Are the “Open Source” advocates mentally healthy?
Some people have trouble distinguishing fantasy from realityI met a woman who was supposedly normal as a child. After she graduated from high school she got a job and moved out of the house. But during her twenties she became increasingly withdrawn into fantasies.
By the time I met her she was nearly 30 years old. She had quit her job and moved back to her parents' home. She spent most of the day crouched in a corner imagining whenever it is that she imagined. She rarely talked to anybody.
Most of her fantasies were unknown because she never discussed them.
But occasionally her family members got a glimpse of what she was thinking.
For example, sometimes she imagined that a cat that she had as a child
was in the house, and she went around the house looking for it and asking
if anybody had seen where it went. Sometimes she mentioned that the phone
was ringing when it wasn't.
How many people mix fantasy with reality?What is the point of bringing up this particular woman and her mental disorder? The point is that I doubt if she is the only human being on the planet to suffer from this problem in which a mind mixes up fantasy with reality. You can hear some of these people on the Art Bell radio show. You will hear them describe how they died and went to hell or heaven, and then came back to life to tell us about it; how they were picked up by Martians; how they saw a ghost; etc.
While some of these people are certainly fabricating these stories for amusement or profit, some of them believe what they say. (If you find it difficult to believe that people on the Art Bell show believe what they say, consider how many people have conversations with a god.) His web site is www.artbell.com (Update! His site is gone!).
If we could understand the human mind completely, I bet that we would find that some people almost never mix fantasy with reality, while at the other extreme are people who are so withdrawn into fantasy that they cannot hold a job or function in society. In between these two extremes are the majority of people who occasionally carry on a conversation with a god or who occasionally see a ghost.
If you have a mind that rarely mixes reality and fantasy, your opinions
will be based on events of the real world. However, if your mind frequently
mixes fantasy with reality, many of your opinions will be contaminated
with pieces of your daydreams and night dreams.
How many open source advocates mix fantasy with reality?The documents from the open source people create a beautiful world in which people love each other and share everything. They create a world in which there are no financial issues to deal with. In this “Open Source World” we do only the things we enjoy, such as creating new software and sharing and loving, with no concern for where food or homes will come from. Also, there is no leadership, no supervision, no rules. Everybody is free to do as they please.
The open source concept makes us feel good. It is similar to the concept of heaven, except that we don't have to die to get there.
When I look at the human race and its history, I see intelligent apes having trouble coping with life. I see uncontrolled reproduction, loneliness, and mental retardation. I see people whose best friends are TV sets, animals, or inanimate objects. I see people struggling to be happy; hoping that money or fame will improve their miserable life. When I go into town or to a shopping center, I see people with bad posture, people who are seriously overweight, people with deformities, and people who are angry. When I look at the behavior of my fellow Americans, I see lots of cheating, lots of people trying to avoid responsibility, lots of people with drug and alcohol problems, and lots of fighting. I also see disease, ticks, fleas, and car accidents. There are also lots of people who are so desperate for money that they sell themselves for unpleasant and sometimes dangerous “sex” acts.
The world I see is not the same world
that the open source advocates see. I think the open source advocates are
seeing their fantasies, not the real world.
Mental disorders can explain the lawsuitsClass action lawsuits have been filed against VA Linux, Red Hat, Caldera, and Transmeta for stock fraud. Some or all of these “frauds” may turn out to be honest mistakes, or they may involve only people outside of the open source community. However, these lawsuits may be a sign that:
Now consider the possibility that a Linux executive is suffering from a mild form of that same mental disorder. He may fantasize about acquiring investment money and creating a Linux business. He may fantasize all sorts of facts and figures for this business. He may tell investors that Linux is superior to Windows, and that millions of people are ready to switch to Linux. He may tell the investors that Linux and open source will dominate the world within a few years.
His proposal to investors will sound convincing, but those type of claims are based on fantasies. Years later, when the business fails to become what the investors were expecting, the investors may come to the false conclusion that the company deliberately cheated them.
The open source fanatics have been exaggerating the qualities of open source software for many years. They deceived a lot of people into installing Linux and investing in open source. They even deceived Corel into producing their own version of Linux, which wasted a lot of money that Corel could have spent on useful tasks. IBM is still pouring money into Linux. But the open source people refuse to take responsibility for any of this.
Many people beside me are disgusted by the open source people. They have wasted a lot of our time and money. But are the open source people cheating us? I doubt it. They seem to believe their hype. I think they are mentally ill, not dishonest.
