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Sandals and Ponytails Behind Slow Linux Adoption

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the shave-and-a-haircut dept.


Eric Giguere writes "CNet is reporting that according to former Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn 'the lax dress code of the open-source community is one of the reasons behind the software's slow uptake in commercial environments.' In particular, Quinn blames the 'sandal and ponytail set' for sluggish adoption of Linux by businesses and governments." From the article: "Quinn, who faced plenty of scrutiny over his support of the OpenDocument standards-based office document format, said proponents of open source in government faced formidable opposition from vested interests if they went public."

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Yeah... (5, Insightful)

irimi_00 (962766) | about 8 years ago | (#15013681)

Its all about class and swagger.

Re:Yeah... (-1, Flamebait)

djdavetrouble (442175) | about 8 years ago | (#15013838)

and furthermore, we don't want to see any nappy hair or dreadlocks in our lily white corporate environment either !
Also, anyone that is darker than a frat boy on spring break is a threat as well. We will definitely not use any of their software.
If you are black, you better be as Huxtable as it can get, buddy.
Only hair trimmed above the hairline is acceptable, no beards, even if you have a chronic skin condition that prevents you
from shaving daily.

Prejudice is still alive and well. POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

Re:Yeah... (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 8 years ago | (#15013947)

and furthermore, we don't want to see any nappy hair or dreadlocks in our lily white corporate environment either !

Definitely dreadlocks are out. If you want to be a member of that culture, then fine, go do it. But don't be surprised when people treat you like a member of that culture.

If you are black, you better be as Huxtable as it can get, buddy.

Imagine that. If someone is black and they dress and behave in a civilized (i.e., "Huxtable") manner, then racism becomes a non-issue. What do you suppose that means?

It means that 90% of racism is culture, not skin color. And I have absolutely no problem with rejecting someone out on their ass based on their (or lack of) culture.

Re:Yeah... (2, Interesting)

desNotes (900643) | about 8 years ago | (#15013880)

Several years ago I interviewed with a company that did consulting with one of the big accounting firms (you know the one) and one of the stipulations for being accepted was to cut my ling hair. The president was sure I would not be accepted when dealing with representatives from the 'firm.' I left the company after 2 years, took another job (grew my hair back) that was hell and then went back to consulting. My first position was with the 'firm' that would not accept me with long hair. I didn't have time to cut it before my interview but was really to tell them I would. Not only did they not care but there were several programmers with long hair. Been there over 2 years and never had an issue with anyone regarding my hair. They are quite happy with my abilities and expertise. Maybe they put up with me because I don't wear sandals!

chicken or egg (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | about 8 years ago | (#15013682)

Eventually I think linux and OSS will take hold. I agree with the articles thesis: uptake of OSS (and, for the record, ANYTHING) is affected (negatively in this case) by sandals and ponytails.

In my long career pathetically ended after 21 years by an unfortunate "right-sizing" (let's get rid of the 20% MOST expensive employees in IT, but make sure to get rid of some of the kids too so we don't get sued...), I conducted an ongoing rant/argument/rage/discussion with my best friend at work about the impact of dress. Bob (not her real name) insisted not only are others impacted by your appearance and demeanor, but your very own work and feelings about yourself change based on your dress.

Being a long-haired sandaled techie I disagreed. It took Bob about fifteen years to win me over. I get it now, maybe a bit too late, but it does matter.

For doubters, read Robert Malloy's book [amazon.com] . I love and hate this book. It's hard to dispute empirical research... you dress for your audience or risk losing them.

Still I like to wear my rose-colored glasses and think good conquers evil eventually, and still hold hope someday linux along with OSS gains the purchase it needs to be a viable and dominant market force unto itself (it already passes the viable test...).

As an aside: this does take an interesting turn when you consider that the "dress code" for "good tech" is oxymoronic, i.e., while it is true business leaders and decision makers like/prefer business dress and decorum from people they meet and strike deals with, at the same time it's a time-honored tradition that the most savvy and high-octane techies wear cutoffs, sandals, t-shirts (that probably say "fuck you" in some obfuscated way), and piercings. Go figure. (From my own personal experience, I would add, I found little correlation with the raggedy techie look and competence and would even submit many less competent techies cultivated the look as an offset to their less-than-great skills.)

And, now I'm off to install the new Firefox /. extension (God Bless OSS)

Response from a long-haired, bearded techie ... (0, Troll)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 8 years ago | (#15013787)

To every suit who doesn't take me seriously because of my appearance (and yes, I do bathe regularly, and my clothes, casual as they may be, are clean and good repair):

Deal with it. I'm smarter than you. I could do your job in my sleep; you couldn't do mine in a million years. You need the product I, and people like me, provide; and good luck finding someone who dresses like you who can provide it. If you prefer to buy crap from other suits, go for it. Your competitors, who are also smarter than you, will happily deal with us long-haired freaks to get the good stuff.

