The Score So Far

For those keeping score, here is the responses so far:
Lighten up – 7 votes
You’re an asshat – 2 votes
You’re both an asshat AND you need to lighten up – 2 votes
You’ve got some points – 3 votes
Yeah. So clearly I didn’t make my point well at all. I’ve got an idea for something to do that will show how I think things should be rather than just tell people. Standing up on a soapbox and shouting just attracts people who want to know why you are shouting, what makes you worthy of shouting, etc. I need to do something which cannot be mistaken for self-aggrandizement nor for a personal attack on someone.

19 thoughts on “The Score So Far

  1. Sid Emory

    Thanks for being a part of the problem. Open source doesn’t need arguments and name calling. It needs brilliant minds taking their time to “hack over the weekend” to teach us all the value of open source or in trying to continue to make the open source idea work for business in such a way that there will be no question as to its relevance and its ability solve real business problems!
    I think the last few days of your blog has been a waste of your time and everyone who read it (me included). Teach, encourage, us your obvious intelligence to solve the problem and quit being a part of the problem.

  2. Hal Helms

    The problem isn’t that you didn’t get your point across well enough; it’s that your point was all too clear: you are an extremist who can tolerate no dissension with your ideas. Yeah, this is *just* what we need MORE of in the world.
    You can put all the flourishes you want on your argument, but it all comes down to this: “I am right. Anyone who opposes me is wrong.” Gee, where have we heard and seen this attitude? Is it any wonder open source advocates are viewed with some suspicion by others?

  3. damon

    Lighten Up
    Someone reinvented the rock to make a wheel
    Then Someone reinvented the wheel to make a gear
    Then Mr Munsch Reinvented the argument that serves as a merry-go-round.
    Spare time, especially of those who have the least, should never come under fire.
    Had man not re-discoverred the rock we woudn’t have the wheel

  4. Peter Berger

    You dismissed quite a lot of comments for being dismissive. Will you give my criticism more weight if I post my email address / URL, then?
    If so, then fine: you’ve acted like a complete dick.
    The issue of whether Sun open sources Java is completely orthogonal to the issue of whether Gosling happened to work on a program vaguely similar to some piece of software that you developed. Your attempts to conflate the two issues are disappointing and, frankly, silly. The day I have to submit a request to an open source politburo for approval for some hobby project I’m doing is the day I stop programming. (And citing ESR as a source is a dumb, frankly. He wrote a manual on dating, too. Frankly, if you take his advice on either dating OR programming, you’re learning music composition from someone who is tone-deaf.)
    I think the key here is your idea that what you wrote was somehow “mistaken” for self-aggrandizement or a personal attack. There is no mistake. You _were_ making a personal attack. You _were_ self-aggrandizing (“How dare you implement something that I have also implemented” is pretty much the essence of self-aggrandizement, and it’s especially ironic when addressed to Gosling).
    Perhaps instead of concentrating on ways you can communicate your poorly thought out positions more clearly you should regroup and try to figure out how you ended up with such dubious beliefs, and poor manners, in the first place.

  5. Andrew

    Well, if J.Gosling comments on your code, that’s pretty cool. I wonder why he didn’t use your code. Maybe I’ll take a look at this RSS stuff and see what you’ve got.

  6. Thomas

    “I need to do something which cannot be mistaken for self-aggrandizement nor for a personal attack on someone.”
    I found that the majority (about all of the commenters in this window) lack the understanding where good software comes from. They fail to understand that it takes millions of man-hours and that starting a project YOU like will not get you anywhere.
    Most people will probaby have tried and failed to get the attention from their peers, so they quit trying (I’m not good enough to do something like this!).
    Its funny how old school ideas still apply, like religion has supported for centuries, where hundreds working together is the only way to get things done.
    Since how many people help their neighbors to get that street decorated for your best national holiday?
    Being alone makes you a fanatic, doing it in a group makes you exceptional.
    Keep it up!

  7. Pete

    Actually, I can’t help being reminded of RMS. And I echo Linus’s famous comment when leaving in the middle of RMS’s presentation:
    “This is boring. Let’s go drink beer”

  8. Craig O'Shannessy

    This seems quite bizarre. You certainly need to chill out, and on top of that, from my few minutes of working with both RSS readers, I prefer James’s. Competition in free software is a good thing, so is co-operation.
    Also, his works out of the webstart box, double clicking on yours does nothing (linux/mozilla 1.5).
    Sourceforge is down (yet again), so I can’t post anything there.