Signs that Linux fanatics have mental disorders
Linux people have trouble with criticismThe Linux fanatics seem to have more trouble with criticism than “normal people”. I will give just one example. On 29 March 2001 Bill Machrone of ZDnet posted an article (New Linux Kernel Boosts Server Power, Desktop Compatibility). I posted a comment to it that criticized Linux. One of the readers reacted to my criticism with a comment that started with:
“to anyone who's reading this: DON'T BELIEVE ERIC!!!”
This woman deliberately ignored the odds on the back of the sweepstakes ticket because she was trying to live in a fantasy world in which she wins the grand prize. When I started reading the odds to her, I was attacking her fantasy world and pulling her back into reality. Her reaction was panic and fear. She did not want to be part of the real world.
The reaction to criticism by some Linux people reminds me of that behavior.
Many Linux people do not respond to criticism with intelligent arguments.
Rather, they react with panic. Some react by running away and hiding. Initially
I assumed it was because some many Linux fanatics are children, who tend
to hide behind mommy or daddy when something frightens them. But I have
since noticed that many of these frightened Linux fanatics are adults!
Offer raw meat to Linux fanatics to avoid a fightNotice how many articles that are critical about Linux begin with attempts to pacify the Linux fanatics. For two actual examples:
“Before all you Linux fans who don't know me get into a lather, you should know that I've been using Unix as a desktop operating system ...”
What are “FUD” and “trolls”?Until I looked at Linux sites that offer "talk back" features in which readers can post comments, I was unaware of the expressions “FUD” and “troll”. But Linux sites are full of these expressions. The slashdot.org site is an excellent source of these expressions.
Slashdot members label remarks that criticize Linux as “FUD”, and they describe the people who made the remarks as “trolls”. FUD stands for "Fear, Uncertainly, and Doubt", and I suppose a troll is subhuman creature who wants to hurt people for no reason.
At slashdot.org are some Linux fanatics who have been labeled as trolls simply for making critical remarks about Linux. Imagine this happening with other fields. Imagine an engineer at General Motors makes a critical remark about one of their cars, and the other engineers call him a troll and describe his remark as FUD.
Linux people do not tolerate criticism very well, but how can you improve
a product if you refuse to look at its lousy qualities?
“Detecting and Dealing With Trolls on K5”The issue of trolls and FUD are taken so seriously by some open source people that the www.kuro5hin.org site posted an article on how to identify and deal with trolls and FUD. The title is “Detecting and Dealing With Trolls on K5”
I was surprised to find the article describe many of the trolls as being “slashdot trolls” because I assumed slashdot and K5 were similar groups of people that got along with each other. This is yet another case of open source groups fighting with each other for reasons that I cannot make sense of.
Both slashdot and kuro5hin sites are full of angry articles and comments
that promote open source. Both groups seem to be suffering from low self-esteem,
and both are like children who are paranoid of trolls. I would describe
the kuro5hin site as being a site for pompous geeks, while slashdot attracts
the angry geeks.
Will they start an "Anti-Troll" initiative next?A news article at linuxdevices.com discusses what they refer to as an “anti-FUD” initiative. Tim Bird of Lineo, Inc. wrote the initiative. One of Tim's remarks start with:
“As a first step toward resolving FUD,...”
Do Linux fanatics believe in a Free Press?The attitude towards FUD and trolls is similar to the Communists who also assumed that communism was suffering due to the propaganda of the non-communists. The Communists wanted control of the media so that they could eliminate the anti-communist lies, thereby freeing the people from the horrors of propaganda. The communist media only published the truth.
If the Linux people had control of the media, would anybody be allowed to publish anything critical of Linux? I doubt it. Look at Linux sites right now. Actually, try to find an intelligent conversation at their sites! Their articles are like church sermons; ie, they promote Linux, ignore its problems, and resist admitting there are good qualities in Microsoft or Windows.
Linux fanatics claim to be fighting for freedom, but they do not want
to provide us with the freedom to criticize Linux. The Communists also
fought for freedom, but not for the freedom to criticize communism.
Don't kill me; help me!The Communists believed so strongly in providing freedom that they killed and jailed millions of people who opposed communism.
What would happen if Linux fanatics had control of a nation? Would I be arrested for spreading FUD? Would millions of us trolls be taken to rehabilitation camps where we would be taught the truth?
If you think I am kidding about their inability to handle criticism, just post a link to one of my documents at a Linux site or Linux Users Group and watch the reaction!
