July 2011 Interview With Muktware

Referencing: http://techrights.org/2011/08/31/interview-in-muktware

Actually a pretty good article – and one where I have little complaints against. Roy speaks about some of his background and some views on Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman.

One of the questions he is asked, though, has a rather funny answer. He is asked:

We write a lot about controversial issues (criticising Apple, MS, Oracle and Mono) and some friends call us biased, how do you see living with that tag?

Roy’s response:

“Biased” is a word people use to describe one whose convictions are strong and vocal. In order to appeal to the opposition and get one’s point across, one might choose to use subtleties and even humour, even for the mere appearance of being “objective” (“fair and balance” as Fox News laughably calls it). The art of communicating or engaging with those on the other side of the fence is a tricky one. But it can also be an exercise in futility when the ‘opposition’ of a dyed-in-the-wool proprietary software proponent, e.g. Microsoft MVP. People who call you “bias” to discredit a claim are probably not fence sitters, i.e. these are people whom you may never have been able to convince in the first place. The use of the word is a shrewd attempt to discourage fence sitters from assessing the opposing point of view. To be labeled “bias” may sometimes mean that you are effective at what you do. Being called “libelous” is another matter altogether.

Why not actually speak about your biases, Roy? I have been documenting just some of them here. In IP battles you assume Apple and Microsoft are wrong no matter which side of the debate they are on, you call people who disagree with you “Mac cultists”, you make claims about Linux distros which are demonstrably not true and then refuse to comment when your claims are shown to be incorrect.

The idea someone would note your bias simply as a “shrewd attempt” to discourage others from considering your views is a bit silly.

There are other comments in the interview, Roy, where I think you make excellent points. Your view on the problems with much of our information coming from sources who publish with the goal to attract advertisers is right on the money as far as I am concerned. But then you talk about “buying and selling bias” – making it clear you are calling these organizations biased.

Given your above twist on this when you are the one whose bias is being pointed out, this really is rather funny.

You then go on one of your biased anti-Apple rants:

Apple spends billions of dollars on advertising, in order to sell commodity at a highly inflated price.

What company sells comparable products for less money? You never say. I have asked you directly to name a product that would serve my needs as well as the iMac I am typing this on and yet be cheaper. You have no answer.

People must embrace critical thinking skills and always question what they are told, what vested interests are at play, and whether claims can actually be verified.

I repeatedly have ask you, Roy, to verify your claims. You rarely or never do. And when I show your claims to be wrong you never acknowledge it. For example, you told me that Save dialogs on default software for PCLinuxOS would be consistent. I produced screenshots that showed you otherwise. I told you that older versions of PCLinuxOS had dialogs which were much more inconsistent and had many other problems. You denied that, too. My claims were easy to verify.

You reacted, instead, by publicly calling me a liar.

On the show he also said that he had tried KDE. Later it turned out that he lied because he said he had only judged it based on videos and/or screenshots.

I did not judge KDE on those screenshots and videos, Roy: I made those media files to support my points – to show where my views can “actually be verified” – something you claim to want people to do.

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