[Linux-aus] Sam did better with this one

Brent Wallis (IS) brent at datafont.com.au
Mon Jul 7 12:56:02 UTC 2003


> Brent,
> > that the FOSS community in this country was of one voice. Whether you
> > all agree or not, that simple achievement is astounding and a credit
> to
> > all respondents....:-) Achieving the same in a large company generally
> > requires a professional PR person...and a very big "policy stick"....,
> > it's a sign of continuing maturity in FOSS.
> Or is it that only one voice was heard?

Maybe a poor choice of words on my behalf...:-)
I have seen several "opinion and fact" pieces the last few weeks and when you get them all together, you find that beyond individual opinions, that there is a general feeling of sameness. 

IMO that sameness reads: 
"SCO v IBM is really just a stupid side issue... nothing to see here, move along."

That "convergence" is not a bad thing when trying to get a point across in the media, and, it's considered very difficult to achieve when there are many voices vying to be heard as there are in the FOSS community. I have no doubt that the proprietry software sector exploit this, evidenced by the constant reference to the words "hackers", "hobbyists" and whatever else can be used to push the perception that the FOSS community can not be "trusted".

The danger with the current SCO issue ( and probably an expectation in the proprietry sector )would be that an individual made a statement that was too radical or petulant. That would have made the other sides day, and, when you look closely at the media statements made by McBride et al, you see all the hallmarks of a troll... a wrong statement from the FOSS side, reacting to the more inflamatory remarks, would have created disaster for FOSS.

This is why I think their (SCO's) public statements (and desired actions) changed over the weeks. They simply couldn't get anyone to bite....and still can't...and I can bet probably never will.

Presenting a controlled and professional "face" these last few weeks has probably irritated them (SCO) more than us.

Make no mistake, McBride et al have a script in front of them, designed by a spin doctor somehwere getting paid a lot of money. McBride himself is probably 
a little weedy guy with very little brain.....what you see and percieve is someone elses painted picture....his public persona.

My experience with media liason has been in the areas of local politics and merchandising, and from very early on, it amazed me (disgusted me as well and still does) to see how "scripted" the act of PR is. I used to think "letters to the editor" were genuine...but the unfortunate part is that almost 60% are scripted pieces, part of someones campaign.

Someone (Con?) mentioned the "cultivation of media" relationships. There is a lot to be said for that, because it implies a better understanding on both sides will result. 

No matter that a journo doesn't put a true picture across in the first story, all you have to do is make sure that it is easy for them to get the right picture next time. "Easy" is the operative word. Tight deadlines and editorial pressure may mean that they don't get the time to make 5 calls to the same people trying to get a statement. If you have a major point to make, then a statement sent in the first instance, written from the POV of the journo helps them and you. Despite the obvious ways that this method can be exploited, it's par for the course, and a game to be played if FOSS is to achieve greater acceptance.


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