However, you will find that many sites will not
accept a link to my document because my document is FUD and
I am a troll, and you are troll for wanting to post it! You may have to
find a sneaky way to slip a link in.
The incessant boasting by Linux peopleAs I complained in my main document, the Linux people boast incessantly that Linux is superior to Windows. Initially I considered this to be a sign that Linux fanatics are primarily naive kids. However, I now wonder if Linux fanatics are withdrawn in a fantasy in which they imagine themselves as heroes who have developed a superior operating system that has defeated the evil empire of Microsoft. They treat Bill Gates as if he were Darth Vader. Their attitude belongs in a “Star Wars” movie or a “role playing game” rather than the real world.
Not much in life is free; why can't Linux people understand this?The only truly free software is software that is developed by a person in his spare time at his own expense when he could be doing something else, such as socializing or gardening. So why do so many Linux fanatics promote this concept that software can be free?
I am not impressed by the promises of free software by the Linux people. Rather, it makes the wonder if the Linux people are stupid, or if they have withdrawn into a fantasy that does not have an economic system. Perhaps, in their fantasy, food and homes just appear magically when they want them.
We should stop promoting this absurd concept that we will get quality software for free. The only truly free software will be lousy because the people developing it will not have much time to work on it.
Let's now look at a few of the more famous open source advocates.
I never met Richard Stallman, but I have read more than one article
in which he was described as “different” from other people. For example,
here is a quote from an article
from The Register on 6 April 2001 which the author discusses Stallman's
lecture at a conference at Queens' College, Cambridge:
“Wearing socks but no shoes, brown canvas trousers and a red polo shirt, Stallman is not as other people.”
However, it could be a symptom of a defective mind. Most of us realize that society has certain behavioral standards, such as wearing shoes to conferences, especially if we are one of the speakers. But a person who is withdrawn in a fantasy may not be aware of what other people are thinking or doing. I suggest you consider the possibility that Richard was imagining himself at home in his living room; that Richard was not completely aware of where he was or what was going on around him.
I also suspect the description of Richard as “not like other people” is merely a nice way of saying there is something wrong with him.
When somebody at the conference spoke about patent protection for software:
“This provoked Stallman into an extended rant against the whole idea of patenting software, and ended in him leaving the room to shout in the corridor...”
If this was the only article that
described Richard as being “different”, then we could say that this particular
reporter is incorrect, or that this reporter just happened to see Richard
during a bad moment. But other articles about Richard also make subtle
remarks about his “different” personality.
I lost my interest in playing games when I was in junior high school. Do the adults who enjoy these role-playing games simply have different personalities than me? Or are they suffering from a mental disorder which causes them to withdraw from reality?
This issue also applies to sports, gambling, and beer. For example, some of the people who drink beer seem to be healthy people; others are merely using the beer to withdraw from reality into a state of intoxication.
In regards to adults who play games, especially role playing games,
how can we figure out if they are merely playing
a game or if they are suffering from a mental
What do we learn from guns?Eric Raymond also loves guns. You should read his following documents for details. (The ipscc1.htm document is also interesting because it describes “tactical pistol shooting”, which many of us don't know about.)
I found a few of Eric's remarks about guns to be particularly interesting. In his discussion of ethics he has a section titled:
“What Bearing Weapons Teaches About the Good Life”
There is nothing like having your finger on the trigger of a gun to reveal who you really are. Life or death in one twitch ...
This made me think of my automobile. My automobile allows me to kill more people than I could kill with a gun. For example, I could crash my car through the fence of a school playground, running over dozens of children. As Eric might say:
There is nothing like having your hands on the steering wheel of a car to reveal you really are. Life or death in one twitch...
There is nothing like having your hands on a jar of honey to reveal who you really are. Life or death in one twitch...
Eric Raymond is only one of millions of people who are fascinated by a gun's ability to kill. Not many of these people are fascinated by the ability of an automobile to kill, or the ability of toxic chemicals to create birth defects, or our ability to kill with our bare hands. Is this fascination of guns a sign of good mental health? If so, what about a person who is fascinated by the ability of honey to kill? What would you think of a person who was fascinated that a plastic bag could be used to suffocate people? At what point would you say there is something wrong with these people?
