Linux Reportedly Not Taking Criticism Well, Call for More Linux Critics Issued
Article by George Norman
On 03 Apr 2009
The Linux operating system may not be the most widespread OSs out there, not with Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac OS X dominating the market, but this is not to say that it is not popular, or that it does not have a loyal following. While the media and users have on numerous occasions criticized features, or lack of features, in Microsoft’s and Apple’s software applications, it would seem that Linux criticism (withing the community) is practically inexistent.

Linux book author Ken Thomas, says that criticism is not a bad thing, it has nothing to do with being negative, it all has to do with taking a closer look at the subject matter and taking it apart, understanding and explaining its inner workings. When it comes to the Linux community, there are not that many critics within said community, mostly because in the Linux world, criticism is not taken well.


“What's interesting about the world of Linux is that there aren't many critics within the community (there are many critics outside the community, of course, such as Microsoft people). Most of the time the world of Linux tends to be anti-critical. If anybody in the community dares be critical, they get stomped upon. I've made a handful of blog postings recently that have been critical of Linux (in the sense of pointing out perceived failings), and people hate it. If they explain why, it's usually a variation of the following: "Linux is free, so why are you complaining?"
The statement is an interesting one. It implies that Linux is inferior to commercial software because nobody pays for it. It supposes that the end-user of Linux just can't have the same expectations as with software he or she has paid for,” says Ken Thomas.

There is a clear difference between being critical about something and complaining about it, explains Ken Thomas. Criticism is positive and as such, a critical remark is only meant to lead to progress, to make the source of criticism improve and become better. Complaining is negative and offensive, it is similar to a verbal attack. Sometimes critical remarks can be confused with complaints, as criticism can be harsh and blunt, but it is all said with positive intentions.

Ken Thomas again: “The problem with this anti-criticism approach is that it's damning Linux to an eternity of navel gazing. Nothing can ever get any better. The world of Linux needs critics. Even more so nowadays as Linux slowly seeps into all kinds of industries. New people are coming into contact with Linux. Most of them will have high expectations--the same expectations they have of commercial software. If things ain't right, they're gonna say so. Linux people are going to have to get a thick skin. They have to learn to deal with criticism, and--even more important--they're going to have to use it to their advantage.”

Tags: Linux, Critics
About the author: George Norman
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