At 37, I haven't suffered any harm from this attitude yet.

Re:Response from a long-haired, bearded techie ... (4, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | about 8 years ago | (#15013832)

At 37, I haven't suffered any harm from this attitude yet

Or you're too conceited to have noticed.
I would not work with you based on that comment.

Re:Response from a long-haired, bearded techie ... (5, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 8 years ago | (#15013883)

Deal with it. I'm smarter than you. I could do your job in my sleep; you couldn't do mine in a million years.

Exactly the ignorant elitist attitude that will place you near the top of the list when it's time to lay a few people off. Fact of the matter is that management needs tech and tech needs management, but neither needs arrogant know-it-alls like you.

At 37, I haven't suffered any harm from this attitude yet.

Time is not on your side. A more polite and still smart and pleasant to be around kid will soon replace you. Sure they will need some training and education that comes with experience, but the benefits to the management, that you are so quick to insult, of this new fresh blood out weigh your value.

Re:Response from a long-haired, bearded techie ... (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 8 years ago | (#15013903)

Deal with it. I'm smarter than you. I could do your job in my sleep; you couldn't do mine in a million years.

Just based on this post, there's no way you could do the suit's job in a million years.

Re:Response from a long-haired, bearded techie ... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013933)

At 37, I haven't suffered any harm from this attitude yet.

Operative word in the above: yet . It's fun to hold on to that attitude from your youth (note: not necessarily a "youthful attitude", but an "attitude from your youth") and all but 40's thundering over the proverbial hill and has you in it's sights, young man, and you'll soon show up (if you haven't already, unbeknownst to you) on the corporate "OhMyGodHe'sNotTwentyAnyMoreAndWhatIfHeGetsSenile/ Mid-Life-Crisis/RectalCancer/Whatever-itisAndLeave sOrWorseYetHangsOnUntilOrPastRetirementAndBecomesA Long-TermDrainOnTheBottomLineWe'veGotToCutHimLoose AtTheVERYNextAvailableOpportunity" radar screen that EVERY corporation with even a single "bean-counter" on the payroll has. Happened to my buddies. Happened to me. Couldn't believe it. Didn't agree with it. Completely understand it. And, like the song says, "we won't be fooled again" (as if it's not too late...)

Ah, on second thought, nevermind -- Lots of luck with that attitude and I hope you like peanut butter. See ya! (and I will, every time I look in the mirror. But hey, look on the bright side: that "middle-aged-spread" is easier to keep off when you can't afford Twinkies AND beer...)

Re:chicken or egg (1)

dedazo (737510) | about 8 years ago | (#15013815)

Bob (not her real name)

OK... is this a freudian slip or do you want to follow up with the untold side of the story? =)

Re:chicken or egg (1)

vertinox (846076) | about 8 years ago | (#15013829)

It's hard to dispute empirical research... you dress for your audience or risk losing them.

Hrm? Ahhh... So that explains Steve Job's Gap turtle neck!

Re:chicken or egg (4, Interesting)

Skjellifetti (561341) | about 8 years ago | (#15013875)

but your very own work and feelings about yourself change based on your dress.

While that can be a positive correlation for some folks, for many of us it is a negative correlation. The dressier the environment, the less relaxed I feel and the less I am able to concentrate on producing high quality product.

But I have noticed a large positive correlation here in the stuffy Midwest between dress and pay. My previous job was in IT at an airline. I took a 20K/year pay cut just so I could wear blue jeans and sandles. Fuck that business casual crap.

What? (3, Insightful)

kunwon1 (795332) | about 8 years ago | (#15013683)

Does -anyone- wear sandals and a ponytail anymore? That's kind of cliche.

Re:What? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013710)


They prefer to be called "Homosexuals" now.

Re:What? (4, Funny)

krbvroc1 (725200) | about 8 years ago | (#15013715)

Does -anyone- wear sandals and a ponytail anymore? That's kind of cliche.

Thats so Jesus.

Re:What? (1)

golem100 (581505) | about 8 years ago | (#15013840)

Well... Sandals w/o the ponytail. [Mountain climbing boots w/suspenders in the winter--like any good, former, VAX-Geek should!]

Re:What? (1)

irimi_00 (962766) | about 8 years ago | (#15013719)

Yeah, why?

Re:What? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 8 years ago | (#15013791)

Remember the pinko commies of the 60's erra? Now contrast Linux as a socialist movement (the whole one for all, all for one)

My fingers are burning. Without a doubt my comment will be modded as flamebait. INCOMMING!!! Fire in the hole!

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013927)

Yep and they all wore boring suits.

Re:What? (1)

panaceaa (205396) | about 8 years ago | (#15013748)

Does -anyone- wear sandals and a ponytail anymore? That's kind of cliche.

Yes, my ex-girlfriend does. And without her I'd probably know a lot more about Linux by now. :)

(I say this because she was fun to hang out with, not because she was evil.)

Marry them... (1)

Dareth (47614) | about 8 years ago | (#15013940)

Then you find out how really evil they are!

And you still don't learn anything about Linux!

Re:What? (1)

winkydink (650484) | about 8 years ago | (#15013761)

One of my best developers does, though he's old enough to have been doing it since it first became popular.

Re:What? (1)

Krach42 (227798) | about 8 years ago | (#15013868)

Does -anyone- wear sandals and a ponytail anymore? That's kind of cliche.

I'm sure some people do, but it's like "suit and tie" it means more than just what it says. Basically any "uncouth" dress.

In particular, Quinn blames the 'sandal and ponytail set' for sluggish adoption of Linux by businesses and governments."

I've just gotta say, this guy isn't paying attention to the industry. I interviewed at Microsoft with a guy in sandals, shorts, and a "Lego Star Wars" shirt. I don't recall if he had a pony tail, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Re:What? (1)

shawnmchorse (442605) | about 8 years ago | (#15013929)

I'm wearing sandals at work right now. My hair's down at the moment, but it'll be in a ponytail in around one hour when I get ready for Yoga class. No, I'm not kidding. :-)

Erm... (5, Funny)

setirw (854029) | about 8 years ago | (#15013702)

http://blogs.sun.com/roller/resources/roumen/micro soft_old_small.jpg [sun.com]

How did Microsoft become so successful, then? ;)

Well ... (5, Funny)

s20451 (410424) | about 8 years ago | (#15013936)

If nothing else, that picture proves that there is such a thing as the opposite of pornography.

He sees a problem, I see a competitive advantage (3, Insightful)

DavidNWelton (142216) | about 8 years ago | (#15013706)

People who are too shallow to see past how some dork dresses get what they deserve, sheez..

On the other hand, people who don't care whether you wear sandles, have a ponytail, are black, white, asian, a woman, or whatever, will come out ahead, because they'll pick stuff that is best, rather than looking to see if it wears Armani suits.

Re:He sees a problem, I see a competitive advantag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013853)

On the other hand, people who don't care whether you wear sandles, have a ponytail, are black, white, asian, a woman, or whatever, will come out ahead, because they'll pick stuff that is best, rather than looking to see if it wears Armani suits.

That may be hyperbole, but let's not confuse dressing well for work with dressing expensively. Armanis could just as lose as much respect as dressing up in shorts and sandals, depending on the work culture. Ultimately, it comes down to how well the person gets along with the team. After all, you don't always want to deal with a know-it-all asshole, even if/when (s)he is really good. If the company can afford it, they'll fire him (which is what happened here at work). In some places of work (thankfully not here), if an individual comes in looking as if they just came back from the beach, it can be inferred by others that the person has little respect for the work they do.

In the end, of course, it comes to the quality of your work. But if you make it hard for people to want to work with you, eventually a threshold is reached and you're no longer welcome there. You or your ideas.

Re:He sees a problem, I see a competitive advantag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013855)

It's all about oxygen supply for the brain. Lose the neckties. But seriously, he's right: Not dressing fashionably is a symptom of not thinking about the way you're perceived by others. If you don't care about what others want, how are you going to supply the software they need? The Open Source developer user disconnect is classic.

Re:He sees a problem, I see a competitive advantag (2, Informative)

The Angry Mick (632931) | about 8 years ago | (#15013874)

pick stuff that is best, rather than looking to see if it wears Armani suits.

Let's not forget that all of those C-level types currently on trial were very well dressed . . .

Get what they deserve (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 years ago | (#15013896)

But, it works both ways, If NO ONE reconizes the poorly dressed dork only beacuse of his dress, then he is still screwed as he never gets a chance to prove his worth beyond what he chooses to wear..

Appearance is how the world works. If you want to be part of it, you have to deal with it.

Re:He sees a problem, I see a competitive advantag (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 8 years ago | (#15013931)

"On the other hand, people who don't care whether you wear sandals, have a ponytail, are black, white, asian, a woman, or whatever, will come out ahead, because they'll pick stuff that is best, rather than looking to see if it wears Armani suits."
Okay what you wear is a choice. Your race and gender are not.
Judging people by their choices is completely logical. Somebody that does the sandal and ponytail thing may make a good developer or do well in RnD. They may not do well as a network admin, CTO, or help desk person. A person that dress how they want and doesn't care about how they look may also not care about being on time, meeting deadlines, following guidelines, or security procedures.
I don't care what gender or race you are I do care if you show bad judgement and a lack adaptability. Your statment about being shallow is exactly backwards. How someone dresses for an interview shows a lot more about their attitude than there technical skill. Just like if I do see a developer that is wearing a tee shirt, jeans, and a ponytail I don't assume he can code his way out of a wet paper sack.
How you dress at an interview says a lot about how much effort you will make to fit in and that is important.

