Thursday, November 29, 2007

Users are leaving Mepis? - Matt Hartley

Recently another news site, OSweekly, ran a post by Matt Hartley stating that users are leaving Mepis. Now, Matt Hartley and I have some history, specifically me emailing him directly, as well the editor in chief address for OSweekly, calling Matt's bluffs and correcting his factual errors in his articles. Matt is one of the people whom the Why Walt Mossberg discredited himself and It Just Works were aimed at.

However, to this date, I do not believe that Matt Hartley has ever actually ran a retraction. Rather, OSWeekly has consistently failed to meet minimum journalistic standards for reporting and editorials. Well, I'm not giving Matt the benefit of doubt by emailing him this time.

I am stating right now that Matt Hartley is a troll.

Here's why: In his most recent entry Matt Hartley claimed that users are leaving Mepis for other distributions such as PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, and so on. Slight problem with his claim. The MepisLovers forums are averaging 10 to 15 new posters asking questions... each day. Many of these users are coming from PCLinuxOS, Ubuntu, Sabayon, and so forth. Despite Mepis being in a state of of almost non-report from legitimate news sites, the project is still growing and attracting new users.

Matt Hartley also claims that Forum members lack experience. I find that hard to believe considering that many users receive answers on the MepisLovers forums. One of the current "it sounds like a joke" factors about Ubuntu is that nobody answers questions on their forums. However, in my own experience, as well as many other forum members of Mepis, it is not a joke.

What Matt Hartley did not stop to think about is that Mepis Linux has been around since 2003. Many of the current forum members are self taught, and have learned the hardway how to deal with certain problems. The Mepis Community was one of the first, if not the first, to put together a comprehensive Users Manual in PDF format for new users to Mepis Linux. As far as I am aware, no other Distribution has anything like the Mepis Users Manual to offer. To say that forum members lack experience is a direct insult to many of those involved with Mepis.

Lets also add some more factors into this consideration. Tex over at PCLinuxOS has said often that if he knew Debian packaging he would work with Warren in a heartbeat on a distribution collaboration. Many in the Mepis Communities consider PCLinuxOS to be the RPM Sister. Clem over at Linux Mint has also directly brought up the desire to work with Warren on a collaborative distribution.

So, let me pose this question: Why would other distribution developers want to work with Mepis... if the users were leaving?

Let me add in another factor : AntiX. AntiX has rapidly become one of the most active distributions in the lightweight sector for Linux development, and has also spawned a project to create an XFCE based spin. (Full disclosure, that would be me trying to put it together)

The point is, I can point to hard evidence that Mepis is growing despite the attacks launched by various news sites. I cannot point to any evidence to suggest that Mepis is losing numbers or that community members are fading away. I can cite the number of people providing updated packages or offering compiling services. I can point to users who have stepped up to work on giving the UI for Mepis an overhaul.

I can't point to anything that would support anything Matt Hartley has to say.

Right off hand, I think at this point OSweekly has crossed the line on it's editorials. Sites that hold to even minimum journalistic standards simply need to avoid linking to OSWeekly's articles. Enough sites refuse to pass the links on... and the site dies. Where as Distrowatch can reclaim some sort of dignity by apologizing to the Mepis Linux community, I don't believe that OSweekly can. It's time to just ignore them.
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