For the last two weeks, the Linux army has seized on Tuttle, Oklahoma city manager Jerry Taylor as a symbol of all that's wrong with the world. This man attacked Linux maker CentOS without cause, threatened to call the FBI on the firm and refused to apologize for these actions even after learning the error of his ways. Typical Microsoft-loving, bureaucrat thinking, right?
Our ongoing investigation into Taylor, however, has revealed that he may actually be a model for Linux zealots to embrace and follow.
Here's how Taylor described CentOS and the Linux fans who emailed him about the recent incidents to the local Tuttle Times newspaper.
"This is just a bunch of freaks out there that don't have anything better to do," Taylor said.
"When I came in to work Monday morning, I had about 500 emails, plus anonymous phone calls from all the geeks out there. (CentOS is) a free operating system that this guy gives away, which tells you how much time he's got on his hands."
Before some of you hemorrhage, let's take a look at the broader context.
Taylor came into work one day and found the Tuttle website he had created on the back of 22 years' experience working for government contractor Raytheon was down. Instead of a website, Taylor discovered an Apache server configuration page that mentioned CentOS. He's an Oklahoma man, and the Apache feather must have proved frightening. Taylor figured the configuration page was some manner of hack attempt on Tuttle, and he fired off a series of enraged emails to CentOS demanding that the Linux maker make the Tuttle website appear.
CentOS couldn't really help as the hosting company had created the problem, but Taylor refused to think this one through and threatened to call in the FBI. Thankfully, a CentOS worker went out of his way to show Taylor his mistakes, and the confrontation evenually came to an end...sort of.
In the aftermath, Tuttle was mocked the world over for Taylor's actions.
One Oklahoma news station caught onto the situation and profiled Tuttle as an "international laughing stock". The Oklahoman newspaper also had a go at Tuttle and Taylor (incidentally, the paper is still trying to figure out what "the registry" is. Stay tuned).
Taylor had invited such media attention. "I have no fear of the media, in fact I welcome this publicity," he told CentOS.
That was until the media attention arrived. He asked us to stop writing about him, pulled his email address off the Tuttle city website and left the office when the TV crew showed up to interview him.
So, how can a man who calls Linux a hobby project for "freaks" be a model for the open source community?
Well, Taylor's resolve must be adopted if the Linux community ever hopes to unseat Windows as the dominant operating system. Because surely now it's a battle of wills.
People will argue that Linux is just for geeky hobbyists. They will say the Linux community treats outsiders unfairly. They will say the Linux community argues from a position of insecurity. They will scream that Linux types are bigoted zealots who prefer to masturbate penguins rather than help customers in a kind, gentle manner. They'll claim that Linux's place will forever be that of a niche operating system until its supporters can grow up and face the reality that not everyone is like them.
Do not listen to such weak-willed sentiments. This is war. And wars for the customers' hearts and minds are won by ridicule, bad manners and SHOUTING!!! And, above all else, never give in to reality. ®