Look around the room you are in and try to find an object that you could
kill somebody with. Almost everything can be used to kill. What makes a
gun so special? Why does a gun reveal who we really are, but none of these
other objects reveal who we are? What about the people who control missiles,
nuclear submarines, and bombs? They have more control over people's lives
than a person with a gun. If a gun reveals who we really are, what does
having a nuclear bomb reveal? What would having a container of tuberculosis
I pity the oppressed EuropeansWhile at the tactical pistol shooting range, Eric Raymond had the following revelation:
I thought then of the historian J. A. Pocock's description of the beliefs of the Founding Fathers of the U.S:As I read those remarks, I felt the flash of pity for all Europeans who are suffering under oppressive governments that prevent them from purchasing guns. As Robert Heinlein would have observed, the unarmed European societies are not polite societies. Rather, European nations are crude, rude, and unattractive. The Europeans are not a free people who enjoy life; rather, they are denied basic freedoms, such as owning guns.
Since I am American, I get to enjoy all the wonderful things of life.
I have freedom, for example, whereas the people in other nations are oppressed.
I have wealth, while other nations have poverty. I have a free press, while
other nations have biased news and distorted history books. I certainly
am glad that I am an American!
Let's reduce crime around the worldThe crime rates in Europe, Singapore, Japan, and other nations is appalling. As Eric Raymond and many gun enthusiasts proudly boast, guns lower crime. As Eric describes it:
It is time for us to embrace bearing arms again — not merely as a deterrent against criminals and tyrants, but as a gift and sacrament and affirmation to ourselves.
Open Source Guns, and the Free Gun FoundationEric Raymond has purchased and used many guns, but all of them have been closed source guns from corporations. I am certain that Eric will support me in my request for Open Source Guns.
The Linux fanatics complain about the price of Microsoft software, but guns are expensive, and bullets are also. Why not describe the gun corporations as evil empires? Why not complain about the money that we must spend on guns?
Richard Stallman started the Free Software Foundation; I am certain that he would agree with me that it is more important that we start a Free Gun Foundation. What good is free software when people are oppressed? It is more important that we provide the world with free guns so that all nations can become polite societies and experience the freedom that we Americans experience.
We should start an open source/free gun movement in which the blueprints for guns are distributed freely on the Internet. Why should corporations have control over guns? Why should they keep this valuable technology a secret? As Eric Raymond would explain:
“The basic idea behind open source is very simple. When gun engineers on the Internet can read, redistribute, and modify the source for a gun, it evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix problems. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional gun development, seems astonishing.”
Actually, we should have open source nuclear weapons, also. Why should
a few nations or corporations have control over nuclear weapons? As Eric
Raymond would explain:
“The basic idea behind open source is very simple. When nuclear bomb engineers on the Internet can read, redistribute, and modify the source for a nuclear bomb, it evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix problems. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional nuclear bomb development, seems astonishing.”
I want to help my relatives in EuropeSeveral generations ago my ancestors left Europe for America. Someone from this Scala family left Italy, someone from the Hufschmid family left Switzerland, someone from the Hendrickson family left Denmark, and there was one relative who was a mixture of Dutch and who knows what else. Those immigrants then found freedom, wealth, a free press, and liberty.
I feel sorry for my European relatives who remained in that oppressive,
gun-free part of the world. So I will offer to help my relatives. If any
of you reading this are related to me, send me your name and address and
I will send you a free gun. This offer
is limited to one gun per family, and supplies are limited, so hurry!
I want to help the people of Finland, alsoFinland lost one of its greatest citizens to America (ie, Linus Torvalds). No doubt Linus left Finland because he could no longer tolerate the oppressive, gun-free nation. He certainly craved the freedom that we Americans have to purchase guns, and I am certain that he wanted to be able to read the truth in newspapers, and to be wealthy.
As is typical of the immigrants from Europe, we get Europe's finest
people. All that remains in Europe are the losers who do not care about
freedom or enjoying life. So to thank the losers of Finland for giving
us their best people, I will offer free guns to the first 100 Finnish people
who contact me.
In an interview
“I was a phone hacker back when phone hacking was what people did. I used to be able to whistle 2600 Hz and could, for a time, nullify the long distance charges.”
I suggest that you consider the possibility that Bruce promotes free
software simply because wants everybody to provide things to him for free,
and if we do not provide things for free, he will find a way to steal them.
Perhaps Bruce has stopped all illegal activities, but I would still suggest
you consider that he is not the sort of person we should look to for guidance.
Jon "maddog" Hall
I am called "maddog" .... because I used to have much less control over my temper than I do now.
