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Sandals and Ponytails Behind Slow Linux Adoption 948

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
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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Sandals and Ponytails Behind Slow Linux Adoption

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  • Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by irimi_00 (962766) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:02PM (#15013681)
    Its all about class and swagger.
  • chicken or egg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:02PM (#15013682) Journal

    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)

  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kunwon1 (795332) <dave.j.moore@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:02PM (#15013683) Homepage
    Does -anyone- wear sandals and a ponytail anymore? That's kind of cliche.
  • by DavidNWelton (142216) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:05PM (#15013706) Homepage
    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.
  • by b00m3rang (682108) * on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:07PM (#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.
  • Funny.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Red_Chaos1 (95148) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:07PM (#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 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:08PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:08PM (#15013745) Homepage
    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!

  • by What'sInAName (115383) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:11PM (#15013777) Homepage Journal
    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!

  • oddly enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:12PM (#15013788) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:13PM (#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.)
  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:13PM (#15013801) Homepage Journal
    .. 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.
  • by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:14PM (#15013807) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by networkBoy (774728) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:17PM (#15013832) Homepage Journal

    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.
    -nB
  • Why is this true? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gryphn (513900) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:18PM (#15013849)
    Style is always much more important than substance to those who have little of the latter.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:19PM (#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.
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:22PM (#15013883) Homepage
    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.

  • by radiotyler (819474) <tylerNO@SPAMdappergeek.com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:24PM (#15013899) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.

  • Uh... right. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:27PM (#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.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <`RealityMaster101' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:30PM (#15013947) Homepage Journal
    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:chicken or egg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CyberLord Seven (525173) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:34PM (#15013976)
    Actually, it does.
    You see, Steve Jobs is dressing for his audience: creative people. You know, artists, visual designers, people in Hollyweird. All those phreaks who consider themselves to be outside of the rat-race.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metlin (258108) * on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:38PM (#15014005) Journal
    Prejudice is still alive and well. POWER TO THE PEOPLE.

    You are mistaking professionalism with prejudice.

    If you are someone who is not willing to come dressed clean for your job, how would I know you are willing to do a lot of other things for your job? And if you are not even ready to dress to accomodate your employer, how would I know you would be able to design stuff that would accomodate others' needs?

    Case in point - anecdotal evidence at best, of course - I've noticed that amongst software developers, the worst UI and human factors folks are the pony-tailed, jeans and sandals folks. Why? Because these are the ones that tend to think that somehow, "their way" is the right way. The kind that recommend *nix and Macs rather than work with what they have and improve what they've been paid to improve upon.

    As another poster pointed out, there is little correlation between the "ragged, unshaven, jeans and sandals" look and a techie genius. Oh, sure, there are a few that are both, but that does not make every idiot in jeans and a ponytail a techie genius. Most tend to be wannabes, and between someone who would rather not care about what they wear but rather what they do, the choice is obvious.

    Appearance matters. Now just in how others perceive of you, but also in how you perceive yourself. Good appearance not only boosts your confidence, it also tends to project you as a more socially skilled, accomodating person. Your job is not merely to churn out lines of code, at some level, you are doing something to accomodate others' needs and you are interacting with end users, customers and clients.

    In that light, your appearance goes a long way on how your company would be projected to the outside world. Don't believe me? Dress like a homeless person and go to the bank, and dress in a suit and go to the bank. Or a bar. Or a restaurant. You'll notice the difference.

    Oh, you don't have to like it, but sadly, accomodating it tends to make your life easier.
  • Re:Funny.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TeknoHog (164938) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:41PM (#15014027) Homepage Journal
    ..we raise our children to "not judge books by their cover", and then turn around and do just that.

    Excellent point. I also think we need to look more deeply into the reasons why opensource people refuse to wear suits and the like. We tend to like openness and honesty, and therefore we have a problem with those who hide behind buzzwords and attire.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nostriluu (138310) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:44PM (#15014049) Homepage
    The culture of conformity and mediocrity, you mean. Me, I'll just keep an eye out for smart, thoughtful, talented people.
  • Re:Well ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:48PM (#15014078)
    I'd always thought of goatse as the opposite of pornography.
  • Missing the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bull999999 (652264) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:53PM (#15014130) Journal
    I may get flamed for this but it seems that many of the posters are missing the point Peter Quinn is trying to get across. He used the "sandal and ponytail set" as a figure of speech, trying to point out that many of the open source advocates need have a more professional appearance AND be business-savvy. He wasn't really talking about some programmers locked up in an office somewhere programming, as this applies more to people who are visible. For example, if there's a sales meeting full of suits and the presenter is in a t-shirt, jeans, and "sandal and ponytail set", do you honestly think the suits will take the presenter seriously? Sure, in an idea world, no one will "judge a book my its cover" but this is not really different that a good looking jerk having better chances with the girls than no-go-gook looking nice guy.

    Quinn also blamed the leaders of technology departments for not communicating the benefits of open-source software to their businesses effectively.

    He has another valid point here. Just look at the posts on Slashdot. It seems that many here think that posting insults and profanities makes them look smarter than they really are. Picture this in your head:

    Slashdotter (S): Dude, you really should switch to Linux.
    Business Guy (BG): Why should we need to do that? Every Dell we buy already comes with a copy of Windows.
    S: M$ is an evil empire and they kick puppies.
    BG: That MS sales guy sure seemed nice to me.
    S: Only morons like you fall for their shit. I know this because I'm so smart.
    BG: I don't see why I need to listen to someone that's insulting me but Windows run fine and all of my clients use Office.
    S: OMG! It's motherfuckers like you and your idiot clients that enabled M$ to retain its power. You guys all need to fucking die because to are just too stupid. In fact, the sheer number of cuss words that I used just proves how smart I am.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <`RealityMaster101' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:53PM (#15014131) Homepage Journal
    The culture of conformity and mediocrity, you mean. Me, I'll just keep an eye out for smart, thoughtful, talented people.

    Exactly what makes you think that there is some correlation between being freaky and being "smart, thoughtful and talented"?

    Dunno about you, but I've seen in my life a reverse correlation. People who dress and look freaky do it for a reason -- because they ARE freaky. They have so little to offer the world that they only way they can get themselves noticed is by changing themselves physically in order to prove to the world that they're "non-conformists" (never mind that they are actually conforming to a counter-culture).

