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Feature:A Brave New World 292

Alan Cox has once again given us an essay that is worth your time to read. he talks about something that is all to often on the front of my mind- especially here at LinuxWorld. He writes about "The Suits", money, Linux, why you should care, and what to do about it.
The following is a feature from Slashdot Reader, Grand Master Hacker, and all around nice guy, Alan Cox

A Brave New World

So the suits have invaded your favourite OS, do you care, should you care ?

The answer is probably yes. A large number of people are about to collide with a community they don't understand which has a long history of its own independence, and its own shared cultural references. Think AOL meets the internet.

The very first line proves this. I can talk about "a suit" and most of the readership know exactly what I mean. The "suit" is a shared stereotype of many of the outsiders of the community. If you are what we class as a suit and are reading this by the way welcome, do come in , you don't need to hang around the door. We don't even have suits in general as the first people against the wall, although we do have places reserved for a couple of them.

Similarly things like "See figure 1"[0] , "What was your user name again ?" and suggestions for using dead chickens are something that has a common meaning. Userfriendly isn't terribly funny to some people because they lack the frame of reference to understand ISP's really really do work like that. I feel sorry for them because now that I've finally discovered it, I've found it is a great cartoon.

It is important that when the suits do things that don't fit the community that people gently remind them. It takes time and it has to be done right but it does work. The average AOL user has become materially more internet-friendly over time. The continual polite chiding for using HTML email on mailing lists has had its desired effect. Also sometimes you need to step back and try and see how they are thinking and why as well as their background. Don't just criticise but try and explain in their terms why things matter. "See figure 1" is not the productive answer especially if they've learned what figure 1 is.

In the Linux frame of reference most suits are going to be coming to Linux partly because everyone else is and partly because of its excellent price/performance, and to give them their own buzzwords back - Total cost of ownership. I imagine most of the people cheering happily at all the proprietary software and value added (or as Richard Stallman likes to term it 'freedom deducted') software are in this category.

If you want to teach them the reasons why Linux is better, faster and more stable do it gently. In time they will come to wonder why they are pricing a commercial email system for Linux when the one on the CD-ROM works perfectly well anyway. They will wonder why they are buying high price network management tools when they seem to get free ones. Eventually they will get the message. The barrier has partly gone, no longer is it "but thats free software", its "thats free software, excellent - will that package work for our needs".

We need to gently teach them that technical shows they should be paying for speakers, they need to show us that for marketing shows the talks are really advertising so they don't expect to pay for them. We need to teach IDG that registering and causing confusing with the real Linux Expo in May is not the way we do things here.

There is going to be real turbulence ahead if history repeats (as always [1]). Certainly my own memories of the UK mainstream arrival of the show sold home computer, and even more the events way prior to that in the USA that Stephen Levy documents in 'Hackers' mirror the current happenings remarkably well.

Some vendors will probably vanish over the next two years while others disappear into big name companies and numerous new vendors spring up to take on new niches and angles of the Linux business. The whole business model is still in flux - do Linux companies sell Linux, do they use Linux as a tool to bundle software to the retail channel, do they sell custom systems built on Linux, do they associate with some vendors or do they stay application vendor neutral and thus avoid competing with application people ? All of these are unknowns.

Money too is beginning to influence Linux kernel development far more than before. Not at the moment in a bad way I'm glad to say. Free software reflects the needs of the userbase and their talents. This has always therefore focused on the hardware people really possess. You'll notice Linux 1.2 for example doesn't reflect 2Gig machines with multiple RAID controllers. The typical home hacker doesn't generally possess these. Instead we have the coffee-machine interfacing mini-HOWTO. The people who need these high end facilities aren't writing them however, they are using their own currency for contributing to the kernel. They are paying people or using their own staff to write the high end support and place it under the GPL.

There is always a risk that money will start to talk too much. "I know this feature is stupid but if we pay you $$$$ will you do it". Thankfully Linus is rather good at saying "no" to anything that isn't a good idea. That is bound to be an area where there is some friction. These people will also bring non Unix ideas with them too. Linux will probably gain from this because Unix doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas, it just owns most of them.

Do look after our visiting suits, they come from a strange land and have strange rituals like "Trade Shows". Be assured they find our rituals of talking about technical material in detail just as strange. They have been living under an oppressive binary-only single OS regime, and as refugees need sympathy and education. It's very hard to teach someone the value of freedom but please do try. And I'm told we do share some common rituals. Our "flame war" is apparently held in person in their land and called "project meeting".

Please be friendly and give useful directions any lost suits.

[0] -1.html
[1] I am a great fan of the "History repeats itself, it has to nobody ever listens" quote.

License: OpenContent

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Feature:A Brave New World

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    You just have to explain to them why Linux and Free Software in general make sense. And then maybe they'll understand that it's in their best interests to let the software remain Free.
  • Dont imagine for one second that IBM or any of the others give a rats ass about Linux. They are only here to make money. M O N E Y.

    Actual possibility to make "MONEY" often doesn't matter much compared to politics. Making money is always a possibility, and a strategy that always maximizes a profit in the short term at the current moment is always suicidal, so companies want to have strategy that provides them stability and protection from various possible, or imaginable dangers. One such strategy is lock-in of customers, bullying competitors, building a monopoly. Another is co-operation with things that are stable by their nature.

  • Yes, there are shady people out there in corporate America but they are the exception rather than the rule. Big business does not generally tolerate them (too much risk, for one thing). Furthermore, I still don't understand why some of the people who post here hear the word "business" and automatically think "Microsoft." That is a rather simplistic view of the world, n'est ce pas?

    Because in software business "shady people" from Microsoft, and ones of their type, have taken the control of almost everything. One either works at the company that dictates things, or for company that complies, and quality is of no importance compared to marketing, so they will do more for 1x2 inches place for a company logo on full-page Microsoft ad in a magazine than for any improvement to the product's quality.

    This can be changed, and in some areas it's not so, but in general "software business strategy" *does* mean "being an obedient servant to Microsoft".

  • "Card carrying C++ programmers"? definitely not. Alan is a C programmer first and foremost. The majority of Free Software programmers are C programmers. (And perl. And python. And and and. Just not C++.)
  • Posted by Digital Daemon:

    I couldn't agree more.
  • Posted by That one guy...:

    Well I appreciate what the "suits" can do. You cant have world domination by isolating and shoo'ing the business world. (There are a lot more machines in business than in schools).

    How about a new term....
    Geeksuit to describe the "professional" geek
  • Posted by OGL:

    Can we finally ban the AC's now Rob?

  • From a business mans point of view, if you can build a huge empoire like that then the chances of it failling is 0 to none. Mr. Ford ( you knwo Ford trucks and cars ) tought us that.

    MS won't die, but they'll be cut down to size, both by the DOJ and by the next recession (...see the air escape the gaping hole in the balloon...).

    Ford's doing great, but it's not as big'n'bad as it once was; where once they hired thugs to beat up on unionizers, they now depend more and more on cheap labor (and, of course, techie smarts) - but when technology improvements and bad labor practices no longer produce sufficient gains, then what?

