"There was an easy way to tell the difference between those who
were under parachute and those still in freefall: Use of the word
"solution." If there is anything in the entire planet more annoying
than computer marketbabble, I do not know what it is. As predicted,
it has infected much of Linux in a big way. In aforementioned news
conference, the poor fellow conducting the thing shamelessly waved
around what looked to me like a router (a useful device in traffic
control, now that I think about it). Ah, but it wasn't. It was a
"solution." There was a time, long ago, when I thought that all
this marketing gibberish had some technical purpose. But LinuxWorld
put the lie to that assumption. If one ducked back into the .org
section and talked with people there, one did not hear about
"solutions," but instead about software. There was plenty of
technical talk there, too, but it had to do with real computing,
not made-up stuff whose purpose is to obfuscate. Imagine if the
guys at the KDE booth had told people that KDE.org is "a solutions
provider, for a more rewarding desktop experience." And there are
no KDE ads that tell you that KDE will make your life better in
every way, but never manage to get around to saying just how this
"The delicious irony in all of this is that the people in the
.org section will still be among us a year from now, while a good
many of the gibbering marketers dangling from their
venture-capital-financed parachutes won't. Anybody who thinks that
the shakeout in the computer world -- or even the Linux world -- is
over is sorely mistaken and should send his or her money to me.
I'll buy one of the nifty Crusoe-powered Sony Picturebooks (the
camera now works under Linux) and as a return on your investment
send you monthly email about how much I'm enjoying it -- which is
more than a lot of Linux investments will give you."
"Because at this year's LinuxWorld we saw what happens when
Linux enters the mainstream: one of the community's greatest hopes
has been dashed. We were going to shake up computing -- change
everything. Instead, we have the same old stuff, the same old
hucksterism, sometimes from the same old players, using the same
old words, and headed for the same old destination."
"Once Linux concerns scraped enough money together to buy
themselves parachutes, it is as if the exhiliration of freefall was
forgotten. The formation of software companies is not a
destination. The accumulation of investment capital is not the end,
but instead the beginning, and a beginning in which dangers that
didn't exist before are suddenly introduced. Before that ripcord
was yanked, developers had only their pride riding on whether
anybody used their products. But once that wad of colorful laundry
opened, survival depended on it. Some of the old companies, grown
so heavy that their parachutes are insufficient to slow their
descent, have latched onto Linux. But they've learned nothing.
They're not making themselves better; they're making Linux worse.
There's been a lot of talk about how the excitement of Linux has
waned. With old companies treating Linux as just another "solution"
and new companies behaving like the old companies, can this be a
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