Looking over the past few years shows that there is little except fighting among Linux fanatics. If you want a sample, this link shows a “discussion” at slashdot.org. This discussion is from Feb 1999. It started when Bruce Perens announced his resignation from the Open Source Initiative, which is some type of organization that promotes open source.
Bruce complained that Eric Raymond “seems to be losing his free software focus.” He also calls Tim O'Reilly a parasite, for the same sort of reasons that I complained about Tim in my main document. Take a look at the remarks the slashdot people posted, and then ask yourself:
Other, not-so-famous, open source supporters
All of the articles by open source advocates that I looked at suggest to me that the author is suffering from inability to think properly. For example, I found an article at the IBM Linux site called: Opening up academia; Rebuilding the old alliance between schools and open source, by Maya Stodte, June 2000.
In this article she quotes Brian Pfaffenberger of the University of
Virginia as he gives an example of the value of open source software:
“Suppose a scientist creates a program for analyzing environmental data concerning the effects of a certain pollutant on wetlands. The scientist wishes to profit from this software, so she refuses to release the source code and offers the software for sale. She then publishes a series of articles claiming that the pollutant does not pose a threat to wetland environments. Because peer reviewers cannot obtain the source code of her program, they are unable to determine whether her software contains the correct assumptions and performs the computations correctly. It could be that the scientist's program is excellent, and the results are correct. But it could also be that the program contains flaws, whether intentionally introduced or not, that will make her consulting and testimony very valuable to firms battling pollution lawsuits. From this example it seems quite clear that scientists' use of open source software is needed to safeguard the objectivity of the scientific enterprise.”
If you have trouble understanding my reasoning, consider how it applies
to hardware. If a scientist develops special hardware to prove his theory,
such as some equipment to measure the speed of light, he must show other
scientists what that hardware is. However, the need for a scientist to
disclose his hardware does not prove that “open source hardware” makes
sense to businesses or the rest of us. Rather, it merely shows that scientists
must explain their theories.
Is IBM promoting the selling of T-Shirts?Another document I found at the IBM Linux site is:
How to make money with open-source software by Donald K. Rosenberg of Stromian Technologies, August 1999.
In this article Donald explains how people can make money when software
is provided for free. His first example is probably for amusement only:
“One possibility would be to sell Penguin mugs, t-shirts, and such to the open-source community and to anyone else who wants them, but this business would make minimal use of your developer skills.”
“OpenBSD is developed by volunteers. The project funds development and releases by selling CDs and T-shirts, as well as receiving donations.”
If the world followed the advice of open source fanatics, there would be no full-time computer programmers. Software would be free, but progress would be slow because programmers would have to spend time begging for donations and selling T-shirts. The “BSD” operating system has already been in development for 20 years, and Linux has been in development for about 10 years. How does this sluggish progress improve the world? More importantly, what kind of people would make such suggestions?
It is amusing to read the interview with Shawn Gordon who is president of TheKompany. First of all, TheKompany sells its Linux software (or tries to sell it) because they refuse to follow the open source philosophy, even they they promote open source. TheKompany is similar to O'Reilly and Associates (as I mentioned in another document) in that they promote open source for everybody except themselves. However, TheKompany at least has the decency to offer very low prices, unlike O'Reilly. (Or course, not many Linux fanatics will purchase software, so TheKompany must offer it for a low price.)
Read the interview with Shawn Gordon and see if you can figure out if he is kidding when he mentions how he makes a living:
“Oh, and I also have a job as an international male super-model that pays the bills.”Or how about his remark about Ximian's source of income:
Ximian currently sells nothing other than trinkets like t-shirts and stuffed monkeys
Can GPL help produce niche software?One of the more intelligent GPL supporters that I am aware of is Barry Scott Will. In a article at ZDNet on June 4, 2001, Barry explains how the GPL can be used to produce niche software that nobody wants to bother making. To summarize his theory, the companies that want the niche software would contribute to the development of the application, and the GPL would prevent any of them from owning or controlling the software. The end result is that each of the companies would have access to software that would otherwise not exist, and each of them would be free to use and modify the software.
This is analogous to a group of farmers working together to develop of a piece of farming equipment that has such a small market that no company wants to develop it for them. And it is analogous to the farmers using the GPL to ensure that everybody has free access to the blueprints so that nobody has control over the machine.
However, before you come to the conclusion that the Barry has just discovered a valid use for the GPL, or that Linux is now justified, consider that in Barry's scenario neither the computer programmers nor the companies are taking a financial risk. Rather, the companies are investing in software that they need, and the computer programmers are being paid a salary by the companies they work for. Everybody gains, nobody loses.
