Sunday, June 07, 2009

Politics and Technology

Regular readers of this blog know I am a big fan of the free Linux operating system, and open source software in general. One of the best Linux distributions out there is the Linux Mint project. It is based on the excellent Ubuntu Linux, but includes some of the niceties, such as multimedia codecs, right from the "get go".

Therefore, I was dismayed to read at Extreme Tech that one of the Mint developers, Clement Lefebvre, made a highly political post regarding the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. In it, he asked those who support the Israeli government to not use Linux Mint, nor contribute to the project. Initially, the post was made on the official Linux Mint blog, but has since been moved to Lefebvre's personal blog.

This is unfortunate, because whatever one's position on geopolitics, Linux has always been developed in the spirit of open, non-political cooperation. Also, Lefebvre is not the only developer, and should never have made such a statement.

Still, Mint is a great distro. I hope this episode doesn't cause it to fall by the wayside. Clement, you are out of line on this, and should retract the tying of Mint to your political views. You are certainly entitled to them, but despite your statements to the contrary, you did bond Mint and your politics with your statement about who should not use the product. Open source is open to all. You have erred, and erred greatly. Hopefully, you will retract this misguided statement, apologize, and put it behind you.

No comments: