Linux: Cuba and the Communist Connection - Promoting "Fear"

Rob Enderle

For some time now Linux supporters have been trying to distance themselves from the concept that it is Communistic by nature and anti-capitalistic by design. These efforts took a rather large step back last week when Richard Stallman, president and founder of the Free Software Foundation, played the nationalist card and convinced Cuba to go with Linux.


Now it isn't the move that is the concern; Linux is clearly used by U.S. companies and U.S. government entities, including the NSA.


However, in this instance, the software is being used as part of political rhetoric and as an apparent weapon against the U.S. by the Cuba Communications Minister. Stallman, in his own talk, actually quoted Bill Gates as comparing Linux to Communism, apparently agreeing with the statement which likely played very well with the Cuban audience but probably not so well with the NSA.


Saying that copyrights violate basic morality is certainly consistent, but probably doesn't play that well for much of the professional market for Linux, which probably lives under copyright protection for verticals like pharmaceuticals, publishing, manufacturing and technology.


Now, Cuba isn't in the news much and really isn't considered a huge problem for the U.S. -- we have a few other countries that we are clearly more concerned about -- but positioning brand as anti-capitalism and pro-communism is troubling.




Whenever you bring up a concern surrounding Linux, the common reaction is FUD. I'm not saying the product is any less secure, yet, than it was before these comments were made, nor am I suggesting you change your buying process. However, this does represent a real set of problems that need to be constantly revisited. And we have to be free to bring them up if only to make sure our concerns are unfounded.


One of the big problems with Linux, as I see it, is that certain topics (basically anything that may imply that Linux isn't the best thing for every possible use) is off the table, because that discussion creates FUD. Kind of like any discussion on Iraq emboldens the terrorists, any discussion talking about the downside of Linux must be funded by Microsoft and/or is only to disparage Linux.


If there is one thing I know, particularly because I live in the U.S., it is that no topic should be off the table simply because it isn't positive about something others want to believe or do. I'm not convinced you can have "free" unless you have "free speech." I often wonder if the "free" software folks actually get this. Certainly the Communists don't, which takes us back on topic.


Use Linux, Lose an Election


Linux, which isn't really a product in my mind, as it co-defines the Open Source movement, is a brand. This brand has attributes that have been created over time and generally, at least for those that use it, represents something positive.


For some it represents the freedom to look at and mess with code, for others it represents "free" as in free beer, and for some it represents a strong weapon against capitalism, particularly with regard to software. I'm sure we could add some additional attributes, but the one that concerns me is this new concept that it is anti-American.


Can you imagine the NSA IT manager trying to get funding for a Linux based project right now? We are dropping into an extended election where the war in Iraq, terrorism, and nationalism are likely to be major battlegrounds. On the economic front, China remains a huge concern and in many battles it too is likely to come up, particularly as these battles are fought in areas where unions are strong.


If I'm running against an incumbent (who probably has no clue about software at all) and I know some organization under them deployed Linux and that it is being positioned as anti-U.S., might I not use that in the election? "Ladies and gentlemen I promise that under my administration we will not implement products like Linux that put the nation at risk, which contribute critical technology to the terrorists, and embolden our enemies." In politics all you need is a grain of truth. In fact, sometimes I wonder if you even need a "grain."


The Problem with Linux


With a proprietary product someone clearly owns the brand. I could argue that Microsoft does perhaps the poorest job of maintaining the positive qualities of its brand of any company I cover, but at least they have not positioned it as being anti-American. At least not yet. Granted, large companies can make mistakes because they are made up of humans, but there are a number of protections in place that should reduce the exposure of a company product suddenly being the poster child of terrorists or other hostile entities.


With Linux there is no such protection. There is even a Red Flag version which clearly created the potential for a problem, but since that problem was connected to an effort contained in China and well branded, there was little or no impact on the image of Linux in general.


However, Stallman's recent escapade clearly connected the generic Linux brand to anti-American activities and combined with the rhetoric from the Cuban Minister attached this anti-American attribute to the brand.


Outside of Miami, Cuba isn't a huge problem and Linux will likely survive this, but Iran and Cuba are close, and were this repeated in Iran I think we would have a real PR problem. And who handles that exactly?


