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Archivio: openbsd@sikurezza.org
Soggetto: Advocating OpenBSD
Mittente: Igor Falcomata'
Data: 14 May 2001 21:49:27 -0000
E' bellissimo...



(this page, shamelessly ripped thru sed, was originally

Advocating OpenBSD

OpenBSD is my operating system of choice. I want to have many people use
it, if only because then it has a higher chance of surviving. Many
people want the same thing, and some of them are actively telling
about OpenBSD to other people, often in public newsgroups. This is advocacy,
and it's one good way to spread the word on OpenBSD.

Unfortunately, some of these people seem to suffer from what has
been called the Amiga syndrome: whenever anyone discusses computers, the
stereotypical Amiga user will always claim that the Amiga is a better,
faster, cheaper, more user-friendly computer than any other, ever, and
any opposing view is treated as treachery, oppression, and a declaration
of nuclear war.  Some OpenBSD users are using the same tactics.
They make both themselves and OpenBSD look bad. I'd like to stop this by
making a few suggestions for advocating OpenBSD better.

There's no enforcement of these suggestions, nor will there be (the
mere idea is horrible).  OpenBSD users are supposed to have brains. If you
don't think I'm making sense, fine. One of us might consider the other
an idiot, but that's life.

Stay calm. There's no reason to get excited.  If someone
says something about OpenBSD that you don't like, so what?  It's just
computers, it's not important.

Don't take it personally. Even if OpenBSD is your
dream system, there's no reason to be offended if someone points out
problems with OpenBSD (even if you wrote that part of OpenBSD, which you
probably didn't). It's not a statement about you personally. If they
flame OpenBSD users, they're idiots and you should ignore them.
They're probably just trying to get some attention.

Ignore flame baits. Like I said,
some people just want attention.  They enjoy starting long flame wars
by crossposting something insulting to several unrelated groups
(e.g., both to Linux and OpenBSD groups).  Don't respond to these
posts.  It isn't productive.

Stick to facts. If someone says something wrong about
OpenBSD, reply with the correct facts. Make sure they're facts, though,
not just something you heard about. Don't spread lies or rumors. Check
your facts. If you don't know how to do that, then perhaps you shouldn't
take part in the discussion, except perhaps by making questions. Even
better, give references so that other people can also check the

OpenBSD is not flawless. OpenBSD has bugs, including design
problems. If someone points out something that is wrong with OpenBSD,
acknowledge it and do something constructive, like forward it to the
proper maintainer or fix it yourself. Find a workaround.
Write a summary of the problem and make it publically available. 
Don't just whine.

Don't flame other systems. Perhaps Linux does
crash more often than OpenBSD (although I have no hard data on this,
just anecdotes, so I don't know if it is true; remember, facts only).
That doesn't mean you tell it to every Linux user.  If you must
say something about other systems, keep to facts (and make doubly sure
they're facts) and present them politely.

Don't flame people because they use other systems. Ever.

Bill Gates is not Satan. Some people claim that
Microsoft's business practices are immoral (or at least overly
predatory). I don't know if this is true, but using such claims as
arguments does not make the discussion productive. Conspiracy theories
sound really, really silly (as long as they're theories; feel free to
provide verified facts).

We aren't taking over the world. There's no reason
to get offended if someone claims many more people use Linux than OpenBSD.
It's true.  It doesn't matter.  No-one knows how many OpenBSD users there
are.  That doesn't matter, either.  Market share isn't the goal.
Solving problems is the goal.  Having fun is the goal.

OpenBSD can't replace Windows. Windows has applications
that OpenBSD lacks. There's no reason to get excited about it. Windows can't
replace OpenBSD, either. No system is perfect for all things. Don't make
yourself look ridiculous by claiming that LaTeX is a better wordprocessor
for the masses than MS Word. If you want OpenBSD to have better applications
than Windows, write them or encourage others with something better than

Avoid crossposts. Many advocacy discussions live long
because they're crossposted to many popular groups for specific systems.
Whenever someone says something about one system, there's a whole bunch
of people who will jump on him, just because he's supporting a system
different from their's. If you must crosspost advocacy discussions, only
crosspost to advocacy groups (such as comp.os.OpenBSD.advocacy). Never,
ever crosspost to other groups, it ruins them. If you respond to an
advocacy thread that is crossposted to a non-advocacy group, remove the
non-advocacy group.

Keep to the OpenBSD groups. Don't go to non-OpenBSD
groups to pick a fight. Each advocacy group exists for discussion about
one particular system. Don't try to invade other advocacy groups. That's
rude. No-one likes big-mouthed strangers.

See also:
What Byte wrote 
about Linux users in Februrary, 1996


Igor Falcomata'
IT Security Manager & Consultant
Infosec srl - http://www.infosec.it
Network Security and Data Defense
free advertising: www.openbsd.org - Multiplatform Ultra-secure OS

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