THE OTHER HAND II

  1. This weekend, President of the United States' Weekly Address focused on computer science. It's a testament to the role software'll play in the personal and professional lives of Americans.
  2. The increasingly prevalent role that software plays in the lives of ordinary Americans isn't news to anyone on @list, but it's remarkable (in the sense that's it's literally worth making a remark about) because the ethics of technology companies are rarely discussed in a non-technical way.
    We, as a society, get riled up pretty easily about Big Oil, Big Ag., and Big Pharma., but what about Big Tech.?
  3. The stock price of a company is predicated on its future earnings potential and in the late '90s: Microsoft was betting big on the Internet. The thought process in Redmond probably went something like: every server that comes online is going to need an operating system. New market, old product (i.e., Ansoff Matrix).
    Technologists may find the following simile reductive, but servers are like desktop computers (laid on their sides) without monitors, mice, or keyboards. They need operating systems, too.
  4. Their competition was a free and open source alternative to the Windows operating system called Linux. Microsoft publicly derided it as a Sisyphean effort, but privately conducted opposition research on allies of the Linux community. This plan was conceived at the highest echelons of Microsoft with the explicit purpose of increasing future revenue.
  5. It didn't work. Linux, as of 2014, powers thirty-six percent of servers and ninety-eight percent of supercomputers. The battle is won, but the war has just begun. The frontline has shifted from operating systems to content-management systems. WordPress is the premier, open source content-management system. WordPress is the new Linux.
    WordPress powers twenty-five percent of websites, now, but if you don't think that there are still forces at work that retain a vested interest in the demise of the Free and Open Source Software movement: you're trippin'.
  6. You, too, can join the fight. Learn how to use WordPress. Attend a WordPress meet up. Learn how to use Linux. Read "The Cathedral and the Bazaar." We need all the help we can get.
  7. Join us.