A great disturbance in fashion (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013707)

If they think *that's* bad, wait 'till they see 'em naked!

Never judge a book (1)

MECC (8478) | about 8 years ago | (#15013708)

Never judge a book by its cover. Didn't these guys pay attention to their grandmas?

The Sad Truth.. (1)

seven of five (578993) | about 8 years ago | (#15013720)

It's contagious. Adopt Linux and the next thing you know, people are gonna want to trade in their vests, ties, and wing-tips for something that's not painful to wear, and thus begin the unravelling of civilisation itself.

That's not the problem (3, Insightful)

b00m3rang (682108) | about 8 years ago | (#15013728)

The problem is with idiots who believe that they can judge the quality of a product by the shoes of it's creator. Noone ever complains about my t-shirt, Dickies shorts, and piercings when I'm done fixing their shit... in fact, I'm the one they ask for by name.

Some of us feel that being proficient at your job and being comfortable are much more important than being a shortsighted, uninformed asshole in a fancy monkey suit.

The problem is on THEIR side.

No it's on your side. (1)

Cybert14 (952427) | about 8 years ago | (#15013848)

Looks matter in the business world. Maybe they won't after the singularity, but they do now.

Re:That's not the problem (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013859)

As long as you perceive it to be THEIR problem, linux and OSS will never be what it can be in the corporate space. The "short-sighted uniformed asshole" is the same "short-sighted uninformed asshole" who is going to open their pocketbooks when see opportunities arise.

If you think the right approach is to sit around and wait for some sort of epiphany to occur with THEM, I would suggest that YOU not hold YOUR breath.

The game has rules. Just not YOURS.

No, you're wrong (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 8 years ago | (#15013906)

Some of us feel that being proficient at your job and being comfortable are much more important than being a shortsighted, uninformed asshole in a fancy monkey suit.

The problem is on THEIR side.

No, I'm sorry, but the problem has always been on everybody's side. And as long as there are people with attitudes like yours on both sides, the problem will continue to exist.

If I ask you, "Is Citizen Kane a good movie?" and you say "no," and then I go and look at your DVD shelf and it's full of nothing but the complete runs of about twelve different series of anime, then I'm probably not going to be inclined to value your opinion very highly.

Similarly, if I ask you, "Do open source and open standards have credible value for my business?" and you say "Fuck yeah dude and anybody who tells you different is an asshole who sucks Bill Gates' cock all day!" and you're wearing a Penny Arcade t-shirt, shorts, four facial piercings, and a ponytail ...

Surely you see my point? So get past your righteous indignation. It's not really all that righteous.

Richard Reid-Stallman (4, Funny)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | about 8 years ago | (#15013736)

Could Richard Stallman be part of the problem?

Messiah figures don't work for software. [vlsm.org]

Linux + Business Suits = Success.

Re:Richard Reid-Stallman (1)

Tweekster (949766) | about 8 years ago | (#15013804)

um no, because no one outside of OSS knows who richard stallman is... and people looking at it for business implications are surely not payign that much attention to the leaders of OSS but what companies exist.

Re:Richard Reid-Stallman (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013839)

I think what comes out of Stallman's mouth would be a lot worse for OSS's image than what he wears.

Re:Richard Reid-Stallman (1)

vertinox (846076) | about 8 years ago | (#15013941)

Linux + Business Suits = Success

Linux + Military BDUs = World Domination

Seriously, what do you think the Military puts on their tomahawk missles these days? BDU's and combat boots beat Armani's and Italian shoes anyday. ;)

Re:Richard Reid-Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013945)

Sure they do. The problem is, Stallman doesn't look like a Messiah figure. He looks like an obese, unkempt loon, and looks especially deranged in that picture.

Now, if some well-groomed son of a Duke happened to ride into Redmond on the back of a sandworm, then defeated Ballmer in a treacherous knife fight, you'd see Linux on every single computer in the world within a month.

God created source code to train the faithful. One cannot go against the word of God.

Funny.. (4, Insightful)

Red_Chaos1 (95148) | about 8 years ago | (#15013740)

..we raise our children to "not judge books by their cover", and then turn around and do just that.

I understand that by dressing like the stuffed suits would make me more appealing to them, but I don't care about them. They need me more than I need them. I'll always be able to find tech work somewhere. They won't always be able to find a lot of techies to work for them. The sooner they get over themselves and their dress code ideas, the better, for realities sake.

unlikely (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013742)

obviously no one's seen my anarcho-goth-punk linux nerd mates...

they seem to go down pretty well, actually - I think their employers are pleasantly surprised at how effective tehy are considering how much time they spend throwing moltovs

That's funny (4, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 8 years ago | (#15013745)

Quinn blames the 'sandal and ponytail set' for sluggish adoption of Linux by businesses and governments.

I thought it was the companies thinking they could replace their technical management with bean counters responsible for the slow uptake. Managers that think if IT gets on their nerves enough they can simply outsource them to India. Or the fact that many company IT departments are staffed with MCSE's who see every IT problem as a nail for the MSFT hammer.

