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Are places like r/Linux just detrimental to the open source and free software movement?

I saw this. And it made me wonder if some of these places of "discussion" are just more detrimental than beneficial?

With he exception of (thankfully) two comments at the top, the rest of the thread is just mostly negative people saying its not open source, its a pr move, whys he there, i bet he doesnt even use [insert fav open thing].

While the shit comments have in general been downvoted there's probably.. 2/3 of the comments are nothing but negative towards him and his thing. Attempting to ostracise him for not being the perfect symbol for their version of open.

It made me wonder if people come to open and free (libre) software and get this reception how do we expect anything to ever change in our favour?

Heck even RMS would at least tell you why you're not doing it right, most of these commends can be collectively summed up as "its not our perfect vision, fuck off"

I'm glad that for the most part we don't have that mentality here.


And then RMS would proceed to eat some of his toe jam.

If your not going to be constructive, just don't reply at all. Joke threads are in #community:off-topic

I honestly think Reddit and any other site that encourages an echo chamber is bad for the internet.

Any dissenting opinions get down voted and buried. Kills all debate.


In this case it seems like the completely detrimental replies are downvoted, but with very little rebuttal, very little debate.

I think its good hes there as are many that are on the list that aren't directly related to open code. If anything it just opens more opportunities to promote a more open society. That seems lost on people sometimes.


Removing the down voted button would solve some of the issues.

It is much easier to do a drive-by down vote than give real criticism.


it's Reddit. an old excuse, but it stands. it's never been more official than a Facebook group, it just feels that way because of the name. r/linux sounds official, whereas r/linuxmasterrace doesn't. you could argue the latter is a joke sub, but it's only the moderators that get to determine what the rules for posting are.

reading through the thread, i don't know. maybe i just have really really low expectations for social media, but as far as i can see, someone's just linked an article. i don't even think it's an official post or anything like you sometimes see a dev or whatnot posting their work. someone's literally just linked an article and people have, sure enough, gathered to argue over it. maybe i'm a bit cynical, but even here we have threads go to pot all the time, because we're not some kind of uber professional environment or anything, we're just a tech site around a Youtube channel. whatever the topic happens to be, people will inevitably pop in for a good troll and a shitpost, and we just have to focus on what the information actually is.

now if it's a place like 4chan that is known to be straight garbo, then you may have to decide do i need to get my news from here, or is there a cleaner option available. often there will be. i don't know, as i say, i hold reddit in about as much regard as i do other social media, and it's often just a dump site for a particular topic's information.


anything that starts with r/ is detrimental to intelligence to begin with. I don't understand why people still use that crap site.


I've noticed that here sometimes. People just post a link and .. nothing, they don't add any discussion so the thread is kind of pointless.

Its not the only places I've seen that kind of behaviour where there's just this negative environment. But maybe those areas should be avoided. Unfortunately there aren't many good places around either, and some that are are just so hidden no one ever sees them, and so only see the negative overall.

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Maybe some of those people lack the knowledge and patience on how to properly take and receive criticism? As someone who knows only the definition of open source and free software, wouldn't having a big tech player who may not have an open source background being interested in open source be a good thing? It is like freely exchanging ideas and isn't that what open source in some way about?

I've been using a Stylish script for reddit that essentially hides voting/karma so I could see a comment/post for what they are and not mentally be influenced by how big the number is. Links for anyone that want to try it out:

Hide all karma, upvote only, chrome extension


yeah, several people addressed that once, it wasn't received well.

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Detrimental not really. Open discussion brings the best and worst of people as always. Plus i do not think this is respective of the whole subreddit. It has not gotten that much attention.

That being said I do understand the criticisms. It is not clear why he is there. I am not sure what his ventures (even though they do sound impressive and very interesting) have to do with Open Source. Does he publish his work under public licenses? Does he use open source infrastructure to accomplish what he does. Will he talk about privacy and surveillance based on his experience and research for his role in Snowden? Will he present himself as an advocate of FLOSS around them world? What is he supposed to talk about?

