Monday, June 09, 2003

Hi everybody, I'm back.

I've been getting complaints. Turns out there are people actually checking this blog periodically, almost as if they were expecting me to post to it. Like that was what it was for or something. Weirdos.

Okay, my excessively optimistic readers, I'm sorry. It's been over a month. My last post was long and it was hard to write, a big commitment of time and effort and a trip through an emotional mangle, and finishing it kept me up late and irritated my wife, and I just found it hard to motivate myself to do it again. Plus, a number of people were kind enough to link to it, and I really did want it to be read, and the permalink was bloggered, so I hesitated to post a followup in the interest of keeping it up near the top of the blog.

But most importantly: I started this blog thinking it was mostly going to be for the telling of a particular ongoing story--to wit, my layoff, after fifteen years, from SCO. Well, I've been laid back on. They extended my job for two months, then finally cancelled the layoff altogether. I have concluded that "ability to remain employed at SCO" is my superpower. One of these days I'm sure I'll figure out how to fight crime with that.

And though I don't feel anywhere near as secure here as I once did, I'm happy about the turn of events. My life doesn't revolve around work as much as it used to, and what I want more than anything is time with my family and friends. SCO gives me a short commute, a 32-hour-a-week working schedule, co-workers I adore, and a skimpy but nevertheless adequate salary. A part of me thinks that in clinging to this job I'm turning down an invitation from life; maybe I should have let the currents of reality float me to another, maybe better career; maybe this was an opportunity to reexamine my life and priorities and do something truly new. But a bigger part is just glad to be spared the hassle for a while; this is what I care about today.

I do want to say something about SCO, though. Look: I really, honest-to-god, have no opinion at all on the merits of SCO's claims in the lawsuit they're currently pursuing against IBM. I don't have any knowledge of the code in dispute, and I wouldn't be allowed to discuss it even if I did. But I want to make a few general ethical statements, because it's an important issue to me, and to some very dear friends (including one who has linked to this blog).

Ethical statement 1: Taking someone's code and re-releasing it contrary to his or her wishes is wrong. If someone did that, then it would be right for the injured party to get some redress. Whether it happened or not is for the court to figure out, but if it did happen, that's not okay.

Ethical statement 2: I believe passionately in open source (as well as the subtly-distinct category of free) software. I really do. This world is a far better place for the existence of Linux and *BSD, and if they eventually take over the market to extent that I can no longer make a living working on proprietary UNIX, I will accept that outcome with equanimity and even happiness. I want the gift economy to thrive. I want to prove that such a radical idea can be made to work--because I think it might well be the first step that leads us into a much better future.

So I have a certain amount of cognitive dissonance here... because the leaders of the free and open source software movements, people I deeply respect and admire, apparently think my company's lawsuit is a threat. And I don't know that they're wrong. I hope they are. But I'm just caught in the middle, like a child of divorce, hoping against hope that everyone will win.

Bligs (0)

Post a Comment