    Or to put it another way, the smart, thought and talented (and psychologically healthy) people don't need to do all the other BS. They 1) have enough respect for themselves that they don't have to do it, and 2) have enough respect for themselved that they keep themselves cleaned up.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:54PM (#15014145)
    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.


    If only people were that objective.

    The truth is that, as a salesman, you have to play to your audience and different audiences have different requirements - in essence you sell yourself along with a product. This doesn't always mean a suit, but you are conforming yourself to your audience.

    If a business suit might level the playing field where your potential clients take you that much more seriously, while someone who shows up in stained T-shirk and slack will have to have a product that is that much more better to be taken seriously, why even risk it?

    You see it everyday, in how consumers pick products. Usually, lets say in electronics, the more polished products get more serious consideration. Something that looks slapped together or superficialy cheap/chintzy is either not taken seriously or has to be sold cheaper - even if the functionality is better.

    If you really like to believe that people are so objective to look past the superficial, I suggest you put some research into "packaging..."
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Afrosheen (42464) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @06:56PM (#15014156)
    Sure, I see your point. I'd be more likely to do business with fine [politicalfriendster.com], upstanding [cbsnews.com], well-dressed "white guys" [msn.com] than other groups. I mean, appearance is 99% of your reputation, right?
  • by capsteve (4595) * on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:02PM (#15014188) Homepage Journal
    guess business people won't take jesus seriously now.

    please disregard the son of god, he's lying.
    there is no salvation, it's just some ponytailed-sandal-wearing-freak, waxing poetically.

    instead, listen to the religious leaders who are appropriately dressed. only those who have a clean presentation can provide the truth. and don't forget, you get what you pay for. so it should be expensive too.
  • by amliebsch (724858) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:03PM (#15014192) Journal
    A few problems with this. First of all, being a "geek" doesn't put you in the same league as Einstein. Come back when you've revolutionized a field of science. Second of all, Einstein didn't have a ponytail and his hair, while wild, was not that long. Third of all, Einstein frequently wore a suit and tie, or at least a sweater and tie or a sport coat. Fourth of all, he would have been lynched? Give me a break.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Razor Sex (561796) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:04PM (#15014198)
    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.
    . WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) is not the pinnacle of culture. Other cultures are seen as inferior only because they are different, and practiced by minorities. Are you really comfortable rejecting someone on those grounds alone? I wouldn't be so morally smug if that's the case.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nostriluu (138310) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:07PM (#15014222) Homepage

    First of all, I did not say there was a correlation between being smart and being freaky. Smart people come in many shapes and sizes.

    Otherwise, I think you're totally wrong and lack real experience of diverse people. For example, I used to spend time with a bunch of goths. Looking at them with an uninformed eye, you'd just think they were a bunch of freaks, but most of them were university students and have gone on to do post graduate work, work with leading edge companies, and so on. I've had numerous other experiences of people who were "freaks," but were very smart freaks and have become very successful. Some of them dropped the unusual clothing and styles, some of them didn't. It doesn't have much to do with their success unless they work in a really conformant industry (which wouldn't attract them in the first place).

    Maybe you just live in a place where the culture won't accept this and works against people who are different, but the smart people I know are of all races and interests, and actively promote their differences and beliefs, and it rarely works against them.

    And it's not a matter of "need," it's a matter of want. I'm not desperate, are you?

    And what the --- does dressing differently have to do with "being clean?" I think you have a very bizarre picture of diverse people.

    I suspect your definition of success has very little to really achieving anything other than a generic "successful career," which is something anyone can do. Being really innovative, effecting meaningful change, being part of healthy communities, etc, has nothing to do with how you dress.
  • Re:chicken or egg (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maize (201636) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:09PM (#15014243)
    The entire reason the OSS movement started was to bypass the "suits". The frustration and aggravation of letting the "suits" make architectural design decisions, nerf a product so that it could meet some artificial deadline or sabotage a dependent competitors product (often focusing on changing the tech to erect barriers of entry). OSS frees software development from the whimsical vagaries of corporate politics and lets us focus on the technical merits of a design decision.

              Claiming that it's the "style" of OSS that's at fault for lack of Corporate uptake is just another way of saying that the "suits" are more concerned by superficial considerations of appearance (corporate politics) then they are by technical considerations. OSS wouldn't exist if the OSS developers felt the same way.

              What's necessary isn't that developers adapt to coporate politics, but an intermediate class of OSS Entrepeneurs who are willing and capable of marketing the OSS technology to the "suits" in a way that they will understand and appreciate. Similarly, the OSS culture needs to integrate more artists to help polish clipart and GUI's, and writers to flesh out documentation and instruction manuals.

              The best treatise I've read on OSS's role in the Corporate ecology was written by Bruce Perens:
    http://perens.com/Articles/Economic.html [perens.com]

              It is definitely worth the read and will put a lot of these dynamics into perspective. Corporations are slow to realize the need for them to take an active role in exploiting the tech that is now freely available. Their need to shift some of their spending from what would have gone toward off the shelf software toward OSS developers directly to customize what's already available to suit their specific needs.

              Does coporate politics hinder this adjustment? Yes. Because of blame game politics. What's necessary then? That middle class of entrepeneurs to sell a Consulting service where they are the business middlemen between the Corporations and the OSS community.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DaHat (247651) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:10PM (#15014254) Homepage
    You seem to be so anti-discrimination and yet... do not realize that discrimination is a perfectly normal and healthy part of business.

    Think about it, by hiring you they are discriminating against every other candidate. By giving you a work task that you are best suited for, they are discriminating against everyone else who is not as suited for it.

    Do you really think they should just hire any random joe of the street? Or should they do a bit if discrimination and determine who is best for the job.

    Of course, the sort of discrimination you are talking about is the illegal sort, the common ones being race, religion, national origin, sex, etc... no where on there will you see long hair, nor would a case where your religion requires long hare go anywhere.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by utlemming (654269) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:12PM (#15014260) Homepage
    Not so much about class and swagger as professionalism.

    How many Slashdotters have tried to implement Open Source on an enterprise level? I have, and to be honest, it is a hell of a lot of work. Open Source is not user friendly when you have to start working off the desktop. KDE and Gnome make the desktop easy, but when you start playing with command-line stuff, things get hairy. Open Source will save acquistan(sp?) costs, but it won't save on labor.

