This is one of my more navel-gazing posts (well, more than usual) with little open source or OpenNMS content, so if you don’t like this sort of thing, please skip it.
I am not very politically savvy. I’m a geek and I studied to be a scientist so the unvarnished truth is pretty much my goal. It’s one of the reasons I like open source – everything is out in the open, including the code and bugs. This is at odds with traditional software since there was always a much greater focus on marketing. The goal was to sell as many licenses as possible, not necessarily to solve problems in the best way. Open source has no license cost, so one can be more honest. I frequently recommend that certain people who contact us check out Solarwinds, since they are either too small or don’t have a qualified person on staff to get the full advantage of OpenNMS. As a provider of services, my margins are built on a certain level of effort per client, and if there are bad matches, one or two clients could sink those margins.
Yet it seems that certain people in the open source software business can only understand selling commercial software, and so I often feel like an outsider when I try to explain that it is possible to make money without compromising the open source nature of a project.
I feel similarly disenfranchised when it comes to politics. I belong to no political party, although many, many years ago I was a registered Republican (back when they were the fiscally conservative and pro-technology party, so a long time ago). It seems that both parties have been so overtaken by extremists that there is no room for someone like me: a moderate who is willing to compromise and engage in honest debate over the issues.
With the upcoming elections, never before have I felt such distaste over my choices. In my congressional district I can vote for Bob Etheridge, an incumbent who has such little self control that he assaulted a student who was holding a camera, or Renee Ellmers, who is the kind of insane conservative that caused me to leave the Republican party in the first place. Seriously, the biggest threat to our country right now is whether or not to build a mosque near ground zero? C’mon – if you want my vote tell me in concrete terms what you’d do to make things better and stop playing on emotions and fear.
My general frustration with both the politics of business and the politics in government caused me to fall in love with my latest T-shirt acquisition.
It says “Infidel” in both English and Arabic (well, the Arabic word is actually kafir). It was given to me by Robert Neill when I met him at the Linux Link Tech Show booth at SELF, and if you like it you can order one from his website.
Oh, as someone who has spent time in the Middle East (both in Syria and the UAE) I was asked if I would wear this shirt in, say, Dubai. The answer is no. Though I am certain my friend Yunus (a devout Muslim) would find it amusing, some people there would obviously think that I am making fun of their beliefs and would find it insulting. That is not my goal at all.
My goal is to insult those within business who think there is only one way to make money, or those with in politics who are so inflexible that anyone who disagrees with them, even in part, is the enemy.
I am proud to be an infidel in their eyes.