    What about Rockefeller's monopoly? How are your oil stocks doing, now that that market has crashed yet again?

    MS is not forever. It will be a victory merely if the computer-industry playing field becomes sane; I don't care if MS dies or not. A lot of nice folks are there in Redmond, believe it or not; I'd like them to keep working there - but for a Good Corporate Citizen rather than for an 800-pound octopus.


  • I have to agree - sure, Linux is stable. I'm a recent convert, and I'm impressed what one installation of S.u.S.E. 5.3 could teach me. But I don't think Linux is EASIER yet than Windows 95/98. However, I expect that the attention of "The Suits" is only going to stimulate the development of more usability.

    "Easier" is a very relative term. After all, do you mean "easy to use", or "easy to manage", "easy to install", etc... There are multiple facets of "easy".

    Easy to use, Linux already has that if the machine is already setup. My mother could use WindowMaker and the GIMP just fine, but I'm not about to expect her to compile either of them, or even use a packing format with binaries.

    What we need are easier methods of maintainment - the equivalent of an "installshield" or "active setup" in the winblows world. Packaging methods don't solve this problem, hell, in a lot of ways they're just a glorified ZIP file, which, hell, my mother can't even figure those out.

    Definately something to think about. :)

  • >Their concern is, will we get beat out the door
    because of the free software concept of the community?

    Do you mean, will you not be able to sell a proprietary thing because the Linux community is so adamantly pro-free software? The answer is no. Applixware hasn't been burned to the ground, Opera's plan to port to Linux received positive feedback, etc. The Linux community is not monolithic; while there's a strong desire that the OS be free and open, many of us are willing to pay for useful closed-source applications.

    If you're worried that open sourcers will just duplicate your idea, the answer is they will, and so will other closed-sourcers. The only way to survive selling proprietary software is to keep improving it, whether you're on Linux or not.

    >How do you people who code for free survive?

    Some are students, some work for companies like Netscape and Red Hat, some do open source stuff in their free time, and some help the open source effort by improving tools they need for their jobs (like Corel helping out with Wine.)
  • think "anything I don't understand must be easy". Hence the condesending attitude toward "suits" in a large number of /. posts. I don't suppose business people like to be called suits anymore than I appreciate being called a "code monkey".

    Everyone is ignorant about something, but it's usually the people who are ignorant about nearly everything that do most of the flaming.


  • I basically agree with you, except that there is a non-business-related reason to spread free software beyond the hacker realm and into the real world: to afford our fellow citizens freedom, real freedom for its very own sake.

    Information is power. If information and the tools to process it are equally accessible to all (effectively, free), well -- that could shake things up.

  • In addition to the suits invading our world, we are invading theirs. Or what do you think "Linux in the enterprise" means? The culture clash works both ways, and it's debatable who is invading whom. Even Linus Torvalds needs to work a 9-5 job for a suit to put food on the table- is it that the suits are adopting Linux, or is it that the hackers are bringing Linux with them to their day jobs?

  • Of course, it's not just the MS rubbish which has been forced on the corporate world. But point taken: the "techs" need to be at least willing to meet the "suits" halfway.

    Of course, that doesn't help the problem of the "suits" who don't know there's even a cadre of "techs" out there trying to do this.

  • Some suits sure do think about $$. Most however, don't place it as the *only* important thing.

    A business requires a profit to stay alive. This is as simple as 1 + 1 = 2. This need is unfortunately often clouded by the greed of the few - not the many.

    And even more unfortunately, those who don't understand simple economics think that profits == greed, when this isn't often the case at all (though it very well COULD be).
  • It's only natural for one to want their favorite product to become more widely used, however people often lose sight of the actual effects of long term use...i.e. if they want to encourage at, they're going to have think like a "businessman".

    There's nothing wrong with being a "suit", if you can keep perspective on the details while you "keep your eye on the prize" - what do you want? And do you know what the consequences of getting it are?

  • Once upon a time the internet was text based. One could move about and read Usenet and ftp files with a 2400 baud modem. A 9600 was a real speed demon. Now the internet has graphics. Lots of graphics. I have a 56k modem and it is too slow. I need a much faster connection. Why? Banner ads. Advertiseing. Business. Suits stuff. Yes I like the graphical nature of the web these days. And it is mostly driven by and fought over by the suits. They rule. Again. As they always do.

    No they don't. Hackers rule. And hackers created Junkbuster [] which lets you filter out the mind pollution created by the suits. It's a beautiful tool and hits the suits where it hurts.


  • Like the guy above says, there are plenty of auto-mount things out there. Anyway, if they were using, say, KDE then it's mounted when they double click on the 'Floppy disk' icon. Having to unmount before removing the disk is a Good Thing. The amount of times I've seen people taking the disk out while they still had the file open in Word, and then wondering why their files get screwed up....if they had clear directions on "Always unmount before removing the disk" it would make them be a bit more careful, I think...

    IMHO, of course.



  • Methinks your problem is not the's RPM...

  • So it's bad if someone takes money to do someone else's work? It's a "slippery slope" if Joe Hacker takes $10,000 to write a device driver for Linux? Why? What if Joe Hacker uses that $10,000 to live for a few months while he adds some super-neat feature he always wanted to implement?

  • hehehehehehehe. could not, well, I am lying: I could have said it better, but am feeling too lazy to try, long week at work, working for suits and feeling the burn of such.
  • The best thing about LyX (and KLyX) is that when you use the various buttons and things to insert an object, it will show in the status bar how this could have been done with the keyboard. After using it for a few hours and taking note of the status bar you can do most things without touching the mouse. This slowly teaches you proper TeX without having to go through huge manuals first.

    I would rather keep my mind on the proof Im trying to communicate than the program I am using to do it.
  • Make the source independent on the jokes and
    put the jokes into a seperate configuration file.
    Then distribute the source with a non-offending
    sample configuration.

    IMHO, making offending jokes about former
    co-workers isn't exaclty what i call good style,

    -- Jochen
  • Having experienced the September that Never Ended, and the AOL deluge, I don't have a lot of confidence.

    I guess guys like me feel the need to always be on the edge. Linux just moved one more step away from the edge.

    Linux is dead! Long like Linux! :-)

    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • I wish I lived in your world. Everyone around here is interested in one of three things:

    1. Money

    2. Avoiding work

    3. Getting into each others' pants.

    What Color is your Parachute is a very common book to see on people's desk where I work.

    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • Linux would be dead if it weren't for the brilliance of the GPL.

    Minix isn't exactly sweeping the nation.

    As long as each individual is facing the TV tube alone, formal freedom poses no threat to privilege.
  • why hasn't gnu died yet then? gnu is pretty much universal and it survived without going corporate.

    "The lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths."
  • What a conscending article. But hey, if you are one of the great hackers in the world I guess you are allowed to be. Viva la kernel!
  • Thank you for re-iterating what I've been saying all along- both to the hackers (me and my peers' crowd) and the suits (my boss' crowd).
  • Alan won't agree with us 'cos he's a Brit and over here in the USA we're all cowboy-radicals as far as he's concerned, but the GNU movement is very heavily Libertarian.