In fact, who protects the Linux brand and would be responsible from making sure it didn't show up on a terrorist site with the words "death to America"?


Other Questions:


Many contribute code to Linux, IBM probably is the most visible, and there are very strong laws about technology transfer to hostile countries like Cuba. If your company's well commented code makes it to Cuba and someone in the U.S. government wants to make a point about this, what is your defense? It has to have a happened before, but I can't seem to find a link that explains what you should do if the FBI or CIA drops in for a visit with related questions. Could this be the next big scandal after we get through the stock option mess?


If Linux does become the vocal favorite platform for Iran, which it appears to be, and someone like Stallman makes a big deal about this, what do you say if a line executive takes exception, for nationalistic reasons, to your using it?


My advice is to make sure anything you contribute to Linux doesn't violate the technology transfer laws that exist in most countries and make sure you have an answer to the second question that doesn't start with the words "oh shit."


In the end, though, I think it is a huge mistake to allow Linux, or any product, to become part of a political process or connected to any political propaganda. Because, once in, I doubt you can pull it out and if the product is constantly seen as anti-anything, eventually it may become, anti-everything as politicians use it to advantage.


Linux will likely survive this latest internally created challenge but, at some point, someone better take ownership of the Linux brand or others will position it and supporters will probably not like how it is positioned.


What do you think Linux users should do about this? Who should own the Linux brand? And do you agree that Linux should not be used as a political weapon against anyone?

