[nycbug-talk] "every bit as good as Linux"

Isaac Levy ike
Sun Sep 26 15:40:39 EDT 2004

Dru, I gotta give it to ya'- I'm really delighted that you took time 
out of your week (sounded hectic) to make sure you expressed the 
following thoughts,

On Sep 26, 2004, at 10:05 AM, Dru wrote:

> Okay, I finally have a few minutes to put in my 2 cents regarding this 
> article.
> We all know the premise of the article is ridiculous. Heck, I'm not 
> even a programmer yet I can recognize the argument is technically 
> flawed. However, the writer knows something which the BSD community 
> isn't capitalizing on: FUD works, readers aren't necessarily 
> technically minded or even interested in technical accuracy, and 
> people remember what they see and hear, even if it's incorrect.
> I'm not advocating the use of FUD. (frankly, BSD doesn't need to 
> resort to it). However, the BSD community is missing the boat on 
> exposure. This article, even though poorly written, is in a major 
> publication. It's been read and retained by 1000s of readers who don't 
> have the technical savvy to realize how poorly it is written.
> What can we do about it? I see 3 things, 2 of which aren't effective:
> 1. Talk about it amongst ourselves. While it feels good to vent, we're
>    preaching to the choir.
> 2. Put in a rebuttal. If you're lucky, you'll get a one-liner buried
>    somewhere in the publication. Newspapers have been using this 
> technique
>    forever: publish something excitingly inaccurate on the first half 
> of
>    the front page and disclaim it the next day in a close to the back 
> page
>    one-liner. Guess which one people remember? Worse, the 
> rebuttal/disclaimer
>    is a _negative_ which puts the person who wrote it on the defensive.

Yikes.  I got so frustrated, I did both of these things.

> 3. Take a more indirect, offensive approach. Rather than deal directly
>    with _this_ article, write an article that showcases what you want 
> and
>    get it published in a major magazine. Something like the Brett 
> Glass one
>    referred to by Ike. Great article, great venue, but how many of 
> these
>    have we had since 2002? We'd be lucky to count them on one hand! And
>    Daemonnews, while a great resource for us BSDers, doesn't count 
> here.

Agreed- this totally is where it's at.  It's just harder- :)  but in 
the end, I'd think much longer-lasting and positive impact comes of 
this kind of article.

> Do you guys see my point? We're outstanding when it comes to quality 
> software and quality technical documentation. We suck when it comes to 
> marketing. Where are the BSD case studies? How many major mags have at 
> least one BSD related article per month? And I'm not talking just 
> techno mags. What about mags read by CIOs, CSOs, accountants, bankers, 
> government, gamers, arts people, etc. We have a huge potential 
> audience who has never even _heard_ of BSD. Betcha they've heard of 
> Linux, though, even if they never have the intention of using it.

So how do we get hooked up with these publications?  To be honest, most 
of what I read either is in the BSD communities, or is in places where 
it's totally contextually inappropriate to talk tech.

I guess one place I personally could write would be somewhere in my 
Zope community, or perhaps around the Python world.  How-to's and 
tutorials on best practices using BSD's would be fun to write...

> As an example, Ike's email is an article begging to be published in 
> say, Sysadmin or Software Development magazine. Most of us have day to 
> day dealings with non-techies. What magazines do these people read? 
> Have you been banging your head against the wall convincing, say, an 
> accountant client to switch to BSD? What mags does your accountant 
> read? Have those mags _ever_ had a BSD related article in them? 
> Guaranteed those mags have nice glossy ads from major software vendors 
> and the occasional article on the advantages of using a particular 
> non-open source accounting application.
> Dru

Dru, thanks again for writing this- it's a clear and positive way to 
combat the FUD- now the hard part comes into going out and doing it...


P.S. My email address has changed with the incorporation of my 
business, though structuredsystems email will continue to reach me.  I 
can now be reached at:

isaac at diversaform.com

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