Sunday, February 6, 2011

When in BoycottNovell, talk slowly and use simple words

glenn-Let-me-tell-you-about-mono I noticed this morning that Herr Doktor Roy Schestowitz, PhD published another dire warning to the world regarding the Banshee project in BoycottNovell (aka “TechRights”). This isn’t remarkable really, he publishes one every three days or so. But I noticed that this one was especially strong in the fail department so I stopped by to leave a comment, as I am always interested in helping people out. It’s in my nature.

The post is as usual full of good old-fashioned truthyness, as are most of Dr. Roy’s well-researched articles. The opening salvo:

Canonical might wish to reconsider its inclusion (by default) of the Mono trap called Banshee an inclusion which we covered for its dangers in

Therein follow almost 20 individual posts on the issue. Because you know, you have to write about this one thing 20 times. Not one page where you document the issue, that would mean the intent is to inform rather than deluge and incite.

Somebody in IRC has just told us that Aaron Bockover is leaving Novell. He wrote: "banshee guy is leaving novell time to break out the fizzy might be good ammunition to convince ubuntu to stop shipping it” (it's up for Canonical to decide really and it's not too late as the next release is over 2 months away).

Remember, in the previous paragraph Dr. Roy said Canonical might wish to reconsider shipping the eeeeevil Banshee with Ubuntu, and that is obviously reinforced with the Anonymous BoycottBoy suggestion that the fact that the lead Banshee developer is leaving Novell might be good ammunition to convince them to not ship it.

So let’s break this out, for the benefit of the under-75 IQ BoycottCrowd:

  • Banshee is bad.
  • Dr. Roy totally does not want Canonical to ship Banshee with Ubuntu.
  • The guy that codes Banshee is leaving Novell.
  • Canonical has so far not responded well to the ideological arguments against including Banshee in Ubuntu, so it follows that the guy’s departure can be used as ammunition to reach the same goal.

Hopefully this isn’t too complicated. I’m trying to keep things simple.

In other words, Banshee is in some kind of unspecified danger, so it would be unwise to ship it with Ubuntu. That’s a mighty nice media player you got there, partner… it would be a shame if someone abandoned it.

So in my comment I pointed out that, in the very blog post Dr. Roy linked to, Bockover actually says he’s going to continue work on Banshee.

It follows then that Banshee seems to be in no particular danger of being abandoned, and so obviously Bockover’s departure can hardly be used as ammunition to convince Canonical to stop including the thing in Ubuntu.

So far so good. Eventually the head of the BoycottNovell Embarrassing Comment Enforcement Brigade shows up toting the usual faux drama-filled poetic diarrhea, wherein we learn that Bockover was “abused” by Novell and their “obvious undermining of software freedom”... or something. Well, we know the drill by now. These people are certifiable. But since he didn’t actually address my point about the post being misleading, I elected to remind him of his Slashdot days, just for fun. No surprise this guy ended up at BoycottNovell, eh?

But then following the usual pattern where Dr. Roy waits for his Enforcers to post snide comments and attacks, and replies to them instead (in a sort of grade school-style rebuff that looks as pathetic as you’d expect) we get this:

This stalker is trying to suggest that I “actually read the source” when in fact I read the entire post from Aaron Bockover before I prepared this post and the stalker cannot find factual inaccuracies as a result.

Fascinating, isn’t it? If Dr. Roy managed to read Bockover’s entire post before he prepared his post, then why the implication that Banshee is in danger of being abandoned, if the contents obviously eliminate that line of speculation? I never even hinted that there were “factual inaccuracies” in what he wrote. That’s not necessary – it’s simply misleading, and wink, wink intentionally so.

After a bit of the usual well-synchronized BoycottNovell circlejerk, Dr. Roy kindly confirms my read of his post in a subsequent comment:

IIRC, Novell owns Banshee copyrights, so it'll be interesting to see what happens when Novell drops the project by the wayside. Will it be orphaned?

This is called The Schestowitz Two-Step, a ritual dance steeped in innuendo and cleverness. Novell is dropping the project, eh? By the wayside no less? Orphaned?? Yes, because Bockover said he wouldn’t work on it anymore.

Oh wait, he said precisely the opposite.

But then Dr. Roy knows all this, because he’s a knowledgeable Free Software Advocate that would never muddle the status of a Free Software project with doublespeak about who holds its copyrights. We don’t usually mention in an ominous tone of voice that the FSF holds copyrights on Emacs, for example. We’d be branded as trolls and provocateurs, and rightly so.

I would remind Dr. Roy (he lovingly reads my blog, if only through the Google cache) that Banshee is Free Software, so whatever copyrights Novell has are irrelevant. If he ever gets the Mono itch and needs a project to work on, he can fork it to his heart’s content. A BoycottNovell-branded Mono-based C# media player. Now there’s something I’d pluck some toe cheese for.

Of course given the technical prowess he has shown in the past, he might want to get someone to ghost-write it for him.

Incidentally, I was shocked (shocked, I tell you) to learn that I am a .NET developer and a stalker. With apologies to stalkers everywhere, I’m not sure how to feel about that. Perhaps Herr Doktor would like to offer some proof of either claim, if he’s not too busy coding in proprietary software products or stalking Miguel de Icaza while declaring the Mono project to be dead:




mdi said...

All the information is in Aaron's blog, but it might not have been immediately obvious to outsiders.

For the past year, Aaron's duties moved further away from Banshee and music (his core passion) to working on two distribution projects (MeeGo and the precursor to MeeGo). This left very little time for Banshee.

He is now being offered a position at Rdio to work on what he cares about (music) and he will be able to work on Banshee (which is MIT X11 licensed, so anyone can do whatever they want with the code for open or proprietary products) in "new directions".

I do not know what Rdio's new directions for Banshee are, but I know where Aaron wants to take Banshee, its Banshee Core and the Banshee UIs.

Those following Banshee's architecture closely know that Aaron has set the foundation for Banshee's code to have multiple UIs and run on different kinds of devices.

If anything, Banshee will become the poster child of how to split the UI from your core code and get a great UI on each platform.

Verofakto said...

@mdi Thanks for the information. It seems to me that since Banshee is a popular project, even if Bockover decides to limit his participation (which doesn't seem to be the case after reading his article), Banshee will live on. That's the whole point and the power of open source.

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