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Feb 25, 2007 10:29 AM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
Oh lord the New York Times didn't ban me. A new editor made a mistake, they have quoted me since and continue to quote analysts without listing their clients. A number of people have commented on this:http://www.paulgillin.com/2006/11/technology-journalists-have-long.htmlhttp://www.mediachannel.org/wordpress/2006/12/20/it-journalistic-ethics-in-the-age-of-synergy/http://www.digg.com/business_finance/Rob_Enderle_vs_The_New_York_Timeshttp://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/12/analyst_nytimes/They (The Register) even let me post on it:http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/18/enderle_nytimes_response/The Register Piece was just being a bit sensationat.http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DE1DC1F3FF933A25752C1A9609C8B63You'll note there is no mention of a ban anyplace from the Times and you'll find me quoted by the Times after that date.Nice try, and once again, comletely off topic. So what is it about Open Source that makes the folks that follow it so anti-Free Speech?Now that is an interesting idea for a post, look for it in a few days.You folks have attacked my family, my income, my reputation, but don't seem able to actually discuss the topic. Why the constant cover ups? Its a simple question, should Linux positioned as a weapon against the US? And, if not, who is responsible for the brand so this doesn't happen again?Trust me, I'm not going away you folks have been trying to shut me down for 4 years now when you started I had only written one column, now I have 6 and am on rhotation with virtually every major news service.As to who pays me, for this Blog it is IT Business Edge, but then even you probably could have figured that out.So who pays you? This darned Free Speech thing is a bitch isn't it?At some point, folks are likely to catch on that you can't discuss these topics and see the cover up for what it is. Reply
Feb 27, 2007 9:14 AM Ted Baar Ted Baar  says:
How wonderful that the people who lambast the author as a running dog for microsoft prove again (and again and again and again) his point about free speech, or lack thereof, in the Linux collective mind, or lack thereof.I would like to suggest that Linux though already has a "brand" and that "brand" is aptly represented by the volgar liberal types whose first reaction to the author's rather intelligent attempt to have the branding discussion at all.Oh, and in anaside to the person with a truth problem (part of the Linux brand) who said that the NYT had banned the author; both the accuser and the author should realize that there is a world of intelligent and influential people out there for whom being lambasted by the NYT on any issue is a badge oi honor. Anologous to being called a "running dog imperialist lackey" in the old Pravda could do little but help you in certain influential circles.Again. Thanks to the responders for proving the author's case on free speech.             Ted Baar             Providence, RI and Saco, ME     Reply
Feb 27, 2007 9:18 AM Anthony Anthony  says:
The lesson is that nationalism is a bug, and blind nationalism doubly so.  Objectively, any available best-of-breed product will be used by any and all people (and nations) who care about that breed. And when American policy is so obviously and completely wrong, as is the case with Cuba, it is in fact a good thing to be "Anti-American".  Reply
Feb 27, 2007 5:41 PM Ech Ech  says:
Rob, I personally think that was a good angled piece on Linux. Goes to show that while Linux is just as ideological as it is technical. As a brand, I don't think anyone could or even should manage it. By nature, Linux as a name can be considered generic like saying "mp3 player" or "car". No one manages generic names. In contrast, "iPod" and "Ford" can be. So if there should be any brand management, it should be on specific flavors such as Suse or Red Hat. Ofcourse, for all the rhetorics of my argument, the average consumer would probably still think Linux itself is a brand like Windows. Maybe the first step to distancing Linux as a brand from politics is to inform people that Linux is NOT a brand but a type or class of OSes. As for your point/question for whether a brand in general should be used in politics, I say it should be an obvious no unless your goal is to promote that brand to supporters of that political group at the cost of alienating it from those against the said group. In Linux' case, I doubt that is the goal of the community in general. That said, politicians aren't known to hold anything sacred and if they see even a twig to beat their opponents with they'd pick it up and hammer away til it breaks. In this case of your post, it was Linux.  Maybe this blog post would somehow open avenues where non-techies and non-lawyers can contribute to the Open Source movement. Reply
Feb 28, 2007 1:27 PM haha haha  says:
Rob, What has redflag linux has to do with linux in a whole?NOTHING! So bugger off with writing the false statements.Because Linux is free, instead of tied down by ONE, I repeat, ONE company, it gives you the right to choose, build, use the distribution you want to use, with the bells and whistles YOU want. MS doesn't give you the choice at all. You don't know e.g. what certain ms software is doing in the background, now do you? With Opensource (and thus Linux) you can dig into it with ease. Think about that for a while. Do you want to use a system that ties your behavior and usabillity down to the level that ONE company wants? or do you want to have the freedom to go where YOU want to go? well, Rob... Do you want to have the freedom? IF not.. i suggest: better go directly to jail, and spend the rest of your life, in a very tied down way, and do things THEY demand you to do.  Reply
