholly counterproductive tactics. > But you certainly bring a 3rd and viable option to the table on why the FOSS community did live up to my expectations in responding so vocally to this post. Here's a fourth: You attacked the community, rather than merely the software, this time -- and did so by way of making specious attacks on the software as well. It's as though I wrote an article about how all the problems that exist in Microsoft's software is a direct result of MS Windows users being so stupid, short-sighted, unthinkingly conformist, and willfully ignorant that they essentially ask Microsoft to bend them over a barrel and rape them gently with chainsaws -- and pay $300 a pop for the privilege of being violated. Imagine if I told people they were part of a community that brought this on themselves if they happened to be reading the article on MS Windows, and doubly so via IE. Do you think that might elicit more negative feedback than if I stuck to a primarily technical assessment of the software itself, with a few comments about corporate culture? Yeah, me too. I also think you might elicit more negative feedback if you imply the user community is filled with unreasonable zealots, and back up your claim with statements to the effect that they're wrong, too. I don't know if you were consciously aware of any of this, but I'm sure on some level it will come as no surprise to you. It's probably an intentional result, that this is what you wanted from the very beginning, and to some extent set out to have exactly that result whilst pretending innocence. Given that, I'm not entirely sure why I responded at all. Maybe it's because, with Neon Samurai, AnsuGisalas, and me all in one place, there's opportunity for a real discussion regardless of your influence. One is definitely knowledgeable on the subject; another is obviously thoughtful; the last (you) is clearly unsuited to dealing honestly and politely with any of us.

apotheon
apotheon

AnsuGisalas: Thank you for clarifying. I realized belatedly (after I noticed you had replied) that my phrasing was definitely suboptimal. I meant, in effect, that I did not want to waste time confusing myself further by coming up with another half-dozen possible interpretations of what you said. I hope you did not get the impression that I was saying your commentary was not worth my time, when it was clear enough to actually draw any relative certainty of meaning from it. Now that you have clarified, I feel I have a much stronger grasp on the substance of what you said, and have nothing of particular value to add at this time. It does seem worthwhile to note that you seem to have a knack for effectively applying metaphor to dcolbert's methods, however. dcolbert: > Seems that Chad just implied that the composition of your last statement was similar to that which you accuse mine of being. Actually, what I "implied" was that AnsuGisalas might want to clarify -- and he did. He did not backpedal, respond with insult, or otherwise emulate you very well. > Obviously he thought it aimed at him and did not realize it was directed at me. Obviously, you were not reading very closely. That was only one of three potential interpretations that immediately occurred to me when I read what he said. It was not the first, in fact. The first was that he was commenting on your methods -- which is actually the case, as it turns out. Considering that not everything AnsuGisalas said really matched up effectively with what I said, it seemed like a problematic interpretation at best to assume he was talking to me -- but still one of three obvious initial interpretations, so I asked him to clarify. Your "obvious" is apparently my (and his) "not bloody likely" in this case. AnsuGisalas and I have been (playfully) at each others' throats enough to recognize each others' methods, and to have started to learn how to avoid unintentional offense between us. As a result, your attempt to turn him against me looks clumsy and blatant to me, and probably to him as well. > I can't help but find myself amused by this. I, too, am amused by this misinterpretation (or misrepresentation) of yours. > Former Justice Potter Stewart of the Supreme Court of the United States, in attempting to classify what material constituted exactly "what is obscene", famously wrote, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced. But I know it when I see it." The difference is that he mistook the subjective for the objective. I'm pretty sure AnsuGisalas did not make the same mistake.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I have never seen Neon say things like Linux is better than Windows. He usually says stuff like its better for certain purposes. Also, he is a fellow gamer :). He also almost never tells you your wrong and seems to generally accept the idea that other people have different points of view. Also I don't much like Vulpine, so I notice these differences (not that I am hating you Vulpine in case you read this The Battle tech discussion was fun for example.).

