Slashdot - fry the unbelievers

Slashdot provides a great service; it has a technical readership, it attracts some of the most vocal supporters of open-source, and the discussions are often rewarding. But it has one flaw; far too many threads relating to computing will attract a few folks who don't know very much about software, but they sure do know that they love Linux (see this brief snapshot for just a tiny sample). And you know what else? If you don't love Linux as much as they do, you're stupid or evil, or both. Don't believe me? Take a look, slashdot.org - sometimes it's really not pretty, and (unlike the famous Monty Python sketch) most Slashdot readers have actually learned to expect the Spanish Inquisition that befalls folks who dare to suggest that they use an OS other than Linux.

Linux is not alone in having bigoted supporters - \*BSD, Mac, Windows, and yes Solaris also has it's zealots who have 100% convinced themselves that their choice is the One True Way and they will flap, FUD and flame anyone who says otherwise.

There's nothing better than a healthy debate, especially among folks who know something about their subject. But to all the loud-mouth OS bigots and bandwagon-jumping noobs out there I say this [in my best Jack Nicholson accent] - you can't handle the truth. And the truth is simply that a software ecology where just one product fills an essential need is missing out.

Why? Because choice is good; choice enables comparison and criticism; choice facilitates competition that spurs projects on to greater things. And (especially between open-source projects) choice enables good DNA from one product to transfer to another and create something better. How do we know it's better? Because in a competitive environment, the fates (or in the case of software, a customer or user) chooses the best solution for a given problem.

May Slashdot reign long as the eye of the perfect storm of open-source, but please - let's get better at slapping down the ranting OS noobs and ask 'em to go use the machine they know far better (hint: it probably runs Halo 2).

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