First of all, I would like to thank Tom Chastain of Chastain Motorsports for giving Bob Moore the time of day. I truly am sorry that Roberto Moreno was not able to make it past the first turn in this year’s Indy500. This may explain why I was feeling drained today. I also owe Mr. Chastain, Mr. Gregoire, and Chastain Motorsports itself a huge apology as well. I know it makes it no sense, but please allow me to explain.
I know all of you must have been excited about the story of an underdog and how it could overcome all odds and adversity. However, what all of you saw was something different: much different. Some disagreed with the proposition of marketing Linux in the Indy500. Questions were asked, and accusations were thrown. Even as a human being was injured, Bob Moore, Ken Starks, and anybody else promoting Tux500 were blamed for the person’s injury, thus proving that they indeed were a heartless individual. I read their accusatory post in their own blog, and I became upset. I was even crying for a brief period of time, because I know what it’s like to be brought to the hospital. The difference: one of my bones actually broke, while Stephan’s did not. He was very fortunate, and I am glad he is okay. Stephan Gregoire, I offer you my most humble apology for the actions of an intellectual coward who hides behind their own blog and refuses to be held accountable for their own words. They do not think before posting, let alone typing.
I thank you for stepping up to the plate. I’m sorry that it did not work out for you. I truly am. Not only did you qualify once, you were so skilled, you did it twice. How nice. A highly regarded veteran as yourself deserves the proper recognition, and hopefully, it will come. May your next Indy500 net you the checkered flag!
With that said, something needs to be straightened out here and now. The last time I checked, the developers of many of the distros out there have not once apologized about Linux once! There is no insecurity complex here. If anything, it is a certain bald CEO of a certain corporation in Redmond, Washington who is crying at the feet of millions, and begging, “Please love me!” If one were to record the man saying that lots of companies had plenty of undisclosed balance sheet liabilities, then slowly play it backwards, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if somewhere in the recording, playing backwards, were the words, “Please love me!”*
There all sorts of ways to market Free and Open Source Software, and having a penguin plastered on the front of a racecar was only one of them. Sure, Dell decided to place Ubuntu onto some of their machines. However, it took thousands upon thousands of people to encourage the large computer OEM to even consider doing such a thing. It took a contribution of these people, though it was not their money: it was their time! Yes, there are large corporations adopting Linux, and such a thing is being utilized everyday by everybody without them knowing it. However, why limit such a choice to a select few? Why do so? It makes no sense.
What sets me apart from others who appear to have high ideals is that I believe in the hacker ethic, especially the first part of said ethic:
Information is power. Therefore, all information should be free!
After reading Steven Levy’s wonderful book, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, I was thrilled, and fascinated that so called misfits helped to launch one of the greatest industries of all time. It was that very ethic that caused one Richard Stallman to begin work on the GNU (GNU’s Not Unix) Project. Were it not for said project, Linus Torvalds and others would not have had a complete Operating System environment. Imagine: people hacking code day and night. I wish I had the patience, let alone the talent to attempt such a thing. The reason why I am mentioning Stallman and Torvalds is that I believe that some of us are forgetting where all of this started. I’m not talking about the people, but the main ethic that was followed: All information should be free!
That means that everybody should have access to that information. If somebody does not know that it exists, then why not let them know it does and go from there? This is precisely what happened with Killtown, a notorious and controversial blogger. You see, he recently ditched Windows. He is now running Ubuntu. I first told him about Ubuntu last year when I was in the midst of running it and finding myself liking it (this was before I encountered PCLinuxOS…). Apparently, he saw the Ubuntu logo plastered on a billboard, and combined with me encouraging people to migrate to Ubuntu, the seeds were thus planted, and one year later, he has kissed buggy Movie Maker 2 goodbye, along with spyware, trojans, viruses….. you get the idea. The whole point is that I’m not some Federalist who believes that only certain types of people are qualified to do certain types of things. Ask yourself why the Federalist party didn’t last long in American politics, and I’m sure the answer shouldn’t be that elusive, even to those outside America itself.
I refuse to believe for a second that FOSS is only for a few. It is for everyone, which is why I like the LIFE idea (Linux Is For Everyone). I like the idea that people are out there trying to show others all the neat things they can do to a computer without dumping an extra $300-$400 USD to be considered “legal.” I also like the idea of helping children in Austin, Texas get a computer so that they can do the assignments in classes that require a computer at home along with other projects. It warms my heart that young and old alike are shown that they do have a choice and that they are capable of using a computer. People are spreading information out to the masses. People are needed, big and small for anything to succeed in the end. Bill Gosper, a well known hacker who attended MIT back in the 1960’s, eventually came to that realization after watching a rocket lift off into space for the first time. He realized that when a group of people made up their mind at last, they got things done!
What happens from here on out should be very interesting. I am looking forward to it, and no matter what the odds, I will always remember the hacker ethic and how it has ultimately shaped the foundation of Free and Open Source Software. Thank you Richard Stallman. Your magnificent vision will be remembered for several generations to come.
*This is homage to those who used to play old music albums backwards. You should try it yourself, and don’t just stick to music albums: try recording actual people, saving the recordings, and playing them backwards. It’s really easy: Just use Audacity, as it has a reverse effect. It’s quite amusing, especially if you record politicians on TV doing interviews.
UPDATE: Well, it appears to have been Penguin Pete, so…. Okay. Fine. It did come from his blog after all (and take note: if you put your mouse cursor over it and wait a few seconds, a tooltip pops up that indicates that it came from that site…. that’s been that way since I posted this entry).