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Feature:A Brave New World

CmdrTaco posted more than 15 years ago | from the from-grand-master-hackers dept.

News 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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screw 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995591)

I've switched from using Linux, since kernel .99, to FreeBSD. I'm tired of the suits, marketing types, hype and "Me too!" that now prevails in the Linux world. The suits screw up everything. Every job I've had it was the suits that were 90% of all problems.

Let them pay the M$ taxes and keep Bill King of their desktop and server.

Alan, you and Linus and Richard are my heroes. You guys are cool. But I don't agree with you on this one.

BTW - FreeBSD is really cool. Am really enjoying it. :-)


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995592)

that's what im saying, too bad i'm a nobody to a lot of people.
on the other hand i'm the light that leads a few home. heh.

Finally, some common sense on Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995593)

Lets face it: If Linux is to compete with Ma Bill and Apple, big money has to become involved, like it is starting to (IBM and Intel certainly qualify as big money). And if they are to become involved, they have to profit somehow, and that "somehow" is support, for which they will charge their corporate customers big bucks (look at what Red Hat is charging already). That shouldn't affect the individual user/programmer/geek who knows the system already except to perform the same support for the "average" user who wants to try Linux.

Now, if only someone with the bucks to do it would try an AOHell-type CD distribution to everybody known to have a PC of any kind.

Unfortunately, that attitude is suicide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995594)

Unless someone can get Linux (or FreeBSD or anythine else) to the masses, it will die a quick death. Remember GEM? Amiga? OS/2? DR-DOS? The're still around, but, except for an Amiga comeback, they're on life-support. FreeBSD will suffer the same fate unless promoted as well as Linux has in the last year.

Wise old saying: Money talks & bull$#it walks. FreeBSD is barely crawling.

I suppose it's an expert speaking here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995595)

Money too is beginning to influence Linux kernel development far more than before.

I suppose it's an expert speaking here.

SUit at a lInux expo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995596)

Yes, when I saw some photo of the Linux Expo,
I saw a lot of people in suit and it make feel
weird, does our little baby is going corporate???

There a cost for freedom, but the cost is more for corporate, please we don't need an other Microsoft...

Well I know we are not like that, but still money is money and it can change a cat in a cow.

It make me feel strange to see people in suit, because that means that the hacker is begining to lose his toy, well me we are to old for it, no never. PLease Linus stand and don't change in a cow...

Maybe we have to adapt to this new people, but please let the freedom speake and let them listen.

Feel, From Montreal, Quebec ;)

Linux gives suits FREE DEVELOPERS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995597)

Free workers? Dont have to employ them. Just take their work and exploit it! Has to be a catch.. No, these people really are that stupid.

No wonder Suits like Linux and OSS. Hell, we are saving them hewge amounts of $$$$

My Free Software ==> Money for THEM :-|

Yeah Alan. Expect suits. Lots of Suits. Lots and lots of suits. The wont hijack Linux. Hell no. Why kill the goose that gives them the golden eggs?

God, what are we worried about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995598)

The core functionality of linux that we know and love is mostly(except kde, etc...) GPL'd, and as long as we defend the GPL, that's something the "Suits" CANNOT take away from us! Besides, all of the money flowing into linux just means more jobs working with linux, and more resources to do really neat stuff. Take for instance Dragon Systems Inc. They have been holding out on porting Dragon Dictate(I believe originally developed on a unix system) to linux because there's 'no market'. With the influx of suits into the linux community, you know there's gonna be a need for point and drool, and voice recognition systems! I think that IBM throwing money at linux may be the catalyst for such things as 3dfx--ya know, i bought a banshee, and took it back for a nvidia card, damn--supporting linux. But still, these suits cannot take gnome or xfree86 or xemacs or gcc/gdb or any of the things that make linux/GNU great!
.....Darkharlequin(too lazy to log in!)

King Canute? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995599)

So like the Danish King who conquered England, you
would command the tide of suits from coming in?

I tell my kids all the time to stop growing, but they never pay any attention to me.

Unfortunately, that attitude is suicide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995600)

You are obviously a suit. $$$$$ is it with suits. That's all that matters.

You also judge only by how something sells. I don't know how many *BSD cd's sell but just because no one is making $$$ on it doesn't mean it has no future.

All the exaple OSes you gave were comercial products.