    ESR describes himself as a "gonzo libertarian." What does this mean? That the FSF group as a whole thinks that leaving software in the hands of big, proprietary business is as bad as leaving it in the hands of goverment. It's pretty clear MS has enough power to screw over anyone who uses or resells their software.

    Being a Libertarian does _not_ mean being against capitalism. Libertarians are usually the most free-market minded people around. Not that commercial software should be illegal -- rather that you are sacraficing your freedom when you put the control of your computers into the hands of someone else, be it a corporation or the government. It's in your own interest to use Free (freedom, not beer :) software -- as Linux and *BSD show, it's better. Period. And that's market forces at work. If IBM, Compaq, et al. feel they can make money off this, fine. As Alan says, any "freedom deducted" product they sell can be redone Free.

    You're right tho. It's software, not religion. It means _nothing_ if we spend our time having religious flamewars and never _write_ the free software. RMS will use free software on the principle, but businesses who rely on their software won't use the Free stuff till its better -- capitalism again.

    Oh, and once a business is comitted to Free software (which it can never make unFree if it's GPL) that business has a simple vested interest in improving the software -- it's good for the bottom line to employ people like Don Becker, Alan and Linus.

    I don't see at all how it's controlled by those "making money from it". Anyone who wants can modify the Linux kernel or GNU OS. Even if you don't get your changes accepted by Linus, you're welcome to them as long as you abide by GPL. If a company needs functionality, it can add it, but control remains Free. No one can screw the user over. And that's the point.
  • Free software is a long-term investment. Writing your code and setting it free means that some other programmer out there is going to be able to learn from it, and in turn release what he learned 'into the wild' to seed other learning and development.

    Free software makes software *better*. Better software makes better businesses. Better businesses make more money. But this is long-term thinking, and usually suits are worried about beating the Street this quarter, not a bunch of nebulous, can't-prove-it, head-in-the-clouds bullshit.

    It is that kind of short-term thinking that will hurt Linux and free software the most. Free software is about ten or twenty years from now, not next quarter.

    Teaching next-quarter guys to think in terms that long will be very difficult -- and in many cases, impossible.
  • Firstly, I've just found 20 pence in my washing machine. Such ecstacy! 25% of fizzy water in my local pub!

    Secondly, call me a mad hippy, but this free software meets the suits phenomenon could have wider, positive social implications, rather than negative ones on Linux etc.

    Just think of the possibilities as the blinkered, prejudiced igroant masses that make up capitalist society have their eyes opened!

    There will be a positive step-change in the state of western society, a dramatic advance over night.

    Well, that's what the Great Unwashed will experience.

    Our economies will mushroom, productivity will boom, technology will leap forward.

    We'll all be richer in many ways.

    Time for my pills.
  • Cor blimey!
    Stike a light!

    Knees up muvver brown. knees up muvver brown...
  • did your system happen to work before the new lib came out? well if it did, then why are you upgrading? If you don't developers who are working for free to improve the software that you use, then stop using the software, and go use something else that only get upgraded once a year, and that you have to live with all the bugs and lack of features till the next release that you have to pay through your nose to afford.
    so, take a hint. no one is forcing you to use better software.
  • Ey yie yie, where to begin.

    Like a great number of extremely clueful right-wing North Americans, you have identified the twin sources of all that is evil. These are of course, Liberals and The Government.

    I'm not going to try to argue with you; you've displayed all the acumen of a 14-year old Rush Limbaugh fan. I will point out that, last time I checked, Republicans seemed to like the government just fine. As long as it was handing out tax breaks and public land to wealthy corporations, instead of money to individuals in need, of course.

    I won't debate the merits of social programs. But your virtuous Republicans are as much in favour of them as is Barney Frank. The only disagreement is who should get the money.

    Oh, and there's an alternative to governments. We can go there any time we want to. Check out Bosnia, Kosovo, and Rwanda, first -- you may miss government when it's gone.
  • I would put my secretary on linux... with WordPerfect and a postscript printer... why not? It won't crash like Windows 95... I'd just set it up for him/her once and never give him/her root access to screw up the machine with. Perfect!
  • Think free speech not free beer!
    Examine the GPL... there is nothing that says you can't charge for your software... just that you must make the source available to people who have the binaries.
    There is no reason to GPL if you're not using anyone else's GPL'ed code, except to be nice and contribute to the free software world.
    If you think your code will be ripped off and resold because it's something that the average Joe Blow would want, then don't GPL... But if it's, for example, software for blind real estate agents... who cares if you have to give them source if they ask? They most likely won't ask or even care.
    Remember, you CAN charge as much as you can get away with, and you don't have to give your source code to anyone who doesn't cough up the dough for the binaries.
    Best of luck!
  • Man... there's all kinds of auto mounting techniques.
    And telneting into your Mom's computer is generally easier than trying to explain things over the phone.
  • And this is just RedHat being nice... technically, they don't HAVE to let anyone download the distro for free. They DO have to let anyone who bought the distro download the source code to any GPL'ed RPMs though... or include it or send it to them if they have no net connection. (What fun UNIX would be without a net connection, I don't know ;)
  • Cox's writing was painful to read. Stick with code, my friend; your writing style is quite poor. Good point, though. I, too, find myself trying to explain the merits of open source to the corporate "suits." It must be done gently, and with GREAT care. If open source software falls short of the suits' expectations, it will be more difficult to convince those in power to adopt it again.
  • In suit-world, the term "Business model" scares the heeby-jeebies out of me. Especially since the PC "business model" is "trending" toward the cell-phone "business model."
    [enough with the quotes already]

    Why should you care? Money and information.
    Cell phone users have money, and they regularly give it away to pay off their outrageous cell phone bills. Computer users have money, and they usually pay the outrageous MS tax.

    What suits want in addition to your money is your information. They'll offer you free email service so that they can have your information; hell, they'll sell you a computer if they can have your information and shove their information down your throat.

    We MUST make certain Linux stays free, and is a success. This might show the suits that the industry is not trending toward the cell phone model. We must show that that we will pay for the tangible hardware, but we'll make our own software and share it. And you can have my information when you pry it from my cold, dead, encrypted filesystem.
  • We need to marry the suits and hackers to make the world a better place. Hackers are great at making software but are poor at hardware and enlightening the rest of the world.

    Suits can HELP.

    They can pay us to write "FREE" code.
    They can give us access to fun hardware.
    They can provide the SERVICES that the rest of the world needs.

    Many business don't need great software they need great services, implimentation plans, defaults, promisses of emotional security and support.

    Hackers do a horrible job of providing this.

    Let the suits provide services for hackers software, let them add back to the community. But let them come to the hacker community on our terms. Educate and assimilate. There is nothing wrong with them trying to make some money as long as they do it appropriatly. Sometimes you have the money and not the skill, hire someone with the skill, lots of software is service, and if people want to pay to have other people configure their systems, tell them how to do it, or just talk on the phone GREAT!

