I just spent the last 3 days in Juneau, migrating our mail
system from SIMS 3.2 to 4.0. (Sun said it couldn't be
done.) Fun stuff; certainly a good break from database
Why isn't there a "New Diary Entry" link on my personal
page? I can edit old entries, but I have to go back to my
account page to add a new entry. Maybe I should look at the
code when my life has settled down some.
I don't want to go off on a rant....
...but how did this happen?
Our system used to work. We have several Sun boxes serving
up nice applications (Word Perfect, Framemaker, all our
database stuff, etc) to X-terminals; for 650 employees, we
have 10 staff (including our director). Although we've made
a few sacrifices to keep PCs off the desktop, users have had
everything they could need.
Now suddenly there is a big push to use MS-Office instead of
the tools we use. It looks like we may move to PCs. And we
will probably end up using MS-Exchange with Outlook as the
Why? Because Outlook mangles attachments. Saving an
attachment from an Outlook message creates a corrupted
file. Outlook, however, can save the attachment just dandy.
Because Outlook is included on every new PC sold, we are
getting more MS-Word2k docs attached to Outlook messages.
Not one fucking standard between the two of them. And so we
are pressured to abandon our open, standards-based,
non-proprietary network (with a few proprietary programs,
true, but I've been investigating replacements) for
MS-Windows on the desktop.
I've been working on selling Gnome and/or KDE as a desktop,
with StarOffice, the WordPerfect suite, Gnumeric, LyX, and
every free and Free program I could come up with, to the
big bosses. But it turns out they don't want compatibility;
they want *Microsoft.* (As in, "I was working in Microsoft
when everything froze.") They have no clue what they are
talking about, but they know what they want.
I had been convinced that Free software would eventually
carve out a niche. But I am starting to think we may be too
late; Microsoft may indeed be able to crush Free software in
a marketing Death Match.
The funny thing is, Microsoft isn't even a software
company. It's a stock company-- their primary goal is to
make their stock trade at the highest price possible. (To
be fair, that same criticism is true of most corporations.)
Maybe I'm just discouraged that people insist on taking the
easy way, not the ethical way. (And no, it is not ethical
to support a company that is not itself ethical. I do it,
too (though not Microsoft), so I suspect I'm merely a
hypocrite.) Maybe I'm just frustrated that it's so easy to
trade freedom for a small slice of American Greed. Maybe
I'm just frightened that I'm turning into a glassy-eyed,
fire-breathing Free Software Fanatic.
In any case, I need a drink.
Perl Whirl Pub Crawl
So, anybody here going on the Perl Whirl to Alaska? I am
going to be in Juneau on May 30 (my birthday, by
happenstance), in time for the scheduled pub crawl. Contact me if you like; I
know all the good bars, and all the good beers.
I promise not to be vitriolic about that big software