Dear Jesse Smith, creator, maintainer, and webmaster at DistroWatch.com, and DistroWatch staff in general.
For the better part of three years, we have remained silent about your ongoing efforts to affect people’s perception of our Linux distribution continuously. We have tried our best not to engage with your evident hostility and disregard to inform your viewers and visitors about correct facts of the Linux distributions you display on your website, especially ours.
However, we have decided to take a stance. It is today, the 6th of May, that we gallantly demand you to stop.
We do not accept for one more minute that the information displayed on your website about our product remains erroneous in what is no longer a “mistake” or “oversight” on your part. In addition, we do not accept the way you have chosen to describe our product, including making an absolute wild claim that we did not offer our product to the public before an arbitrary date, even if that is easily refuted.
We do not accept your insinuation that our product was a “commercial” offering when we never sold licenses, serial keys designed to unlock features, boxed products, or tech support, and what we did have were a plea and a donation/download widget.
This is primarily a cause of concern and confusion to us as your website does, in fact, display and accepts advertisements; you have a personal Patreon page, and your website also links to a donation section—none of which we do on our website. It is because of these claims that you unilaterally added to the description section of our page on your website, in explicit contradiction to your submitting guidelines, that our donation revenue effectively fell to $0. We can only assume that was one of your end goals.
We enjoy doing these things and yet must acknowledge that maintaining these resources takes a good deal of time along with some money. […]
Also, it is absolutely appalling that you or your staff decide to take the extra step to deter users from either reaching our “page” on your website or downright moderating which “user reviews” get published, coincidentally only displaying those that will affect us negatively.
We are noting that DistroWatch’s reviews, which have been few, consistently omit information—making it seem as though bugs are intentional or that we never provide any fixes—overall, manipulating people’s perception negatively and deterring potential users from even considering trying our Linux distribution.
We in no way deny the valid criticism that sporadically you have produced. We have valued that and even rushed to fix whatever actual occurrences of problems have happened. But we must insist that there is, in fact, a fine line that separates constructive criticism from the unhelpful remarks that you make. We have always been respectful with those that do not like our work, but at the same time, our inaction to respond to your provocations has allowed you to continue to affect us in this way and potentially even to become a risk to our jobs.
Because of this, we make the request publicly that you or your staff amend the erroneous information that you display on your website about our product, including logos, names, links, descriptions, and versions. Additionally, we demand an apology from you and the staff member responsible for the incident that finally led to this open letter. Our request is non-negotiable, and we will not accept anything less for our demand.
We reached out to you initially, hoping that the addition of our Linux distribution to your database and subsequent display on your front page would propel our offering and make it more visible. We did not reach out to you to have our work insulted, berated, and for you or your staff to call us “liars.” We take great pride in the work that we do. We’re constantly learning how to improve our processes to put out a better product for our end-users and potential users interested in trying our Linux distribution. We accept our mistakes and move onwards to make sure not to commit them again.
Thus, we accept that it was a mistake to reach out to DistroWatch in the first place, even when we did it with the best of intentions.
[…] We try to help smaller projects which provide useful software, but do not have large sources of income like Mozilla or The Linux Foundation do. […]
Your website claims to “Put the fun back into computing,” but you do not follow through with that. Does this apply only to projects that you like? Because your actions suggest, it does.
Please practice what you preach, and do a full-stop with your treatment of our work.
— Nitrux Latinoamericana S.C.
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