And here all this time it was sandals and ponytails. Missed it by that much!

It's more like (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | about 8 years ago | (#15013751)

Linux is on the outside looking in; its hard to break into the inner circle of the policy and decision makers.

With a tie like his ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013768)

... you are in no position to say anything about ponytails and sandals.

Works both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013771)

In particular, Quinn blames the 'sandal and ponytail set' for sluggish adoption of Linux by businesses and governments."

And I blame the incompetent PHBs for growing resistance to invasive advertising and draconian computer laws.

Objection (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013776)

Peter Quinn has obviously never seen a photo of Microsoft Corp. [tk421.net] , circa 1978. Microsoft seems to have done okay since then.

Heh, not in academia! (2, Insightful)

What'sInAName (115383) | about 8 years ago | (#15013777)

I work for a well-known university doing IT work, and I cannot imagine getting dressed up too much for work. Hell, most of the professors here are not even as well-dressed as *I* normally am, and I'm generally only wearing jeans and a shirt with a collar.

Of course, it all depends on context. If you're interacting a lot with clients, then you probably want to dress somewhat like them, depending on the situation, of course!

Or... (1)

RyoShin (610051) | about 8 years ago | (#15013781)

It sounds like someone's jealous that they can't have a ponytail at work.

"If I can't wear sandals, NO ONE CAN!"

haha (2, Interesting)

bloosqr (33593) | about 8 years ago | (#15013784)

So sad but its obvious Quinn is talking about Stallman in sandles. Quinn is the MA open source guy and Stallman is unequivocally the most idealistic, free software guru that has come out of the MA area and the go to guy for all things free software. Who would I listen to, Quinn or Stallman.. Stallman of course. Who has a habit of rubbing "open source" people the wrong way, Stallman of course. Who do you think Quinn is talking about as being a thorn in "open sources" business friendly side? Stallman of course. What a cheap "ad hominem" shot.

Re:haha (1)

winkydink (650484) | about 8 years ago | (#15013823)

Admit it, you're really Stallman. Because only he is self-centered enough to take this article and think it's all about him.

Re:haha (1)

SimHacker (180785) | about 8 years ago | (#15013846)

Bloosqr writes:

Stallman of course. What a cheap "ad hominem" shot.

The term "ad hominem" makes the assumption that Stallman is human. Are you sure about that? (Speaking of cheap shots...)


RMS Factor (1)

ndansmith (582590) | about 8 years ago | (#15013785)

I guess this is similar to the gnarly beards of Jobs, Allen, and Woz back in the day. Once they shaved and put on business suits, their companies succeeded. Or was it the other way around?

Typical. (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about 8 years ago | (#15013786)

The fascist pigfuckers who run "big business" (and presently the White House) are doing their dead level best to run this country back to 1954. This opposition to lax dress codes isn't an opposition to ponytails and sandals (FWIW, I have neither) but more idiot handwaving to enforce their "cult of the neck serpent" dress code.

I haven't worn a tie to a job since 1985. I always dress in clean clothes, I shave and bathe daily, and have fairly short hair. My colleagues appreciate my personal dress code - dark slacks, long sleeve pull overs or turtlenecks. Sometimes I'll wear a nice sweater if weather requires. but suit and tie? Never. Fuck that shit. I intend to keep it that way.

I say fuck the suits.


Re:Typical. (1)

Bull999999 (652264) | about 8 years ago | (#15013877)

The fascist pigfuckers who run "big business"

I didn't know former Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn who took heat for backing OpenDocument standards-based office document format is a "fascist pigfucker who run big business".

oddly enough (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 8 years ago | (#15013788)

the real reason, right there in the article, has little to do with dress and more to do with the incredible political influence (money) wielded by those who want to keep OSS down. the 'image' of OSS developers is not the problem. it is that the political process has been hijacked from seeking public good to seeking personal good.
there are plenty of suits involved in the OSS movement. but as he says at the end of the article, what got him to drop out of the fight was not the image of OSS but the constant barrage of attacks brought against him by those with the wherewhithal to do so - big business.

Cnet has to stop this kind of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013789)

I mean, seriously. They run this stuff? I know we make fun of Dvorak and so forth, but we know that they guy's out to get readers to his portion of the 'Net. This is just a big "Oh Linux sites, link us! Link us!"

This isn't journalism. I hope the next time they're up for some "SuperDuper Web 2.0" award, the judges actually read what they're writing here.

I'm not slagging CNET, they write some good stuff. But these kind of stories and their "newsmaker" celebrity BJs don't add anything of value.

Oh, Give Me A Break! (5, Interesting)

GeekBird (187825) | about 8 years ago | (#15013792)

Since when does a developer's alleged mode of dress influence the decisions of those who never meet him? It's yet another excuse: "Oh, those open source guys are hippy dippy slobs with pony tails and sandals! Let's buy from MicroSoft who makes their (sales) people dress up nice!!"