    Suits will bring propriatary software. Just don't let them do anything core to the Network or System. Propriatary applications are fine, they can be excellent inspiration for another "FREE" project.

    The world moves because we will it. Keep hacking, keep having fun and the world will be a better place. We like to get money for toys, housing, and food (except RMS who seems to consider poverty saintly). Those people who want our skills should pay, and in our free time we can hack. Just make sure that you get the FREE time!
  • So the Great Glorious Republicans will save us all then, right? Yawn. I almost took you seriously. But then again, you're nothing but an AC. I have no problem looking down on you for that only.
  • This is beginning to degrade into ridiculous paranoia.

    Its an operating system dammit. If you can't handle users who actually work for a living, go use OpenBSD.
  • First off, some of us Brits are libertarians too. Some even have big Ls. And there's quite a healthy anarchist contingent over here, too. I think socialism is dead, but principally because nobody believes any more in the concept of a large benificent authority figure. (The final death of feudalism perhaps? ;> )

    Secondly, I would tend to draw a distinction between the free market and capitalism. That probably sounds strange, and will get people wondering loudly in public if I have a clue. ;> Give me a hearing, though. Yes, I know that capitalism is built upon the concept of a free market - but over time, capital tends to centralise, and the larger a company becomes, the easier it is for that company to extinguish all competition. This pattern is ancient. And a lack of competition is the antithesis of a free market; it could be said that the whole purpose of capitalism is to destroy the very mechanism which made it possible. (Worse still is the old boys' club that can be found in any board of directors anywhere in the world; there's no meritocracy at the top - too many people would be out on their ears if there were. But that's just a moan.)

    How does this relate to 'free software'? Well, it's a demonstration of how the tendency for capital to centralise can have the rug pulled from under it completely. :> The big capital investment in software is writing the stuff initially. M$ write "sardine software". [1] But free software is generally written to address a need, not to generate sales, and it's not normally written on a commercial basis. And even if it is, it no longer represents capital assets in quite the way M$ source does. Which means that nobody can possibly dominate any part of the supply chain, but especially that nobody can dominate the crucial one - supply of raw materials. In essence, in software we can have a free market without capitalistic structures evolving - because there's no longer any need for them.

    Now we just have to figure out how to do the same with bread, and we'll all be happy. ;>

  • A warehousing corporation got hold of some sardines for 2p/kg. He sold them to a holding company for 3p/kg, which then sold the sardines on to a large food distribution agency for 5p/kg. This food agency approached a supermarket asking for 8p/kg. The supermarket buyer took a tin home and sampled them, but that night was taken violently ill with ptomaine poisoning. So, when he got back to work, he traced the sardines back to the warehousing corporation, and rang the MD up to complain.

    "Those fish are bad! People can't possibly eat them," he said.

    "What do you mean, eat them?" replied the MD. "Those fish weren't for eating. They were for selling."

    Hence "sardine software".

    (And this, children, is why it's important to proofread your posts. ;> )

  • != Linux Expo?

    What's he talking about?

  • Many of the same things I have been stating here over the past several months. Perhaps some of it will sink in since it comes from someone with a bit more popularity/recognition than I obviously have.
  • Being a suit is not a capital offence. Being an idiot though is...

    Alan is right, idiots shall die out sooner or later. The problem is how long it will take and will *BSD and Linux survive over this... We have an example of an idiotic (suit) system being a market leader so this is indeed a reasonable suspicion...

  • Can you read man?
    Read it again. Alan is not talking about money payed for doing kernel. He is talking about people with money who wish to run Linux and have been able to afford the iron which is worth a lot of money.

    In other words get yourself an Origin if you can (I can't ;-)
  • Congratulations from a man that wears a suit at work (sometimes).

    This is worth to be posted on segfault ;-)

  • Dear dumb troll,
    You got it wrong. OSS is not software, it is a point of view on the world. It is something the humanity has known since Platon and Aristhotel. It is:


    And the fact that software is what gives it wings is just late 20th sentury specifics. In ancient greece it was philosophy...

    So, dear dumb idiotic troll I would really recommend you to go back into high school and learn a little bit more about how civilizations are developed.

    Best regards,
  • 1. Most of the Linux community is paid or will be paid. The mere difference is that they are being paid or shall be paid not for what they write, but for what they do with the stuff they write.

    2. Every UCB student, MIT student, etc has to learn how to do stuff. Go and learn kernel programming with M$ if you can... Or design a market analysis system using MSWord+Excel

    Also the price per student capita using free and "free" systems is much lower so it is simple economical/educational common sense.

    3. You are correct that Linux/*BSD and friends are payed indirectly. You are wrong about the rest - they give a reasonable economical leverage in all small or very large environments. And this is common sense (or money if you prefer to call it this way).

  • Yo! Yet another grave case of dragging communism etc... where it doesn't belong.

    Reminds me of Communist newspapers. Anything they don't like, they tie it to capitalist oppression.
  • Not bad work for an epsilon, eh? But that really should have been Aldous Huxley, right? And if you ever look carefully at their writings, you will find that RMS, Linus, ESR manage to write compelling, well written prose to convey their philosophy, unlike the traditional stereotype of geeks/hackers/whatever. Now as to Gates having any programming skills...
  • I think you are completely correct. Having moved from a support role to a more "suit" role, I think that the best thing "suits" can provide to linux groups are toys and a good work enviroment. Linux people love toys and it is the job of the suits to give them these. A good, fun work enviroment, lots of room to let employees work whenever they want to from 9am-5pm or 6pm-2am, as long as they get their job done. Give them boxes on the net to host their own sites and have people with shell accounts. The people who should be treated the best are the engineers and developers, without them the sales guys have nothing to sell, or something that isn't good. So what if the sales guys make more money, sometimes, than the engineers. The engineers are getting payed pretty well also, and they dont have to directly deal with customers and kiss ass so much. I have become friends with many linux type people, yes the suit world also refers to linux people the same way linux people refer to suits. Some of these guys have turned into really good friends and really great when I have a question. Both worlds can co-exist and both worlds can profit from it.

    I just wish my company had COMPLETE linux support. Well its something to push for.

  • Current whois record for Registrant: IDG World Expo (LINUXEXPO2-DOM) 3 Speen St. Suite 302 Framingham, MA 01701 US Domain Name: LINUXEXPO.COM Administrative Contact: Strader, Charles (CS1290) cstrader@ONECHOICE.COM (617)437-7668 (FAX) (617)437-7697 Technical Contact, Zone Contact: Hostmaster Role Account (DS15-ORG) dns@DIGEX.NET 301.847.5000 Fax- 301.847.5215 Billing Contact: Benson, Juliana (JB21096) juliana_benson@IDG.COM 508-424-4832 Record last updated on 30-Sep-98. Database last updated on 3-Mar-99 13:47:37 EST. Domain servers in listed order: NS.DIGEX.NET NS2.DIGEX.NET ***** End of paste *** However, diffrent people own IDG are poseing as linux people. Just another in the series of stealing-your-domain people. I'm sick of hearing about name thievs. ( I'm not at all complaining about the domain, I think that was handled very well! )
  • Some of us are old enough to remember when Unix
    (remember Unix?) V7 was an academic plaything ...
    and then the first commercial license was
    negotiated. And then the first commercial product
    came out.

