thanks Larry for that
to be clear, I do agree that the ZDNet piece was poorly written.
which from the same information provides more meaningful analysis...
In my view, open source as a reporter's beat is past its prime. A few
short years ago, many large IT shops needed explanations due to their
dependence on the monoculture. I don't think that's the case anymore;
FLOSS has found its place in most areas of computing (desktop OSes
being a notable exception). After all, there is no "proprietary
software" beat, but organization by vertical market or technical
class. I myself am much more focused on the K-6 education vertical
market, and tend to want to see things through that prism; pundits in
that area compare FLOSS to proprietary all the time.
For good coverage of FLOSS, ars technica has a well-deserved
reputation, their analysis is based on actual reviews such as this
On Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 2:27 AM, Larry Cafiero <larry.cafiero(a)gmail.com> wrote:
On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 9:25 AM, Sean DALY <sdaly.be(a)gmail.com>
> Yes, I agree that it's a good idea to set the record straight.
> However, there is an ugly truth: the wider the coverage of anything,
> the more errors there are... responding to them turns into
Heh. I think that an exaggeration, but it can turn into that when not done
> To combat that, what's necessary is to go beyond error-correction to
> influencing perceptions widely. When perceptions are positive enough,
> Fedora users will whack the moles themselves, and clueless
> commentators will educate themselves or lose credibility.
> A key way to influence perceptions is to cultivate journalists. Nobody
> likes to admit they made a mistake. Journalists get called clueless
> and worse every day of the week, like everyone they generally accept
> constructive criticism though. In this connection, Bob's comment was
> exemplary: he politely set the record straight.
Bob's comment was exemplary, as were others. I'm not so quick to give this
pair a pass on this one. In this case, you have ZDNet's Linux and Open
Source bloggers -- a pair who SHOULD know that release cycles of the distros
in question are roughly six months ("roughly" because OpenSUSE's is not
exactly six; nine, I think, but that's close enough) -- writing something
that, essentially, is false and worse, it's arguably slanted toward
Again, these two writers are the <steps_back_for_emphasis>LINUX AND OPEN
SOURCE REPORTERS for ZDNet</steps_back_for_emphasis>. If they don't know
that the larger distros -- Ubuntu especially, with their x.04/x.10 naming
convention -- have a six-month cycle, then they really have no business
covering Linux and Open Source for one of the largest, if not the largest,
Web-based tech news portal.
> What I'm saying is, make changing perceptions part of the plan.
> Although the media usually wish to present accurate information, what
> they really want is accurate information which is also timely,
> interesting, and topical. This is where press releases can play a
> major role. Many journalists with 4 stories to file in the day will be
> happy to quickly adapt a well-written release and put it up.
Having been a newspaper editor for 32 years (which is what I do when I'm not
promoting Fedora), you are right about the workload. More times than not,
journalists appreciate being set straight when they're wrong, but more
importantly they are immensely grateful for getting accurate and
well-written information that they can glean (if not outright copy) for
> When that
> happens, you've made news, not reacted to it. Over time, awareness
> rises within influencers, and next thing you know, most of them will
> be able to write from memory that there are two Fedora releases per
> year for example. Or whatever branding message you wish to spread -
> that Fedora is high-quality, installs easily, etc.
This is true. But again, I would think anyone who had been covering Linux
and Open Source for any length of time should know that release cycles for
Ubuntu and Fedora have always been six months.
> Journalists know that Windows 7 is make-or-break for Microsoft; just
> look how MS is taking risks they haven't before such as selling PCs
> for the first time ever and painting all their national websites
I hope. Again many reporters in the mainstream media are happy to be
spoon-fed whatever Microsoft provides them, so we should be vigilant about
> The WinXP -> Win7 upgrade path is wipe and install... the same
> as most WinXP -> GNU/Linux installs. So journalists know that now is
> perhaps a better time than ever to talk about alternatives. When
> Constantine launch time comes, perhaps a talking point to consider
> beyond the great features is how upgrading to Fedora can be a better
> choice than upgrading to Windows 7.
That would be great. Is there anything on the drawing board?
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