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

rubber, he's glue. Punches just bounce off him, just he will stick to you!

dcolbert
dcolbert

Seems that Chad just implied that the composition of your last statement was similar to that which you accuse mine of being. Obviously he thought it aimed at him and did not realize it was directed at me. I can't help but find myself amused by this. Additionally, your summary of my "forked tongue and wicked speech" reminded me of nothing so much as this: Former Justice Potter Stewart of the Supreme Court of the United States, in attempting to classify what material constituted exactly "what is obscene", famously wrote, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced. But I know it when I see it."

Slayer_
Slayer_

Two totally different personalities :)

dcolbert
dcolbert

Perhaps there is a little selective perception, here, Neon? I've also authored several "anti-Apple" and a few "Anti-Verizon" articles. Honestly, it has been awhile since I re-visited Linux or FOSS. You should read more of my posts other than the ones with FOSS or *nix titles that attract your attention. :) I'm not certain there are many other authors very critical of Linux here on Tech Republic. Certainly I am in the minority and often feel like I am confronting much more established writers from the TR community when I take these controversial positions. I do not think I'll be getting invited out to pints by Jack Wallen and Chad after the next event in Kentucky. If there were articles other than mine that held FOSS in a critical light, I missed them. But, if you've only read my posts that deal directly with FOSS, and lacking any critical attacks by me on Microsoft platforms, I'll admit it would be easy to draw the conclusion that I have an Anti-FOSS or anti-*nix agenda. I *did* proclaim that the Linux advocates would be the most vocal - and that probably does create a chicken-or-the-egg situation, at the very least. I just find that the OS X users who take offense at my posts are far fewer and far less vocal. I'll have to find something critical to write about Microsoft and see what kind of response I can get from that community... build up some more anecdotal evidence for my next argumets. :) I wouldn't have considered this one to have built off the earlier discussions related to *nix that I wrote - but I have a continiuum that I *think* includes at least 4 or 5 articles since my last FOSS/*nix article - maybe more. As a matter of fact, so many of my recent articles have been directed at Apple and Apple products that I had started to regard Vulpine as my new "Neon Samurai". But you certainly bring a 3rd and viable option to the table on why the FOSS community did live up to my expectations in responding so vocally to this post.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

It's very difficult to not be goaded into responding to the kind of haphazardly thrown together quasi-argumentation fielded by Donovan here. And even knowing that a) he's wrong, b) he's trying to do something he doesn't even know and c) he's deliberately twisting his own words to prolong the argument - even knowing this, it's hard to put a finger on the doughy substance of his argumentation and say "this is the why, how and what of his being wrong". No doubt his marketing background coming into play. I'd say he's achieved the written equivalent of fast-talking.

apotheon
apotheon

Do you think it'll be defensive, or offensive? Hm. I had six more words, drawing a conclusion, but I probably shouldn't offer that thought here.

apotheon
apotheon

I can think of at least three different ways to take that, and I'm not even trying. I doubt I will, either. It's too vague to bother wasting too much time on it, as it stands.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Horse Manure. "The BS that gets to ya!" Well-formed low-content word-silt, in which floats nuggets of highly refined plutonium dung - Pieces of misconstrued misinformative misunderstandings and half-believed, half-remembered half-truths. That kind of stuff is hard to deal with.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

This article dropped after one or two other "vs 'Linux'" type articles and continued what was already a volatile if hot hostile exchange in progress. You also did claim that "the Linux heads would be the loudest" placing more weighted insult towards that third of the group. Self fulfilling professy may very well apply here. I'd suggest that you are also developing a brand for yourself as an "anti-FOSS" author given the any mention of Linux distributions in your articles, the past choice to not recognize general versus object specific traits or discussion to accurately attribute responsibility for faults (not saying that this choice has not been reversed, reconsidered or softened since). The exact same affect happened months back when three or so "vs dirty smelly Hackers" articles dropped in a row causing the last discussion to build from where the previous two left off.