    And then Uniforum, a trade show/trade organization
    for suits was born, and tried to steal the stage
    from Usenix, the (traditional) user's group.

    A lot of lessons were learned in that era; perhaps
    we can avoid learning them again, the hard way.
  • First of all, I didn't see that what he wrote constituted an attack on Alan. He merely acknowledged that Alan, as a major kernel developer, would know what he was talking about when he says that money is influencing kernel development more and more.

    Second, what do you mean, What did you do for Linux today? I'm sorry, but not everyone in the Linux community is a programmer. Obviously they're not capable of helping the community in the way that you require. Is it not good enough for these people to help spread awareness and use of the operating system? I have several images at the bottom of my webpage [ []] that tell visitors that my site is running Linux and Apache. Who knows, maybe a few people have clicked the links and have themselves gone on to install Linux. Everyone on my floor at college knows about the "guy down the hall with the 100-day uptime." And a lot of people, after rebooting their Windows 9x machines several times a day, install Linux just for the stability. Does this count to you as helping the community? I hope so. So before you go flaming somebody just because they're not a programmer, remember, everyone has their role.

    Greg Smith [mailto] []
  • From what I have seen, Alan would be the successor to Linus. This was bounced around linux-kernel around November, and there wasn't any opposition to Alan taking over.

  • Free software methods are both a social reform and a better development method. Really.

    For some people, it may be both. But, there are loads of people who want the better development without the ideology of the likes of RMS.

    One doesn't have to believe that "Information wants to be free" to use, develop, or sell free software.

  • I think his point was that by abandoning something when it becomes popular you are just as much on the bandwagon as those who only start paying attention when something becomes popular. This attitude is very often found in music, "I used to like them until they got popular." Listen to "Know it all" by Lagwagon if you really want to understand my point.
  • If you haven't noticed, we all live in the same world. If everyone else uses Win*, then unless you live in a bubble, you're going to have to deal with it. I've had to deal with it more than I want to (i.e. at all) because it's so common. I've had problems interoperating in real-life environments because of all the proprietary software. I hate it. Maybe you can live in a crystal bubble. I want open source support for the latest hardware. That's not going to happen in a binary-only paradigm. I want lots of open source software, that's not going to happen with only 5 people working on it. I want to contribute open source software (I've done a bit of that already) and get a dozen people contributing stuff that I wouldn't have thought of or couldn't have done. that's not going to happen with 3 people using their open source OS and everyone else on binary.

    If you say screw them, you might as well say screw yourself. The free software boat has to be major and world recognized, or it's always going to be small and contracted. That is sort of self-evident. How do you think that it's going to be big if almost noone uses it?

    Also, why are the non-techs sub-human? I bet that you don't know the intricate workings of mechanics and what's the best type of car to get from a technical point of view. So you live your life and make the best decisions that you can within what information that you have. Would you rather that mechanics said "Screw you." because you aren't a mechanic, or helped you by educating you?

    Remember, we all live on the same world. If we let it go to hell, we're going to have to live in that hell. What are you going to do if the next CPU is proprietary and gcc doesn't support it? What are you going to do when your CPU dies (and it probably will), or your motherboard dies, or what have you? Are you going to go to antique shops to get replacements?

    The world doesn't stay the same if you leave it alone. Most of the time it gets worse. If you want things to get better, you have to keep working at them. To keep something the same, you have to continually improve it. Stagnation is death. Do you really want Linux and BSD and hurd to stagnate to death?
  • It's quite simple: so that Ma Bill and Apple don't control anything anymore. I don't want to live in a world dominated by Bill Gatus of Borg. If Linux et al. remain niches for the rest of eternity, there's a good chance that that is what we'll face. As I put it to a friend of mine: would you rather help your parents fix their win95 computer, or keep their Linux computer working?
  • Actually, there is a hacker culture, though it is loose. Remember hacker != linux. Linux was at least partially made by hackers. It doesn't necessarily make hackers.

    And the distinction between suits and hackers is quite real. Try going to a head of administration and explaining the technical intricacies of a particular program. If he's good he'll want a working understanding of it, and he may even be interested. But he's not going to be fascinated by it, and he's not going to want to work on it. (with, of course, exceptions, as there are to every rule.)

    That's good. Different people for different jobs. Each to his own, etc. But people are different. And there are groups of different people who are similar. Hackers are one of them. Read Eric S. Raymond's howto on being a hacker (I don't have the URL handy). That's a specific group that does, in fact, exist, though loosely.

    So do PHBs. So do "suits". As Alan said, being a "suit" isn't a degrading term, it's a descriptive one. It's good that "suits" exist. Many of them are good people, and they contribute a lot to the world. Some of them, just like some of every group aren't, and they have a net detrimental effect on the world. This is just life.

    It doesn't do anyone any good to pretend that everyone's the same, or that noone has anything in common. There are plenty of people who have hacking in common. And there are plenty of people involved in business who aren't hackers. Those are, generally speaking, the "suits". Are you going to deny that these groups exist?

    Are you going to deny that the members of each group will tend to know more about the main focuses of their lives, which tend to be different?

    I do object, as I think that you do, to the term "suit" as a degrading term. My father is a "suit" (though he isn't a manager), and he's a good man. However, there is a difference between him and me, and you can't get rid of that fact. Knowing our differences and embracing each other in light of those differences is what makes the world a better place.

    If we don't understand and accept each other's differences, you just get prejudice against groups. If you don't understand why most people aren't going to be that technically oriented and that you should help them, you'll just end up thinking that they're stupid and possibly sub-human.

    As long as you use stereotypes as a guide to what you shouldn't expect, i.e. if someone isn't a mechanic, you shouldn't expect them to know the fundamentals of mechanics. So don't get angry at them for not knowing what they have no reason to know. That's the useful side of prejudice, coming at something with toleration to begin with.

    Of course, learn the truth and specifics of whatever situation you are in as quickly as possible. Doing without expectations is impractical, so it's best to have the most appropriate expectations that you can. This way we all get along the best.

    Of course, never use a stereotype as a limitation. A stereotype should be used to not get annoyed with someone for spouting nonsense when they have no reason to know the truth. It should never be used to deny someone something, e.g. "you wouldn't understand that, you're just a kid."

    Learn about each other. Come to know what to expect from each other so that we can get along best. Then learn specifically about each other when we get the chance.

    If you get it wrong and a manager is a hacker too, then you've just lost some time being more patient with someone than you had to be. It's always better to make sure that someone understands the definitions of the words that you use and find out that they already knew (or knew better than you did), then to just blow right by them and have communicated nothing useful.

