Open Source Idealism

As someone who swims in software waters, I run into this all the time: a bunch of open source developers argue why something just shouldn’t be. Very often, it’s a feature request and they’re refusing to implement it on ideological grounds.

It is this very ideological opposition that has held open source back from taking over the world. That’s right, if a bunch of people could get over themselves, we’d all have Ubuntu on our desktops instead of Windows and MacOS.

The Internet isn’t someone’s pet project. There is a very significant amount of real money that went into building it. Likewise, everything on the Internet has taken lots of money to build. These things are, by definition, commercial. The success of a commercial project is making as many of the customers happy.

Customers have a choice on how to spend their resources, both money and time. What they want is rarely what you tell them they should want.

Customers don’t like to be told that they’re wrong or that their idea is stupid. Ideological arguments are that: you’re telling someone that they’re wrong because your system of beliefs doesn’t include their request.

Someone will write them the software that they want. Problems are solved when people put ideology aside and focus on meeting a need.


Why it’s bad to have a cat

I love the little furry guy. He’s my buddy and he makes sure that his presence is known. I got Max when he was a wee kitten and he’s taken on my personality to a large degree. This is probably like what some people talk about when they go on about how great it is to have kids. Max won’t be driving or dating anytime soon though.

  1. How come so many people are allergic to cats? Granted, this is coming from someone who has no known allergies to anything and isn’t really bothered much by Austin pollen despite being a smoker.
  2. There is that occasional time when I don’t want a ball of fur scrunched up against me while I’m working on the couch. He’s good at picking up on feelings. Not that one.
  3. While I adore that he’s like me, I’m persistent and, some may say, needy. The cutest thing in the world pawing at you because he wants a rub behind the ears isn’t timely, sometimes.
  4. Fur. Everywhere. If you have one — and Max is a short hair — you understand why it’s necessary to empty the vacuum canister twice per trip around the living room.
  5. There are some people who think I’m less of a man for having a cat and not a dog. Dunno, it just happened that way. I like dogs but I have a cat. If that’s not good enough for you, tough luck.


The New York Mets

Yankees fans beware: ‘we got here and we lost,’ is a much larger accolade than winning the World Series for a lifetime Mets fan.

The Mets just won, bringing us to 3-0 over the Cubs in the NLCS. There is a chance we may lose. A comeback from a 3-0 deficit is rare but not unheard-of. It is magical, however. The Mets dared greatly. Sun Tzu be damned, there was no league-leading payroll. The New York Times hasn’t ever assumed the Mets were obviously going to win. This is a lead, against all odds.

I don’t have any other team’s logo on any of the clothing in my wardrobe. I trek miles to a bar to watch my game, out of my element. Tonight, I had to sweet-talk a bartender into turning on the game audio; “at least until the karaoke starts,” I asked. It’s worth it, and then some.

It’s a difficult win. The last time the Cubs participated in the World Series was 1945. These United States of America had just convinced two former superpowers to sign peace accords, only after substantial loss of life. Neither of my parents — neither of whom are alive anymore — had been born yet. Germany was one country and there was no wall separating one half of Berlin from the other. Mutually assured destruction wasn’t something that the world considered. The Mets didn’t even exist as a team. Cubs fans deserve a good year, but this just isn’t it. This is another Mets year.

We may lose to Kansas City (sorry, Toronto, you don’t really stand a fighting chance). We are still endlessly proud of our boys in blue and orange, whatever the outcome. This is fantastic.