It's bullshit.

Besides, microsofties wear west coast developer attire too, just they don't let them make sales calls. Also, I know damn well what the Apple geeks wear, and it isn't suit and tie. I see them whenever I drive down the DeAnza Blvd in Cupertino. They are definitely ponytail compliant - although some of them their *only* hair is their ponytail, with nothing on top!

Depends on the environment (2, Interesting)

phorm (591458) | about 8 years ago | (#15013795)

In the last job and some others I've worked, the ones with ponytails were generally the big-boys in admin. Really, one generally didn't notice it, as their attitudes were still professional. Sandals I'm not so keen on (who wears those, anyways), but a ponytail is hardly as damaging as the lack of professionalism some people have. Moreover, I've met quite a few geeks that had rather unpleasant hygiene (see: body odor), which is far worse than the ponytail and sandals.

As for myself, I'm hardly a shirt-and-tie person. I'm not sitting here with a kokanee shirt and shorts, but when your job often involves crawling under desks and in other various recesses where computer parts dwell, a white shirt and tie are hardly functional for the position at hand.

You can't judge a book by its cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013799)

But the stench can tell you a lot.

The state of the battle (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013800)

It may be that, at the current moment, this is what Mr. Quinn sees as the major issue. But it's just the latest battle in the war, and it won't be the last.

I dress well enough at work. Nothing that I can wear without ironing it first, anyways. That battle has been fought and won, but now I'm faced with people who insist on paying the idiot tax - why spend $10,000 on a good FOSS (commercial or in-house) solution when you can spend $150,000 on a craptacular proprietary one? Obviously the proprietary solution must be five times better if they can charge that much.

Of course, that's utter malarkey. Anybody who works the trenches in IT knows that the industry is full of used-car salesmen, and at this point in time, virtually every "manager" I know is far too stupid to know any better.

Red Hat has the right idea. Raise prices. Their stuff is way too expensive for what it offers, but if they lowered their prices, they'd lose sales. Go frigging figure.

(We're a software development shop, and our stuff is priced in the millions. Recently our President and CEO needed to increase the price by an order of magnitude or else risk losing credibility in the target market.)

Re:The state of the battle (1)

molarmass192 (608071) | about 8 years ago | (#15013913)

I run up against this shit ALL the time. The best way to win these is to show SAVINGS, not COST. It also helps if you can say that company A, B, and C all use this solution too. However, this is not fool proof, some project mgrs hard link Oracle with DBs, MS with PCs, Sun with servers, and nothing you can say will break them out of that mindset. It's the old, you don't want to be the highest or lowest bidder on a project.

Ah, yes, becaue we all know... (4, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | about 8 years ago | (#15013801)

.. that only people in a shirt and tie or similar "professional" dress are capable of performing their assigned duties to which they agreed when they signed the employment contract. After all, how many of us completely lose the mental faculties (alcohol not withstanding) to do our jobs as soon as we get home and get the jeans and t-shirt on? Come on, raise your hands! { watching tumbleweed blow by }

So, basicaly what the author of the original article is saying is the following:

open source + casual dress = no credibility regardless of the quality of work

open source + "professional" dress = complete credibility regardless of the quality of work

Someone needs to do a study on this. I'm fascinated by the attitiude that some people have that the design of the cotton on the outside of our skin somehow has a direct correlation on the ability for us to maintain our servers through open source. It must be some kind of intellectually stimulating chemical that is weaved into the fibers of "professional" clothing that we absorb through our skin whereas casual dress does the opposite.

Oh for the love of... (2, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 8 years ago | (#15013805)

I, for one, am familiar with the concept of "dress for success".

There's a dress code at my company. It's fairly easily followed, but it's still a dress code.

And there are considerations when going out to customer sites. Some, we could show up in a pair of shorts and a wife-beater for all they care. Others, if we're not in a suit and tie, they look at us funny.

Even so, this argument is an especially large patty of bullshit.

If you're reviewing software, review the damn software. Stop worrying what Joe Slack down the road happens to be wearing while using the self-same software.

Competent managers understand this. And they're usually dealing with (well dressed even) technical staff who do as well.

All the idiots who can't actually grasp the significance of the technology are covering themselves by going "OMG! IT'S WRITTEN BY A DIRTY, TREE-HUGGIN' HIPPIE! RUN AWAY!"

These individuals will, eventually, be replaced by more dynamic individuals who aren't so concerned with what some community programmer in Bumblefuck, KY is wearing.

Peter Quinn take notes please (2, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | about 8 years ago | (#15013807)

Free Software is given to you free as in speech, and free as in beer.

If you want us to look the way you want us to look, that will cost you a FUCKING LOT. Start writing big checks, or STFU and stop looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Ungrateful stuffed suit.

