Support Israel’s Government? Linux Mint Developer Says Go Away

Note: Updated with original post retrieved from Google cache, I’ve amended my lede to reflect the statement that support from Israel, as well as those who support the Israeli government, is being rejected.

By Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R.

Clement Lefebvre, the lead developer of Linux Mint, a variant of Ubuntu, doesn’t want support from Israel or of those who back the Israeli government.

Lefebvre said so on the official blog of Linux Mint this weekend. That message was removed, but I found it in Google cache (emphasis mine):

This is not the place to talk about this but I am deeply touched by what is happening over there. I feel disgust and guilt with us passively witnessing it and our money and weapons supporting it. I don’t want to use my name or this project to push my own ideas about this but I spend a lot of time working and giving away, sharing and receiving to and from a lot of people.

I’m only going to ask for one thing here. If you do not agree I kindly ask you not to use Linux Mint and not to donate money to it.

I hope for these people to be able to live decently in the future and for me not to have anything to do with the misery they’re in at the moment.

I promise not to talk about this anymore. I don’t want any money or help coming from Israel or people who support the action of their current government.

Thank you for your understanding. This is very important to me.

He later moved the message to his personal blog,:

“I don’t want any money or help coming from people who support the actions of the Israeli government.”

Well, I support the actions of the Israeli government; if anything it hasn’t been strong enough against the terrorists who want to destroy Israel. But silly me, I never thought of Linux Mint as having anything to do with Israel or Palestine, except perhaps that Israelis and Palestinians might work together on the project, bridging the divide.

Not so. If you support Palestine, including Hamas, welcome. Lefebvre wants your support for Linux Mint. But if you support Israel’s defense against Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists, Lefebvre doesn’t want you.

One commenter on his personal blog asked:

“Do you still not want support for Mint from supporters of Israel’s government?”

Lefebvre’s reply:

“If I supported terrorists would you accept me to help you, to finance you and to interact with you?”

Lefebvre does admit to the existence of Palestinian terrorism, but doesn’t reject the support of pro-Palestinians, because “one is significantly more empowered to reach a solution to the problem than the other one.”

Lefebvre sees Israelis as the problem.

“It’s a moral stand point. You see a lot of people all over the globe complain about China, Russia, and take individual actions to dissociate themselves from them. I don’t agree with what Israel is doing and although they’re forced to take action and defend themselves I don’t believe they have their back against the wall without any other possible alternative.”

Yes, the Israelis could just lay down and die.

“So people when joining shoulder to shoulder with other people in making this operating system better and better you suddenly realise some of them are actively supporting this, you need to let them know how you feel.”

This is not a personal view. Lefebvre is talking about Linux Mint. He’s telling those who support Israel’s actions in self-defense to go away and not to help him with the project.

I’m honoring Lefebvre’s wishes and will no longer use Linux Mint, which I had come to admire.

Too bad.

(DISCLAIMER: As with everything I write here, this is purely my own opinion, and not that of my employer, the North County Times.)


11 Responses to “Support Israel’s Government? Linux Mint Developer Says Go Away”

  1. EW1(SG) says:

    Ah, so much for socially conscious and repsonsible software development for the advancement of humankind.

    Lefebvre is a wilfully blind and sanctimonious ass.

  2. Eric Blair says:

    I think that folks like this one should go live there for a while, just to see what they are talking about. To be sure, he might come back even more revved up, but at least he would have actually been there.

    Instead of getting his data from….?

  3. Well, I just finished replacing Linux Mint with Xubuntu (Another variety of Ubuntu Linux) on this computer. Tomorrow, the second and last one.

    Linux Mint is really an excellent OS, but after reading the chief developer say those with views on Israel such as mine were not welcome, I feel compelled to give it up. And Xubuntu and the other Ubuntu variants are really good as well. Moreover, the Ubuntu team is international, and doesn’t exclude people based on the trumped-up, ill-informed “morality” of a sanctimonious ass, as EW1(SG) so rightly said.

    I wasn’t looking for a political dispute with my OS!

  4. carlitos says:

    I read the comments on his personal blog. He never backed away or reinforced his original statement, just used a bunch of weasel-words when asked directly. Then he closed comments. What a chump.

    As for me, I’m happy with the new Mac OS.

  5. Mike K says:

    This is more evidence of the basic cluelessness of so many technical people. He has most likely read the NY Times and maybe an Amnesty International white paper and that is his research of the subject. Standard leftist dogooder literature. The basic college undergraduate is no better and the grad student may be worse.

    For example, even Wikipedia gets the “Silent Majority” of Nixon right but my daughter’s US History teacher told them, the Silent Majority were opposed to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, opposed to the New Deal and longed for the Laissez Faire of the 1920s. This is what they are taught. No wonder the Linux geeks don’t know any better.

  6. Dr. Capt.:
    If technical people are clueless, and liberal arts people are clueless, then who is left to have a clue?

  7. Mike K says:

    You and me and this guy. Of course, we can include a few others but I am very suspicious of recent college graduates.

  8. john says:

    If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. Way to go Clem. Heading over to make a donation now.

  9. ossified65 says:

    From the Linux Mint blog

    “Drawing the line
    Written by Clem on May 3rd, 2009

    As requested, I removed all political contents from this blog. Apologies to the team and the community for the initial wording and for posting it here. I now have a personal blog for this, and as this project has nothing to do with politics, there is no room for it on

    I fully understand that. I would like to thank all the people, through their emails and comments, who made me realize it. Mistakes are made sometimes and thus feedback, once again, was extremely valuable.”

  10. Robin says:

    Don’t imagine that you can continue using Linux Mint without supporting it financially. They have built-in moneymaking add-ons in Linux Mint like the default search engine, for example, that appends a Linux Mint logo to Google and “improves” (according to the file description) search results. The project’s richest revenue source BY FAR is it’s default home page and their Google tool. Clem said so himself, here:

    If you USE Linux Mint, you are SUPPORTING the project “involuntarily” – or at least unawares – unless you set a different home page and search directly from Google or your search engine of choice.

    Ignore the “how to remove it” advice in his post. It doesn’t work, and he’s not about to publish anything that would reduce his revenue stream. He’ll still have plenty of money to send to his terrorist friends in Hamas.

  11. Joe says:

    I just came across Linux Mint and it looked like what I was looking for. But after reading some reviews, I came across Clem’s Israel comment. So I had to do a search and now I’m here. Anyway, I’m not supporting Linux Mint and I’m glad I read the comment before doing so.