% fortune -ae paul murphy

Morally Wrong, eh?

Last week I stumbled across a facinating May 2nd writeup by James Dickens on planetsolaris.org on using ZFS for the home computer and went on from there to read a number of other entries.

I'm fully among the converted and evangelical when it comes to ZFS but an unrelated entry further down the page apparently by Sun's Jim Grisanzio really caught my eye.

That writeup is in praise of Bruce Sterling and contained this quotation from him:

It is morally wrong to evade controversies just because you don't want anybody confronting you over what you are doing. There is something very snotty about an author who expects only good reviews for his books, and the author of an emergent technology is in the same boat. If nobody is dismissing you as hype, you are not being loud enough. And if nobody thinks what you are doing is dangerous, you are doing something with no power to change the world. You had better fight it out with words before you fight it out with laws because you'll be in no position to think straight when you suddenly get hauled in front of Congress and confronted for being evil. You need to feed the critics. Don't feed the crazy ones, but a loyal opposition is hugely valuable.

That last line "You need to feed the critics. Don't feed the crazy ones, but a loyal opposition is hugely valuable" certainly captures how I feel about some of the regular talkback contributers. Anton and Carl, for example, are always wrong -:) and yet what they say often makes a lot of sense and influences both my thinking and, I hope, yours.

On the other hand, since I started doing this commentator gig with the first edition of my Unix Guide to Defenestration I've been excoriated for:

  1. being the only columnist to look closely at, and then show the absurdity of, Linux on the mainframe;

  2. being the only columnist to call Mactel for the utter disaster it is;

  3. saying that SCO's basic claim against IBM is a gimme - at risk only from SCO's own lawyers.

Since each of these exercises in good sense has cost me readers while generating lots of hostile negative email, I've been thinking of changing my ways - you know, writing oudiocy about how secure Windows is, or how mainframes make sense even if you don't own a boat - but hey, after reading this quotation from Mr. Sterling I guess my halo's all karma'd up and change would be morally wrong, right?

On the other hand my first zdnet column Microsoft to buy Red hat? Say it haint so! appeared just about a year ago so maybe next week should be about reviewing old opinions?

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.