Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When friends spit FUD

Warning: This is not a technical post, rather just a boring rant and a call for advice. A friend of mine asked me what programming language he should learn. He was thinking of dwelling into modeling after doing some programming with R and Matlab. Then, I suggested he should give Python a spin. I think python has much nicer syntax than R or Matlab. Regarding speed, I have seen many many times that Python is simply faster than Matlab and R when using modules written in C or Fortran (which is the case for Numpy and most of scipy). And finally, both R and Python are FREE, so their amount of packages is extensive so every user has a great choice of ready made recipes. So, it seemed my friend was kind of convinced and thought of trying Python. But a couple of days later, when we chatted, he told me the following sentence:  

"2. anything that's open source is inherently less user friendly than commercial products."

Now, I am a dickhead, so I get mad when friends of mine, whom I consider to be smart, say stuff like that. Especially, when they sound so convinced. If you read my blog, you are likely to label this sentence as FUD. And you are likely to disagree like me. Personally, I don't know how to change a man's opinion who is so convinced. I also don't know if I should try. But it sure does piss me off and sets me on angry mode. It would be nice to know what other people do in such cases. I just don't want to be an evangelist anymore.

So, please give me and advice how to fight FUD when it comes from friends you really love.

Finally, apologies to my friend who got quoted without reference, and had to experience me getting upset.

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