This "Free" software is not about $$$$$$. You suits can't seem to understand that.

Hey, I know you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995601)

Aren't you the guy that I went to school with? The one who quit listening to They Might Be Giants solely because too many other people were listening to them?

And didn't you call off the wedding because your fiancee wouldn't seriously answer the question "Would you still love me if I were blue"?

Man, you are whack.

KDE is GPL'ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995602)

That has caused some discussion ;-) Luckily the newest QPL is GPL compatible...

I suppose it's an expert speaking here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995603)

It actually goes back a long way. Linux got SMP by 2.0 because someone in Caldera gave me a Dual P90. This is at a time where home users didn't really care about SMP (I sure didnt except as a technical challenge). More and more high end stuff that isnt of 'geek interest' is likely to be done by funding.

So long as this doesnt change the Linus saying "that is stupid go away" filter system it is good.

More linux jobs 8)

If the axioms are false ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995604)

Why should Linux compete with Ma Bill and Apple? I hear this sentiment repeated, parrot-like, often around here and I don't get it. You remind me of drones.

Start 'thinking outside the box' and ask yourself honestly, "Why should Linux compete with Microsoft?" Competiting for market share is an idea purely from the land of the suits. Talking like this means you are half-suit, if not suit completely. If you ask me (and you need not believe me, ask yourself,) one should do something well because of pride or sensibility or because you can, but definitely not because you will be rewarded with "market-share."

If you want to compete with Microsoft, if you want the average user to use Linux, fine. But acknowledge that this is a business decsision.

So, I'm really just suggesting that you be honest with yourself. Either

  • use and develop Linux because it's free and right and not care whether "all-the-idiots-of-the-world(TM)" use it. The action here is to ignore the suits. They do not, can not, affect you.
  • go ahead and try and get a bunch of strangers to use it, get market share if it pleases you, compete with Microsoft, etc... and become a businessman. In this case, you should embrace the suits-- you could probably benefit from their lessons.

??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995605)

Please define "working for a living" in a way that excludes programmers but includes all other desk jobs.

Bye (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995606)

Luckily the influx of suits has not destroyed the element of choice. Use FreeBSD if you want--you are FREE to do so.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995607)

Religious fanatisism will kill Linux as surely as the worshiping of the "God GNU"

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.

The best way to control fanatics is to leave them to rant and rave and party and stuff in a quiet corner where they will do no damage to anything other than themselves. Meanwhile, exploit them.

Linux and Open Source is COMMUNISM all over again. Except that this time its controlled by those making money from it.

This is just software. This is not religion. You will have plenty of "free" time to hack; especially when you are unemployed.

Linux gives suits FREE DEVELOPERS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995608)

People have always done things for fun and given them away. I guess they always will. The corporate thing though is sometimes a bit misunderstood.

Firstly a lot of suits want to pay money for things. THey have a problem not doing so. I have talked to people who are basically saying "I want to use Linux but the boss needs me to pay some big name support company lots of money for it".

Secondly the business relationship is a bit different anyway. If I get random mail from someone saying "I'm having a problem with this and ...." and isnt rude, obnoxious and has read the documentation chances are I'll reply. If someone
from IBM or Linuxcare comes along saying we've got this problem then they'll get quoted business rates. Money in, money through, money out. Anything else would be unreasonable.

Similarly its important vendors doing fixes hand them back to the free projects that may be supporting them. Even if you aren't going to pay for development of something the least anyone can do is hand back the fixes they did.

Running a Linux "portal" since 1994 8)

TROLL! Alan is THE expert at everything! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995609)

Stop Trolling and go back to Microsnot. They like your anti-Linux FUD tactics.

What did YOU do for Linux today? Nothing of course, except to attack Alan. For me and many others, Alan is our HERO! We need more people like Alan to inspire us to work harder for the common good. Under the leadership of visionaries like Alan, all wealth will be shared equally in a truely Open system. Me? I want a fast car as I wrote an email utility and am more deserving. Others will get stuff too.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995610)

Stop Trolling and go back to Microsnot. They like your anti-Linux FUD tactics.

What did YOU do for Linux today? Nothing of course, except to attack Alan. For me and many others, Alan is our HERO! We need more people like Alan to inspire us to work harder for the common good. Under the leadership of visionaries like Alan, all wealth will be shared equally in a truely Open system. Me? I want a fast car as I wrote an email utility and am more deserving. Others will get stuff too.