Compare that situation to the Linux/open source/free software fanatics who have taken on the monumental task of developing an alternative to Windows, but at their own expense, and without any supervision. Barry explained how a group of companies can use the GPL to produce software for themselves. By comparison, most open source fanatics are promoting the nonsensical concepts that software can be created by volunteers and distributed for free, and that the programmers can make a living by selling services, CDs, and T-shirts.
Furthermore, Barry's scenario is unrealistic. As with Marxism, Barry's theory requires companies work together and share with each other. In the real world some companies will contribute much more to the software than others, and some will not contribute anything. This will eventually lead to resentment and fights, especially during difficult economic times.
While it certainly possible for Barry's scenario to come true every once in a while, those rare exceptions do not prove that the GPL is practical. Rather, those exceptions merely show that some humans are occasionally capable of cooperating and sharing. However, we cannot use rare exceptions to justify the GPL. Rather, we must create a world based on the typical behavior of typical people, not on the rare behavior of a few people who show spontaneous love for each other during a few brief moments when they are in a good mood.
Barry's arguments for the GPL are the most intelligent that I have read so far, but even he seems to be somewhat involved in a Marxist fantasy.
Furthermore, consider that even if the GPL was a practical solution to the problem of niche software, it is not the ideal solution. The reason is that GPL does not solve the underlying reasons that nobody wants to make the niche software in the first place. Rather, GPL is merely a desperate attempt to work around the problems.
Two of the underlying problems are:
1) Today's applications are very expensive to produce.During their early 1980's software was so primitive that a person in his spare time could easily produce an application. He could offer it as shareware, and if he received $5,000 in return, he would be making a lot of profit. Many software developers were willing to take on projects that had a potential profit of only a few thousand dollars.
Is mental illness more common among computer programmers?
1) Computer programmers do not have to work with other people.
Most computer programmers spend most of their time working alone with their computer. Their ability to function in society is irrelevant. People with personality disorders, violent behavior, or other mental problems can easily function as computer programmers.
2) Computer programmers do not have to learn much.
Hardware engineers must learn a lot of information before they can function as an engineer, and they must also learn how to use a lot of equipment. Many years of training are required. If a person does not have the ability to sit in a classroom and learn the information, he will never become an engineer.
Mentally defective people collect in the government and in softwareDefective people often end up in jobs in the government, where standards for behavior are lower than they are for businesses, and some of them end up as computer programmers (and network managers), where mental disorders are tolerated.
Our school system is part of our government. Once a person gets a job in our school system, it is nearly impossible to get rid of them, regardless of their mental disorders. The end result is that many of our school teachers and administrators are people who would have been fired if they were working for a business.
Other odd characteristics of the Open Source people
Why such a lack of cooperation and leadership with Linux?In my main document I complained about the lack of leadership and cooperation among Linux fanatics. It appears as if most of the Linux developers have no regard to what other Linux developers are doing. They are creating hundreds of different variations of Linux and Unix rather than working together to create one good version.
Some of the Linux websites carry articles in which the author suggests the Linux community follow standards so that all the Linux versions are compatible with each other, or that Linux add certain features or become easier to use in certain ways. However, these articles appear to be ignored by the Linux community rather than discussed by them. These articles are written year after year with little or no effect. Take a look at the articles by Dennis Powell, for example. I think I pay more attention to what Dennis says than the Linux fanatics!
My initial reaction to the lack of leadership and cooperation was that
Linux was dominated by teenage boys and college students who were simply
too naive to understand that this was not the proper method to develop
an operating system. I now suspect that many of the Linux fanatics are
withdrawn into a fantasy and are not paying attention to other Linux fanatics,
nor to the rest of us.
Hypocrisy in the open source movement.An article appeared 9 April 2001 on slashdot.org that was written by “Roblimo”, the Managing Editor of the web site. The slashdot people are supporters of Linux. Consider the following section from his article:
“What I -- and most people in business I know -- really want from our computers is to have them do their jobs without any fuss. I have more personal commitment to Open Source and Free Software than most small business owners, and I'm more than typically willing to experiment with hardware and software, but in the end my main desire, most of the time, for my business computers, is to not think about them at all!
“What I -- and most people in business I know -- really want from our automobiles is to have them do their jobs without any fuss. I have more personal commitment to Open Source Automobiles and Free Automobiles than most small business owners, and I'm more than typically willing to experiment with automobiles, but in the end my main desire, most of the time, for my business automobiles, is to not think about them at all!
