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Epic Troll

Looks like I hit a solid double with the post "OpenSUSE 11.1 RC and KDE 4.1." Both the Bobbleheads at Boycott Novell and Monsieur Béranger have responded to two of the paragraphs in that post. Let's start with Boycott Novell, since it's the longest if not the most twisted and disingenuous of the two responses.

It would seem that the Honorable Roy Schestowitz of Boycott Novell is so blinded by his own self-importance and so overly sensitive to any criticism of his holy task of rooting out perceived Evil against open source, that he'll distort the facts any way he can to protect and justify his own misguided crusade.

The Boycott Novell post that illustrates this most clearly is '“Twisted Ideological Crusade” and Other Excuses', which is his reaction to the post listed above as well as the following one, "How a Mandriva Upgrade led to me installing OpenSUSE". The quote in the title comes from a comment I made towards the end of the first post. While Roy had every reason to comment on that paragraph, he choose instead to use his patented 'Smear-em Good' © technique of failing to really read the second article in question, and then pulling sections out of context in order to spin his version of reality. So, let's analyze Roy's screed and see how his interpretation stands up to the facts.

Roy starts off entertainingly enough with this:
In-place upgrades are challenging not only under Windows (high failure rate in XP-to-Vista migrations), but also in other operating systems. The complexity and diversity of systems, especially with added software and hacks, makes upgrades a tricky task that’s prone to breakage. When deciding to upgrade any GNU/Linux distribution, it is a wise idea to make complete backups first.

Why are we mentioning all of this? Well, upgrade issues which Bill Beebe was experiencing (Adam from Mandriva already rebuts) left him bitter and willing to try OpenSUSE, which he used many times before.
Ah. The first part about in-place upgrades being tricky are true enough. But Roy gets his first licks in by pointing an accusatory (if virtual finger) at the "high failure rate in XP-to-Vista", while coyly glossing over "other operating systems" (i.e. Linux) failures. He then lands a wonderfully cloaked backhand with the statement about the complexity of systems "especially with added software and hacks," as if to imply that I helped contribute to the failure of the upgrade with some impurity (i.e. hack) I introduced into the system. For shame on me! For shame! And then of course my basic intelligence is called into question; did I "make complete backups" first? The real question is did I really need to? The answer is no! I learned years and years ago to put /home and /work on separate partitions or drives; that way all I had to do was update root (/) and be done with it. Backups are left to when I need to do, well, backups.

But then we get to the second paragraph, in which my "upgrade issues" are "rebutted" by Adam. Oh. And I'm "bitter" and "willing" to give a shot to OpenSUSE. Again. There's just one minor problem with this fantasy of Roy's. Adam didn't rebut anything. He asked questions, and asked me to investigate and provide some information if I could.

What Roy failed to read (and quote) was the following paragraph which places the first paragraphs he quoted, as well as the entire article, into better context:
At this point it's usually de rigueur in some quarters to spin out a rant against the 'lame' and 'stupid' Mandriva. After all, OpenSUSE 11.1 installed properly, didn't it? The problem with that argument is the realization that europa hardware is pushing a good five years of age. In this industry that's a very long time. The motherboard, based on an old nForce 2 chipset, is so old it has a SATA 1 chipset. You can't buy a new motherboard today (that I'm aware of) that has PATA drive support on the motherboard the way my motherboard has it. While it's technically wrong, I can see where the Mandriva installer saw the SATA drive and automatically assumed it was the primary boot device instead of paying strict attention to the BIOS. As much as I like this machine, it probably is time for me to head back over to Newegg and build a more current system.
I've admitted to two things in that paragraph:
  1. europa is running on old (some would say ancient) hardware, and considerable leeway must be given to that fact. It isn't so much that Mandriva 2009.0 failed, but that OpenSUSE 11.1 RC succeeded at all on that platform.
  2. I lust for a new computer. And that a new computer would probably go a long way to fixing installation problems with just about any distribution or operating system (such as Vista or OpenSolaris) you care to name.
I could go on for quite a while, pointing out the illogical assertions and conclusions that Roy draws from my articles, but it would be like slapping a moron around, and sooner or later it looses its fun and your hands start to hurt.

I will, however, say one more thing, and Roy, I hope you're paying attention.

If I leave Mandriva, it will be over Mandriva's treatment of Adam. Mandriva is laying Adam off, and I am not at all happy about that. This isn't the first time Mandriva has let important people go; there have been other layoffs stretching back to 2001 when Mandriva was Mandrake. Every time there's been a layoff, Mandrake/Mandriva quality has suffered along with the people who were let go. This last wave which includes Adam hits a little closer to home, and for reasons which I stated in "An important resource is squandered", which you can read on your own. If I abandon Mandriva it will hinge as much on how the company has treated a valuable employee who I have gotten to know and appreciate, as much as on technical merit and quality (or the lack thereof). I'm far more loyal to Adam than Mandriva right now because Adam has been consistently quite good to me, at least on this blog.

As for Béranger's comments, I must say touché! He was a lot more honest and direct in his criticism, and showed his usual dry wit in his response. My apologies to you sir for being a jerk.


  1. Good on you Bill. There seems to be an almost evangelical belief in Variety is bad. Novell has always been a commercial company but they have supported OpenSuse. Redhat Are a commercial concern but they support Fedora. Just because Novell enter into a mutual agrrement with "The enemy" means little to the linux community as a whole. It has goner too far to be harmed by them. There is too much drivel and crap being spieled about the purity of open source software. Let the purists caryy on with their fanatical jihad against commercial concerns. I care not a jot. I want Linux to do what I want and if the only way a person can get it is by going to Novell then so be it!
    I do not use OpenSuse yet but if i try it and like it I may - SCO tried to grab Linux and failed so "Go away in short jerky movements" Boycott Novel or whatever you call yourself.
    If you let this through Bill Thanks


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