Editor's Note: News at 11
Dec 03, 2004, 23:30 (4 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers
By Brian Proffitt
So, I'm at my family home on Thanksgiving, just sitting around
watching football and letting my stomach digest. I have put my work
woes and cares behind me, which is pretty easy at my Mom's, since
she just has a 56k dialup and an iMac running OS 9.
(Yes, I know, bad son. But as a retired teacher, she's a
Mac-head. As my Mom, she does what she pleases.)
Eventually, the local news came on, and I watched stories about
the town I grew up in as I loaf on the couch and contemplate my
next foraging run to the kitchen. (Not only was work out of my
mind, but so was exercise, fitness, and all hope of
Then, quite suddenly, I heard the anchor say something about a
new browser for the Internet. Through the turkey-induced fog,
synapses began firing in the geek portion of my brain. Glip!
Browser... new... processing...
I missed the whole intro, but was alert when the clip ran and
the correspondent said: "Like millions of computer users, Bob Davis
found out the hard way that Microsoft's Internet Explorer has
This, I knew, was going to be good. I elbowed my wife and hissed
"Hey! Hey! They're going to talk about Firefox!" My wife, who
apparently assumed that she would not have to put up with geeky
behavior this weekend, rolled her eyes, sighed, then said "that's
nice, dear." (Note to self: must buy really nice anniversary gift
The report went on, quickly vindicating my suspicions: "...As a
result, Davis decided to dump Internet Explorer and install
Firefox--a free Web browser developed by a nonprofit group called
the Mozilla Foundation..."
"Yes!" I shouted, thereby stirring the rest of my family to
attention. "See? This is open source stuff!" I told them. "This is
the kind of technology I write about!" This was a bit of a
validating moment for me, because while I have very smart
relatives, some of them are not computer-savvy and thus are not
exactly clear what it is I do for a living.
"He puts articles on the Internet about penguins," one of my
aunts was once heard to say.
So, as the story went on, it turned out to be a pretty solid
review of Firefox, at least for TV journalism. They mentioned its
open-source nature, its Netscape heritage, and how a new version of
IE wasn't due out for a long time. They even mentioned other
alternative browsers, like Opera, Deepnet Explorer, and Safari.
(You can read the transcript at Dallas' KXAS. Not
my hometown station, but it's the same piece.)
In all, I was postively giddy with associative pride by the time
the report was done. Not to mention it was pretty cool to see local
news running reports on open source technology.
For me, this is much more important for higher adoption of OSS
and Linux than the New York Times or Wall Street Journal running
similar stories. Yes, they have the big national coverage, but
getting such stories at the local level reaches a much broader
range of the population. Local news, print or TV, is where everyone
comes to hear what the mayor's doing or how the local high school
basketball team is faring.
Brief mentions like this are the best kind of publicity for
Linux and open source. It put the technology in a
"you-can-use-this-too" mindset. We geeks knew it all along, but
when a non-geek source repeats the same message, I think it somehow
makes a bigger impact.
So there I was, sitting straight up on the couch, ready to
answer questions about this cool new browser and continue the
enlightenment of my loved ones. On the TV, cut back to the local
"You can find out more about Firefox on its home site of
Mozilla.org and on the technology Web site CNET.com."
"CNET!?! What???," I yelled.
My wife sighed again and went to get me a consoling piece of a
Schedule Note: It may seem strange to talk about this
after reviewing the recent holiday, but I must announce that I will
be taking some vacation time off next week.
I will be leaving the site in the very capable hands of
Contributing Editor Rob Reilly and Jupitermedia Editor in Chief Gus
Venditto. If the site has a different feel next week, now you know
why. I should tell you that the Release and Security Digests
features will not be running next week, but that is the only
significant scheduling change.
I will be back, hopefully rested and refreshed, on December 13.
Until then, Happy Haunukah, be safe, and peace.