Yesterday, lead maintainer of one of my favorite Linux distribution, Linux Mint, made a blog post on the official Linux Mint blog (the post was moved since and the original message heavily edited) asking people from Israel and sympathizers of their cause to not only stop giving donation to Linux Mint but also to stop using Linux Mint altogether. This is a very emotionally charged topic for many people, even if you don’t belong to that region or believe in any religion. As expected, he received both support and condemnation for his belief and for mixing politics with Linux, in the form of 300+ comments. In the process, with his – heat of the moment – single blog post he was able to divide a small group of otherwise united Linux users. Some decided to stop using Linux Mint while others decided to start using Linux Mint just because they agree with Clem’s views.
Here is a thought. Don’t mix politics with Linux. One of the main idea behind the open source (and Linux) philosophy is to unite people regardless of your race, beliefs, language, height, weight, color, location. When someone contributes to an open source projects, his political beliefs are not a prerequisite for his code to be accepted. No one should have to agree with the philosophy of the maintainer of a Linux distribution in order to use that distribution (that’s why we hate TOS).
Hopefully Clem will get his emotions in order and concentrate on improving an amazing distribution.