    What I can see is if a business which has a culture of suits and ties contracts with a company to provide open source solutions, has support people which are wearing sandals and jeans, then, yes, I think there will be a problem. Why would an organization that has suits have a bunched of sandeled-footed and pony-tailed people walking around their offices? Being presentable is half the equation. Knowing your stuff is the other half. If you know a lot, but you are unpresentable, unbathed, unshaven and slovenly, then no one will accept your solution. I learned this working in a retail shop. On a number of occassions, I had to come from something or go to something after work and I would be in a suit. I discovered that it is far easier to sell something when your in a suit (mind you I was a manager at the time). Your dress goes along way for creditability.

    You can call it prejudices or whatever. But the fact remains that business has a culture. And being sucessful to your customers means dressing and playing a part of that culture. You have to sell yourself to make yourself sucessful.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:12PM (#15014262) Homepage
    Exactly. That is one of my favorite pet peeves.

    A teen, in spiky blue hair with a bolt through his nose and tons of other piercings in beatup old all black clothes who demands you ignore their appearance and treat them just like everyone else.

    If appereance doesn't matter (his point, thus I should treat him just like the guy wearing the suit), then what is the point of dressing that way? It makes a statement. And if you choose to make that statement, then you have to understand other people will react to your statement. You can't make a statement and demand it is ignored at the same time.

    The article makes perfect sense to me. If you are a programmer at home, or you are working down in the bowels of the building running the network in the crampt hot server room, it makes sense you may want to dress comfortably.

    But if you want to consult, or if you have to deal with anyone (management, middle management, customers, etc) then you need to dress appropriatly.

    To take it out of context, let's have another example. Let's say you want to buy a BMW. So you go to the dealership. Now who are you more likely to trust as a knowledgeable salesperson? A woman in a nice suit, or a women in a old jogging uniform?

  • by Desert Raven (52125) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:12PM (#15014266)
    Here's a completely different point of view.

    Yes, the corporate suits are not comfortable with OSS companies, because the folks in the OSS companies don't wear suits. But it's not actually because of the clothing, it's what the clothing implies. The lack of suits tells them that these are technical people in charge, not business people. The suits don't like dealing with technical people, because they don't really understand us. They feel more comfortable with people wearing suits, because people who wear suits are their kind of people.

    I just love hearing from our C_Os about how we in development should do whatever the sales/marketing folks tell us, because "if it weren't for them, we wouldn't have jobs". Meanwhile, I'm sitting here thinking, well, what the heck would they sell if we weren't creating products?

    Never mind the fact that the sales department has a very regular turnover, and the sales people themselves aren't anything special, just your average ex-fratboy business major who made it through four years of college with an average 0.8 BAC. Nobody blinks twice when they leave, they just replace them. Yet, the company is horrified that I ride a motorcycle, because of the possibility that I may get injured/killed and thus leave them with a serious hole to fill that requires very specialized knowledge.

    Truth? They fear us. They know that they are a dime a dozen. Our entire sales department could get hit by a bus tomorrow, and it would set the company back a month at worst. If the engineering department walked out, the company would fold up like a wet kleenex, and would *never* recover.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:22PM (#15014339) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with you here.

    I never used to dress up for anything. Well, weddings and funerals, but only if I really liked the people involved, and sometimes not even then. I never really thought about it.

    The latest job I'm working at came with a big pay bump and a significant dress code. I don't think I ever saw it in writing, but it's just clear: you don't come into the office without a long-sleeve collared shirt and dress pants, and some sort of shoes that have seen the business end of a horsehair brush and some Kiwi.

    Anyway, I found since I started working there that when I'm 'dressed for work' and go out into the world, the level of service and attention I receive is pretty significantly different from what I was used to. In fact I've tested it a few times; gone to the same restaurant a few times wearing work clothes, then gone a few times in a pair of cargos and a t-shirt, just to see what happens. People are politer, service is faster, I get called "sir" a lot more...it's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable.

    Unlike your skin color -- which I don't believe in judging people by, as they have no control over it -- you choose what you put on every morning. You can choose to look like pretty much anything you want (within the bounds of the clothing you can afford); and other people are going to judge you based on that implicit choice. When I see someone who looks like a slob, I don't feel bad judging them, because they chose to look that way. If you roll out of bed, put on the first articles of clothing that you find on your floor, and go with it, that's fine -- but don't say you weren't warned when your glass doesn't get refilled at a restaurant as fast as the guy in a suit's does. You knew, or should have known, what you were getting into when you decided to go out like that.

    My experiences are probably region-specific; the treatment I might have gotten in Southern California might have been different (I don't know, never having been there and having little interest in going -- too hot for my taste). But in an area filled with white-collar corporate and government types, and businesses that cater to them, if you want to be taken seriously it's pretty obvious how you want to present yourself.

    Having been on both sides of the issue now, I think there's a lot to be said to matching your dress and other aspects of your personal image (hair, accessories, etc.) to the impression you want to create. And on the corporate level, I think it's pretty fair to want to create dress codes that match the kind of business and team you want to build. And if you're selling something -- as a whole lot of OSS developers effectively are, whether they realize it or not -- to matching your appearance to your client or intended buyer.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <`RealityMaster101' `at' `gmail.com'> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:26PM (#15014358) Homepage Journal
    Other cultures are seen as inferior only because they are different, and practiced by minorities.

    Some cultures are different and not inferior. Other culture are definitely inferior. I'm sorry, but the culture of violence, anti-intellectualism and mysogynism practiced by certain members of the rap community is inferior and utter crap. Should I respect certain Muslim countries when the suppress women? Should I respect certain other cultures that practice child slavery? Should I respect certain African cultures that practice female circumcision?

    Not all cultures are morally equivalent.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rhakka (224319) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:31PM (#15014389)
    As opposed to the corporate or sales subcultures?

    I agree with you in many respects... such dress is often just a uniform of a different sort for some people... but how you dress is ultimately an aesthetic choice any way you slice it, you're "conforming" to some image that has been done before, whether it's goth, punk, hippy, corporate suit, GQ... I happen to like baggy (not as baggy as ten years ago, but still loose and large) clothes. Very comfortable. I often wear a baseball cap. Backwards, even. I save my more fitting clothes for buisness appointments, out of self-preservation, but I do feel it's dumb to have to do that. Realistically or not, clothing does not in any meaningful way define an individual. It's just that a large number of ignorant people act like it does.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doubledoh (864468) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:48PM (#15014497) Homepage
    Sorry dude, I don't buy it. Most vegetarian parents I've talked to have told me that their kids like vegetables and fruit for the most part with rare exceptions. When you only offer your kids the choice between vegetable A and vegetable B...they learn to like one of them. When you offer the choice between meat A and veggie B...then due to their evolutionary instincts which gravitate toward the most "energy dense" foods, they will choose the meat because of its short term benefits. Now that we have science to repudiate the errors of evolution, we are able to determine that protein rich non-animal foods are far more healthy than protein rich meats. When one primarily feeds their kids fatty foods, meat, and dairy products...which have been proven to be addictive [bbc.co.uk], it's easy to see why kids (and adults) reject healthy veggies over addictive meats and fatty foods.

