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Moraelin's Journal: A world of shades of gray

Journal by Moraelin

Guess all I've been trying to say all along, sometimes in rather trollish terms, is that the real world isn't made of good-vs-evil, black-vs-white. My world has no pure immaculate white, and no pure light-sucking black.

Both extremes are just that: extremes. They're something to be feared, rather than something to seek. (If nothing else, seeked as something to reduce everything to.) And most people do fear them.

The real world is nothing like "Microsoft=EVIL vs SUN=GOOD", nor viceversa. It's not like "Windows=EVIL vs Linux=GOOD" either. Nor viceversa. And it's not like "Government=EVIL vs Pure Anarchy=GOOD". Same thing about corporations.

The real world is a lot more complicated, and a lot less comfortable than those simplifications.

There are plenty of good sides to choosing Solaris or Linux for your desktop or server, but then there also are plenty of damn good reasons to choose Windows. Either choice won't be 100% perfect, but rather a compromise. Either choice won't be 100% universal either: what worked for you, may not work at all for someone else. Etc.

Same about the corporations themselves. If you look at the history of computing, whoever was losing always wanted open standards. Whoever was winning, always wanted proprietary and preferrably patented stuff to lock the customers in.

Sun, IBM, Novell, etc, were all once in the same position where Microsoft is now: trying to lock the customers into one single vendor for upgrades, and into fundamentally incompatible formats and interfaces. That's how the Unix fragmentation happened, if you didn't know that already. (And that's what paved the way for Microsoft to win, incidentally.)

There are no villains and heroes. Just a bunch of greedy people trying to make a buck. Your buck.

Right now, pumping resources into Linux and promoting open standards is their best weapon. But if either of them got back on top, they'd do the same thing all over again.

Either way, remember if you still just feel a need to be a zealot for a multi-billion dolar corporation's interests, at least do yourself and it a service: don't sound like an extremist. Try to at least _look_ aware that the real world is made of shades of grey.

And try to at least look like you care about someone's actual problem, not like a rebel on a holy jihad. Your bosses might listen to a business plan where Linux will save them this much money. They will _not_ however listen to foaming at the mouth about how MS is pure evil and needs to be uninstalled from all computers, at all costs.

Try also to at least look like you've actually taken everything into account. Blowing one single problem out of proportion ("but Windows has viruses!"), and obviously avoiding all else (e.g., the cost to retrain everyone to use Linux), you've lost their attention. Or mine.

Again: a real solution is always the best compromise, among a bunch of crappy compromises. If yours is a clear cut case of 100% good vs 100% evil, you've just told everyone that you didn't do a real analysis. You might as well wear a "I'm not giving you a solution to your problem, I'm giving you a dogma" sign, because that's what everyone will understand.

It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.

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