I spotted a couple of strange things in today’s distrowatch.com news column.
First of all, he starts bashing the novell-ms deal. I don’t mind him doing that. However, I still fail to see what kind of significant impact this deal will have onto the world of Free Software (I will elaborate on that on a later post if I find the time). Joining the bandwaggon will give ms and novell lots of bad publicity, but it will give them lots of publicity, as well.
Anyways, that’s not my main concern. A couple of sections later you can read a very favourable review of Mandriva 2007. Unfortunately, the quick availability of non-free software components in Mandriva 2007 seems to be a big selling point for Ladislav. I wonder why he doesn’t use ms windows if all that non-free crappola a la acroread, flash, realplayer, codecs, mp3 are so important to him. The concern about mp3 is particulary ironic, making his complaints about the novell-ms deal look a wee bit hypocritic, doesn’t it? Ladislav is setting a bad example here, at least from the software freedom point of view. As long as people like him make the quality of the "GNU/Linux desktop experience" dependent on the availability of these non-free components, GNU/Linux will never be ready for the desktop. People have to be made aware of the alternatives, like vorbis, theora, gnash, xpdf and whatnot. A completely free software desktop is indeed possible, including all the multimedia bling. And its not very difficult to go there, actually. I mean, even he does mention gnewsense.
However, that’s not all of it. "Surprisingly," a raffle is announced immediately following the review. And what can you win? n boxes of …*drumroll*… Mandriva 2007 powapakk!!!
Coincidence? Perhaps? Perhaps Mr. Bodnar just sold out to Mandriva, pocketing some dough for a favourable review on one of the most popular GNU/Linux news and info websites.
Update: In a comment on the same page, it’s number 93 if you want to scroll down that far, Ladislav Bodnar rebukes that he never accepted any money or other compensation from Mandriva. He says that he bought the software himself.