    I predict that a lot of the nutritional bias against meat will turn out to be completely wrong in the future.

    I also think you're making the mistake of believe that evolution has some kind of purpose or that it is intelligent. Evolution is not necessarily smart. It creates far more "bad" mutations than it does "good" ones. It's just that we only see the "good" mutations because they are the ones that survive. You're also placing somewhat too much emphasis on nutrition as the means to survival when there are many other factors to survival...including the bodies ability to store and process food energy, the bodies hunting and gathering faculties, mental capacities, and the species social behaviors. I'd say that human survival has been much more a function of their ability to communicate in depth with each other as it has been with the types of food they eat. We are after all, one of the weakest species out there compared to those with similar weight (without our big brains, we'd be dead). In any case, almost every species has become extinct historically because the species's evolutionary progress was not able to adapt quickly enough to their changing enviornment (or they didn't have the brain capacity to evaluate and alter behavior that was inevitably destructive). I think human survival henceforth will largely depend upon our ability to make better choices in light of our scientific discoveries (ie, by marginalizing dangerous religious dogma, eating healthier plant based foods, and continuing to advance technologies that can make life easier and safer).

    You surely can't deny that our culture has become more glutonous and obese BECAUSE of processed foods and meats served at fast food restaurants. And you also can't deny that obesity and high cholestrol levels leads to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lupis and countless other ailments. This is not optimal anymore than lung cancer caused by smoking is optimal. Evolution, in this context, is wrong (if it is evolution's fault). It doesn't matter if you think meat tastes "soooooooooooo" much better than veggies. Science can prove that a diet based on cold-water fish and plants is far less destructive to your body than one based on fowl and red-meat. The meat eater in general may become bigger and stronger (if he doesn't eat lots of tofu or fish), but in human terms...is that necessary? Isn't the human's claim to fame our mental capacities? By eating red-meat in light of our scientific knowledge that it is not healthy, you are choosing not to benefit from the human's evolutionary strength...our ability to reason.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PygmySurfer (442860) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:50PM (#15014513)
    Can't I buy a car from the dude with spiky blue hair and the bolt through his nose? I think he'd better be able to tell me what kind of car would suit MY needs than the two women in your example.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by heisencat (963190) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:52PM (#15014524)
    You know, I had long scraggly hair for years before and during college. I cut it off when I started going bald and I've worn it short ever since.

    I've discovered that there are advantages to looking as straight as I do now. Nobody expects me to be the most radical freak in the room. It's like stealth mode. (Also, I or my wife can cut my hair. I haven't paid anybody for a haircut in eight years!)

    Still, whenever I see somebody in a suit, I assume that they've spent time and energy on their appearance that would be better spent on their work. And, conversely, if somebody wants me to conform to a dress code, I assume that they care more about appearance than performance.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by misleb (129952) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:54PM (#15014539)
    I'm guessing it might have more to do with his use of terms such as "Tunic of Unpromotability +5" rather than the clothing itself, but I could be wrong.

    -matthew
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SillyNickName4me (760022) <dotslash@bartsplace.net> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:54PM (#15014540) Homepage
    Thats all nice and true as long as you don't look at the flaws of your own culture, sadly enough a rather common flaw in the USA nowadays.
  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:08PM (#15014613)
    Not at all. It catches those who know and understand whats important for buisness and what isn't. How I dress doesn't effect the code I produce, or how I answer interview questions. Since how I dress doesn't effect my work, as long as I am dressed (not being dressed would probably effect the work of others) and not wearing stuff with racist/offensive slogans and the like that would effect my coworkers negatively, they shouldn't care. If they do care, it shows they're wasting valuable company resources on utter bullshit, and are actively counterproductive to the company (happy workers are productive workers. And if I have to wake up and care about what I dress in or spend money on a new clothes, I'm not happy). As such they are a moron, and such a stuffy place is somewhere I would likely not enjoy working. This is actually better for both parties- I wait for a job I'll enjoy more, and they don't get someone who would actively flaunt a dress code and tell them to fire me if they don't like it.

    On the other hand, there are things that do matter- coding conventions, code review procedures, etc. I follow these because there's a reason to have them, even if I think some are suboptimal (if suboptimal enough, I may try and work to change them. Depending on how much effort it'd take and how much unneeded red tape there is). Hell, if I did nothing I don't want to I wouldn't have a job in the first place :)
  • Re:chicken or egg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Queer Boy (451309) * <dragon,76&mac,com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:15PM (#15014642)
    Similarly, the OSS culture needs to integrate more artists to help polish clipart and GUI's, and writers to flesh out documentation and instruction manuals.

    Yeah, it does. However, trying to say to a Firefox coder that it would take up less space on a tab and be more useful if the Favicon of a tab would alternate with the close tab control when you hovered over the tab. AdiumX on Mac OS X already does this for tabbed chatting. Well, I got a screenful of how the way the close tab control disappears when the tabs get crowded (except the current tab) is somehow better because of consistency.

    That's just one real life example. When people with a sense of aesthetic try to get involved in most OSS projects, you get drowned out by the guys who think there's nothing wrong with their code if it doesn't have bugs.

    I hope everyone remember Firefox only exists because someone on the Mozilla team thought the interface for Mozilla looked like ass.

    The whole argument about suits vs. sandals really is that people without a sense of aesthetic refuse to admit it.

  • Toscanini... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ktakki (64573) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:19PM (#15014661) Homepage Journal
    One of my old trumpet teachers used to tell me stories from when he played in the NBC Radio Symphony Orchestra, led by the maestro Arturo Toscanini, back in the Thirties and Forties.

    The orchestra played in the space in Rockefeller Center currently used by Saturday Night Live. However, there was no audience present during the radio broadcasts, save for a handful of people not in the orchestra (radio engineers, NBC executives, perhaps a representative from the sponsors or two).

    Despite this fact, every member of the orchestra wore a tuxedo, and Maestro Toscanini wore tails.

    Radio. No audience. Formal dress.

    The story has stuck with me ever since, and I'd often pondered the reason for this. Remember, this was back when even street dress for a professional musician was a suit, tie, and snazzy shoes. No "business casual" back then.

    The best reasons I could determine for this were:
    • Dress uniform, play uniform: having everyone in tuxedoes fostered cohesion among the members of the orchestra, cohesion that would affect the performance.
    • Respect: formal dress would be considered a sign of respect for the repertoire and, by extension, the composers.
    • Tradition: back then, broadcasting and recording took a back seat to live performance. Orchestras wore formal dress onstage; why should a closed session be any different?
    • Professionalism: according to my old teacher, Toscanini was a stickler about things like this, and his sense of professionalism extended to how the orchestra looked, as well as their performance.
    • Attitude: street dress was acceptable for rehearsals, but wearing the tuxedo sent a signal that this was a performance, even if you couldn't see the millions of people listening nationwide.


    Personally, I'm inclined to judge a person's performance rather than their appearance. But even I can't help but think about appearance sometimes: if a vendor showed up to pitch my company while wearing shorts and a UCSC Banana Slugs t-shirt, my first thought would be "Jeez, he just doesn't care, does he?". The product or service would live or die on its merits, but my opinion of the salesman would be tainted by that first thought.

    I think the bottom line is finding the appropriate level of casual/formal dress for the situation. The owner of the surf/skate shop might not mind if I showed up in shorts and sandals to install a POS system, but the funeral director probably would.

    k.
  • by here.i.chel (964343) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:20PM (#15014663)
    Doesn't it strike anyone that it might make the job a lot easier if you just adapted to whatever dress standards your customer might like? I'm just a coder, so I don't do a lot of work around customers, but if I am to appear at a meeting I damn well know how to put on a suit. Try explaining something they won't be able to understand to your customers. Do it in a suit, and they probably lay off the really silly stuff. Do it in slacks and slippers, and they won't believe a word you say. Maybe the tech guys would, but you put them in a bad position for supporting you just by looking the way you do.
    Once you're back behind your workstation, go ahead and wear your underpants on your head. It's what I do, if not so explicitly, but I'm definitely one of the shorts and sandals type.
    It just seems unsensible to me that you try to do your best to keep your code clean and manageable, you go to all lengths at keeping up to speed with technology and then spoil more than you can make up with speed and quality by having one client meeting going the wrong way.
  • by monopole (44023) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:21PM (#15014670)
    While I follow the dress code of my California based company (beard, polo shirt, chinos, dress shoes), I am well known as someone who "cleans up well" and can readily give a good impression at a goverment or business presentation. I have no problem with this and rather much enjoy having an excuse to dress to the nines. On the other hand, when I'm back to the lab I'm casual again. This works for me.

    The key point is respect, by dressing up I'm showing in a rather painless way that I can meet managers or business types halfway and can effectively interface with them. If I'm dressed sharper than they are I've beaten them at their own game and have a point in may favor immediately. It makes them considerably more receptive to my non-negotable issues.

    On the other hand folks who made a point of not being able to "clean up well" tend to be rubbing their arrogance in peoples faces. They do it because they assume that they can get away with it because of their awesome skills. Problem is, skills change, and everybody loves to undermine an arrogant bastard, especially when they hand you shovels. Worse yet, they don't see it coming because they aren't able to collect intelligence dressed like that.

    Haberdashery is a form of legal social engineering which is fun and easy to practice.
  • by Queer Boy (451309) * <dragon,76&mac,com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:25PM (#15014690)
    Noone ever complains about my t-shirt, Dickies shorts, and piercings when I'm done fixing their shit.

    That's because you're a blue collar worker. You're hired help. You're not viewed any differently by companies than the guy that comes to fix the garbage disposal or the guy that brings the water coolers.

    You deal with the "little people" of a company. The ones whose job is going to India tomorrow. What president of a company cares if they like what you're wearing? He's never going to see you.

    You're not an executive so your point is moot. The article is about executives at companies having to deal with the pony tail and sandals crowd. NOT Charlie Cubicle.

  • by Hairy1 (180056) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:29PM (#15014723) Homepage
    The point Mr Quinn is making isn't that the Linux crowd in general should wear suits. The average programmer isn't going to be doing sales. I personally think the issue is a lack of open source advocates who are business friendly at all. When a organisation wants to move to open source they want to know the company doing it is professional. Having someone turn up in a T Shirt and jandels doesn't do much for their confidence.

    Appearance is important, we cannot possibly invest the effort to get to know 'the real person' for everyone we meet. In order to function we need our sterotypes. Its a bit like justice - justice not only must be done, it must be seen to be done. Similarly, quality in service must be seen. Thats not to say everyone needs to be in a suit; but certainly if you are making a open source presentation to a large organisation you should have appropriate attire; or not bother at all.

    Not bothering is fine of course - nobody is forcing you to advocate and sell OSS solutions, but if you are in that game, and you do care about getting that contract, then perhaps how you dress will impact your chances.
  • by zotz (3951) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:36PM (#15014748) Homepage Journal
    'the lax dress code of the open-source community is one of the reasons behind the software's slow uptake in commercial environments.'

    Assuming for the sake of argument that this is true, my response would be that if the clean cut, three piece suit set did more of the actual important work on the big projects, then they would be more visible and this would not be such a big problem.

    Therefore, it is the clean cut, three piece suit set who are really holding back the uptake of Free Software in commercial environments.

    Assuming what we did, what is wrong with the reasoning that followed?

    all the best,

    drew
    --
    http://www.ourmedia.org/node/145261 [ourmedia.org]
    Record a song and you might win $1,000.00
    http://www.ourmedia.org/user/17145 [ourmedia.org]
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:47PM (#15014810) Homepage
    Being a person that is very shortly to escape corperate america I can give some real good insight into this....

    There are Two truths to attire in the workplace if you are never seen by the customers.

    Restrictive dress codes stem from new CEO or other leadership trying to prove they can control people and getting their personal high from doing it. Dress at work has NOTHING to do with performance and "professionalism" IN fact I code best in my ratty jeans and the "SHUT UP! I'm coding." on the back T-shirt. I remember one really good IT guy from 2 years ago when we became Comcast was verbally reprimanded by a upper level exec for not being clean shaven. The man just worked all night getting the Jackass exec's equipment working... All he said was, "so fire me. do me a favor so I do not have to work with assholes like you." The exec tried to fire him, the regional VP put the exec in his place and made him apologize to the IT guy... He left 9 months later because he saw the downward drain sprial before everyone else did.. now the rest of us rats are jumping ship.

    Second, It's about percieved professionalism. Too many MBA's are programmed at college that expensive clothes make you successful and try to encourage the staff to do likewise. Which is great if the exec's will give everyone a 30% raise so they can afford to dress like him. It's a "clone" ideal. Just look at the sales department.... they look like fricking clones because they think they have to.... now look at the most sucessful sales people, they are different, get in trouble with the boss regularly but will not be fired because they out sell the other sales people 3 to 1.

    It's all about the fact that most business professionals really do not have a clue to how to really manage people. They can run numbers and repeat verbatium all the BullShit(tm) they teach them at business college but none of them have a clue how to manage people and get the most out of their workforce. It boggles the mind how clueless corperate managers really are when it comes to motivating their employees.

    (Hint: Do EVERYTHING to increase morale in any little way. if you make high 5 figures or 6 figures then you buy the office donuts every week out of your pocket will go far. You buy lunches for your people once in a while, throw them bones, etc... Either business majors are morons or the professors are morons because I can not believe they do not teach this stuff in college.)
  • by Odin's Raven (145278) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:19PM (#15014970)
    Could Richard Stallman be part of the problem?

    Without GNU/GPL/FSF/etc would there even be a credible OSS solution for the business world to consider?

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:32PM (#15015022)
    I work in the IT department of a top 25 law firm. Some of our attorneys have buildings named after them and quite a few of them have been on Nightline and 60 minutes. I work with them, pass them in the halls, talk to them, and we know each other by name.
    I have hair down to about mid back (and it is somewhat curly and "poofy"). I went from Tier 1-2 to network engineer in less then 3 years (I was a previous network administrator at my previous job so I had a few years experience already). We just hired a tier 2 tech with at least 3 earings in each ear.
    They value employees that can get the job done and that they can count on regardless of the stereotypes many people have.

    There is absolutely no connection to your personal choice of hair style or shoe choice to your work ethic or knowledge level. No one can dispute that.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    Smart talented people with people-sense know that sometimes how you look can make or break a deal.

    Now, if you don't mind losing the occasional deal to the fact that the person you're talking can't get past your grooming, then no biggie, but if you're a CEO, and that 'occasional deal' can be worth millions of dollars, then (if you're worth your salt), you're gonna make sure that you're dressed to whatever your client is expecting.

    This one time I had two job interviews the same afternoon. One at a university lab, and the other at a downtown regional office of a large company.

    At the university I wore a nice clean casual shirt and crisp pants. In the car going downtown, I was frantically switching to a suit and tie.

    I got offered both jobs (at about the same pay). I chose the University.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tacocat (527354) <tallison1 AT twmi DOT rr DOT com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:26PM (#15015241)

    You probably never have worked for a corporation of any longevity.

    The older and larger the company, the more wrapped they are in the bureaucratic policies and society the they are born from. These companies are also the ones that are slow to adapt technology and are more concerned about appearance and presentation than capabilities of anything technical.

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miskatonic alumnus (668722) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:47PM (#15015336)
    Scraping hair off your face with a knife and putting on a suit and tie is far different from mere grooming. Cats and monkeys work with what they have and maintain their individuality. Having to shave and suit up shouts to everyone that you are willing give up personal freedom in order to become a cog in the machine. Now that's something to be proud of.
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @10:51PM (#15015350) Homepage
    Fashion is a statement.

    You statement by wearing something may be as simple as "Look at me" or as complex as "I'm a smart business woman bucking for a promotion." It may say "Stare at my chest and think I'm sexy" or it may say "I'm trendy and hip." It could be "I'm rich and ostentatious" or "Don't notice me, I just want to blend in."

    But make no mistake, any fashion is a statement.

    So to dress one way and be mad at people for taking the hint you're sending. That is one of those things that really annoys me.

    • Dressing slutty or looking like a hooker then being mad that men pay attention to you
    • Dressing like the columbine kids then being mad people stare at your or avoid you
    • Dressing in clothes that don't fit with pants that are barely above your ankles and people thinking you're not highly intelligent

    As for the car buying example, that was the first thing I thought of. It would work for realtors and other sales people too. Same with doctors. Do you trust the one in the white lab coat, or the one in the bike-racing suit more?

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @11:14PM (#15015414) Homepage Journal
    I discovered that it is far easier to sell something when your in a suit (mind you I was a manager at the time). Your dress goes along way for creditability.

    Only if that's all you have to offer. Being a successful salesman requires that you be flexible enough to sell your wares to the customer in front of you.

    I've done both retail AND business sales. I was able to put together deals while wearing black leather work boots, a pony tail AND a full beard. If you can show a customer why product X is better than product Y and how that difference benefits THEM, you'll be able to close the deal.

    LK
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kthejoker (931838) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @11:41PM (#15015513)
    Because nobody could possibly like a shaved face and nice clothes. You know, nobody's idol could be Cary Grant or James Bond.

    You know, that whole metrosexual thing doesn't exist. Nobody wants to be a suave pretty boy.

    Everyone wants to be a freak, and wear sandals and have long ponytail hair. Everybody, seriously, look it up. Everybody was like, "man, it sucks that I have to wear a suit in business." Nobody ever says, "Gee, this suit makes me feel like a powerful and attractive person" and means it. They're all just posturing, right? They're just lying to themselves. That's the machine for you, self-delusional and everything.

    Wow. So true. I never thought of it like that. When I was dressing slick in high school and getting all the ladies, I was actually rejecting my freedom! And in college, when I looked at the Goths and didn't pity them, but felt absolutely no desire to dress like that, or like a surfer, or a geek, or an emo kid, or a punk - I had no idea I was playing right into The Man's hands!

    This whole conversation has crushed me. I'm gonna go lay down with my beautiful wife and ponder this moment.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cyber-vandal (148830) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:29AM (#15015720) Homepage
    Looking at his use of grammar I'd say English isn't his first language and he still has better grammar and spelling than most of the people on here.
  • by t34g4rd3n (849608) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @01:09AM (#15015852)
    To reiterate: the failure of linux and other open source developers to dress or otherwise maintain themselves in a professional manner is impeding the adoption of open source software in the business world. If they cleaned themselves up, they would find a more receptive audience.