    It's all about how to get along better. that's the spirit that I saw in Alan's post. How to get along better and more pleasantly.
  • If you're going to use a foreign language to sound impressive, you should at least write it correctly:

    n'est-ce pas

    Sorry to be a stickler, but if I'm not allowed to call people on things like "it's" and "they're" (and, it seems, almost anything with an apostrophe), then I can at least claim that this is a valid point.

  • First I am not talking about stability in the sense that Linux isn't stable, I am talking stability as in to the libraries.

    I currently own a libc system, and now, almost a year later most newer software will not compile on it so it kind of bums me out adn yes I need to upgrade. But then gtk 1.2 comes out and it is not totaly compatable with 1.0, so now I have to have 1.0 and 1.2 till all the programs I have compile with 1.2. This is the instability that I am talking about. Maybe all these 'suits' will bring a sort of necessary 'uniformity' to Linux, wher eit will not matter what distro I have I'll be able to install an rpm from RH on SUSE or anywhere (currently that is not completely possible as there are often dep problems) or Caldera.

    united against M$ we stand divided we will fall.

    These suits will bring new hardware, and who knows maysome day I'll be able to buy ANY video card or sound card or computer card and have Linux drivers included with it in both source and binary form.

    I think that all this development is great under linux, but I wish that I woudl not have to upgrade my system every 3 months it seems to run a new program.

    These suits are going to want a stable lib to build on weather they develop there own or use an existing one..and end users will want one too....
  • New features are great yes, but backward compatability is also very important.

    You want more companies to develop for Liniux right? You want any video/computer card to work on Linux right?

    Well I am a developer and if I develop something on gtk 1.0 it should still compile with 1.2 Gtk 1.2 should be an extension of 1.0 not a differnt library. Go read the change log form 1.0 to 1.2 they deleted and rename functions. The same with glibc2.

    Now my 1.0 program will not work with 1.2 cause I use "gtk_label_set" and it has changed to "gtk_label_set_text"
    where is the improvement there? they have made the name longer? what is the logic there?

    If this keeps up Linux WILL be dumped by the suits.

    There also was no documentation on the best way to upgrade from 1.0 to 1.2.

    It is more than an inconvience when a user has to blow away his system or spend all night on something to get his system back in running shape.
    If I wanted to do that everytime I installed a program I'd still be using windows....

    Do you think that 'suits' will put up with that for to long? Do you think hardware venders will either. Or users?
  • GNU, BSD its not about handouts.
    Why do you supose so many people spend there time writing Linux/applications for Linux? They aint all Richard Stallman. Infact if Linux was just about Linuxs and Richard then we would be nowhere.
    Stallman has an ideal, and hes willing to sacrifce a cosy life for it, i wish more of us were like that.

    Linux/*BSD are more of a community than anything else. It works, infact even relies on the good nature of the community members. I`m not totally against the suits, they have some good (somewhere) but they need to realises that it is them that have to addapt to the situation. They are trying to rewrite the community, its not going to happen, the sooner they realise this the better.

    True we all need to eat, its a shame the world is built upon greed that makes money esentuial. But Linux isnt built on that. And if the day ever comes that greed runs Linux the way it runs the "Windows world" and the real world itself is the day the community will go elsewhere.

    Sure some people use these operating systems for price and techincal merits, but let us not forget the underlying principles that brings these about.

    Linux is Freedom, the suits cant take that.
  • by yAm ( 15181 )
    I'm afraid to say it, but I don't think we've seen anything yet. This is just the beginning of a deluge.

  • Why should Linux compete with Ma Bill and Apple?

    How can you taste freedom and not want others to be free? Maybe if enough people become comfortable with free software, we will finally see a viable alternative to capitalism start to develop.

  • I have read the above article and the first comment.
    I have been using Linux for a year, NOT at work, but at home. And Hey, I am not a computer hacker, nor will I be any time soon. AM I A HOME USER, a REAL ONE? Yep, and also a student who uses Mathematica and Numerical Recipes in C.

    Ok, let's get back to the suit thing.
    Did you know some people actually sell FTP software for 90US$?
    Did you know Office costs around 400$ Canadian!
    Or did you know Windows98 costs 150$CAN for an upgrade!
    This is the land from where these people come!
    There are actually people who buy screensavers!
    Ok AfterDrak is cool but does it deserve 30-40$CAN!, when RH Linux cost me 50$? NO!
    I have been using Linux and Windows for a year now. I had used Win3.1 before, and dos! And believe me, THERE are strange things out there!

    So what is the problem? People don't know, and we are expecting them to believe that for 100$ they can get an OS, an Office suite, ftp, telnet, ftp server, web server, netscape, C/C++, Fortran compilers, and text editors, plus LOADS of SCREENSAVERS!
    Add to that GIMP, xv, XPAINT, etc... and all you need is a X fax and telephony software (The software exist but no nice X or gnome or Kde interface I know of) to be more than loaded as a starter!

    It's hard to believe that you have been screwed for a long time! That people robbed you for all that time!
    The natural reaction is to say. IMPOSSIBLE! This Linux thing must be total crap to sell at 1/100 price, in its most expensive form, of what I had to pay.
    It's like when I bought My P166MMX for 2000$ and six month later I saw it was sold at 1100$.

    The only solution is to ask them gently if they would like to see it work! Show them, and offer them your shoulder so they could weep to their heart content before filing a class suit against Microsoft et al.

  • In my opinion, there is nothing to worry about. There is enough code out there that is already under the GPL or other such license to guarantee that it remains free. There will always be people out there who will start new projects and base them on similar licenses.

    I promote Linux to as many people as possible. In a number of cases I have found it hard to convince the 'corporate' types. I am typing this on a Windows NT computer at work because I am forced to use it.

    As the 'suits' become more familiar with Linux, then I'll have a better chance at getting permission to run it at work. This can only be a good thing. I for one can't wait for corporate acceptance of Linux.

    Sure, I'll probably be forced to run some proprietary apps, but I can also run my GPLed apps along side them. This will at least put me in a better position to be able to find GPL replacements for the proprietary software and promote them around the office (and perhaps with more success since GPLed apps won't be frowned upon as much now that they are accepted).

    I can't see Linux falling because of corporate acceptance, there is too much heart and soul behind it.

    But what if Linux does end up being misguided in the future? Well we'd still have a better OS than what MS has provided us with, and most importantly, there will always be alternatives. GNU Hurd and FreeBSD for example.

    Free software will live forever!
  • I will take it to heart.

    But someone misspelled "A Brave GNU World" in the title.
  • have a point. Most businesses *do not* want profit. Profit is taxable, thus bad. However, they usually want enough to reinvest into their business and to get the most out of what they invest in.

    But it's a bit of the greed of the few who muck things up. They want personal gain that comes from the net profits, but most businesses do not operate that way. They'd lose a lot to taxes in the long run.
  • Um, try to explain mounting a CD-ROM or floppy for access. Until that one little simple function is taken care of, too many people are not going to be productive on Linux. Most of us, we're spoiled because we're geeks.

