I was answering some emails from different developers and even a potential advertiser for Lobby4Linux.com this morning when my little Texas Blossom walked into the office with her mom. “Whatcha doin’ dad?” Kind of over my shoulder, I told her that I was answering emails and working on content for the website. She kicked her feet up on another desk and leaned back in her chair, absently whisking pages of the Linux Journal. “Why?” I stopped to turn and look at her. “Why what honey.” Without looking up she said, “Why do you spend so much time on that website…I mean, what’s the point. It’s not like you make any money from it?” I thought hard for a couple of seconds. I had heard that same statement/question from somewhere before and I struggled with it for a moment…man, where have I heard… Oh yeah I remember now, from her mother.
I took a breathe to answer her but ended up just holding it for about 15 seconds, only to expel it without the accompanying noise that was supposed to be speech. “Who Cares?” This has turned out to be much more to me than a rhetorical question, in fact; I have been dealing with it for the better part of this day.
People much smarter than I realize that there is a war raging across this terrain of ones and zeros. In this war, it is not blood being spilled, at least not yet.
And the war rages. Across the web pages and blogs, through the forums and talk-back fields; we snipe and swing at one another in patriotic fervor. Patriots not of a nation or political ideal but followers of an operating system, zealots of bits and bytes who are willing to wade into the fray…living martyrs for the way their data is represented and manipulated in front of them.
It is the classic struggle between David and Goliath. Between a monopoly vs. an idealistic rag-tag group of geniuses, business owners and stay-at-home Moms. One would expect the latter to be crushed under the Machine of Money, but amazingly this is not the case. In fact, The Little Guy has just layed a good one up along side the head of the giant and has slowed his advance.
I Care. And not for the reasons I thought. Not for Pride or Ego. I care in the stead of those who do not. I care because there are people who don’t know they are being taken advantage of. I care because a young girl, experimenting with eye shadow and lipstick, doing her homework and bragging to me that she beat my score at TuxRacer; needs me to. See, the ubergeeks of today…the Linux disciples who are slowly and clumsily evangelizing A Better Way are paving an important path. Those that come after us will be tied to this machine as a matter of course. The computer, regardless of its form or technology will be the centerpoint of life in the not-so-distant future. If the current trend of evolution continues, there will be companies who want to make very important decisions for us, decisions we should be making for ourselves and it will only get worse if we let it.