As many of you are aware Zeeshan made a post about something that happened a while ago. This was mentioned to him merely in passing and he wanted to blog about it. I thought it was fair comment however I was met with a great deal of hostility directed toward myself. Even though I chose not to blog about this a long time ago. People seem to be heavily polarised in Ubuntu’s favour and couldn’t see the point Zeeshan was making, which was valid. Firstly they didn’t respond to my email, and secondly removed the entry from the release notes.
I would have been happy enough to accept an email response telling me it was against policy to do what I was asking. It wasn’t that big a deal and to be honest, it didn’t bother me that much, but the events following my response to Jorge Castro did illustrate something about Ubuntu which maybe some rose coloured glasses had blinded me from.
So the events themselves don’t worry me. Mark Shuttleworths response did, as it seemed to highlight some unsupportable opinions are present at canonical. However this is another matter which I will try to discuss with him directly rather than through blogosphere 2.0.
The next thing that worries me is that Zeeshan’s posts have been removed from planet GNOME. I’d like to know why this was done? I believed that planet GNOME was a place for us to speak about anything that matters to us, and as Og Maciel recently posted about “Planet GNOME is a window into the world, work and lives of GNOME hackers and contributors.” therefore censorship is unreasonable. Furthermore censorship on a service provided by those who consider themselves advocates of freedom and liberty is hypocritical to say the least.
Update: I’d ask that people don’t start off with angry comments at me, I’m not going to approve the comments which are nasty, of which there are already a few. To quote Marius Vollmer’s excellent phrase (of which attribution may actually be to someone else) “We reject Kings, Presidents and Voting; We believe in rough consensus and running code”. This phrase encompasses important points to be remembered, that is that nobody is our ruler, and that we don’t all need to agree all of the time.
I now understand why the item was removed from the release notes. Mark has explained this nicely although I would have liked to be informed about it at the time as I was in discussion with Jorge over the item. Mark’s explanation of the issue in question fails to explain why he would have had to defend the “About GNOME” menu item remaining in Ubuntu. I find the fact that the “About GNOME” menu item was questioned abhorrent.
The full quote for anyone who missed it;
“If you run Ubuntu, you’ll know that we devote a very high-profile menu item to the “About GNOME” dialog box. I’ve defended that on many occasions, because I think it’s vital that a distribution be a conduit for people back to the original projects that actually provide a home for the innovation that makes free software potent”
This quote in itself does not justify anything, does not provide a valid example of anything although it does justify the original question. I have invited Mark to call me specifically to discuss this. I hope he takes this opportunity.
Update 2: As Mathias has mentioned it’s reasonable to assume Zeeshan has triggered a two posts per person limit on planet.gnome.org, its unfortunate that I implied (not accused), that this seemed like censorship but I’m sure I can be forgiven for thinking this way under the circumstances.
Update 3: I’m closing comments on this post, my reasons for this are, people are making accusations that I’m angry. I am not angry. I was not attempting to criticise planet.gnome.org but I was questioning the situation, I saw Zeeshan’s posts removed, not once, but twice, before I blogged about it, and on both occasions the same entry disappeared. This was suspect. I apologise to Jeff for this misunderstanding, however it was never made clear to any of us that there was a two post per person maximum.
My blog is now attracting a lot of negative attention. I never realised that criticising Ubuntu brought down the wrath of the minions, even if you aren’t the one to make the initial criticism publicly. It seems my attempt to clear up what has happened in the last few days has back fired.
I would like to ask all of those who have commented, anonymously or otherwise to take a long hard think at some of the things they’ve said. There have been some horrific insults thrown at me for absolutely no reason. These people have behaved in a far worse way than I have, although they are unable to be identified in most instances simply because they cowardly refuse to publish their names.