Roblimo shows two hypocritical attitudes I see in many open source advocates:
1) Many open source people criticize the users of Microsoft Windows as being idiots who do not want to learn anything about their computer. However, many of the open source people dream of being able to turn on their computer and have it operate without their involvement.
What sort of community is Linux?Another odd characteristic of the Linux movement is that many of the Linux users refer to themselves as a “community”. But what sort of a community is it when there is no cooperation, no leadership, and no coordination?
Linux is not a community at all. The Linux community is actually just a bunch of independent people scattered around the world. Each of them is doing and saying whatever they please with no regard to what other people are doing or saying.
I think the reason they refer to themselves as a community is because
they are lonely and want to imagine that they are part of a social group.
I suppose most Linux fanatics are social misfits. They want to imagine
that they are part of a community and that they have friends. So they fabricated
this fantasy of a Linux community.
Is “Open Source” different from “Free Software”?Just as there is amazing disagreement on whether Linux is suppose to be a replacement to Windows, so is there amazing disagreement on what “Open Source” is and how it differs from “Free Software”. Richard Stallman was quoted in an interview at slashdot.org as saying:
“Although I will not join the Open Source Movement,..”Stallman considers himself to be an advocate of “free software”, and he says there is a significant difference between free software and open source software. But everybody you ask will give you a slightly different answer on this issue. As with Linux, there is no leader to make decisions. The chaos of the Linux movement is so extreme that I suspect it is a sign that the Linux and open source fanatics are suffering from mental problems.
Linux is similar to a religionConsider the similarity between Linux and religion:
Some Macintosh users are described as having an extreme attraction to
the Macintosh, but even they do not seem to have the same level of attraction
to the Apple logo or to Steve Jobs as the Linux people do to the Linux
penguin and Torvalds. Steve Jobs was even tossed out of the Apple for a
while; ie, he was treated as just another human being. Would Linux people
consider dumping Torvalds and getting a different leader? I say Torvalds
is performing worse as a leader than
Steve Jobs ever did, but I have yet to hear a Linux fanatic say something
critical of him.
void HelloMouse (void)When software designed for MS Windows needs access to the computer's clock, it has to ask Windows to set up a timer. Microsoft programmers decided to call the request for a timer “SetTimer”, and when finished with the timer, the request is “KillTimer”. Windows also has several “Destroy” functions, such as “DestroyMenu” and “DestroyIcon”.
Microsoft programmers could have selected any name for these functions. For example, instead of “KillTimer” they could have called the function “FinishedWithTimer” or “CloseTimer”. The function that removes a menu could have been referred to as “FinishedWithMenu” or “ClearMenu” rather than “DestroyMenu”.
If computer programmers were happy, healthy people, their happy attitudes would certainly be reflected in the way they develop software. For example, a function that initializes a modem might be referred to as “HelloModem”. A function that terminates what is referred to as a “child process” might be called “GoodByeChild” or, if you want to be cute rather than informative, “LoveYou.”
I can only barely remember COBOL, but if I remember it correctly, a frequent statement in a COBOL program is something such as “GO TO END”. The programmer would use this statement mainly for documentation purposes to identify the end of a block in the program. The person writing the COBOL program could decide what to label these sections in order to be more descriptive. For example, he could write “GO TO CLOSE FILES” if a particular routine was finished processing files.
One of the teachers who taught me the basics about computer programming mentioned to us that in a previous group of students was a guy who was not very happy or cheerful. This guy would swear a lot in his normal conversations, and his COBOL programs reflected his unpleasant attitude. Specifically, he decided to always label his ending statement “HELL”, which meant that his COBOL programs were full of statements that stated “GO TO HELL”. He used a few other unpleasant phrases in his programs, but the teacher did not want to mention them.
The hints of violence, death, and destruction that we find in computer software could simply be a reflection of the violent nature of human beings rather than a sign that many computer programmers are defective. After all, most movies, TV shows, games, and other activities that we refer to as “entertainment” are destructive. The soap operas on television do not have much violence but they are full of emotional torture and suffering. Human beings are violent creatures, and it shows in our expressions, our daydreams, and our software.
If Linux programmers were happier than Microsoft programmers, we should
find evidence of this in their software, in addition to finding evidence
of this in their behavior. While I have not performed a serious analysis
of either Microsoft or Linux programmers, what little I've seen suggests
that neither group seems better than the other. My own software has more
pleasant function names than both Windows and Linux.