apotheon
apotheon

When you start out with the assumption that someone is "more wrong" than you, the fact that 50% more of what that person says has real technical merit goes by without remark, for you regard it all as being "wrong". It is a self-fulfilling prophecy within your own mind. Confirmation bias. Hallucinatory correctness. Whatever. edit: This is why it's so easy for your trolling to bait me. When not all of what you say is complete malarky, I actually tend to pay attention. I examine each bit for correctness. If it is correct, at least in part, I address it as such, and try to separate the wheat from the chaff. The end result is that I feed a friggin' troll. If I were a bit more like you, and decided it was all wrong without reading half of it closely enough to recognize value (or, at least, you act like you decide it is all wrong without reading half of it very closely), I'd start lurking under bridges too.

apotheon
apotheon

I never argued otherwise.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's the one. I still keep transition tracks in my music mix just to randomly pop up between songs. My God.. it's full of stars..

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

But the benefits of rigor, in my case, are academic. I don't do that - maybe I can't or maybe I won't - the fact of the matter is it just ain't gonna happen. Immutability can be achieved also in defying drastic and irreversible change through adaptation - like the fable of the oak and the reeds, sometimes more effectively.

apotheon
apotheon

I actually bought that CD when it was new. I listened to it for the first time in about five years a couple months ago.

apotheon
apotheon

Well . . . "ductive", then. Ductile, perhaps. Rigor has practical value, but I don't think you'll ever admit that in any meaningful sense here.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I've mentioned this term elsewhere... "Mandsjævning" is a term used in ancient times to refer to a bond of duty. If a man shares knowledge, the other man feels duty bound to share of his own knowledge, what he deems to be an equivalent amount. I think Pierre Bourdieu's writings on the forms of social capital are the best summation of this and other forms of value negotiation... it was an eye-opener for me, at least - suddenly I see it everywhere.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Hehe.. yeah.. that last one I was mostly just having fun with. That bit in the title is probably the one I hoped someone spotted. It may actually replace "cult of mac" in my usage. As for working together, If you've done time this side of the border, maybe.. I haven't put in any work time south of it. (visited Boon, North Carolina for a week once though)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I don't do rigorous. But thanks. I try to keep my mind flexible, like. And it should show on the produce. Even when having a fluke brainwave like the above ;) EDIT: "purely inductive" - now you're just flattering me! However, it was abduction that allowed me to see the de facto straw man. I don't think Donovan meant to reverse the roles, rather he failed to differentiate "convert behavior" from "cult behavior" and the latter from "cultural bias behavior". Cultural bias is just prejudice. Cult behavior is just repeating, unthinkingly, the TRUTH. Convert behavior (which undeniably can be preachy) is neither, it's simply that escaping from a big lie makes a person to resent that lie, and to want to expose it.

tbmay
tbmay

Enjoyed that. But you guys think about this stuff a lot more than I do. My advice to Donovan, or anybody who doesn't like any particular software, is don't use it. Seems simple to me. Neon, is it possible you and I have worked together before?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"Welcome to the Cybercorporation.. Cyberpunks." I think you really hit the nail on the head here though. I've seen it explained as a gifting society but "information is our currency" really cuts strait too it.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