Feb 28, 2007 1:34 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
And once again a Linux supporter chimes in to prove my point. What does this post have to do with the questions I actually asked?Which had to do with positioning Linux as anti-American.He concludes with something to the effect that using Microsoft products puts you in jail. Or, in other words if you use Microsoft you lose your Freedom. Right now I use Microsoft and I use Linux, I even have an iPod, The only folks I see threatening my freedomare folks like this who imply I need to use Linux exclusively "or else".Oh, and check out the name. Whoever you are, thanks, I think you are making my case better than you know. Reply
Mar 1, 2007 3:14 PM easuter easuter  says:
I found out about your article on a blog, and thought it was very amusing...I think there is one important angle you forgot to cover though:Your article makes it sound like the USA is the big "producer" of Linux, and that all the "axis of evil" folk are just taking it and running away with "your" precious technology. However, here are also hundreds of people from countries like Iran, Venezuela, China and Cuba who participate in the development of GNU/Linux distributions and the Linux kernel. This means that the USA will also be using technology developed abroad, and in many cases developed in those"evil" communist countries! Maybe a Chinese developer should also make sure that any code he writes isn't exported to the US.... And lastly, please visit Wikipedia andread up about the difference between the Linux kernel project and GNU/Linux distributuons, since you seem to make no clear distinction between them in your article. Reply
Mar 1, 2007 5:34 PM haha haha  says:
Rob, you don't seem to have a clue what you are jabbering about, now do you? Almost every statement in your article is covered with lies, which aren't proven at all (thus not a fact). You claim to use linux. Well, sir, if you do use it like you say, you are taking yourself as an enemy of your own article. (speaking about contradiction, eh?)Look, I don't hate MS.. But i cant stand it when people tries do spread lies as if they are facts (proven or not). So whenever i spot them, i'll go against it.that's all.   Reply
Mar 1, 2007 6:26 PM easuter easuter  says:
Oh, and by the way the NSA already has been funding (and still does) a very large Linux based-project: SELinux..... Reply
Mar 1, 2007 7:28 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
What is it about Linux folks that makes it so they cant actually discuss a subject. Youll note that HaHa simply says I am lying and omits any details or any proof. Im guessing he missed the link that validated the Cuban position with Linux. Most of the rest of my piece is simply asking the question whether it is good to position the name as anti American, who owns the name, and who is missioned to address problems like this. He then says Im an enemy because I use Linux even though Ive been incredibly, and repeatedly clear this isnt about use, it is about branding.Eat This, another very mature name and writer (why do Linux folks feel the need to hide behind silly names?) points out the NSA has their own version of Linux, SELinux, Im sure the Democratic party appreciated that reminder now that Linux is being positioned as Anti American and, once again, this had nothing to do with use but positioning. If he thinks about it, he actually just provided the proof that the Republican Administration is exposed through this use.Nice jobIm sure the NSA Linux users appreciated that.And easuter seems to think I think Linux is a US product. Where he got that I dont know, I didnt say it, and if he is member of the psychic friends network he should quit because I dont think it either.Once again the question is SHOULD LINUX BE POSITIONED AS ANTI-AMERICAN?. And, if not, who fixes this?Im starting to really wonder if folks who advocate Linux can actually read Reply
Mar 2, 2007 1:41 PM haha haha  says:
"in fact, who protects the Linux brand and would be responsible from making sure it didn’t show up on a terrorist site with the words “death to America”?" Ever heard of illegal copies of windows? So can be said about Windows aswell...who protects the MS brand and would be responsible for making sure it didn't show up on terrorist site with the words “death to America”? Nobody can! In other words, not really a good question. “and there are very strong laws about technology transfer to hostile countries like Cuba.” Ehm.. talking about hostile countries: USA invading middle east, based on (so it later seemed) false accusations of the USA government: Mass destruction weapons. In other words, both the USA and the countries you are talking about are evenly hostile. the Actions of the USA will unleas anti-American activities by those countries. Those countries Actions will unleash anti-<fill in countryname> activities by the USA. it's circulair, so no winners on both parties. “If Linux does become the vocal favorite platform for Iran, which it appears to be” i haven't seen any proof/fact to back this theory up, in your article. Again, and what if it is? does it matter? (like i said before, USA and Iran are both hostile in their own respect.) Who should own the Linux brand? it already held by someone: Linus Torvalds, represented through Linux Mark Institute. (look it up) However it's not about branding, it's about the design around it. It's OPEN not CLOSED. Everybody may benefit from it, even the USA. (and luckely they do) And because the code is OPEN, one can see what software programs are capable of. (also if needed for a defensive measure) Also: I think, the problem is not Linux (and GNU/Opensource) deep down, but the fear for not having it build in the USA