[Linux-aus] Microsoft is a reality

Leon Brooks leon at cyberknights.com.au
Wed Feb 26 09:57:02 UTC 2003

On Tuesday 25 February 2003 09:27 pm, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> Microsoft are a reality in the marketplace, and we are not about to
> decimate them any time soon.

We are, actually. You do know what "decimate" means, don't you? (-:

Perhaps more appropriately, all we need do is provide a credible alternative 
(which we more or less are) and wait for people to get sick of them.

It should be noted that no amount of advocacy will help if we fall behind in 
providing that credible alternative, which brings us back to your proposal 
anyway (`never mind that, show us yer code!'), just via a different route.

> They're not a laughing stock, they're a valid and credible competitor.

Valid and credible, no. Real and hard and blind and greedy yes. Competitor, 
yes, they almost define the word. I agree with your assertion, but not for 
your reasons: a loose cannon is never a laughing stock.

> In tennis training, are students ever taught to 'keep their eye on their
> opponent'? Seldom, if ever. Watching the opponent is definitely important,
> but keeping your eye on the ball - ie., the work at hand - is another level
> entirely. So rather than having the weekly "Let's Laugh at MS" thread,
> perhaps it's time to consider watching the ball again?

That's a very valid point.

However, again, putting Microsoft on the other side of the net distorts the 
analogy. Have you ever played tennis knowing that the other player carries a 
dart gun and will use it if they think they can get away with it?

Picture yourself in this situation. Where are your eyes? (-:

> Everyone throws around the old Ghandi quote as if "and then you win" is our
> natural right against an unjust enemy

Yeah, sorry to break it to the idealists, but this is the wrong planet, the 
wrong time.

> Also, and quite topical, listen to "With God on Our Side" by Bob Dylan
> some time.

Many battles have been fought with both sides believing that God was with 
them. It's quite reasonable to believe that God may indeed be with individual 
soldiers, and many survival stories from the front<1> `where there are no 
Atheists' would chill your kidneys, but there's also a *big* difference 
between confidence and presumption. `And you never ask questions / When God's 
on your side.'<2>

However, stopping a war requires that *both*sides* stop. Can anyone see a 
problem in this case?

Cheers; Leon

<1> There's an interesting vignette in one of Terry Pratchett's novels where
    a character displays a small pocket Book of Om with a hole most of the
    way through it, and explains that it had belonged to his father, and had
    stopped an arrow in battle, `pity about the other 17 arrows, really.'

<2> http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/withgod.html

http://cyberknights.com.au/     Modern tools; traditional dedication
http://plug.linux.org.au/       Committee Member, Perth Linux User Group
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http://linux.org.au/            Committee Member, Linux Australia

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