Cox is Right About one Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995611)

Treat the suits gently, describe things in their language. Some of them are still human and might eventually see the light. Like it or not, Linux ultimately needs the approval of the suits. This may not matter for those of you who are still in school and have the freedom to choose what you use because nobody else cares, but for those of us in industry who have been fighting tooth and nail to gain the acceptance of alternatives to the ubiquitous MS crap, it is vitally important.

Double-edged sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995612)

On the one hand, we need the suits to start supporting linux, because that will drive up demand, which will then give us access to all the hardware specs that are currently being kept proprietary.

On the other hand, I think money has the ability to turn this freedom loving open source community into just another corporate rat race. Suits don't just throw money at you without expecting something in return.

We could say that what they are getting in return is a better OS. But the OS is only better for the suits if it runs the applications and hardware that they need. I think we are about to find out just what the open source community is really made of and just how well the GPL stands up in court.

Stand by comment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995613)

First, I didn't mean anything negative by it. I really wonder whether RedHat says, "Hey Alan, I know you're real interested in xxx, but do you think you could work on yyy first and get it done before we package up our next release?"

I did reread the article after you suggested it, and it seems to me like Alan is exactly talking about money paid for kernel-work. In fact, the tone isn't completely optimistic. Although, he seems to say that "as long as the work is gpl, it can't matter what direction it heads," I wonder if he's concerned that a slippery slope has been encountered. I wonder, too.

Suits / Hackers stereotypes misleading! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995614)

I agree 100%. Not only is the distinction misleading, the very stereotypes themselves are misleading. There are no "suits". There are no "hackers". There's just a bunch of different people who do lots of different things for lots of different reasons. That's it. Period. End-of-the-freaking-story.

The notion of any sort of unified "hacker culture" with shared goals, values, heritage, and history is largely a myth, as even the most cursory glance at any of the Linux-centric online forums will reveal. The Linux community is an extremely diverse group of people who value free software for many different reasons, and people who pretend otherwise just because they get a kick out of fancying themselves members of some half-imaginary subculture end up doing more harm than good (like encouraging stereotypes like "hackers" and "suits").

Regular, ordinary human interaction with people outside of one's circle tends to dispel such stereotypes real quick. Which is why it's always a little disturbing to hear people over the age of, say, 21 talking about "us" (whoever that may be) and "the suits", or any other stereotype. I can sort of almost understand a little bit of stereotyping based on what sort of job someone has (hence all of the lawyer jokes, or Dilbert), but even that's a bit naive and immature.

One of the best things Slashdot ever posted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995615)

If being an idiot is a capital offence then you'll
soon be able to run slashdot over a modem

missing the point somewhat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995616)

I would have to agree with alan on the spirit of his article but I think that there is a bigger picture here. Linux has taken a far different path to fruition than most (if any) other software product.Its principle power comes from the coalition of individual minds that have created an OS for themselves-that is a very difficult thing to infringe upon (the "suits" will try). This community ,as individualistic as it is, will probably do any contrary thing that it wants. The ultimate power of this community and of linux is that it changes to create what is the reflection of its members and that is a great strength indeed. This movement will only destroy itself if we let it by feeling manipulated or defeated-- we have the power the suits have none.

"a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" -Benjamin Franklin

I could swear I read this elsewhere. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995617)

I could swear I saw this very post earlier. I'm glad there's an watchdog out there warning all of us about trolls.

Linux gives suits FREE DEVELOPERS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995618)

Oh I will ad a PS to this one btw

o Nobody is stopping you writing software of your own that is "No suits allowed" (yep we just invented the NSA license).

o What difference does it make if 8000 people use your free software whether they are part of the 'hacker' community of now, or just pending imports into it.

put them in short beds and make them smoke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995619)

I tell my kids all the time to stop growing, but they never pay any attention to me.

it works.


Actually, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995620)


Agreed.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995621)

Right. There's nothing wrong with wanting freedom and quality to proliferate.

However, you will probably have to sink to a dangerous level to achieve this proliferation. In a way, it will be like forcing people to do something unpleasant because it's for their own good. Like learning their 'rightmetic' tables. Most people really don't give a shit if their software sucks or not. We do, but remember, we are the weird ones.

