Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The State of the State

I don't know how many people have actually been conscious since the new year began because alot has happened. In particular, alot has happened that is changing the face of computing, and no one has been making a big fuss. Well I'm here to make that big fuss.

I remember a few years ago when IBM started toying with the whole Linux idea and began a cautious crawl towards accepting Linux whole-heartedly, throughout their organization. I remember it distinctly because on one of those days I was in the car with my friend listening to 1010 WINS and I heard a report on IBM embracing Linux. I was a bit shocked to hear the word Linux on a car radio in New York City and I stopped and told my friend "The company of the past just became the company of the Future." Today, IBM solidified the premise of that quote when they announced that they would be allowing FLOSS to use 500 patents without fear, uncertainty and doubt, in essence creating a patent commons, and asking other corporations to step up. Where are you Novell?

IBM has unequivocally, to me at least, proven their commitment if not to Linux and Open Source, then at least to open software. Software that is free from risk and vitriolic admonishment. Software that can be creative and innovative and take an idea an mold and fold it into something incredible. Software that does what software is supposed to do--help people achieve and help others. For a geek, especially, who knows what software means to geeks, and knows how hard we struggle and fight for our rights to create software that solves problems creatively, it just makes me feel like someone, somewhere is starting to get it.

I had alot of naysayer friends that said once IBM find a newer more viable and marketable platform, they would dump Linux in the toilet. To them I say that there is no platform more viable and more marketable than Linux. Linux is many things to many people, all at once. Linux is what software is supposed to be, something that bends to suit your needs, not the other way around. And as IBM has proven, they get software. You can say that its a strategy to get at Microsoft all you want, I don't think so and that brings us to the next topic.

IBM doesn't need to destroy Microsoft because Apple just did it for them. I think the $500 Mac is the smartest thing that Apple has ever done. Let's just face it Windows fuckin blows. If you say that Windows doesn't blow, then at least Microsoft's policies towards it blows. The whole Microsoft development ideology is somewhat flawed and just adds crap on top of something that is already crap.

I thank God that Apple finally wised up and decided to release a product that is in the average consumer price range. I don't know about anyone else but just coming out of the holiday season I am sick of fixing people's Windows XP problems and getting 9pm phone calls from people about how I need to come to their house right away to fix their pop-ups flooding their screen. Even that Microsoft Anti-Spyware thing they just released sucks as well. It doesn't actually remove 90% of the spyware, it'll detect it and try to remove it, but the spyware hackers are two steps ahead of Microsoft. Although, Ad-aware and Spybot aren't any better.

Anyway, I don't want to turn this into an anti-Microsoft diatribe. The point is, OS X is better and nicer and more user friendly. Now that it's cheap, every idiot I know is getting one of these. Whether they want it or not, I will force them on to it. There is no reason not to. Even if it ends up taking $5000 of my own money I will make sure that at least the least computer competent of the bunch has one of these machines. I don't expect that the rest of the world will be far behind.

To the brain trust behind Apple's recent strategy and behind this MiniMac, I would like to extend my thanks. I guess it really took the iPod to give Steve Jobs and crew the self-esteem needed to accept the fact that their products could succeed in circles other than those of the hipsters and artsy fartsy and finally act on it. I look forward to January 22nd.