Normally I don’t take the time to write about FUD, especially FUD regarding Linux v.s. Microsoft. Perhaps I’m starting to feel a twinge of responsibility as a writer and an educator. Or perhaps deep down it just bugs me that another female writer penned this article for a Canadian IT magazine to which I subscribe.
Regardless, I don’t want to just concentrate on picking apart the article in order to disprove its technical inaccuracies, of which there are many. Instead, I want to step back and try to take a wider view.
This is easier said then done for someone who has been viewing the world from a technical perspective for the past decade. Yup, I admit that as soon as I finished reading the article, I fired up google and went looking for that hosting provider’s site. And yes, I did receive some satisfaction when I read in said company’s FAQ that their support representatives are both Microsoft and Redhat certified and that clients are permitted full “root” access to their hosted systems. I even went so far as to read the HTTP headers to see what OS and web server was in use.
And that’s when I had to laugh at my knee-jerk reaction. Exactly what had I just “proved”? That I was more technically adept than the interviewer and the interviewee? While I’m at it, should I also stretch that proof into a tidy piece of logic that concludes open source is therefore better than Microsoft? Q.E.D.
This is where I’m left with more questions than answers. What can and should be done regarding the media’s perceptions and misperceptions of open source? Should this even be tackled from a technical perspective or has the last 20 years of IT history proven that technical superiority is no match for slick advertising campaigns and aggressive marketing budgets?
I know I certainly don’t have the answers to those questions. But I do know that these are some of the questions that open source users and advocates have to consider and address.