It's the night of the living dead baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995622)

It's good the way it is.
We like it.
If nobody adds to it or takes anything away from it for a thousand years, in a thousand years we will still like it. Old code never dies. Old programs are often better than the newest greatest dumbed down versions. If it all is put into a vault and locked away for a thousand years on CD and one lone programmer finds it in a thousand years he may think it is a fabulous antique but he will still be able to add anything he wants to it and make it do what he wants. If you are a programmer you can do that. You can take the minimum amount of resources and put them right where the rubber hits the road and you're done. I know a quick basic programmer who has a 200 line quick basic program which he trades futures with and he beats the pants off of all these know nothings who buy all these expensive multi media trading program collossuses they sell for Windows these days that are "extremely easy to use". Because he has 30 years of experience and has payed his dues.

And any hacker can do the same. It's all free and open, there are no restrictions. And we don't need you suits, we don't need any critical mass. All we needed was for the very first line of code to be free and all the lines after. We don't need your industry support. Free code never dies.

God, what are we worried about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995623)

Ummm, 3Dfx just announced massive support for Linux. 3Dfx Quake has been running on Linux natively for years. 3Dfx just released all the specs for the Banshee to the oss community. You can find them on their website. They've also pledged massive support for developers who want to write games for Linux using their hardware. Don't knock 3Dfx. They're doing more for Linux than you can possibly imagine.

Economic realities of life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995624)

DOS/Wincrap wouldn't have become universal without corporate support. Apple hasn't taken off as it should because it did not have that corporate support, then it lost the educational market that it had wrapped up because once kids learned to use a Mac, there was noplace to ply their "trade."

If Linux, FreeBSD, or any other system doesn't go to the corporations, then it won't go to the masses, then it will die.

This is called capitalism and a free market, something computers have not had to face since the Microcrap juggernaut started.

I Second that! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995625)

I'd like to second this. I've held several different jobs in the corporate world. And, quite frankly, the fact that software is free is a major strike against it. I've had bosses refuse to let me use, or even install, free software. (While windows went happily along, crashing about once an hour...)

So the major selling point here is not the cost of the software but its reliability and features. That fact that it blows windows out of the water is a really big issue for the suits.

Second, I'd like to do whatever I can do to encourage the "suits" to adopt and use Linux. This is from a purely self-centered perspective. That windows crud is *everywhere*. And, even when I have a unix programming position, I spend far too much time fixing the secretaries win95 boxes. (It won't let me print. I can't access the network. Etc. Etc. Etc.)

Lately I've started using a new tactic in this war. I've found it immensely entertaining to go into major retail chains, and ask which of their computers come with linux pre-installed. When they tell me that they don't sell any computers with linux pre-installed, I look really somber and sad, say "Ohh. Thats too bad.", and leave. Eventually, someone is going to get tired of losing business...

Big market share = more cool development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995626)

Start 'thinking outside the box' and ask yourself honestly, "Why should Linux compete with Microsoft?" Competiting for market share is an idea purely from the land of the suits. Talking like this means you are half-suit, if not suit completely. If you ask me (and you need not believe me, ask yourself,) one should do something well because of pride or sensibility or because you can, but definitely not because you will be rewarded with "market-share."

Look, I want 90% of the systems in the world to run Linux. That is an avowed ideal of mine. Why? Because I am lazy and greedy.

I like projects like KDE/GNOME, Applix/StarOffice, and the whole lot. They look cool, and I use them to get a lot of work done. I enjoy them.

But I couldn't imagine KDE being written in '93. Not because Linux was immature - it worked pretty darn well and X is far older than Linux anyway. I can't imagine it because the Free Source types didn't have the manhours to put in a project like that.

So, if 0.3% of the people running Linux get an idea in their head and implement it, then the more people are attracted to it the more cool stuff I get to use, at a minimum of work to me. And it lets me work on the ideas I have that I can give to other people for them to enjoy. And it'll decrease the number of people putting out programs built on Microsoft's shifting sands, which works for me too because that program is useless to me.

So don't think of Linux as a weak cow, with pin-striped vultures circling above. Think of it as a flame, and the suits as moths.

God, what are we worried about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995627)

The GPL provides legal protection. It doesn't protect the culture of openness and freedom.

