Cheap Tabloid Tricks: The Truth About Linux, Open Source And The Media

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Linux
OSS

Linux and open source technology should be a good news story for everyone. However, the way these topics are presented in the media often leaves enthusiasts unhappy. There is a widespread belief that open source alternatives are neglected in favour of commercial products; that coverage often distorts the facts and exaggerates conflict rather than offering insight; and that the right-wing bias of much Australian media dooms the open source community to being dismissed as a kook minority led by some cult figure from Scandinavia whose name no-one can pronounce. The reality is more complex, as reality usually is.

Note: This is the text of a presentation I gave at this year’s Linux.conf.au event.

Ever since I volunteered for this talk, I’ve had people say to me: “Why are you doing this?” Apparently there’s something really odd about a journalist giving a presentation at Linux.conf.au, unless that journalist is Jonathan Corbet from LWN. And actually he did have something to do with this, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Rest here