Originally Published: Monday, 14 February 2000 Author: Jerry Hatchett
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

Volunteer Puppets?

In reading through other articles that were posted on Linux.com recently, along with the public replies to those articles, one can only draw the conclusion that a number of readers see this site as somewhat of a "puppet" of VA Linux. I can absolutely guarantee you that in my own personal experience, nothing could be further from the truth!

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In reading through other articles that were posted on Linux.com recently, along with the public replies to those articles, one can only draw the conclusion that a number of readers see this site as somewhat of a "puppet" of VA Linux. I can absolutely guarantee you that in my own personal experience, nothing could be further from the truth!

In fact, it's so far from the truth as to be laughable. I've been writing here for several months now. In that time, guess how many times anyone from VA Linux has contacted me about anything that I wrote? ZERO. On the occasions that a member of Linux.com staff has contacted me regarding my writing, guess how many times I've heard mention of VA Linux in any way? ZERO. No coercive editorial guidelines have been given to me. No subtle hints have been passed along suggesting that I look out for "Corporate Interests" as I lay my thoughts to the screen. Sorry, folks, but you're barking up the wrong tree on this one. I know that VA Linux owns the site, but there has been positively nothing during my time here as a volunteer staff writer that would have clued me in to that fact.

Digging deeper into the underlying discussion about the expansion at VA Linux, I believe that the core issue comes down to the same debate about whether it's acceptable to make money on software in general and Linux in particular. Altruism/Good Intentions vs. Capitalism/Evil Conspiracy. Allow me to weigh in on that debate with great brevity: I choose altruism. And I choose capitalism. The two can, should, and do co-exist just fine, thank you very much. It's okay to selflessly contribute one's time and talents for the good of the cause. It's also perfectly alright to get paid and be able to buy groceries. (For that matter, I think it's okay to get paid very well and be able to buy much more than groceries. Congratulations!) Altruism does not always equate to good, and capitalism most certainly does not automatically point to evil conspiracy. Besides, the debate is totally academic at this point. Big money has arrived on the scene, and you may rest assured that it's not going anywhere. This war is just as decided and just as finished as the one between VHS and Betamax.

Continuing on the related topic of volunteering time and talents, there are a couple of things I feel compelled to say. First, thanks are in order. I really appreciate those of you who take the time to respond to my articles in public and private in a classy and intelligent way. Whether you agree or disagree with the substance of what I've said, I enjoy the comments as presented by the vast majority of respondents. Thank you, and please feel free to skip the next paragraph since it does not in any way apply to you.

To the tiny but unpleasant minority: You know who you are. You're the ones who offer up snide and scathing remarks filled with powerful words such as "nonsense" and "drivel." As often as not, you use bad grammar and bad spelling to criticize the article you just read. Let me suggest that you try the approach of the people described in the paragraph directly above. Disagreement is fine, but what's the point in insult, my friends? I respect your right to speak freely, but how about respecting the fact that I take time out of an incredibly hectic schedule to be here without pay? (I speak solely for myself; maybe other volunteer writers have had similar feelings before, maybe not.) Thanks for considering my proposal.

On another topic altogether, this week the office computer will get a facelift called Windows 2000. I think I read somewhere that the facelift will also come with a few thousand bugs, but I'm very hopeful that it can only be an improvement over the constantly crashing Windows 98 that is currently in place at the office by necessity. Gee, I wonder if they've improved the Blue Screen of Death? I'll let you know.

Jerry Hatchett is a 40-year-old entrepreneur who loves the online world and the technology that drives it. He believes that Linux is a key component in the future of that world, and enjoys sharing his meandering thoughts in support of the community that made and makes Linux possible.





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