Open collaboration says nothing really. Even Apple and MS have internal open collaboration systems in place for production. ¨Open¨ is a term very easily twisted to mean a number of things. Even UK prime ministers used the term to define state surveillance.

Adding this unfortunate description to the fact the the Linux Foundation and its summit seem to be more an entrepreneurship event that only talks business and nothing else i can understand why many people can be cynical about it.

It will be clear at the talk i suppose.


I've no idea, but regardless what it does do is open a door and that's what these conferences are for. Over half the speakers could be put under the bucket of what do they have to do with open source? but that can be short sighted I think.

There is a difference between keeping the door open and letting everyone in and their dog. How actually relevant it is will be clear at the actual talk.

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the issue with Open Source is that you technically can't block people from using it. an old example i give is Arch, and not to divert the thread into distro wars but the explanation is like this.

if i want to use Arch, the people who run the forums would have me install it one way. by hand. that is the only way that they advise. but if i CAN'T do it by hand, or WON'T do it by hand, there are other options in the form of installers like Arch Anywhere and so forth. that will still get me an Arch Linux install, and i can still use the repos, AUR, and the wiki. and i could even, up to a point, still use the forums for official support. there is no Arch repo key i have to sign up for to access it with, nor do i have to sync some sort of account to use the Wiki to make sure i installed """""the Arch Way""""". it's there. it's free. i can use the information for whatever system i install an Arch-based distro on, even on distros that have nothing to do with Arch, and nobody can tell me i can't, because no one person/company owns it.

what they CAN do, is not give me support because i used an installer. they can even ban me from the forums. but as long as i'm not trying to hack the repos or upload some worm or virus, i can keep on using Arch resources because it's not any one person's right to block my access based on how i installed.

and so if JGL wants to speak about Open Source in the aim of learning about it and getting involved, nobody really has the ethical right to stop him, because he's as entitled to use it as any one of us. whether he talks a load of bollocks to get nerd cred or some other such wankery is another issue, though.


Some observation I want to add here.

A lot of times I get the impression that due to linux being both "Free as in beer" referring to the cost (i.e. money) of the software and "free as in speech" referring to what you are allowed to do with the software, that there are a lot of the former kind. The pirates and freeloaders, those with a smash and grab software mentality that very easily negatively impact conversations on free software by their misguided (yet often noble) understandings of and intentions towards the matter at hand.

And then there are the young "Gamer" types, not the educated or adult, but the rabid and chaotic youths just smart enough to follow a assemble a PC to play games, who as yet are still in highschool (usually doing poorly) that as so far have made it through life on auto cruise, Similar types may throw near copy-pasta punchline statements into conversations, not to be constructive, but to pretend to understand the matter, merely to feel part of the crowd if you will.

Linux and free things also suffer the problem of attracting a large amount of extremely opinionated and 'choosy' folks, often those who held enough of an opinion on windows to leave it out of reasons of hate for microsoft alone. (Hating microsoft, often being an annoying game I come across in threads) Bigotry and elitism is rife in the free software/open source area, A group of free thinking radicals where all trains of thoughts are explored and voiced, bu few are tested against reality.

A testament to how picky and chaotically disorganised a large part of the open source/ free software movement is, is the sheer amount of different linux distro's available which effectively all do exactly the same thing in a slightly different manner, but seem to exist purely for the exercise itself. I'm not talking about the big main distro's.

If you will really, the problem the free software & open source community suffers most under is a problem of the human condition, that given complete freedom and lack of any constraints, many a situation may devolve into chaos with no-one assuming any responsibility towards anyone, where all trains of thought are explored and every user is left very much fending for themselves within their own community and largely only connected via the internet. Only a few form groups with common goals and constraints that act towards a common goal.

Outsiders new to the area (newbies as many Denigratingly self/-refer to such) and how those more experienced interact with them are the source of all that is wrong and has gone wrong in much of the software world (and elsewhere too) elements who have as yet not found their group, are often not welcomed or treated with respect, but downtrotten and left to themselves in order for the elite to maintain their status.