I am an ex-mathematician who now works in financial markets. Many of my colleagues have also moved from academia to investment banking or funds management - and their attitudes have become much more commercial. (To be honest, the same thing is probably happening to me.) It's very hard to work inside a different culture without absorbing its values.

Of course, this might just be some form of natural selection - the ones who are really cut out to be mathematicians stay there.

Other way around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995628)

We need to adapt these people not adapt to them. People are easier to program than perl, and not dissimilarly tangled.

Enough with the stereotypes! (From "A Suit") (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995629)

I think that my line of work would qualify me, in the eyes of some of the people I see posting here, as a suit of the highest degree (worse yet, as a "marketing guy"). On the other hand, I have been using Linux and free software for about four years (a relatively long time even for members of the Slashdot community). I don't think that my knowledge of Linux is limited relative to most other people who post here. I do consider myself a member of "the movement" whatever that actually is.

Why, then, does my line of work make me any less valuable to "the movement?" More importantly, why do you think that members of the professional business community are incapable of adding to the momentum and strength of Linux with their own unique talents and capabilities?

Marketing, finance, and business strategy are fields of knowledge that are just as credible and difficult to learn (well) as computer programming, networking, and other technology specialties. The proper applications of these fields could do as much for Linux as any imagined harm you can think of.

This is especially true now that Linux is being considered by the larger MIS community as a (somewhat serious) contender to Windows. We are at a time that Andy Grove would call a "strategic inflection point" and the strategies employed by our loose federation of companies, non-for profit organizations, and individuals at this precise moment will be critical to widespread acceptance of our "product" (if that is, in fact, our goal). This is an area where experienced, well trained "suits" can definitely help.

Please remember above all else that the force (business) can be used for good as well as for evil!

No problem with 3dfx, just a problem.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995630)

with my timing. I returned the board because I thought it would take a long time for support to get to it. Guess I should watch what I pray for eh?

stuck between a ROCK and a ... CORPORATE WORLD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995631)

I have a serious question, which directly relates to this.

I am part owner of a very small software company that writes applications for the ms operating systems. I have been personally watching Linux for the last six months and I'm just amazed. I want nothing more then to throw ms out the Window, and go all Linux. Unfortunately, I need to eat food, and my wife likes to eat too.

I almost have the other owners of the company interested in Linux. Their concern is, will we get beat out the door because of the free software concept of the community? We obviously need to charge for our software because, if we don't, we don't have any way to afford our homes. And some us have kids to think about.

Now, the option of forgetting the company and returning to the "real" world is always available, but then I'm back right in the middle of the suits, which is the reason I started this company in the first place! Do you see my dilemma? How do you people who code for free survive? I assume you are students, or have other professional jobs?

So, the question is, are we welcome in your community? I hope so, because I sure do want to remove my windows partition from my computer.

Please advise,

Jason Wonase

(By the way, I use Linux as my #1 OS at home, and hope to start contributing to Open Source once I get up to speed.)

Linux --> Communist oppression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995632)

Anything anti-linux, cry FUD! TROLL!

Get a life, get a job, GET REAL

Mindshare, not marketshare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995633)

Linux is competing with Microsoft - or rather, MIcrosoft's products - not for marketshare, but for mindshare.

The bigger the "market" share there is of Linux, the more app developers - free/share/shrinkwrap - will develop for the Linux platform. This gives Linux users more choice, which is good.

Example: my daughter uses a lot of educational software - learning games and such. I'd love to be able to get (buy, even) stuff like that for Linux rather than Windoze or MacOS. Unless Linux gains significant mindshare amongst developers of such software, that just isn't going to happen. The adoption of Linux by Mexican schools is certainly a step in that direction -- but she may have to learn Spanish...

We're all in this together (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995634)

Uh, How has Linux, *BSD and GNU gotten to where they are now? What has the suits contributed up to this point?

Linux has doen well enough without the suits. It has gained and will continue to gain the support of hardware makers without big corps selling and making big $$$ off of it.

Linux, *BSD and GNU will not stagnate because IBM, DELL or Compaq doesn't sell it. They exsist because people have shared what they did to fill their own need.

Hey, I know you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995635)

Well, be a good little soldier and march in a straight line. Those of us that are whacked will go our own way.

I do not need your suits, I can think for myself.

Do you buy toothpaste because someone "nice" on TV said you should? That was a suit fool! That is their contribution.


Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995636)

You are assuming that Linux needs money in order to survive. HEY THERE - Linux is FREE. Get that? Money doesn't enter the picture. LINUX WAS CREATED AND GREW UP WITHOUT MONEY. IT DOESN'T NEED THE MONEY.

My opinion is if the suits want to play in our game, let them. But the game isn't about money. It is about hacking out the best code we can. If they think we will change to the money game, they can just stay with the fscking redmond empire they are so fond of.

(BTW, FreeBSD isn't doing all that bad's a better operating system than many you have to pay for)

SUit at a lInux expo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995637)

Hey, hackers can wear suits to.

Kinda convenient actually - lots of pockets.

If someone who calls himself a hacker can't wear a suit and speak the language of suits, he's kidding himself about how smart he is. Just think of it as part of a really weird API in programming the suits to do what you want them to.

A penguin, starving in a cage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995638)

There's one huge conflict here. It seems that many of the non-suit types, including those that answer my Usenet questions at 3:00AM on a Tuesday morning, are motivated by accomplishing a task... or getting their coffee machines to talk to their Ethernet..or playing games. Corporate types, OTOH, are motivated by making money. In Linux they see an opportunity to make a few bucks. It does not matter that their get-rich-quick-by-jumping-on-the-bandwagon approach could cause problems in the long run.
So a huge corporation invests a sum of money in Linux. No apparent problem here. But what happens when they can start pushing their influence or dictating outright the future of the OS? Or, what if the company then starts pushing their own proprietary "standards" onto the community with their own restrictive licenses? Or, consider that the Red Hat user base is large; if a large investor *influences* RH to not ship a competing Open Source application then the community loses.
Ideally there would be a Suit Branded distribution amongst a throng of smaller distributors. Lots of choice. Yet, this image of an emaciated penguin sitting in a cage while some suit-types gorge on the Linux profits (prophets?) keeps coming to mind.
The diverse code pool is Linux' strength. Will corporate investment in one or two companies kill off the smaller distributions? I hope not.


We no need no stinkin suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995639)

PROPOSITION-: Free code never dies.
PROOF-: (notanactualproofbutpassesforoneinscienceandthepre ss)-: (mathmajorspeaking)-: If you want to know the truth, follow the money. Watch the markets. The markets know the truth. Or at least their part of it. Look at Y2K. This code was supposed to be all dead 30 years ago. It's still here. It is not free. Hekba: there are still 5 million new uncut punched cards being sold each month in the world.
Now you are trying to propose/Imeantellme that free code will die? That free code needs anything other than it's own existance in time and space and its freeness to survive? Get bent.

(actually, quote is Ralph Waldo Emerson) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995640)

Actually, it is Ralph Waldo Emerson who gives us permission to evolve our opinions...

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. [
and suits - b] With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. -- `Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' -- Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

found at ermormon/selfreli.htm []

screw 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995641)

That's a pretty short-sighted attitude. I'd love more than anything to ignore the suits and keep on hacking... But I have to make a living too. I'm a sysadmin, and if it weren't for stuff like what's going on at that silly trade show I'd be stuck beating my head against Windows NT for a living. I, and many others like me benefit directly in terms of sanity and happiness from the suits' attention to free software.

This DOES Actually Suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995642)

This issue of library compatability probably deserves a separate discussion all its own. One time I downloaded a program source (can't remember what it was now). I had to upgrade one of my libraries to get it to compile. When I did, it broke tons of existing programs for which I had to download upgrades. It took all night. Yeah, I could have re-compiled the library in question into a private area instead of downloading the binary RPM, but that kind of defeates the whole purpose of a system like RPM. If this situation doesn't change, people who distribute end-user binaries will have no choice but to ship HUGE statically linked bloats.

stuck between a ROCK and a ... CORPORATE WORLD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995643)

Richard Stallman says that "Free software" means free speech not free beer. Unfortunatley from what I've seen many of the free OS users mean "free beer".

I think there is a place for commercial software in the Linux/*BSD/GNU world. But it is going to have to do something nothing else around does, or do it alot better than what is available that is free $$$ wise.

See what is already out there, see what you can do alot better and ask people what they need.

I would think porting other companies games to Linux/*BSD would be a good thing to look into.

Good luck!