Because, of course... (1)

troff (529250) | about 8 years ago | (#15013809)

... appearance is more important than, say, performance metrics. Or pricing. Or history of repeated and drastic flaws in the "competition". ... after all, that's the historical behaviour that brought commercial standings today to their lofty position, isn't it?

> "I blame the IT community, I blame the IT leadership, over and over and over again, about their inability to articulate correctly the business opportunity that we've got here," Quinn said.

I blame the business community for not realising that the "sandals and ponytail set" are the ones who GAVE YOU this working technology!

Perhaps it behooves you to consider, you pointy-headed business morons, that:

- function is more important than form
- the form of which you so disapprove BROUGHT you this function for free
- and perhaps your tiny-minded preconceptions, given the EVIDENCE, might possibly require a little review?

It's like the [RI|MP]AA... they want "fresh, new acts"... but anything that doesn't fall neatly into their metrics and feature matrix equates to "unmarketable".

Horse before cart. Apples and oranges. Insert here your favoured aphorism.

Not to mention the beautiful irony at the end of the article. To justify the investigation into his "unauthorised trips", he says "You can only stand in the public arena for so long and have mud thrown at you".

What's the brown, wet, clingy substance on his hands he throws at the "sandals and ponytail set"? ... at least we're not wasting money on Armani suits when he flings it at us.

Vented, I return to dealing with users; exeunt.

Slows Adoption of Everything! (4, Funny)

Prien715 (251944) | about 8 years ago | (#15013813)

There was this religion started by some guy with sandals and a ponytail about peace and goodwill. Suits really didn't like him, nailed him to a tree. Don't remember if it caught on or not....

There was also some strange government of people with ponytails and almost-sandals with the idea of "liberty or death" and "all men created equal".....

I can't remember if either of these things exist anymore, but if they do, I bet the people in them are OK with ponytails and sandals.

Yesterday (1)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | about 8 years ago | (#15013821)

Today I'm wearing a pair of basketball shorts, a backwards hat, and an old t-shirt at work. I program video games for a living - Is this how my target audience wants me to dress? I'm comfortable, I'm working hard (I'm waiting for a build right now so no cracks about posting on /.) and I'm happy with the environment.

If times get tough and I end up programming business software or something for a living I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to endure the stranglehold of business casual.

Opinions based on clothing/hair are idiotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013830)

But I've never been one to accuse business leaders of being all that bright. Sure let's hire the guy in the nice suit, he obviously has it together. You can tell he knows what he's doing because the shoes match the shirt. Not like that hippy Steve whatsisname that was in here a few years back, what a loser that will never amount to anything.


Actually, it's the marijuana (1, Flamebait)

jfengel (409917) | about 8 years ago | (#15013844)

Specifically, the marijuana that Quinn has clearly been smoking. There are a host of factors behind the reluctance to switch to Linux desktops: unfamiliarity, MS lock-in, intertia, the confusing array of different Linux distros, not to mention the number of Slashdotters themselves who will tell you that Linux isn't completely ready for the desktop yet.

If Quinn thinks that my footwear is the deciding factor, I wish he'd quit bogarting that joint.

Everybody knows... (1)

svunt (916464) | about 8 years ago | (#15013845)

I thought it was common knowledge that an excellent IT setup went hand-in-hand with beards & burrito-stained shirts wandering around the office.

Why is this true? (2, Insightful)

Gryphn (513900) | about 8 years ago | (#15013849)

Style is always much more important than substance to those who have little of the latter.

suits are OK (1)

cornellfOo (964313) | about 8 years ago | (#15013879)

seems like everyone here is assuming that if you have a suit on, you don't know anything. imagine being in the user community...would you rather interact with the guy that's in the shorts and stained tshirt or the guy in the nicer button-up/slacks (assuming their level of technical knowledge is the same)? in the "normal" world, i might say the guy in the shorts/tshirt, but in the business world? button-up hands down. it's just more professional. i think there's something to be said about perception.

Power to the People (2, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#15013882)

Some of the vested interests [thecostumer.com] are, in fact, hippies. When the government rejects valuable technology because it's not offered by the required jock or yuppie, whose own tech isn't good enough, the government has to change style, not the hippies. Or the government by, for and of the yuppies gets left behind.

...sometimes (4, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 8 years ago | (#15013887)

Sometimes dressing in less "professional" apparel can lose you a sale. Sometimes, it can gain you a sale. I know a lot of the sales guys are somewhat leery of dragging along scruffy looking geeks to business meetings, but from what I've seen it often works to convince businessmen of the credibility of tech. "Wow look at all those piercings, if the company lets him get away with that he must be brilliant!" This works well in smaller, more technical markets I imagine.

I also notice that the work environment at a company is one of the most important aspects in attracting really talented people. Smart people, who love what they do would rather dress like slobs, have free beer, and a ping-pong table than make an extra $20K a year. The environment is worth a lot to a person's quality of life. Now that does not mean just because a company is relaxed it has talented people, but if you are looking for extraordinary people, that is one very visible sign.

