Home Business IT Open Source 'Yellow' journos, power users behind GNOME criticism: claim

Mena-Quintero said "poisonous people" like "haters", those who did not contribute on a regular basis, and those who threatened to stop using GNOME were all relatively easy to brush away.

He reserved his choicest vitriol for "yellow journalists". "There is another kind of Those People, smaller in number, but subtly more hurtful: the yellow journalists," he wrote.

Those who wrote about proprietary software attracted pity because "they can't know the details of the things they are writing about. They are prevented from doing better than reading the tea leaves, and hoping to get the rare leak out of a proprietary software company. They don't really report news; they are columnists".

But people who wrote about FOSS could not be excused on this basis, Mena-Quintero said, because, "You *can* dig for things and find the root cause of changes. You *can* visit wikis, design documents, logged conversations, anything. There are no non-disclosure agreements. Do "open source tech journalists" lurk on mailing lists and IRC channels, do they converse regularly with actual developers, do they actually make an effort to be as well-informed as they could be?"

While he conceded that there were good tech journalists, he blasted those whom he described as yellow journalists.

"They pick up the latest flamewar, however minor, and make a big deal out of it. They summarize (sic) blog posts and quote things with not enough context. "$last_name said, 'blah blah blah'" is the only content in their columns. They predict the decline and fall of a software project because there is a flamewar going on. They build an ongoing, not entirely consistent, self-serving narrative of the soap opera that they want free software to be," he wrote.

Mena-Quintero said the inexperienced, thin-skinned hackera could be affected by such journalism as they could  end up feeling criticised by someone who appeared to have a modicum of credibility. "It's a journalist, so they must know, right?" he asked, sarcastically.

He had a remedy: ignore most tech journalism altogether. "Or if you can't ignore it, as links to stories manage to make their way to you all the time, at least remember to fully engage your bulls**t filter before reading them."

Complaints should not be ignored altogether, Mena-Quintero advised, but they should be parsed to find out the real reason behind them. "Maybe there is something that you can fix technically. Maybe they have identified a systemic problem intuitively but they don't have enough knowledge to really be able to verbalize (sic) it."

He ended his rant by pointing out that though "haters" spewed s**t about GNOME, "poop can be excellent fertilizer (sic)."


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.