    At one point, a few months ago, I was going to put RH5.2 on my mother machine to get rid of her Windoze problems...but I stopped and thought, "She already bugs me enough with Windows, but at least she can surf, listen to her CD's and handles most installations herself." Now, I would still be stuck at my parents place if I had done that. True, her machine would run a *lot* better and stable, but my sanity would not....
  • Yes, but remember that linux has a user base that has doubled every year, and this is without any sort of mass marketing and publicity (until now). "Suits" are there to sell an inferior product at a high price to an uneducated buyer. Linux is a product that sells itself.
  • remember this: you can make money from FREE software! You can download redhat free over the net, but they still sell many many copies of the software in that little red white and blue box. Also, the entire idea behind free software is to give the software away, then charge for the hundreds of other things that go along with it (tech support, books, seminars, etc). Of course, this only works with software designed for the public, while it could be adapted for designed for a specific customer or business.
    Just becuase a business supports free software doesn't mean that they have to live in poverty. It can make money.
  • Don't worry about writing software for free because we're all working for almost free anyways. Programmers make about 0.1 % to 25 % of what the boss makes today, we pay more taxes on that and we don't get to keep what we wrote. If you want cash, here's how I retired: rmation.html
    In the meantime, free software is doing more to destroy the suits than anything else in the world today, what other force could make M$' share price go down? I haven't payed for software in a year, am never going to and am going to buy a cheap computer without the M$ tax in about a month. So long suits.

    Vive le Linux libre!
  • Minix also isn't exactly as technically worthy as Linux.

    But I agree that a large component of Linux's success is due to the GPL.

    On the other hand, don't make the mistake of assuming that just because the GPL got it this far, it will carry it forever. It may prolong Linux's life, but if Linux does not get any mainstream, commercial, "suit" support, it will die.

    As surely as all the "alternative" OS's that came before it have.

    Linux has only been around for 8 years. In a real sense (outside of Linus' bedroom), less even than that. It is still very young.

    The source code to ITS [] was available, yet the system itself is long gone (realistically).

    I repeat: Open Source will not carry Linux forever.

    Sooner or later, we need the support from the suits. Not a fun prospect, but one that must be faced.
    - Sean
  • ITS [] was open source. It is now dead.

    Linux has not died because it hasn't had the chance to; it's only been around a couple of years.

    When it gets obsolete, as it will, all the free code in the world will not save it.

    A few generations, a few upgrades, perhaps.

    But sooner or later, it will surely die.
    - Sean
  • Whoa, whoa, cool it, dude!

    I think he was responding to the first AC, not you.
    - Sean
  • What good is free software if it can't be exploited? Are we supposed to display the code in a museum and admire it? Like it or not, the primary purpose of most software is to help people get work done.

    Also, what do you mean by "My Free Software"? From what I've seen, the people who actually do most of the development on open source projects aren't complaining about the increasing corporate interest in Linux. Especially when those corporations are willing to donate code (like IBM with the Apache project).

    Suits and hackers don't have to be enemies. If they make money off of your code but the code remains open, why do you care? Besides, they're probably making money by selling support, which is a lot more expensive to provide than the original code is. And if they have a decent relationship with you, you can probably score a piece of the profit. Meanwhile, free software flourishes and all the children join hands in peace and love.
  • The suits do not mix in, it is obvious how they stand out. When they realize that the profit margins will not support their new BMW monthly payment requirement, many will back out, kiss MS's mighty butt and drive away, soulless, shallow, but happy.
  • An acquantence of mine told me that, in business, boil things down to money to make a point.

    Linux does make good financial sense on many (but not all) levels. Would I reccomend placing a secretary on Linux? No. But if my company is going to set up a web server, I can grab a copy of Linux and an old unused system and have it up cheap. Are we going to need something highly customized - Open Source makes it easier ahd cheaper.

    The secret of Linux some of the Suits haven't gotten is this - in the right situation it saves time and money and gives more back than many other products.
  • I have to agree - sure, Linux is stable. I'm a recent convert, and I'm impressed what one installation of S.u.S.E. 5.3 could teach me. But I don't think Linux is EASIER yet than Windows 95/98. However, I expect that the attention of "The Suits" is only going to stimulate the development of more usability.

    It's open source - it can evolve quickly. my bet is that the attention of the Suits is going to mean some massive and fast leaps in usability and idiot-proofing very quickly. That, for Linux, I feel is very good.
  • Richard Stallman might be a hippie but he is not a panhandler. Since their earliest days the FSF have sold media distributions of their software and printed documentation for those who wanted it.

    You should visit their web site and read the _facts_.

    Stallman's outspoken opinions make some people uncomfortable but he is mroe of a pragmatist than the press give him credit for. Don't fall for the FUD.
  • Hey wasn't Unix invented at AT&T, arguably the biggest bunch of monopolistic "suits" ever (or are you too young to remember what the phone company was like before 1980)? They were even worse than MS today!
    The beauty about Linux and Open Source in general is that it can be taken over by anyone - "suits" OR techno-snobs ("I'm-better-than-you-cuz-I-use-the-command-line"! ). If you want to keep it hard so no one else can use it, your no better than Uncle Bill keeping it secret so no one can fix/replace're afraid to lose the POWER this "secret" Linux/Unix knowledge gives you over the regular folks out there. Don't they deserve to be freed from the MS yolk? Don't they deserve the benefits of OSS, like you? Apparently your self-imposed "alternative hacker" "cool" lifestyle is more important than REAL FREEDOM for everybody.

    Man I've read a lot of posting from "Amish of the Internet" with the "anything but a GUI/Windows" attitude on this site. If the Linux community is like you geeks (and I know it isn't!) it deserves to die out. I want Linux to be a REAL alternative to MS Windows, to get some REAL competition back into the market, to get some REAL quality stuff made out there. And there are some of us here who are going to do it, with a nice GUI interface, that's easy to install and administer and has lots of FREE (or very affordable) OSS software that runs on it. Yeah, lets make it so everyone can be productive and USE software on Linux(not just "hack" it). A bunch of us here are going to do it and there's not a fucking thing you can do about it (after all it is Open source GNU/GPL!)

    We're just inviting you along for the ride....
    if you had your way, we'd all still be building computers in our garages instead of buying great hardware at pretty cheap prices (I'm sure your too young to remember the '70's - thanks IBM!!!!(they are the suits that looked into a hobby community and created and industry)).

    Grow up. Some of us wear suits cuz we HAVE to, not cuz we WANT to...And I still listen to music cuz I like it, not cuz its "alternative" or "cool" or popular.