I also notice that given a relaxed or absent dress code, the clothing of choice widely varies. Some people prefer to wear a suit every day, even if they are just going to sit at a desk and code for 12 hours. Others will be wearing shirts with fake boobs attached. I have not noticed that either type tends to be more or less proficient.

I know I'm not the only one to have noticed this trend and I know it is something in some businessmen's minds when they are meeting with new partners, suppliers, or customers. The rule that a dress code will get you more sales is not universal and does not apply to all market segments. A dress code might get you more sales, right up till all your talent moves on and your more relaxed competitor starts to clobber you in head-to-head comparisons.

Whatever!! (1)

shaedee (963455) | about 8 years ago | (#15013888)

Long hair and pony tails???
Bill Gates is hardly a style guru is he..
Ya don't hear young fellas saying..gee i am gonna stop dressing like Brad Pitt, and dress like Bill
Coz Bill is cool!
Oh no.. not a lot of that going on
i know that TFA is about power dressing, which in theory probably does work, but who wants to be dress like a politician..
And what about Google... (Don't be evil), i thought they were all about comfort not image...and last time i looked they were kinda successful IIRC!

Everybody knows (1)

Bloater (12932) | about 8 years ago | (#15013894)

Because everybody knows that a necktie is imbued with magical powers and carries a logical deduction field that emanates modus-ponentrinos into it wearer's brain, thus making his/her software better. As if Microsoft programmers don't wear sandals and pony tails too...

It's all about appearance (5, Insightful)

radiotyler (819474) | about 8 years ago | (#15013899)

Open source has an unprofessional appearance, and the community needs to be more business-savvy in order to start to make inroads in areas traditionally dominated by commercial software vendors. (Having) a face on a project or agenda makes it attractive for politicians (to consider open source).
That is so true it's scary. Right or wrong, confidence in a product is instilled by the person presenting the product - but probably even more so in the software business. What the community as a whole seems to miss sometimes is that the people that are making the major software decisions are at best technically inept, and at worst blissfully clueless.

Given a choice between a guy in a suit with a mediocre piece of software, and the guy in jeans that hasn't shaved for two days and smells of pizza with an amazing array of programs - they're going to take the suit. The marketdroids want to see success oozing from the vendor, not an air of dishevelment.

All in all, it's sad to see decisions based on quality of presentation as opposed to quality of product, but with few exceptions, that's the way it's always been - and probably always will be.

Shower. Shave. Buy some button up shirts and a pair of slacks. From my experience, this makes all the difference in the world. Like it or not - it's the way the game is played.

Yeah, IBM are known for a bad dress code (1)

pyite69 (463042) | about 8 years ago | (#15013901)

This is the silliest argument imagineable.

In fact, I remember in the 80's people complained about how Bill Gates dressed, and how he used un-adult-like language at times (e.g. "That's cool").

If you want someone who dresses better, pick a different vendor/programmer/salesperson/whatever.

De facto, not preference (4, Informative)

MythMoth (73648) | about 8 years ago | (#15013909)

Having read the damned article, I'd like to point out something that a lot of posters seem to be missing.

Nowhere that I've seen in that article does he say that ponytails and sandals signify anything about the skills, attitude, or professionalism of the people in question.

He is talking about peoples' perceptions, and the need to be politically savvy when selling OSS to those same people.

Quote from the movie "Brazil" (1)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | about 8 years ago | (#15013911)

INTERVIEWER: Deputy minister, what do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings?

HELPMANN: Bad sportsmanship.

Tuxedo (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 8 years ago | (#15013916)

and tails, the natural dress for a penguin promoter.

Either that or a jumpsuit and a motorcycle helmet.

Uh... right. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15013926)

Because when I open up a software program, I know the way my first impressions are created is by hunting down the people who wrote that software program (often hiring private investigators to do so) and evaluating their visual appearance.

In other news, I spent some time as an employee of Sun Microsystems and you know, it's the funniest thing, I was writing commercial, proprietary, closed source software the whole time, but oddly enough I still went to work with a ponytail and birkenstocks on every day. I wonder how that works? Oh, even odder, have you ever seen a picture of Jonathan Schwartz?

Now, there might be a point here if the object of the advice were to separate the people who create and use open source software from the people who evangelize it to businesses and governments. If the advice were to get some people who wear nice suits to promote the benefits of open source to business suit types in their own language, then that would make a lot of sense. It is indeed quite possible that the public face of open source promoters looks too much like me, the guy who at Sun would have been stuffed in the back room writing the code, whereas the public face of closed source promotion tends to look like Scott McNealy or Johnathan Schwartz (whose hair may be as long as mine, but hey, he cleans up well). I have no personal experience of this; I would imagine that Peter Quinn does. As it is though his advice was quite poorly explained.
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