31.01.2004 05:36 - Linux-Advocacy Dreams/Nightmares
I have had the most wonderful dream which I wish to share with all of you.
I\'m at work. Don\'t ask me where work is, but it seems to be some sort of academic place. I\'m busying myself with something or other when I hear, over at the next desk, a new employee questioning the parentage of their computer operating system and software. The OS in question is Linux, and it\'s running a free piece of software for scientists. I look over the partition to see that the scientist in question is none other than.....
Baroness. Margaret. Hilda. Thatcher.
I explain to the ratbag that she\'s got a piece of software which is standard in this field and she\'s getting the same software that everyone else on her team uses. She is not happy with this and tries to bully her way into using her own, windows-based (expensive) preference. This is accompanied by threats that linux has \"ripped-off\" microsoft\'s idea for hierarchical directories, and claims to \"know Bill Gates personally\". I tell her that she clearly doesn\'t know what she\'s talking about and that things have changed a bit in the scientific community since she was engaged in the all-important war-work of finding out how to put bubbles in ice-cream (true, look it up if you don\'t believe me). Baroness Thatcher leaves in a huff.
Later on, in comes Dennis Thatcher and questions me on what has happened. I explain to him that his wife wanted to get her own way, and in the process junk years of development. Dennis then says something about \"I always have to tell people that she\'s bigger than you can handle\" - he\'s obviously in awe of her. I explain that we\'re using that operating system because it\'s free, and because we haven\'t got much money, and that the program she\'s poured scorn on has been developed by hundreds of her scientific colleagues through years of painstaking research, and we want it because we want to be able to look at the program code so we can verify our results. Dennis realises that he\'s overstepped his mark and leaves.
And that\'s it. I woke up there, feeling wonderful in having got one over the person who did so much to try and make sure I didn\'t get a decent education.
Oh My God, I\'ve just realised I\'m having linux-advocacy wet dreams!
Exeunt host stage left, for a quick rub-down with an O\'Reilly manual.