Need hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995644)

Only reason I care is so Linux, FreeBSD, etc. get more hardware support. My goal is not to destroy Microsoft. I don't want Linux changed with packaging tools from hell, libraries stacked so high they would eat a 9 gig drive, and 1 meg programs that do nothing but display pretty icons. I liked Linux the way it was.

Also, many people will NOT use free (free beer) software. I know people who pirate Photoshop before downloading The GIMP. These people HAVE Linux and are no where near being graphics professionals. What Photoshop gives them is a sense of security. A steel wall. Cost-less software brings quick hacked-up (buggy) software to their minds (and I'm starting to get those pictures too after seeing some of the latest cost-less software).

I do believe Linux should be easier to use. Applications should interact and share data with each other. But dumbing down Linux hurts us more than helps.

I think it would be easier to create a new operating system than to dumbdown a UNIX-clone. All of this dumbing down is just hacks piled on a UNIX OS (Does RPM always work the way you want it to? I hardly got it to do what I wanted without --nodeps.).

Another thing, software developers in the Windows world will not release GPL software. Lets face it GPL is not very money-friendly (Please don't reply with "Red Hat does it" because Red Hat doesn't sell software. They sell support.). If you want proof look at Word Perfect, Quake, Quake 2, and in the near-future Civ3. Take a peek at Real Player. The only reason Netscape released Mozilla source is because they were practically giving Navigator/Communicator away for nothing. Now they can get more features without investing more in hiring developers. This way they can stay afloat with Internet Explorer around.

IMHO, I don't care whether people are still using Windows or not. People are ALWAYS going to be using different systems. Like many people use FreeBSD, others OpenBSD, some NetBSD. Some will use Macs, some will use Alphas. If Linux gets "the suits" then it will get all the software (closed-source at that). And if hardware companies decide to make binary-only drivers then only Linux will benefit. Linux will have a monopoly on everything (open-source developers too).

You only care about $$$$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995645)

Because suits are motivated by profits. Period. You do not care if the product is what the customer needs and if it is the best product that you can provide. You just care how much your gonna sell and how much profit there is.

Compatability's still Important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995646)

This is true, but unless there's absolutely no choice, new features should be added in a way that maintains compatability with the original calls so that the "breaking" of older dynamically linked binaries is minimized. Even the bozos at MS have been able to do that - I have windoze 3.1 binary programs from 8 years ago that still run with current MS DLLs even though they don't use the newer features. New features - yes, but as Linux starts to become popular with turnkey users, backward compatability will become more important.

God, what are we worried about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995647)

Isn't Jini supposed to solve all this hardware stuff?

Isn't Jini free code?

And besides, Go get SystemCommander and have Windows and Linux on the same machine.

Problem solved.

What's all this xor it's either Windows or its Linux thinking?

Just get a Linux 2D and a 3D accelerator for Windows. That's what I'm doing.

And I think that somebody should put out some free software that highly automates the process of making a new hardware driver. So that anybody who can code C could throw one together. Come On. Can't this vaulted free software concept come up with something like that and solve the hardware problem? And don't tell me it's not doable. Break your head in half and do it. Get out of the box.

Need to meet "the suits" halfway (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1995762)

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.

If the axioms are false ... (1)

innerFire (1016) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995773)

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.

One thing to remember (1)

bhurt (1081) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995774)

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?

Actually, no. (1)

Stu Charlton (1311) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995776)

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).

Agreed.. (1)

Stu Charlton (1311) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995777)

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?

Stand by comment. (1)

Robert Crawford (1742) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995781)

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?

Economic realities of life (1)

perfecto (2989) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995788)

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."

Condescending (1)

Andy (2990) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995789)

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!

Um, actually, it's not (1)

aheitner (3273) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995791)

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.

Suits do not generally think long-term (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995792)

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.

It's $$$$$ - but that can be good. (1)

GypC (7592) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995797)

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!

stuck between a ROCK and a ... CORPORATE WORLD! (1)

GypC (7592) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995798)

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!

Hehe- uh huh (WAS: $$$$$ - but that can be good.) (1)

GypC (7592) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995799)

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.

stuck between a ROCK and a ... CORPORATE WORLD! (1)

GypC (7592) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995800)

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 ;)

suit term: "Business model" (1)

dwhall (8750) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995802)

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.