" There IS a God. There is NO God. The Left is Right. The Right is Right. Chevy makes the best trucks. Ford makes the best trucks. " Every topic under the sun has it's zealots and cheerleaders. Why give more time to an OS blindly faithful than one would give a Chevy vs Ford or Right vs Left blind faithful? Regardless of topic, the cultists become known and untrusted. We should focus on and consider information from the rational folk in all topic areas rather than validate zealotry by giving it attention. " As I've said, I don't think that FOSS users *alone* are guilty of this behavior. I also don't think *all* FOSS users are guilty of this behavior. But if you're preaching at the Temple of Redmond, you've got to watch the lot filling up every Sunday at the Temple of the Penguin while thinking to yourself, "Wow, they sure do have good turnout for worship, over there". " I like that you distinquished between the zealotry and rational members of a topic with this ending statement. In terms of comparing "temples" I'd like to offer a second analogy. Given the current market and "mind-share"; Pengiun members meeting once a week in borrowed community centers after hours and other friendly locations. They look out the window across the street at the giant Redmond Cathedral knowing they'll still have to justify there choice for belonging to such a strange podre-less religion rather than the popular mainstream one. They clearly remember the past actions of Pope Bill the First and current actions of Pope Steve (B) the Second going to any lengths to try and get those community centers shut down and less popular religion members branded degenerates to be burned unless they repent. They have looked into this mainstream religion and, while seeing benefits, find many messages that don't ring true; "we gardeth your souls as our own", "leadeth thy not into temptation of that decentralized religion, it's rejection of the Pope and various sects", "Ours is the way, the power and the OS, with ubiquitous third party hardware drivers, Amen.. please remain seated while the collection bowls come around." This new religion was a direct response to the mighty Cathedrals as former Redmond worshipers (and an older religion, the IBM Priesthood) questioned the message delivered each Sunday. They looked at the Priests reading in Latin and texts only reproduced in Latin to keep the common worshipers from reading "The word" directly; only the Priesthood had that privaledge. They rejected this and said "No! We will publish 'The Word' in the commoner's language so that any and all may choose worship when and how they like. We will have no Priesthood acting as gatekeepers. Thy Source shall be free to all who wish to read it!" Today the various persecuted Pengin secs are slowly gaining some public acceptance, or toleration at least, with a few more choices of where to meet once a week (hardware). One of two of the Redmond Cathedrals have even offered a back room to meet in, though tentatively (Dell and other "experiments"). They are still the newer religion under the weight of ill intent from the more established Holy Redmon Vatican. At least with that Church of the Worshipers of the Edible Rosebud, it tends to be the flock more than the priesthood who blatantly display interest in persecution. The Priesthood mostly just tries to lock the dirty Pengin believers out of it's clean white/silver temples. The irony here is that it's taken much of the Pengin believer's practices (CUPS, BSD) and rebranded them in it's new testemant while layering on pageantry to fit the Church of the Worshiper's mission. So far, the borrowed practices remain available to the Penguins (CUPS). Not, in all that, to claim that the Pengins have been innocent victims through out history either. Not all sects or individuals within the better secs have been positive representatives. The majority simply want to be free to worship in there own way without being assumed dirty, poor, second class Netizens limited in where they may take private time to pray while in turn not caring where other's choose to prey. "I don't hate Windows. It's simply not interesting to me." - The book of Linus "What sect is the one true sect? None, I follow the sect that gets me at The Source and The Work of Linus (aka. Linux, The Kernel) the fastest. Whichever it is, I install it, install The Kernel and get back into The Work of Linus." - The book of Linus "Should there be only one central authority combining all Sects into one like the Cathedral and The Woshipers? The individuality of the Sect beyond the common beliefs shared is essential to our evolution and freedoms. Secs must remain free to try new things, share and borrow among each other, grow and learn with each other." - The Book of Linus (It's a long post but I had fun with this one and hopefully don't upset reader's religious convictions. The Linus "quotes" fictional but based on actual sentiments from interviews and modified to fid the above analogy theme.)

apotheon
apotheon

Where conformance to the expectations is the currency of status in the mainstream world, information (which implies correctness) is the currency of status in the hacker world. It's all economics. What you've explained, Neon Samurai, is all traceable to that single fact: information is the economic currency of the hacker culture. Too bad saying that alone does not explain much to those who are not party to that social economy. They have to have it explained to them, because when information is not the currency you value, you find no value in self-informing. It has to be spelled out.

apotheon
apotheon

It's purely inductive and not exactly rigorous, but it is brilliantly evocative and the sort of thing perfectly suited to get people to change their own minds if they're open to new ideas.

apotheon
apotheon

You use questions like that to distract from the fact that you argue against individuals, not grass-roots campaigns. Your generalization has absolutely nothing to do with the trustworthiness, objectivity, or honesty of any individual in the larger discussion. I recommend Apple or Microsoft as the provider of a computing platform as often as Linux or FreeBSD, for special cases. It is only in the general case that I assiduously argue against the proprietary platforms (and, to a lesser extent, the GNU/Linux platforms) -- and I do so because we are better off using the more open platforms with a greater dedication to technical correctness, in the long run. It is merely a matter of practicality that in the short run we sometimes have to choose the long-run suboptimal technology to get work done. . . . but of course you aren't interested in that. You would rather paint everybody who says something positive about open source software with the same brush, implying blind faith as the only likely motivation for such favoritism (which is distinct from bias, by the way, though I do not expect you to distinguish based on past performance).

