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Watch Out for Warp Plasma Coils...May 22, 1999, 18:24 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brad Barrett)
By Brad Barrett
I caught the tail end of Star Trek Deep Space Nine the other night. Apparently Cisco's son, Jake, got caught in an energy discharge generated by the warp plasma coil. This wasn't a good thing, as Jake started to grow old really fast and died in Cisco's arms later that night. Before he died, apparently they had figured out a way to go back in time and re-live the incident, but they could use the information they now possessed to alter the outcome (that part I missed...).
Just as the end was near, Jake looked at Cisco, all wrinkled and weak, and said "Remember to tell Jake to jump out of the way of the energy discharge from the warp plasma coil... ".
While it was a touching scene as far as Star Trek goes, it got me thinking. Doesn't just about everyone know that getting hit by an energy discharge from a warp plasma coil is not an ideal thing to be doing? And it's a given that you should make every attempt to get out of the way of one of these things? It just makes sense. So why would Cisco have to remind Jake of such a thing?
Well, my thoughts then turned to things happening in the computer world -- the current trends and everybody who's anybody jumping in on the now fashionable open source movement.
I was reminded of the philosophy behind the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman. He saw back then what everyone should have already known... Just like Jake should have known to get out of the way of that energy discharge.
People are amazed at the rapid growth of Linux, and are amazed by it's open development environment. They can't understand how a piece of software written by a grad student in Finland could have mushroomed into a 'culture' in such a short time.
But it is common sense. If you work in an open environment, where you are free to build and improve upon previous works, with a participant count that overshadows even that of the largest companies, what do you expect? Proof once again that cooperation and recognition for excellence should, and does work, far better than the opposite.
Duh... I guess that in the past decade or so, it has become so prevalant in our society to guard your 'intellectual property' and to fight to keep it proprietary, we have grown to accept it as commonplace. As a society, we have replaced cooperation with competition, replaced the good of the community with what's good for the individual.
Richard saw this way before most, and even now, many, many years later, some people still don't get it. And, unfortunately, I guess some never will.
Then it dawned on me... Just like having to remind Jake to jump out of the way of the energy discharge, sometimes people have to be reminded of the obvious... and sometimes, more than once :)
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