Excellent Assesment! We need to keep on hacking. (1)

Pretender R*S (8816) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995803)

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!

Suits / Hackers distinction misleading (1)

Cassius (9481) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995805)

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.

Well put (1)

rdsmith (11517) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995809)

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.

One of the best things Slashdot ever posted (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995810)

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...

Idotic picking out of band... Can you read? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995811)

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 for the comment (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995812)

Congratulations from a man that wears a suit at work (sometimes).

This is worth to be posted on segfault ;-)

It is not software. It is phylosophy (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995813)

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,


Submarine (12319) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995815)

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.

Excellent Assesment! We need to keep on hacking. (1)

crisper (12620) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995817)

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.

TROLL! Alan is THE expert at everything! (1)

ipfwadm (12995) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995820)

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] []

We're all in this together (1)

raistlinne (13725) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995824)

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?

If the axioms are false ... (1)

raistlinne (13725) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995825)

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?

Suits / Hackers stereotypes misleading! (1)

raistlinne (13725) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995826)

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.

maybe they'll bring stability to Linux (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995828)

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....

Bye (1)

yAm (15181) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995831)

I'm afraid to say it, but I don't think we've seen anything yet. This is just the beginning of a deluge.


We are safe from the 'suits' (1)

Jim Barber (17125) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995834)

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!

Nice sermon, Reverend Cox (1)

logycke (17575) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995835)

I will take it to heart.

But someone misspelled "A Brave GNU World" in the title.

Profits (WAS: Actually, no.) (1)

SyntheticTruth (17753) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995836) 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.

Hehe- uh huh (WAS: $$$$$ - but that can be good.) (1)

SyntheticTruth (17753) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995837)

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....

Enough with the stereotypes! (From "A Suit") (1)

davek (18465) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995838)

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.

stuck between a ROCK and a ... CORPORATE WORLD! (1)

davek (18465) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995839)

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.

We're all working for free anyways (1)

Doomsayer (18910) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995840)

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!

Linux gives suits FREE DEVELOPERS! (1)

Derek S (19004) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995845)

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.

It's $$$$$ - but that can be good. (1)

Badgerman (19207) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995847)

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.

These generalizations are great! (1)

pointyhair (19985) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995855)

"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.

screw 'em (1)

Aqua Regia (86168) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995880)

If OpenBSD solves business problems as well as Linux, then the suits will come, and you will be unable to stop them.

People in the Open Source community are victims of their own success. Life's a bitch.

I hate to break it to you guys, but 99% of all software written is to help run a business. Most hacker sorts don't seem to realize this because just about every business has their own code for this purpose, so the community at large doesn't see it. But it's there, and it will have its impact whether you care or not.

The suits got ahold of Linux because it's starting to be better at doing suit-stuff than Windows is. If that ever happens to OpenBSD, or any *BSD, the same thing will happen.

Unfortunately, that attitude is suicide. (1)

Aqua Regia (86168) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995881)

Not all of us can be Richard Stallman and make money off of preaching to the choir and begging for donations from other hippies.

If we don't work for the suits, where do we get the money to buy our toys? Panhandling like Stallman? There's only so much of that to go around.

No, sorry, we gotta make a living. The most lucrative way to do that is to work for the suits. The more power we have, the more dependent they are on us, and the more they have to listen to us. Also, Open Source stuff makes that whole ordeal a lot less unpleasant than having to swim in Microsoft's shit.

This is why your attitude is naive. I'd rather have a little cultural pollution from the suits if that means I'm allowed to use Linux to solve problems.

Or you can be a BSD and hardcore GNU hippie and beg for handouts. It's your choice.

maybe they'll bring stability to Linux (1)

alexl (88144) | more than 15 years ago | (#1995882)

Yeah, very smart. Lets stop developing all libraries. That will give us a great 'stability'.

New versions of libraries don't appear because their author wants to make a lot of trouble for everyone, they appear because the libraries get better. And because application writers wants to make better application they generally use newer libraries in newer versions of their programs.

Take gtk+ for example. If i want to make a gtk+ program that can drag and drop from netscape i *need* to use Gtk+ 1.2. Otherwise such a program wouldn't be possible to write (if you don't want to reimplement Gtk+ 1.2 in every application!).

Thus, with you 'stability' comes the problem that we can't make programs as good as we want, and that *sucks*.
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