Eazel has given up
|On 19 April 2001 an article
was posted about the financial troubles of Andy Hertzfeld's company (Eazel).
Dell Computer and other companies invested and/or donated millions of dollars
in his company, but by April Eazel needed more money. In May of 2001 they
Should you invest in former Apple employees?Andy worked at Apple for a while. But before considering the significance of that, consider that occasionally a natural disaster will create a temporary shortage of fresh water. Each of us reacts slightly differently to these disasters. Some people whine about how cruel life is, while other people find ways to deal with the situation, and still other people look for ways to profit from the misery of others.
For example, several years ago a hurricane in Florida created a temporary shortage of clean water in a small area. Some people cried; others worked to fix the problem; and some people decided to sell fresh water for $20 per gallon. There was no reason to sell water for $20 per gallon; rather, these people were simply looking for ways to exploit the situation.
Now consider how this applies to computers.
During the 1980's consumers had two primary choices: Apple computers or Windows-based computers. There was an enormous demand for Apple computers. At least some Apple executives decided to exploit the situation by setting prices to very high levels so that they could become extremely wealthy. They hurt the Apple company in the process, and they helped Microsoft grow. But very few, if any, Apple employees complained that prices should be lowered and that salaries should be reduced.
Did the Apple executives or employees show the sort of qualities the world needs? I say no. They were not people who were trying to make a better world. Rather, they look for ways to exploit situations and take advantage of people.
Today a few former Apple employees are involved in the Linux movement. Some of them are extremely wealthy, but they are proposing that the rest of us work for free. It is acceptable that they be wealthy, but it is unacceptable for the rest of us to even make a normal living. Are these the sort of people we should be investing money in?
When former Apple executives start a new company and look for investors, I suggest you wonder if they will behave in the same manner that they behaved when they were working at Apple. Specifically, I would be worried that they would take enormous amounts of money for themselves while setting prices to such high levels that they drive their business into bankruptcy.
Consider Andy's company. According to Dennis Powell's article, Eazel spent at least $13 million, but never completed their project. Many conventional software projects got more accomplished with less money. What did Eazel spend the $13 million on? Executive bonuses? Prostitutes? Drugs?
Andy's dream was to make one small software program, and then collect a monthly fee from every user. Was his goal to make a better world for us all? Or was he simply looking for a way to become even wealthier than he already is? If Eazel could get a monthly fee for their software, how much of it would go to Andy's personal bank account?
Ideally, investors would analyze the personalities of the people they are investing in. They should not invest in people who show signs of exploiting situations or taking advantage of other people's misery. They should not invest in people who want to be kings or queens and who want the rest of us to become their servants.
I do not know Andy, and I never did an analysis of him, so I cannot
say whether he is somebody we should invest in, but I suggest that investors
analyze people better before they give money to them.
Should you invest in Linux companies?Some of the people who manage Linux companies do not show signs of greed. Actually, they often show a complete lack of concern for money. While this may seem to be a good quality, there is a point at which it becomes absurd. A company must make enough money to pay their bills and provide their employees with food.
The Apple executives are at one extreme in which greed is uncontrolled and people are exploited. Some of the Linux people are at the other extreme in which they collect so little money that they can barely feed themselves and end up begging for donations and pity. I would say the both of these groups of people have undesirable mental qualities. Ideally the world would invest in people who are between these extremes.
War of the Computer Retards
The Linux community tells us that Microsoft is an evil empire and that the Linux people are the good people who fight for freedom and poor people. But now I see the situation as a fight between two different types of mental disorders. Microsoft seems to be dominated by people who have a type of disorder that creates intense and endless cravings for money and happiness, while the open source people seem to be suffering from a type of disorder that causes people to withdraw into a fantasy.
Rather than being a fight between good and evil, I see a fight between
two different groups of retards. No matter which of these two groups wins,
the normal people in the world will lose. Neither of these two groups is
offering the world a practical solution to our software problems.
Microsoft is merely trying to dominate the software business, and the Linux
people are trying to bring back some form of Marxism.
We need healthy, happy people in control of the worldThe only way the world will become a better place is if the people who dominate it are happy and healthy rather than insane, angry, or struggling for happiness. This requires voters select better government leaders, consumers make better decisions on which companies to support, and stockholders make better decisions on which executives need to be removed from their position.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that the voters, consumers,
or stockholders will improve their behavior. Therefore, I do not expect
any improvements in the foreseeable future.