[SASAG] Proprietary formats on public mailing lists
Michael T. Halligan
michael at halligan.org
Mon Sep 3 16:58:59 PDT 2007
Funny how the goal of SAGE, SASAG, and other "systems administration
groups" seems to be to alienate the Windows systems administrators
amongst us. That being said, is SASAG a Guild of Systems
Administrators, or is it an anti-microsoft lobbying group? If it's
the later, let me know so I
On Sep 3, 2007, at 1:22 AM, Jeff Silverman wrote:
> It is always interesting to read a flamefest from SASAG members.
> We are
> a very intelligent group and the arguments represent a fascinating
> insight as to how computing should be done.
> I am as rabidly anti-Microsoft as they come. However, the world as we
> know it has embraced Microsoft, for better or worse. This is not
> to change for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, I think we should
> continue to stick to our views, even though they are divergent. My
> thinking is as follows:
> In our complicated, technologically sophisticated society, we hire
> experts to help us with tasks that are too complicated or arcane to do
> ourselves. When we are sick, we see a doctor; when our car breaks
> we see a mechanic; when we need our taxes done, we see an accountant.
> It is fitting and proper that when people have computer problems, they
> should seek.... us.
> Now, just as physicians disagree about the best way to handle certain
> diseases, sysadmins disagree about the best way to solve computing
> problems. Note that 'best' is itself an ambiguous term. A certain
> might be 90% effective but have a 1% mortality rate, while another
> might be 70% effective but have a 0% mortality rate. Which is "best"?
> You don't know. You have to explain this to the patient and let
> him or
> her decide.
> There are many issues which have been brought up in this discussion,
> including reliability, safety, avoiding vendor lock-in, convenience,
> acquisition costs and life cycle costs. Before we can undertake a
> project, we have to explain to the customer what the options are and
> what the relative risks are and then let them decide. My observation
> is that most customers could not care less about vendor lock-in. Most
> customers don't care about Digital Responsibilities Management (DRM) -
> at least, not yet (as Vista becomes more ubiquitous, this might
> change). Most customers already have MS-Windows machines, so they
> software that runs on Windows. They want Windows because the software
> they want runs on windows. That's what they care about. That windows
> is buggy, unreliable (by design), and insecure means nothing to them.
> Even after they have been hit by a virus which has wiped out their
> or exposed their bank accounts, they still want Windows. To most
> people, a computer is something that runs Windows. Sad but true.
> Now, what we can do is make options available to them. They don't
> to use windows. Linux is an option, as is HP-UX, Solaris, and AIX.
> Macintosh is an option, and the Mac has its own rabid fans. As one
> poster pointed out, they don't need something that looks like a
> at all - they can use google and other net based software services
> through a browser. In order to support these options and make them
> viable, we ought to discourage people from using proprietary formats.
> We should be prepared to fail in this regard.
> In order to make options available, we should - no, we must - agree to
> disagree. It is very difficult to be proficient in more than one
> software ecosystem, so we have become sub specialists. We must be
> to do the things that need to be done in the ecosystem we are most
> familiar with. The debate will continue at many levels - this is the
> way it should be, IMHO.
> Somebody suggested that we contact Microsoft and suggest that they
> include native support for ODT, which would be simpler than getting
> world to embrace a new format. This sounds like a wonderful idea -
> do we do that?
> Sincerely yours,
> Jeff Silverman
> Members mailing list
> Members at lists.sasag.org
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