  • As I am NOT an American (and actually quite proud of that fact) I look at tripe like this and just shake my head. Its people with your attitude that keep intelligent people out of the US (if anyone was truly a "liberal" or as we like to say in the Great White (because of the snow and nothing else pin head) North, "left-wing", the LAST place they would go to is America). It's the governemt...Linux is a Communist conspiracy!...
    buddy wake up! People like you voted for the NAZI's because they had "good ideas" (they blamed their problems ond sombody else, too).
    This discussion is about "hackers" and "suits" (whatever those terms really mean) and how we can all get along and promote Linux/Open Source Software as an alternative kind of market/economy (unrestrained capitalism is just as bad as totalitarian communism), one that's fair to everyone who works in it and make quality products for people to consume (as opposed to MS...). One that's free, but not so "free" that people are exploited or left out(since that's not really freedom, now is it? Wait a minute, where have I heard this idea before? oh yeah! John Locke! Wasn't he a commie?). Welcome the "suits" and business in - but not the same old business with the same old practices - be brave and invent something new.
    I'd rather live in country run by "female public servants", pay high taxes but have good roads, free healthcare and safe streets than in ANY country where you could be taken even remotely seriously. (Hey, I already do!)

    By the way, I hope you don't have access to diesel fuel, fertilizer and a Ryder truck .....

    Love, a Schlocky Nieghbour to the North
    (like you could find it on a map anyway)
  • Well aren't YOU cool. Wasn't open source created so that things couldn't be kept proprietory and secret? Sound like you'd be quite happy to keep Linux out of the hands of anyone who isn't an engineer or geek. Try reading the GPL again.
    I suppose anyone who can't speak English is also a -excuse me- "Retard"? (after all they must be damn near neanderthal if they can't under stand a "simple" OS like UNIX or Linux!).
    Guess what? A lot more people than geeks like you use computers and alot of them like to "point and drool" as you so elegantly put it. Isn't OSS about having a CHOICE? Don't you rant on here so we (that is all humans, not just the ones with pocket protectors) can have a CHOICE other than MS? If you keep Linux as your little secret, hard to understand and install system that only you know how to use, isn't that just going to keep MS on top of the heap? If you want to beat MS, then Linux must be for everyone, including kids, clerks, offices workers, parapaligics, blacks, hispanics, women and,yes, even people who are mentally challenged (like Downs Syndrome, Autism etc)? Don't they deserve tho have a CHOICE in the type of OS and software they use, aquire or (gulp) buy? Or is that privelige reserved for Techno-Snobs like you?

    Maybe if you made a system that had BOTH a GUI and command line interface so you could CHOOSE which one you wanted to use, and it was stable (as we know Linux is) and easy to use, you might not get those "Morons" calling you at the help one would have to call you!

    But I guess then you would have no one to belittle in order to make you feel big and important and powerful. You were picked on quite a bit in high school, weren't you?

  • 47 years?

    PS Pretty gutsy talk for someone who won't sign ...
  • "Suits do not generally think long term..."- I've added this quote to a notebook I keep next to my PC. The notebook has a label on the cover that says "Inane Stereotypes I Have Read on Slashdot." I'm running out of paper, by the way...

    I would counter your statement and point out that some of the most successful and admired companies in the western world have been in existence for very long periods of time. Think of Ford, Procter and Gamble, General Electric, and Wells Fargo. All four have operated in their respective industries for close to or above 100 years and continue to offer products in the same categories on which they were founded. The first three companies I listed are the #1 most respected businesses in their industries (according to Fortune magazine's "Most Admired Companies") while the last is in the top ten. To summarize, business people seem to respect those companies that exemplify long term thinking over those that don't.

    If you have a problem with "short term thinking," it should probably be directed toward the technology/Internet industry and the million "dot com" businesses it has spawned. The hordes of techies running around the bay area with half-baked business plans in their back pockets and visions of IPOs dancing through their heads are as guilty as anyone for the condition you describe. Your problem is NOT, I should think, with the business world and "suits" in general.
  • That's a really interesting point of view but unfortunately its wrong. Yes, it's true American businesses are motivated in part by the need to build the greatest wealth for their shareholders. At the same time, though, the professional business class knows that the sale of bad products at unfair prices does not make for sustainable profits or wealth. This means that if they are to succeed as businesses, they should offer what the market (ie: you) wants at a price it is willing to pay.

    Businesses that "don't care what the customer needs" are businesses that file for bankruptcy before the end of their first year of operations. They just don't survive (it's almost like evolution). If you ask any brand manager at a major company what their job really is, they will tell you something similar to the following: "my job is to deliver to the customer the best possible product at a fair price." If you hook them up to a lie detector, you will see that they are really telling you what they believe. Why do you think that many millions are spent on market research each year?

    Yes, there are shady people out there in corporate America but they are the exception rather than the rule. Big business does not generally tolerate them (too much risk, for one thing). Furthermore, I still don't understand why some of the people who post here hear the word "business" and automatically think "Microsoft." That is a rather simplistic view of the world, n'est ce pas?
  • Au contraire, my friend. The user base has, in fact, grown because of *lots and lots* of marketing and publicity. The only difference is that to date, all the marketing and publicizing has been conducted and paid for directly by users and developers. We've held expos, advertised our user groups in newspapers and on the radio, and spread the word amongst our friends, family, and coworkers. Personally, I've probably been able to bring at least 100 people to "the community" through events I helped organize (not a big number, but I'm proud to have helped anyway).

    This has been marketing and publicity of the best kind (grass roots all the way, baby!). This does not have to change now that Linux has been "acknowledged." Now we'll just have a lot more money for our efforts!

    Isn't this what everyone has wanted for the past four years anyway? Can we ever truly be happy?
  • That's one of the funniest things I've ever heard. Once upon a time, I worked as a information systems project manager in a Fortune 100 corporation. I was, in your words, "the boss." All of the people I supervised were consultants and made at least 25% more than I did. They also made more than MY boss did.

    The funniest thing, though, is that on more than one occasion I had to "help" these highly qualified, highly paid programmers with their coding.
  • Why don't we just ammend the GPL with the following:

    "Only card carrying C++ programmers who have known about Linux for at least three years and have contributed to the kernel may use this software. Also, users must have a job in software development or as unemployed students (high school or college only) to use, distribute, or interact in any way with this software."

    Would this make all the paranoids happy? Imagine what it would do for Linux's popularity! Oh, Yeah! While we're at it, why don't we go to all the "suit" newspapers, television stations, and magazines and demand that they retract every positive story they have ever run about Linux or OSS? This is all great stuff that I'm sure will help us in the long run...
  • You have a good point about why some Slashdot people may have had their perceptions about business tainted (Microsoft has been shady to me, Microsoft is a business, therefore Business=Shady). Others, though, hold the view out of pure ignorance.

    The good thing is, I think we can make things right in the software industry. Pretty soon that full page ad that you mentioned may have a "Cool! It works with Linux" logo on it instead of Microsoft's logo. We will just have to join together, give what we can back to the effort, and proceed ethically into broader markets.

    As Bill Clinton would say: "We've been practicing the politics of personal destruction too long!"
  • Yes, making and selling toothepaste is, in fact, one contribution of business. So is making and selling computers, electricity, food, houses, and cars.

    Unless you're living in the woods and using a computer you built yourself, you're the fool!

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling