I was talking the other day with a friend of mine who writes reviews and opinion articles about Microsoft and Windows-related topics. He had recently turned down a small contract doing some writing for a company that deals with marketing of Microsoft products, feeling that it would be difficult for him to remain objective when reviewing products that he had, in a different capacity, received a small paycheck to help promote.
Or, certainly, it could create a perception that he was no longer an objective observer (even if he still was). Which would also be a problem.
This made me realize how astoundingly fortunate I am to be working primarily within the Linux and Open Source world. Associations and relationships with individuals (and organizations), throughout the Linux space, are a blessing rather than a curse.
For example: I record a podcast every two weeks with the Ubuntu community manager at Canonical, a man that I also consider to be a friend. Does this mean that I can't write reviews of Ubuntu – perhaps even scathing, critical ones? Of course not. All it means is that I have a great person to ask questions in order to make any such reviews that much better and more accurate.
(Seriously guys. Unity is still too slow. Make it faster.)
I am also a big fan, and I've made no attempt to hide it, of the work being done by the crew over at SUSE – many of whom have, I am proud to say, become my good friends over the years. Does that make me hesitant to write criticisms of their work? Not in the slightest. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I know that they know that any criticism I have of anything they do comes from a good place.
(Your mascot is a chameleon named “Geeko.” Really, guys? Really? And how come he never changes colors? What good is a chameleon that always stays green? That little guy isn't going to last very long in the wild, I tell you what.)
I could go on and on, making similar statements about so many people, projects and organizations within the Linux world. But I think you get my point.
If I did a contract for Red Hat tomorrow...would I never again write a bad review of Fedora?
Don't be silly. I'd probably write more.