[SATLUG] From Fortune

Al Castanoli afcasta at satx.rr.com
Fri Jan 2 17:23:27 CST 2009

Aside from the idea that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing,
I'd much rather folks fix their own PCs than waiting until they can find
some dumb sod to do it for them. When my kids bring their friends over
and they see the PCs I built, either they or their parents often ask me
to fix their PC. I usually tell them they can't afford me.  I work on
enterprise UNIX and Linux boxen and consider PCs little more than smart
terminals.  This is not a looking down my snoot point of view - I've
just spent so many years working on these things that I don't enjoy
working on Macs or PCs at all anymore.

I had a job about 7 years ago where the company CEO had a sick IBM Think
Station an home that he expected me to drive over and fix every time he
downloaded a new virus.  I overlooked it the first couple of times, but
after the third visit I started calling the headhunters and got a new

OTOH, I thoroughly enjoyed the last Linux installfest at SAC and was
able to help people do something useful with their PC hardware.  The
difference is our customers there can come to the list for help and
don't expect the installer to be on the hook for all their maintenance
requirements. If you fix someone's Windows box or Mac, they expect you
to work on it for them whenever the bogon flux hits them.

Al Castanoli

On Fri, 2009-01-02 at 10:14 -0600, Ernest De Leon wrote:
> There are several ways to look at this. I will give my view point only and
> others are free to chime in as fit. I believe that information should be
> free (as in beer and freedom.) I understand that for purposes of national
> security, competitive advantage, trade secrets, etc., a lot of information
> is kept secret or not released to the public at large (and I mean globally.)
> Some things should be kept secret because the release of that information to
> certain parties could cause great harm to many people, but at the same time,
> withholding information for the sake protectionism is wrong as well. This is
> especially prevalent in the technology field as a whole. Rather than
> continuously innovate, many companies turn to copyright, patent and other
> forms of legal protectionism to extract as much money as possible from a
> given idea. This is fundamentally wrong on so many levels, but our
> government values 'intellectual property,' thus ends that debate. As far as
> general information goes, like the magazines in your quote, no one should be
> barred from attaining that information. This is very different from
> attaining certain information like plans to construct a nuclear bomb. Those
> would obviously benefit no one who is trying to do good for society, and in
> the hands of the wrong group, well, you know. The main reason that people or
> groups withhold information from the general public is to have an advantage
> over others. The phrase 'knowledge is power' has some merit. Whether the
> advantage be competitiveness in the market or superiority of other sorts,
> withholding information from others assures the informed party of success
> over the ignorant party. I freely share all of the information that I know
> with anyone who wants to know. I don't believe that withholding something
> for the sake of creating a dependency on me or my services is right. I look
> at it this way...lets assume that we try and hide everything we have done
> thus far to advance our society. As other societies become more literate and
> stable, they will eventually figure it all out and surpass us at some point.
> How will we feel when we are then on the other side of the informational
> divide? It is better to foster a sense of cooperation and learning between
> all of us now so that we can evolve as a species rather than in subsets. I
> think that we are one or two generations away from dropping most if not all
> of the ignorance and prejudices that have plagued our species for several
> millenia, and it is in no small part due to the overall rise in world
> literacy, reasoning and critical thinking skills. Let's not let personal
> fears or greed get in the way of global education.
> On Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 9:17 AM, Geoff/W5OMR <w5omr at att.net> wrote:
> > I found this rather poignant...
> >
> >
> > from fortune:
> >
> > Rattling around the back of my head is a disturbing image of something
> > I saw at the airport ... Now I'm remembering, those giant piles of
> > computer magazines right next to "People" and "Time" in the airport
> > store.  Does it bother anyone else that half the world is being told
> > all of our hard-won secrets of computer technology?  Remember how all
> > the lawyers cried foul when "How to Avoid Probate" was published?  Are
> > they taking no-fault insurance lying down?  No way!  But at the current
> > rate it won't be long before there are stacks of the "Transactions on
> > Information Theory" at the A&P checkout counters.  Who's going to be
> > impressed with us electrical engineers then?  Are we, as the saying
> > goes, giving away the store?
> >               -- Robert W. Lucky, IEEE President
> > --
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