Instead of being coached in their ethic or guiding principles in the free software & open source community that they seek to learn and be a part of it, they are left outside to follow their own rules.

The classism of the software world if you will. There are very few wise masters and more quacks willing to accept and teach the inexperienced in their art and ethics.

This is often where new branches form as outside individuals who seek to be a part coalesce together on the doorsteps of the kings palace. Once there are enough people of similar opinion that have coalesced and aggregated behind an idea they will start to contribute to the chaos unchallenged on an online platform of choice, free of any constraints they would encounter in a face to face conversation, such as demonstrated on this reddit thread and very often here on this forum. It is always easier to run from criticism than face it and even embrace it in order to better oneself.

Online opinions and associated groups can manifest and spread without sound evidence and when questioned on the matter, perpetuators of falsehoods can hide safe in the knowledge that only those in agreement of their ideology need listen in order to obtain a following in a global internet of billions.

Is it populism manifest? The group think of a karma points reinforced hive mind where any opinions no matter how factually valid can take consensus in groups if enough are in agreement.

When the internet and worldwide web was created, it was done so by it's creators with the vision of a future of free exchange of new ideas and advancement beneficial to mankind.
What few noted though was the trade-off that, the internet as a medium of communication is wholly impartial in it's content, it is the ultimate expression of freedom where any idea no matter how terrifyingly flawed can reach consensus to take a following and propagate.

It is a test of us and science as our tool to interpret reality and differentiate from imagination.


I will just agree with your post by giving you a meaningless point and not question your logic. /s

On a serious note, I do have some questions and maybe some feedback to few of your points. I will be more thorough and reply more if I was on my computer and not my phone.

I definitely have experience this before. Some people feel like they do not want to miss out on something. I think the quote "a little knowledge can be dangerous" was meant to be taken literally. If someone was very knowledgeable, they would know what they do not know whereas someone does not know what they don't know, if that makes any sense to anyone.

Who were the people that noted the Internet's trade-off during its inception?

This is a hard one to answer off the top of my head, it's also rather challenging to research since little of statements were written down. They are also hard to search for with a search engine assuming they are indexed and online at all.

It is quite a more conceivable notion to assume that there was someone who recognized the potential problems, rather than to presume that there wasn't anyone. As with all things there must have been those naysayers who disliked the notion of a global internet and pointed out it's pitfalls as counter points to either it's architecture or it's very existence.

They may have been disregarded as too extreme in their views, and the overall benefits being for the greater good, but there can be truth in statements many would have disagreed with or seeen as too extreme.,

Security Agencies everywhere were likely the first to recognize it's potential for misuse and early on scrambed for access and control at the lowest layers.

So I leave you with this newsweek article from 1995

As a follow-up, I found this:

Criticism on the Internet: An analysis of participant reactions

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So i have read the newsweek article you linked anf found where I can download the study of the latter link. For the article, which was made in 1995, almost everything the author stated has been proven wrong since the Internet, technology, and society progressed over time. There is one tadbit that I find still germane to the subject and I quote:

Consider today's online world. The Usenet, a worldwide bulletin board, allows anyone to post messages across the nation. Your word gets out, leapfrogging editors and publishers. Every voice can be heard cheaply and instantly. The result? Every voice is heard. The cacophany more closely resembles citizens band radio, complete with handles, harrasment, and anonymous threats. When most everyone shouts, few listen.

This is the only part I can agree with.

I think a LOT of discussion that goes on Forums and on Reddit is detrimental. Its not like we're too far removed as a community either from the time in which there had to be a pinned message saying basically, "chill and be more civil with the Linux pushing." "Linux Fanboys" or "Linux Elitists" are just as detrimental and degrading to the Linux Community as any other group of over-the-top fanatics are to any other community. Its the minority of loud and obnoxious proponents that sometimes drown out the sensible, and thus become a prominent image within a movement.