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You have to be smarter than that, Mr. Berlind

David Berlind recently blogged “ex-World Bank CTO: Desktop Linux Interrupted” in which he states:

If you’re a member of the press and you write anything that’s remotely critical of Linux’s chances of success on the desktop (which I have), the Linux community unleashes a fury of fire and brimstone upon you.

I try to stay practical about desktop Linux and I have seen a flare ups about things I have said in various Linux forums. But for every person who has flown off on some tangental invective about a term I may have used or mis-used, I have found that there is someone else who will post a level-headed “I think what he was trying to say was…” reply.

But I might proffer something to Mr. Berlind that is perhaps outrageous in our world of cable news networks and knee-jerk journalism: do some research before you go to print. Even in a blog you should do at least some cursory fact checking.

In the same article, Mr. Berlind makes this statement:

In my writings about desktop *nix offerings from Sun (Java Desktop System) and Novell (Novell Linux Desktop), one of my criticisms was exactly this OEM problem. Though the offerings come from two vendors with whom corporations are comfortable dealing, just try finding the hardware that they’re certified to run on, much less pre-installed on….

He follows this statement by riffing about Wal*Mart not being a top tier vendor or even a tier at all. Clumsy humor aside, this is where Mr. Berlind should have done his research and updated on the status of certified and pre-installed systems.

Not long ago, Steven Vaughan-Nichols of eWeek reported that HP, a small Texas-based PC manufacturer who must have sprung up overnight, are offering pre-build systems running Novell Linux Desktop through their Factory Express program. (Interestingly enough, Mr. Vaughan-Nichols and I have had a press mishap at one point, and I have found him to be very gracious at making corrections.)

IBM, who some time ago started certifying several workstation and personal systems for both SUSE LINUX and Red Hat Linux, goes so far as to publish guides in their Red Book series on how to migrate from Windows to Linux desktops. (Several references to Novell Linux Desktop in there…and it comes up on IBM’s site with a pretty simple keyword search of “Novell Linux Desktop.”)

And Intel has been a very active partner with Novell, even showing up in Novell’s kickoff webcast for Novell Linux Desktop back in December. In the Novell webcast, Intel supplied slides showing the system boards that they have certified for Linux. (A search on “Novell Linux Desktop” on Intel’s site shows that they are keeping on top of driver updates for their certified system boards, too. Sweet!)

It’s dangerous to blog without checking facts. The people who read online material like blogs are well-connected fact checkers. “Fire and brimstone” replies for opions of dissent are part of living in blogspace. But one caveat: by publishing ill-informed opinion of dissent is perhaps just being cheaply provocative. If that’s the case, you might find that people aren’t so ready to jump to your defense.


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