for 100%. Most people living in the USA, are patriots/loyal to their country (i don't mind that personaly). Anything that has not an USA origin will be monitored closely as a potential enemy. I've seen this many times. (not only in software) Thus, the fear it isn't build fully compatible with being loyal to the USA as country and it's thoughts. Therefore, Linux is the potention enemy in every aspect to them. But, think again. Linux (and GNU/Opensource) is friendly in every way, so is Opensource. Big companies throughout the world seem to realise this, step by step. More and more companies are using/producing Opensource software to the benefit of e.g. Linux. Furthermore, a little side note:Linux per definition is the Kernel only. A kernel isn't an operating system per definition. It's part of it. So i think you are talking about Linux Distributions. (which includes all the parts that makes an operating system, including the kernel) Reply
Mar 2, 2007 8:06 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
To HaHa:This is almost sad.This isnt about a web site and this isnt about a pirated copy of Windows, this is about one of the leading (some would say THE leading) advocate for Linux showing up at what amounted to a Communist Anti-American Rally and supporting an anti-American message.Were a Microsoft employee to do that they would likely be fired. So who makes sure Linux isnt used as a political tool by anyone, Im not suggesting you can prevent it, but you sure should be able to limit what the primary spokespeople do.You indicate Linus owns the brand, it would seem there is some dispute about this given the Free Software Foundation, the cause for this piece, appears to be trying to rename Linux GNU/Linux, they even subordinate the Linux part of the brand. What would happen if Dell or HP tried that with Microsoft, and turned Windows into Dell/Windows or HP/Windows? Microsoft would step in and stop them. This shows brand control which is what the piece is about.On the Iran comment, it would be nice if you clicked on the link in the piece. You know, the web? Then you might be able to argue whether the proof is adequate but if you dont look, Im Im guessing that isnt an unusual event here, you wont find. Trust me on thisAs far as what Linux is, thats a whole different post and I agree it should be the kernel, it just isnt discussed in that fashion. Thats one of the 5 things folks dont like to talk about with regard to Linux. It is constantly misrepresented for advantage. Some of us call that lying some call it marketing, Im with the first group.Much of the rest seems a long winded ramble about Open Source being good or bad and politics. Unfortunately this now seems to be about whether a Linux user can be honest and stay on topic. So far the answer seems really obvious and kind of sad. Reply
Mar 6, 2007 11:05 AM Sceptic Sceptic  says:
Maybe it wasn't your intend to make a political statement, but you did.   You are right about alienating people by anti or pro-type marketing. A 'This is Not for You'-label put up somewhere is fascism pur sang. We should not think lightly about that. On the other hand, nobody has any authority, except what was granted by consent. So if mr. Stallman is going about proclaiming Linux is best for Cuba, because Linux is anti-American he will find a ready ear in Cuba. But in the US his message will perhaps be disagreed upon, but not have much weight. You see, I respect mr Stalman for what he has done. But I don't have to agree with what he is doing. The bottom line is that he has abselutely no authority over my decisions. And I don't have any over his.  Now what you propose is that the Linux-community somehow establishes a guiding force. Be it a president, a council or a chairman (in keeping with the communist idea ;) ). But that is very political Rob. Very political indeed. Because what this says,  is that Linux should or should not go in a certain direction. And again, we have a choice. A choice you propose will be made by someone with a formal hierarchical status. Someone thus to say what is wrong and what is not. Perhaps in the short-run in the situation in the US this could be a solution to reduce pr-damage. But in the long-run, on a global scale, who is to say what is wisdom? I think that no matter what authority one might bestow on someone, he will readily be ignored by anyone who doesn't agree. And as long as Linux is free software, nobody has to pay any attention to anyone he doesn't want to. That is the great achievement of the movement, and mr. Stallman has played a major role in that. So, should we bestow any formal saying onto anyone, nobody is to stop you, me, mr. Stallman, or the pope (also a Linux user) for that effect, to say anything about Linux and tie it somehow to his or her personal agenda. I can understand that it would worry people to know the government agencies running their computers on software with an anti-American repute. But  it is just as easily defended that the opposite is true. We might even say that Linux is anti-Communism. I can understand your concern with this. Do we want to make an OS a political weapon? I mean, it is a tool, merely a tool. Well, I guess Linux is, was and will be a political statement as well as anything else. It is a philosophy, and for that it is a philosophy that doesn't rhyme with capitalism very well. So I respect your opinion, but I don't agree with it. I think we always must look for where improvements can be made, but I think we must look for them in a different direction. It may be however that I fear little for the reputation of Linux because I don't live in the US, and sentiments here are a little different.   Reply
Mar 6, 2007 12:24 PM zaff labreque zaff labreque  says:
