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Recursive FUD


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F.U.D. is an acronym for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, which is a phrase popularized by the Linux community to describe Microsoft’s original approach to discrediting Linux and other open source projects. Wikipedia has you covered if you need more information.

What I find kind of amusing is how a certain breed I like to call New Open Source Wonks Who Are Kind of Crap™ use the term FUD to create FUD around sticky issues.

Specifically, I came across a Debian bug report questioning the inclusion of WordPress in their stable branch due to some recent high profile security problems the project’s been having. Here’s one of the responses from someone who disagreed

I didn’t know the debian security team was entitled
to ask for package removal based on FUD.

WordPress is well maintained, both upstream and in
Debian. What the heck?

As to the “even more worrying” point, let’s just recall
that this is exactly what happened to openssh[0]. And
we had a number of Debian machines compromised. Shit
happens, I don’t think that’s a reason to ask for
package removal. This is plain and pure FUD.

So, “T-Bone” claims the security concerns are FUD (which they may or may not be) and then rather than address the specific concerns, throws around some FUD that dismiss the concerns as not important.

Recursive FUD #1: The bit about WordPress being well maintained is a non-sequitur… even if WordPress addressed all security issues 5 minutes after a vulnerable was found it still wouldn’t remove the burden on the Debian security team of having to maintain the package.

Recursive FUD #2: Comparing a particular situation to a slightly similar, but mostly different, event in the past is classic FUD.

My point here isn’t whether or not Debian should include WordPress, I’m glad there are people who think about these things but I really don’t care … sausage making and all that jazz. My point is this kind of lazy thinking permeates an ever growing section of the software/web development world and makes me embarrassed to be a developer.

Originally published March 9, 2007

Copyright © Alan Storm 1975 – 2021 All Rights Reserved

Originally Posted: 9th March 2007