    I am not at all certain I understand the problem. As I read it, the Linux and open source communities are not driven by the goals of market share and profit. Rather, they are driven to provide quality software at no cost, along with the means for other users to use, share, and modify that code. Maybe they see a niche that needs filling, maybe they just like coding - the reasons are not important. What is important is that they don't give One Tight Shit about whether Linux etc. is being adopted by the business world. Whether or not that happens is completely, utterly irrelevant to the ongoing development of their software. If Peter Quinn is concerned about it, that's his deal. What, exactly, does he feel are the consequences that will befall the open source movement if they don't take his advice? Are they going to stop developing Apache just because the head of IT at, say, Sears thinks it's put together by some dude with a Prince Albert? Is the NSA or Merrill Lynch going to stop using Linux because Dan Lyons makes a bunch of jokes about smelly hippies in Forbes? If you can't make a cost- and quality-based argument to convince accountants, CXOs, or politicians, I don't know what to tell you. I don't understand that bullshit world, and I'm glad I'm not a part of it.

    I find it hilarious that some in the business world are trying to use ignorant statements like this as some sort of blackjack with which to intimidate the open source dudes. "You guys better shape up or we won't use your software!" To which the obvious reply is, "That's fine, your decision makes no difference to us whatsoever. If you change your minds, however, Apache, Linux, MySQL, ethereal, snort, and any number of other wonderful programs are available to you at no cost, any time day or night. Good day to you, sir." There's no leverage in this situation because they don't understand that while outward appearances trump everything else in the business world, they don't make any difference at all to the people who actually write the software. If your company believes this, that's fine - you will get the IT you want, and the IT you deserve. I'm sure these people would be shocked to find out that IBM, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan, Novell, Dreamworks, Lucasfilm, Pixar, the NSA, and the United States Armed Forces , among others, all use software written by scumbags who have long hair and wear t-shirts while they work, because everyone knows that anything done by someone with a ponytail is shoddy and unreliable, and will never be accepted by serious professionals.

    In one tiny nod to the suit-and-tie crowd, however, if they want the textbook example of the childish arrogance of the bedroom coding crowd, look no farther than BitchX. You, sir or ma'am, are either a twelve year old kid, a stupid, childish asshole, or both. What are you, in fourth grade? "Dude, I'm going to call my program BitchX! It'll be totally awesome!" Fuck you, child. Why didn't you call it CuntTalk or FaggotyFaggotClient? Maybe you could have made a fart joke for good measure. I know, I know, you didn't write it for the business community or for grandma's desktop. You wrote it for those who weren't too shallow to be put off by appearances. You sure showed us, we are totally impressed by your non-conformity.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @01:16AM (#15015877)
    What is with this dress for success bullshit? Will society EVER outgrow it? Fuck, this archaic crap dates back thousands of years.

    Shady car salesmen wear suits. Drug kingpins wear suits. The heads of Enron wore suits.

    A man in nice suits sent our military into Iraq after WMDs that weren't there.

    The former thug leader of Iraq wore suits.

    So what does a suit prove again?

  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:18AM (#15016050)
    Preclaimer: I'm a semi-sloppy dressing engineer.

    Second, It's about percieved professionalism

    There are so many bullshit posts in this thread from anti-dressup types that I decided to pick one near the top. Don't take it personally, I just picked the first self-important, self-proclaimed geek who was full of crap.

    It's not about 'professionalism' at all. It's as much about professionalism from the busniess side as it is about comfort from the geek side (t-shirts and cutoffs aren't very comfortable compared to well-made, ironed clothing). It's about laziness. They see you as too lazy to make yourself look good, and let's face it you (and I) are too lazy to do the work. Business clothes aren't any more expensive than jeans, and if you don't count trade show handouts, button down shirts can be had for the same price as a printed tee. But you have to iron, and wash properly, and button, and groom. You'd rather pull on whatever is lying around and go about your day. That speaks to your attitude. There are things you are going to decide aren't worth your time, and your clothes show it. Subconsionsly, everybody else knows it too.

    Ok, so it pisses your off when you have a dress code. Dress codes *are* stupid for grown adults. Choosing to dress nicer does make a difference though. I still can't get myself to do it every day, but it's obvious the way people's attitudes change towards you when you put in the effort. It also makes you feel better about yourself once you get over the rightous rebel bullshit. Also, a nice cotton button down with a color (even if it's plaid) and some ironed pants are more comfortable than jeans and a crappy big-seamed tee with huge silk-screening any day.
    Semi-related, since hair matters a bit less as long as it's washed and combed... Also only a subset of techies are culprits: Cut off the damned pony tail when the hair has fallen out on top already. You look like an idiot, and combined with the smell of your t-shirt, it's why you never get laid.
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @02:33AM (#15016090)
    Not so much about class and swagger as professionalism.

    [...]

    Open Source will save acquistan(sp?) costs, but it won't save on labor.


    Yes, sir. You are the pinnacle of professionalism. Look, anybody can make a typo or a spelling mistake. No worries, there. But you clearly knew that you were unsure about the word "acquisition" and yet were too frigging lazy to bother to look it up. You are utterly lacking in credibility.
  • by mce (509) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @05:00AM (#15016498) Homepage Journal
    You'd rather pull on whatever is lying around and go about your day. That speaks to your attitude. There are things you are going to decide aren't worth your time, and your clothes show it. Subconsionsly, everybody else knows it too.

    When I hire someone (I'm a software engineer / team lead), I want him or her to have things that they consider to not be worth their time! I want them to spend their effort on what is worth their (and my) time. I want them to be studied, creative, productive, committed to quality, ... much more than I want them to be dressed up for a wedding party every other day.

    For clarity: I never wear T-shirts or jeans myself, most of my clothing has a decent brand name, and I even wear an original (albeit a by now badly worn one) Armani leather vest on a daily basis. But I don't care at all what the people I work with wear, as long as they don't show up at a sales meeting in their underwear.

  • by caffeination (947825) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @07:48AM (#15016879)
    Actually, I (a student) am wearing £10 cargo pants, a £3 t-shirt, and about £3 worth of underwear.