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

My thoughts on top down versus bottom up? Good question. Top down probably does cause me more suspicion; what is one selling? Why would a company as big as Microsoft or Red Hat take a personal interest in me as an individual? I find it hard to believe the shareholders and Board care one whiff about me beyond being a Sold += 1. Bottom up causes it's suspicions also but I have an easier time believing an individual's opinion based on use of a thing. Trust can be earned through meritocracy. The individual can be asked to clarify or otherwise provide further information. One stands a better chance of recreating the honest claims of an individual. It's surely not a black and white topic either though. The most ironic being some "bottom-up" campaigns which are in fact decreed by the top down. Bottom up may not be more resilient to hyperbole and distortion but it is easier to identify. The meritocratic approach adds or removes trust. The bottom-up allows for the claimant to substantiate directly. "WinXP fully patched and running in under 128 Meg of ram; prove it.. wow.. ok.. you proved it.. I've duplicated the claim.." (general example rather than specific figures). "'Linux' takes weeks to install; prove it, what distro, what issues, when? Gentoo source install two years ago.. well yeah, that would take weeks to compile and be potentially pretty fiddly.. here are some better suited and current distributions which can be installed in XYZ minutes this way.." (hypothetical example based on poster doing more than pigeoning the forums). In terms of who is more likely to intentionally distort information? That is a good question because both sides have motivations for and against. I'm not really sure I can even answer the question in short order. Cheer-leading individuals exist for all and every topic under the sun. Business is concerned with manufacturing profits; a sold product is simply a tool used in that manufacturing process. It may well come back down to who can substantiate claims and merit trust. We can't impose behavior on companies or individuals, we can only respond. Who has more to loose? With an individual, I'm one on one. If they approach me and shatter their credibility then I'm no longer approachable. They may restore credibility over time or demonstrate it within a specific subject area but not others. It's a more direct relationship though. With a business, it's one to many. If they shatter credibility with me, they have the rest of the market still. If they shatter credibility with enough individuals they will do so with the market. They do have more room to maneuver than a one to one individual exchange. And a business in pursuit of maintaining or growing a brand; we've seen that distorting reality as far as they can get away with considered perfectly responsible business. It's actually irresponsible business and potentially illegal for corporations to not do so as they are obligated to value share holder equities above the customer.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I believe it also stems from a cultural chasm. FOSS is a direct result of the Hacker ethic; speaking of real Hackers not the media sensationalized criminals. For lack of a better term, "normals" tend not to be as naturally curious. A Normal will buy a thing and avoid breaking the sticker or otherwise voiding the warranty at all costs. A Hacker's curiosity has that warranty voided on a personal purchase before they even get it home. Among the ethics common to Hacker; information sharing. If the information is one's to share then a Hacker will share it. When one asks questions or makes claims about FOSS which are not accurate, the compulsion becomes to share information. Hackers are also inclusive not exclusive by nature. Red, White, Black, Brown, Fat, Skinny, Female, mentally or physically disabled; don't care, it's your skills and knowledge not your appearance that Hackers care about. When one throws those innacurate or uninformed claims out there, they identify themselves as an "outsider". It's not about keeping them "outside" but inviting them up on the porch to sit and chat. It's not "oh, you run Windows so you are not worthy" but "If my understanding of Windows is wrong, show me why. Let me try to explain why your understanding of FOSS/Hackers/Whatever-the-Hacker's-focus may not be correct." We don't say "oh, you chose the wrong distribution stupid" but "that distribution is better suited to XYZ, perhaps this distribution would be more suited to your needs." Lastly, Hackers tend to believe in meritocracy; hence, FOSS's strong basis on meritocracy as a product of Hackerdom. A thing's merits are far more important than it's "marketing message". Hackers are always looking to improve on what they already understand, use or create. (I think I'm actually going to transcribe an article from the last 2600 which highlights a number of the things that the 1995 movie Hackers actually got correct in-spite of Hollywood. The magazine provides standing permission for such things provided they remain properly attributed; again, the Hacker ethic to share information.)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

