Why link to a post by Jade -- someone banned from the forums -- containing many highly emotionally charged and controversial statements about Hans Reiser and the murder trial? For a technology news site, bringing an issue like this into the foreground again (or at all, really) is highly off-topic and uncalled for. The technical merits of the software have nothing to do with that. Even its acceptance into the Linux kernel (or not) has nothing to do with that. Some people may want to associate the Reiser trial with Linux or ReiserFS in order to draw parallels and damage the latter, but doing so is disingenuous, and harmful to both the technology platform (Linux/GNOME/KDE/...) and the ideology behind it (FOSS).
The trial was very emotionally disturbing for a lot of people, and mentioning it again just contributes to and validates a tendency among the general population to characterize people who use or develop Linux (or ReiserFS) as having traits similar to Hans Reiser. Basically we, as a community of users and developers of the free desktop, face a public stigma as a result of this ordeal. I have personally been confronted with this stigma. It is generally not possible to dispel a stigma through reason, because stigmas are by their very nature an irrational thing. That said, it is possible to proliferate a stigma by using pathos to convince others that they should perceive and accept the stigma as appropriate. I worry that the wording and the contents of your paragraph containing the link to Jade's post in this article may contribute to that.
So basically, I request that, in the future:
(1) If you are going to make a journalistic account about a serious and highly controversial criminal law issue directly involving a member of the FOSS ecosystem, please devote your own article to it, discuss it in your own words and make your own citations; or if you think you are not qualified to do that, then link to some other reputable major news source, documentary, book, etc.
(2) Even if you did follow the advice in (1), doing so on a technical news site is off-topic. Some of your off-topic posts (such as the Chernobyl photos and pictures of you drinking German beer) are fun, interesting, and entertaining; the issue at hand is a heavy and difficult topic that I feel crosses the line.
(3) Even if you choose to disregard the advice in (1), instead linking to a post created by a controversial forum participant whom you yourself have barred from further participation, is even more confusing and controversial in and of itself. Is it true that you agree 100% with everything Jade said in the first page of summary? I'm just asking. Because if not, then why link to it? Why not link to some reputable source, or create your own article about it and provide such links from there? Linking to Jade's thread almost seems as if you are endorsing that opinion as truth -- whether or not you actually do endorse it, it sends the wrong message that this forum participant has since been banned.
(4) Mentioning the trial in the context of this article further damages the reputation of the Linux community at large, and the piece of software ReiserFS as well, as I explained above. So even if you were to write your own, well-researched article on the subject, and broaden the scope of your site to cover legal issues as well (basically a mini-Groklaw or something), doing so in this context is harmful to the reputation of your user base. And, maybe I am misinterpreting you on this, but you seem to state that Reiser4 has not been merged to mainline due to the murder trial and/or conviction, which I believe deserves a citation if indeed it is true, or a clarification if you have made no such claim.
The incendiary coverage of a few pointed kernel regressions; The pie charts for LGS 2010 preview resulting in a misleading "9% of users care about licensing" conclusion; Your dubious coverage of the Reiser trial -- It seems that every time you make an "oops", it is doleful to the reputation of FOSS and the free desktop. I have a genuine concern for seeing that not just Linux, but that the idea of "Free as in Freedom" becomes a successful, mainstream concept. If you share my goals, then I hope you'll agree that the things I've mentioned are unfortunate, and could be prevented from showing up in articles again in the future.
P.S. - Please do not construe this post as hate mail or anything of the sort. I am a regular reader and poster here, because by and large I find your articles to be informative, accurate, on-topic, and newsworthy. So you can understand how jarring it is to me to read the occasional statement that is, for one reason or another, factually or politically problematic. I welcome you to instead tackle such questions directly, explicitly, and in a journalistic, in-depth fashion. Just to clarify, those questions (as I've discussed above) include:
(1) What is the state of the Linux kernel's performance overall? How well are new problems being addressed? Is the kernel getting buggier and slower, or more stable and faster?
(2) What percentage of the Linux desktop user base actually cares about software freedom? [Of course, you have to define what "actually cares" means for the purposes of an article...]
(3) Was the court's verdict on the Reiser trial the correct one? What has been the impact of the trial on the FOSS community? What steps can we take to lessen the stigma associated with ReiserFS and, by extension, FOSS in general?
These are certainly interesting, if not controversial, questions that I'm sure many of your readers are interested in reading about / debating about. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you want to tackle these questions on your site or not.
Finally? Was it supposed to be merged someday? I also hope VFS patches will get into 2.6.37, because it's something awesome.
Originally Posted by hax0r
After agreeing with most of your post, you confuse me there. Why, as readers of Phoronix, should we care about this particular trial? Also (and I may be completely uninformed here for I never cared about ReiserFS), what makes you think there has been any impact on the FOSS community from this?
Originally Posted by allquixotic
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