    I had to wear "smart office-wear" for my sixth-form college a couple of years back, and that came out over £100. Fucking elitist school, but the best in the area. Worth the sacrifice, but for the rest of my life I'll always look back on it with an element of shame because of the sheer elitism of it. Not that that's applicable to business and IT jobs, but the prices are, at least over here in Britain.

    By the way, you could have done without the second part of this phrase:

    Don't take it personally, I just picked the first self-important, self-proclaimed geek who was full of crap.
  • by TractorBarry (788340) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @08:29AM (#15016994) Homepage
    In most "advanced" human cultures it's illegal to discriminate on the grounds of:

    1 Race.
    2 Skin Colour.
    3 Sex.
    4 Sexual orientation.
    5 Physical Disability.
    7 Age.

    However personal choice of attire seems to be amongst the last bastions of acceptable discrimination.

    And just why is it that the "acceptable standard" is always based around the preferred attire of a fat, middle aged, white man with no discernible dress sense and who's probably spent one half of his life being dressed by his mother and the other half being dressed by his wife ?

    (And now I'm off on a good rant) Have you seen the fat fools in their golf wear ? or in the utterly embarassing "casual wear" they occasionally wear on the rare "team building" events in the pub ? The mind simply boggles... but hey it that's what floats their boat more power to 'em. (yeah I know I'm sterotyping heavily here but this is the mindset we're dealing with...)

    Personally I look forward to the day when the mindless majority wake up to the idea that the packaging is not the contents, that people are all different, and that this is a GOOD THING. Diversity breeds innovation. Conformity breeds stagnation. We need suit wearing, small minded, twits as much as we need poinytailed, sandal wearing geeks. The two should just learn to see the good points in each other and get along... Or have a war when us geeks will seriously kick the suits asses (after all who invents all the good weaponry ?)

    And people wonder why aliens never bother landing... when most humans can't even cope with members of our own species who have a different taste in haircut or pants.

    Pah.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @09:01AM (#15017090)
    All I can say is that one of the 'self-important' geek says, you're full of shit.

    Programmers/geeks ARE SUPPOSED TO BE lazy, by definition. Otherwise why would we write programs at all to do things for us?

    Dressing is not about 'look formal' rather than 'comfort' and 'practicality'. I'd never employ a programmer who prefers to wear a suit, because it gives one sign: "this guy prefers to do things the less practical and efficient way".
  • Re:Yeah... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dwandy (907337) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @10:10AM (#15017364) Homepage Journal
    Great. You are a prejudiced idiot. "Professionalism" is an attitude and a work ethic; it has nothing whatsoever do to with the clothes you are wearing. Nothing. I've met social retards in Armani suits, and I've met consummate experts in overalls and yes, sandals and ponytails.
    "Professionalism" is a perception. It's how others perceive you. Yes, it's the perception of your work ethic, and the perception of your attitude, but it has just as much to do with the perception of your appearance, and this includes your clothes. It's also one of the bits of your apearance you can change: You can't get taller, better looking or change the color of your skin; but you can change your clothes and brush your hair.

    The problem is that techies think that physical appearance should not matter. We should be judged on our technical abilities, and anyone who does otherwise is an idiot, moron or stupid. Then we get cranky when the office schmooze gets promoted despite the obvious lack of talent...

    Perhaps it's because we sometimes don't meet face-to-face (ever!) with people we respect - and we respect them because we respect their work. And we want to work with them because we respect their work. And their work (them being good techies) makes our work easier and more enjoyable. No office politics.
    But let's take the flip-side. We judge too: We pre-judge the quality of the code by how nice it is to read. We automatically assume that code that is hard to read (poor formatting/layout/comments/whatever) was written by some sub-standard coder ... we've just judged the code and the coder without really taking the time to see if it's actually good code. The compiler, afterall, doesn't care about things like formatting and good commenting. So if the resulting compiled code is in fact efficient code, how come we've judged the coder?

    So, here's the social version: people have preconceived notions, and these include 'professional' dress code as meaning a suit and tie. You don't have to like it, but if you want the 'suits' to respect you, you have to wear a business suit*.
    Another poster said he didn't get the job because of the suit: the place wanted a more relaxed atmosphere. Again, prejudged, but this judgement is rare in the corporate culture.

    So the bottom line is people pre-judge you based on (amongst other things) how you dress. And if you want to sell Linux to the Corporate Suit, you have to meet their preconceptions. And those preconceptions are that professionals wear suits. That's why Sales Guys from any major software vendor always show up in a suit....Why should Linux be any different?

    *the exception is to be/play the guru: then the expectation is in fact the long hair and sandals... :)

  • Re:Yeah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @10:28AM (#15017472) Journal
    And what the --- does dressing differently have to do with "being clean?" I think you have a very bizarre picture of diverse people.

    Exactly. Talking about Goths, there's an important point here - most of the arguments presented here in favour of things like wearing suits and short hair have been based around the idea that it is synonymous with making an effort about your appearance, and looking clean and tidy.

    Yet take a group of people who stereotypically spend far more time on their looks and dress than most people - and yet they're still lumped with the "untidy poorly-dressed shouldn't-be-employed" people!

    This makes it clear that the issue isn't really with looking tidy or making an effort, but instead requiring people to change their appearance to fit a particular look (a look which is inherentely sexist too - for example, no one would dare make these "long hair is untidy" comments of women, after all...)
  • Re:Toscanini... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:07AM (#15017690)
    Perfect example! Because now that art form only survives with substantial government subsidies.

    A few jobs ago I was back and forth to China to work out some manufacturing issues. Everyone wore the same clothing. The guards at the factory stood up and crisply saluted every time management walked by.

    It took a sandal wearing hippie from California to try to get enough innovation and insight into their manufacturing process that they could take that incredible ability to march in lock-step and actually produce something with it. And as China's economy grows, those jobs are going to be automated away.

    Just as music changed and evolved more quickly when the long-haired sandal wearers got involved, and even if you're a lover of large orchestral works it's been crossover artists who've brought innovation to that genre, so does technology.

    The thing is that most enterprises are afraid of change, and therefore afraid of innovation. Government, the topic of the story, is one of the worst classes of organizations in this respect.

    So you can have your uniform behavior, your respect for tradition, all of that stuff. I'm interested in pushing on the fringes of tradition and questioning behavior so that we can break out of the ruts which are trying to keep us stuck in our same old patterns.

    Besides, ties and super shiny shoes make people look like dorks.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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