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FUDCon in Boston

Fedora, FUD, and The Answers to Everything

Frederick, MD April 7, 2006 – This author took a two hour plane ride to Boston International Airport and a 15 min cab ride to the Buckminster Fuller Hotel – the Hotel was named after the late R. Buckminster Fuller; inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet and cosmologist. I was in town and ready for Fedora’s FUDCon Boston 2006.

FUDCon is Fedora’s summit that focuses on the Fedora Project and all things that go along with it. The acronym FUD stand for Fear Uncertainty and Doubt; a term created in the 1950s by Big Blue, and perfected by Microsoft. I can create fear by telling you that you will lose your data if you use product X. And, the more that I assault with these unsubstantiated statements the easier it is for uncertainty and doubt about alternative technologies to creep into accepted truths.

FUDCon is all about fighting the FUD; this is done by educating the masses on how to identify what is and unsubstantiated statement and how to dispatch the FUD through logic. FUD stems from myths and misconceptions about Open Source applications.

“By spreading questionable information about the drawbacks of less well-known products, an established company can discourage decision-makers from choosing those products over its wares, regardless of the relative technical merits.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FUD

A little educations goes a long way; if you have any other FUD factoids that you would like to see listed or have any other FUD you need cleared up, please contact the author, rwhetsel@ravensong.com.

Since the source code is open, it is not safe, anyone can get your data.

Wrong: Source code is completely separate from a company’s proprietary data.

By adopting open source, we are leaving ourselves open for litigation.

Wrong: For example, The Open Source Risk Management company has certified that the Linux Kernel is free of Copyright infringement. Even though there is little likelihood of issues, IBM and Novell and others, offer indemnification from litigation.

Open source programs take long to patch security flaws.

Wrong: Because of the structure of open source development and maintenance, a flaw can be detected, the code written to fix it, the code reviewed to be acceptable, and the code made available to users within hours in most cases. The code goes to the Current Version Server which is available directly to users; it does not depend on going to the distributer for dissemination to users.

Open source is all so different, there are no compatible software.

Wrong: Software has evolved to be used on multiple platforms. There are compatible open source software applications available today that provide features essential for business and personal use.

Open source developers are geeky university students.

Fact: Look at one example. Developers for SourceForge, an open source program, are mostly experienced professionals – average age 30 – with over 10 years programming experience.

Open source is only for technology-savvy folks.

Fact: The benefits of Open source in the past may have been enjoyed by universities and technology firms, but its advantages have prompted its spread into the general public.

Open source, by nature, is unstructured, and no one is around for support.

Fact: There are open source development models that govern the way that open source programs evolve. Companies such as HP, Novell, IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat and others pledge support for software, servers, and hardware.

What is Fedora?

“The Fedora Project is a Red Hat sponsored and community supported open source project. Its goal? The rapid progress of Free and Open Source software and content. Public forums. Open processes. Rapid innovation. Meritocracy and transparency. All in pursuit of the best operating system and platform that Free software can provide.” (http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/)

Who is Buckminster Fuller?

Excerpted from Launching Spaceship Earth – An editorial about R. Buckminster Fuller by Asha Deliverance: “R. Buckminster Fuller; inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet and cosmologist was one of the most enlightened mystics of the last century. His universal vision saw our planet as “Spaceship Earth”. He secretly took the responsibility of being a “ships captain” and with passionate intent made his goal helping to care for everyone onboard. Bucky committed his entire productivity to the whole planet Earth and its resources; undertaking to protect and advance all life. He found greater effectiveness in his work when doing so entirely for others. The larger number for who he worked, the more positively effective he became.” (http://bfi.org/node/694)

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