without good reason. It's tantamount to spending one's own social capital for the benefit of a corporation. People buy Ford or Chevy because they belong to a group where "that's the car you have to buy"... not because it's lauded, but because the alternative isn't even recognized (ring a bell? M$ software is in this niche, a lot, people don't know computers can run without it). Of course they're wrong. Opensourcers aren't guilty of that behaviour. They're instead behaving like other people who've been awakened from an illusion like the above. Like, "tree-hugging hippies" and "no_fast_food_freaks" and other enemies of the state. When people are just prejudiced, they're not likely to spew any more than a single post of "dumb stupid person, everybody knows a computer won't run unless you use M$" or "My cousin used open source, and it gave him the crabs". When people put in an effort to convince you, then it's because they've been where you're at, and have hope that you, too, can see the light. Even if they have to cut your head off.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I *honestly* don't know, myself. When you look at other groups of people who are *convinced* of their position - whatever that position may be... There IS a God. There is NO God. The Left is Right. The Right is Right. Chevy makes the best trucks. Ford makes the best trucks. These are the issues that (some) people get so behind that they develop a complete inability to even consider the other side. They're also the kind of issues that seem to make people feel *compelled* to "bring others into the light". Not only does the Ford Truck advocate have a picture of Calvin peeing on a Chevy emblem, but don't let him know you're looking for a truck, unless you want to hear all of the reasons why you should only consider a Ford. As I've said, I don't think that FOSS users *alone* are guilty of this behavior. I also don't think *all* FOSS users are guilty of this behavior. But if you're preaching at the Temple of Redmond, you've got to watch the lot filling up every Sunday at the Temple of the Penguin while thinking to yourself, "Wow, they sure do have good turnout for worship, over there".

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

less susceptible to "I'm feeding you BS on a professional basis. Really, I am, I'm getting paid to tell you this *reads from script* "M$ brand Oh-Es" is the finest piece of ass on the block since Tom DeLay!"

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

paid by the post? Srsly; you're being entirely too erratic for me to risk my engine on.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Why do you think your sarcasm is in any way justified? You spray the insult blindly at anyone who's mensioned a supporting word for FOSS. If your intent was to insult Apotheon then fine, freedom of will and such.. but maybe try and tune the stream of vitriol at your target. In terms of the sarcastic comment itself; How is your example any worse than the Windows Cheerleader claiming calling other's "Freetards" and "Mactards"? This broad spray seems more effective as a self fulfilling prophecy than anything worth posting; "see, they are all mean to me just like I suggested they would be in my insulting thumbs comment!" If you must sink to this level, at least aim your yellow stream rather than spraying it at everyone in the room. (I won't dignify this thread branch further with more responses. It's beneath both you and Apatheon and adds nothing relevant to the discussion. Boooo!)

dcolbert
dcolbert

But a little careful analysis of the situation should give you the answer.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

gratification? Martyr syndrome? Flagellant belief system? I dunno, you tell me. Or don't, either way.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I suppose the motivation and reward for taking the abuse must be considered. Now what would those be in my case?!? ;)

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

is what you hoped to get all along? That's a kind of masochism, the desire to be put down by others.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I have no thumbs... just raw knuckles, bloody stumps dragged along the ground behind me... I mean, I'm not even a lower primate. To call me a chimp would be an insult to Bubbles and his kind. Why would evolution waste an opposable thumb on something like myself? I'm a M$ Windoze Luzer. I deserve nothing but utter contempt. Bill Gates is sitting in a 5000 square foot bedroom controlling me by a Voodoo totem, like a puppet or a marionette.

Slayer_
Slayer_

You should use that to your advantage :)

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