  9. Steve Hartwell

    Like most of the people on my planet, I read blogs, etc, the same way I used to watch TV (I have no idea of how people currently watch TV), essentially skimming for anything interesting and failing that, just moving on.
    Notably I do *not* spend time wondering “Gee, I wonder if this is a comprehensive compilation based on similar works; if it isn’t, well I’m not interested.”
    If many of the other people on your planet think that I should, well, it looks like you’ve got a thriving asshat community there.
    It’s not that you “need to do something which cannot be mistaken for self-aggrandizement”; but rather you should just stop self-aggrandizing.
    Moving on..

  10. John Munsch

    It’s amazing the number of people who without knowing me (and from what I can tell reading more than a couple of entries from the hundreds published here) are able to divine both my motivations and thoughts.
    Oh how I wish I had such insight or at the very least deluded myself enough to believe I did 🙂

  11. Scott Ellsworth

    Count me in the “lighten up” camp.
    I write software for a living. Some of it is distributed under LGPL. More of it is proprietary. I have helped companies transition from proprietary Windows environments to Linux-based ones, and coded in VB (gack!) to get their proprietary systems working. At the end of the day, it is up to the client how far they want to go towards open or free software. I can encourage, but they have to make the call based on their own perceptions.
    One thing I have learned – zealotry is not becoming. Perhaps fun, but not really attractive.
    It thus seems rather counterproductive to jump from ‘Gosling should have done more searching and less coding’ to ‘Sun clearly does not understand open source.’ They are quite orthogonal. They may not _agree_ with you on what role it should play in their business model, but this jump is a non sequitur.
    Put another way – working through an idea in code is rarely a waste of time if you learned something from it.
    Take it for what you paid for it.

  12. John Markham

    I first read Gosling’s blog, then followed his link to your comments. I have to admit that you’re right about both Gosling and Sun — they just don’t get it. Your argument is completely correct — without a fundamental commitment to building on what’s been done, free software really is just free as in “free beer” or “free ride”.

  13. Adam Nyaga

    Reinvention is the key to innovation. I dont think it is right to try and force would be open source coders to stick to or work on pre-existing projects. From my experience, one of the best way of learning some things is to actually rebuild them from scratch, but when the focus is to build functional (as opposed to hobby or curiosity) software the model of reuse is much more beneficial. Lighten up, man.

  14. Jeremy Chatfield

    I think the diversity of approaches is a good thing. I used to think that what held open source software back was that it needed (a McNealy expression from the early 90’s) “All the wood behind one arrow”. I now think that entirely misses the point.
    For example, open source offers me a choice of web browsers. I can pick the one I like. Open source even offers me tools so that I can choose my default web browser and everything else gleefully uses it.
    It helps even down at the code level. If Gosling writes an RSS tool, then I want to look at his tool, to see how a java guru does it. Is there some technique that would improve one of my projects? I might not use his, if something else is more popular – because generally more popular equates to higher maintenance by other people and lower effort by me… but I do want to see how he tackles problems.
    So, yes… lighten up. Learn from what he did and improve your stuff if he has something better.
    If you want to get down and nasty, your “enemy” is Microsoft. Their nightmare would be a plethora of solutions, any one of which might better fit a particular customer than Microsoft’s generic solution – so long as the solutions provide compatible interfaces at some point, so that stuff can be moved to and fro. Microsoft is used to beating single company, single solution competitors. When they don’t know where the next competitor is coming from and what is driving that competitor (apart from money) they will be very confused.
    If Sun should have a strategy, that should be it – provide standards platforms (as they did with NFS) that anyone can play with. Let anyone and everyone have a go at using the standards. Maybe something better will evolve and we all benefit. It’s a fundamentally different approach from Microsoft (“we have all the bright people and you have to understand that when we do something, it’s the only way to do it, so give up now, consumers”).

  15. Sam

    Probably you are trying to get some cheap publicity over this issue by attacking some one as popular as Gosling.

  16. John Munsch

    And I would have gotten away with it too if not for Sam. But clearly my plan has already worked! I’ve managed to attract a loser who can’t give a full name or email address to come post a not particularly well reasoned attack on my website.

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