This is just brilliant comedy.  All techies ive ever spoken to think Enderle is a tool (think Im wrong? try it with your company's IT dept. our company has 2000 employees with a large IT dept and I travel a lot because of SAP support) but its good to see fresh articles come around so we dont have to Google for older ones.As a Mac user, Enderle is funny how wrong he is. Its almost as if its a shtick with him trying get people riled up. As a coder who has worked on more open source projects than closed source Mac ones, I find Enderle to be a lot more incompetent when it comes to things Linux related. I still remember this open format article someone brought into the lab last year and asked "Does this guy even understand what an open format is? Can he be that clueless?" No, no one is that clueless who has remotely been involved in tech. I do believe that he neither likes nor understands Linux and that red herrings such as this latest communist rant is a perfect example about what he does.  As for supporting terrorism, that is a moot argument since  US poltiicans already did this and our media didnt cover it.Bin Laden and thousands of his men were doing their work in Bosnia in the 90's with our blessing. Did anyone have to answer to this in 2001 when we found out about the terrorist camps there, the 911 plans made there, the dozen or so we then send to Gitmo, the AlQuaeda leaders who were formed there as well as the only bomber caught for the Madrid murders? No. Just like the Jimmy Carter dems never had to be accountable for creating Bin Laden to fight the russians. The largest terrorist group in 1998 was according to the CIA, the  Kosovo Albanian KLA. It made Hamas and Al Quaeda look like school children. We bombed a country in their name the following year. Did anyone make a fuss when in 2004, an albanian warlord who was once on the INTERPOL most wanted list went to the Democratic Convention to pay thanks for the job well done? Of course not.  We support criminals all the time, the Clinton white house was taking chinese money and no one did anything. I would think that these examples would be a lot more pertinent than whether something is communist. (Ooooohhhh scarrrrrrrrry!!!) Its good to see that old people still live in that engrained terror from the 50s. Enderle is less annoying than Dvorak but has more of an agenda but that's ok. When I want Mac news or Linux/FLOSS editorials, I avoid his writings.Unless I want to laugh.And there are few who can make us laugh as much as Rob Enderle.  ZL Reply
Mar 6, 2007 5:10 PM Sceptic Sceptic  says:
Who sell Linux as being communist? People do. Do all people? No, Rob, communist people do. Just like capitalist people use Linux for their own devices, so do communists. You might consider  me to be off-topic, but let me ask you a question Rob. Are people allowed to be communist? I think your answer will be 'no'. Then, are people allowed to be anti-American? Are we not to question the capitalist way of lifeBeing pro-America is just as political as being anti-America. But it seems to me you only allow the former. Who makes sure the Microsoft employee in your last post doesn't get fired for voicing his opinion?Because that is what this is all about. Opinion, and the freedom to have one. I may not be a communist, and I may not use Red Flag Linux, but who am I to judge those who do? There is little unity in the Linux community as a whole, and nobody is in charge.That makes it possible that our communist friends can make their own distro and market it as anti-America. They have this liberty. Others can make a distro and call it the most democratic thing in the world. I know mr. Stallman can be a little left wing, certainly in the eyes of an American. But mind you! The world is bigger than the US, and mr. Stallman knows this. He knows not everyone is happy with what is probably the biggest monopoly in the world; Microsoft. Not everyone who is dependant on computers, especially governments, feels comfertable sending shiploads of money to this one company.Can you imagine one company that has every government in the world dependant in it? What fear that brings? Where could that lead? If you want to talk about politics, don't forget that. You've said an OS should not be used as a political weapon. Yet you use the word battle over and over. You say the Cubans might use Linux as a weapon against the US. Are you afraid they are gonna invade? Has Cuba not been under US opression long enough? Don't they have every reason to hate the US? You can't blame them for switching to Linux, and you cannot blame them for voicing this as a pro-Cuban or even as an anti-American action. Reply
Mar 6, 2007 5:54 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
Actually there is some interesting stuff here.When you position a product as pro or anti anything you alienate someone. So if Linux is seen as anti-American those that are pro-American are less likely to use and support it.You are correct that is a choice.Im questioning whether it is a good idea to actively make it. As I mentioned in my post I dont think Red Flag Linux had much impact but positioning the parent brand Linux generically right before a major US election as anti-American might.This is because politicians look for advantage and what better topic for a challenger than to point out the incumbent, after 911, was allowing the use of an anti-American software platform in the NSA or some other government body?I continue to believe that this is a weakness in Linux, all products or platforms or kernels (in this case) have strengths and weaknesses. Success is generally measured with regard to how well you leverage the former and mitigate the latter. If no one can do that with Linux than that is a long term problem that speaks to its ability to compete in the market. Freedom and anarchy go hand in hand, too much of one can lead to the other and anarchy does not typically result in success.In the end my point is that a software tool should probably not be involved directly in any political process because it will limit the potential for that tool and there should be protections in place to ensure the tool isnt damaged in this way. Linux has no such protection I can find and Cuba was an example of that.I didnt intend then or now to make a political statement myself. Reply
