Archive for October, 2008

Linux doesn’t need “Grunt theory”

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

 I was getting my Linux podcast listening in and listened to the Linux Outlaws and it brought me to my subject.

First a little background on my thinking. I am a consultant that works for various companies, in many industries using many operating systems and hardware. So, I try to come in and understand the business so I can serve them best. I have a cousin who is a low level filing clerk that totally subscribes to what I call “Grunt theory.” Grunt theory is a mindset that I’ve coined as people who think the company is always some massive evil thing that’s always treating them wrong. Don’t get me wrong. In most cases this is kind of true but you have to have a more discerning eye. Every company would go under if it would follow the grunt theory which would make them give everyone more money, more vacation days, very little employee discipline and not fire employees that hurt the bottom line. This is business people. Businesses are here to make money.

Ok, now that said, I get kind of upset when I find Linux enthusiasts falling into “Grunt theory” thinking. Microsoft and Apple are companies that are here to make money. That’s what they do. Now, I am all for opening people’s eyes to the vast amount of options that are available from open source alternatives. I seem to be able to bring a little Linux into every company I work with when they realize they can get great performance and features for free (or with little investment if I can get them to donate). The thing that keeps bothering me is people that rely on constant Microsoft bashing on non-technical areas. I’ve even got to give Apple credit for the Mac vs. PC commercials focusing on real issues and making very good attacks on them.

As a community, let’s stick to the issues. Don’t join the bandwagon and try to get community street cred by just aimlessly bashing because honestly, that’s the same thing Microsoft is doing. They can make aimless claims on Linux and because of their market share people listen. I have Linux running on everything all over my house but as I was typing, just now, I realized that I would be a serious hypocrite because I’m typing this on a Microsoft keyboard on one of my computers that runs Windows. I am seriously hoping for the day that Linux’s market share at least rivals Apple’s OSX because I wouldn’t even have this machine running so much if I could get Photoshop on Linux but I’m patient.

Scale 7x on FLOSS weekly

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I’m gearing up for the SCALE 7 conference so I was listening to some friends of mine Gareth Greenway and Shyam Kapadia on FLOSS Weekly episode 46.  Make sure to give that a listen.

Nothing new here people. It’s just a tool.

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I was at a PTA-like meeting last night at one of my sons schools with my wife (it’s actually like a class but that’s a whole other story). Next thing you know we were talking about “Things that get in the way of our children’s success.” Of course sooner or later subjects like Myspace, instant messaging and porn come up. It soon became quite a hot topic when some parents believed children should never have computers in their rooms.

I have a lot of thoughts on this subject being a young curious kid myself. However, no sooner had I thought about all the things I could say before my wife redirects the crowds attention to me explaining how our kids don’t have this problem. In short I explained to the class that a computer in the room is like having a whole bookshelf full of books because of all you can learn and that with some small tweeks you can provide some amount of safety. However, if I had wanted to spend more time on the subject I would have taken a different tact to address a more pessimistic mother.

After the class seemed appeased with the fact that they can provide a good amount of internet safety, one pessimistic mother had something to add. “Children will always find a way around whatever you do.” I didn’t respond however I was at first insulted by her defeatist attitude before I realized that the core of the problem was elsewhere. The child.

I tell companies this all the time as well as families: “The computer is a tool just like a hammer is.” That’s it! It may be slicker looking, made of plastic and metal and have lights but it’s just a tool. A hammer can be used to build a house or kill someone. It all depends on the operator of that tool. In the context of the class, I could have provided security on the level of the CIA on that computer however, just like with a hammer, if you want to do something malicious there are hammers laying around all over town.

“There is no new thing under the sun” is a verse from Ecclesiastes 1:9 (which I searched for on the internet). It holds true for all the things we talked about in class that people who watch the news all the time need to realize. Our world is no worse than 2000 years ago when Jesus was here and people felt it was the end of times. People afraid of homosexuals in office don’t realize that most of the Greek and Roman senates were openly gay back then. Murder and mutilation were paraded in the streets. Rape happened often. The world hasn’t changed it’s just newer and faster tools.

The cycle continues you just need to focus on the operators not the tools.