Trevor's Rant- by Trevor Smith

It was a normal day in a normal week and I was doing some normal browsing of the zealot-laden c.o.os2 hierarchy when I came across a very long and very unusual posting by Steven C. Den Beste. "What's this?" I thought, "rational thought in c.o.o.advocacy?" Mr. Den Beste wrote the following:

  OS/2 Advocates, what is your goal?
       -- To increase the sales of OS/2.
  OS/2 Advocates, why do you want to do this?
       -- Because with numbers comes strength and more products, and
          the survival of OS/2.
  OS/2 Advocates, how must you do this?
       -- By displacing sales of Microsoft products.
  OS/2 Advocates, who then is your opponent?
       -- Microsoft.
Does the above sound logical? You bet it does!

But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. The actual post detailed (among other things) the history of Sir Bartle Frere, governor of Cape Colony in 1878, and his war against the Zulus. Normally when I run across a post like this I quickly skip to the next thread, but something about this one kept my attention. Maybe it was the excellent writing or the interesting history (I was really rooting for those Zulus but you can imagine how that turned out...). Whatever it was, my patience was rewarded. What followed was an interesting, well thought out, well written and sincere analysis of how the OS/2 world looks from the outside. And some darn good suggestions on how OS/2 users might use their energies.

Mr. Den Beste suggested that we OS/2 advocates follow some simple wisdom if we wish to spread our cause (the use of OS/2):

Pretty simple stuff.

So what was the result of this eloquent dissertation? Were OS/2 advocates wildly enthusiastic to receive such good advice? Did Usenet readers agree completely and feel no need to post follow-up articles? Or did they post just to let him know they appreciated his suggestions?

Before I answer that, let me show you how he finished his article:

I have provided in this article several opportunities for cheap shots. If you take them, it demonstrates that you have totally missed the point of the article - and proves that your cause is hopeless.
Well, guess what? Cheap shots were taken. Advice was ignored. Morons were revealed.

What is going on in the OS/2 community? Are we all deranged? Here came a Windows 95 user, of all people, with good advice on how we can better present ourselves to the world and possibly spread the use of OS/2, and people actually attacked him. Some posters demanded why he cared anyway (being a Win95 user and all), some acidly pointed out imagined flaws in his logic and did all sorts of other silly and embarrassing things. Worst of all, they did them publicly!

We weren't all so ridiculous, of course. Some did comment intelligently on his article and I was so impressed with it (and a few other of his postings) that I invited him to contribute to OS/2 e-Zine!. Hopefully Mr. Den Beste will receive a kinder response here...

But there it was: a Windows user came to our door and plainly told us how he (and presumably the rest of the non-OS/2 world) sees our plight and people jumped on him. Frankly, I was disappointed. This man didn't attack us. Sure he pointed out some unflattering characteristics of the average OS/2 advocate but he wasn't exaggerating; we do have flaws!

You know, after the way some people act in some of the c.o.os2 newsgroups, I wonder if Mr. Den Beste is right. Maybe we have, "totally missed the point of the article," and maybe our, "cause is hopeless."

Come on folks, prove me wrong. Let's all start acting a little more calmly and rationally. At least in public.


Trevor Smith is the full time editor of OS/2 e-Zine! and part time evangelist. You know by now how much he likes to preach.

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