Mar 10, 2007 1:17 PM CarlosGorian CarlosGorian  says:
SORRY FOR THE PREVIOUS MESS!After reading all the comments made so far I came up with something (FSF idea at work!).  Rob, I think Bill Gates IS THE ONE who positioned Windows as the capitalist's OS and TRIED TO position Linux and the communist's OS.  Wasn't he who began all this?  Guess who should be blame ...again?PS. Please forgive my English; not native here. Reply
Mar 20, 2007 2:34 PM Carlos Osuna Carlos Osuna  says:
Nowadays the world's seems to be divided into pro- and anti-"American".Just as the U.S. seized the control of the world "America" which belonged to every one born in the American continent (from Valdez, Alaska to Ushuahia, Argentina), now you are implying the "someone" should own Linux.I guess that derives from years of auto imposed unilateralism.Kilograms, Meters and Celsius aren't anti-American. It's the other way around. The whole world thinks in terms of Kilometers, Liters and Grams. Just the U.S. thinks in terms of Miles, Gallons and ounces.For quite some time, the U.S. has been the bandwagon to hop into, mainly for its innovation, wit and courage. This was something Europe had lost after the Second World War. So far, companies "abroad" have tolerated the "ideosincracies" of the U.S. just because it was an open society with fee restrinctions and a huge marketplace.Sadly this is comming to an end. Nowadays, making business in the U.S. is rapidly approaching Third World countries restrictions, with the added burden of the new "terror war" laws.The U.S. has become Europe and know sees as foes anything that "against" its "core" values.Linux isn't Anti-American. It's more a Gallon versus Liter competition. Celsius versus Farenheit. Watt versus HP. Linux versus Windows.Windows is more the "American Way". It works at first as a means of measuring things, but after a while it's just the way the U.S. measures things.I'm not against Windows, and neither I'm against miles or inches. It's just that the two in combination make the world more complex, just to fullfill the needs of one country and one paradigm.Hope this comment clicks on you. Reply
Mar 20, 2007 2:39 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
Actually, I think you missed the point. The problem is that Linux was positioned as a weapon against the US creating a problem for people here that might want to deploy it. My position is it shouldn't be a weapon against any people or group, no technology should. This is because that creates a problem with that group's use of that technology. Is that more clear? Reply
Mar 26, 2007 5:07 PM CadorBolin CadorBolin  says:
Quite an interesting blog and the arguments are quite passionate. I am slowly adopting Linux at home, so I'm looking for opinions that are pro or anti Linux. I agree that Mr. Stallman's advocacy of Linux as an "anti-American" OS could alienate some potential users who have a center-right point of view. But then, Bill Gates doesn't have much credibility when he presents himself as the "pro-American" in the OS debate either--he wants to import millions of tech workers to flood the marketplace to bring down wages, has complied with Communist China's censorship laws to do business there, etc. I think Rob also alluded to the fact that Microsoft has done a poor job with Windows (this OS has become so bloated and filled with featuritis that it's pushing me towards Linux) Reply
Mar 26, 2007 6:27 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
Linux is certainly better for those that want to mess with the code. Much like those of us that like to build our own PCs, it isn't for everyone but it is fun for those that like it. In the end, I'm not convinced it is wise to be Pro or Anti any person or group with a product or service Reply
Mar 28, 2007 11:23 AM Fearon Fearon  says:
America, land of the people who talk about freedom.... Reply
Mar 28, 2007 2:00 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
Actually this points to another problem with Linux advocates, they tend to intentionally missrepresent what I and others actually say. I didn't say them using it was a problem any more than it would be if they used Windows or Charmin. It's positioning the offering as a weapon against the US that is at issue. That goes beyond use and, could be damaging politically. Makes me wonder if Linux advocates can actually argue a point or just feel the need to win so badly they need to cheat. Makes you wonder how honest they are in other things doesn't it? Reply
Apr 20, 2007 4:32 PM Derek Greenfield Derek Greenfield  says:
The beauty and your perceived problem with GNU/Linux is that no one really "owns" the brand.And while I agree with you that it is a problem when it is wrapped up in a communist flag, portrayed as anti-American or used as a political weapon, however, it can just as easily be wrapped up in the Stars and Stripes and trumpeted as an example of that great American trademark - "Freedom". Reply
Apr 20, 2007 6:22 PM Rob Enderle Rob Enderle  says:
I'm not sure it is wise to wrap any product in any country's flag. It needs to be multi-national and as acceptable in the US as in Cuba. The point here is that it appeared positioned as a weapon against the US and, in these current times, particulary during national elections, I think that is a huge mistake. Reply

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