Who He Is and How He Came To Be!

Apologies to Bob Kane

"I was driving starships when your great-grandmother was still in diapers!"

- Captain Montgomery Scott, SD 46125.3

What I've Done

I became a computer hobbyist while in Junior High School in the late 1970s. I endured summer school to take a BASIC programming course: it used teletype terminals connected to the public schools' IBM mainframe via 300BPS acoustic modem.

(I hasten to point out that this was Lincoln, Nebraska. Before you pooh-pooh those of us in fly-over country, how many of you had thirteen channels of cable television in 1971? How many of you had computer programming courses offered by the public school in 1977? How many of you have functionally unlimited bandwidth today -- both mobile and via ISP? I do.)

In 1979, my father purchased his first business computer. In 1984, I purchased my first personal computer, the venerable Commodore 64. I went on to PCs, then servers, then AS/400s, then IBM zSeries -- and pretty much everything in between.

All the while, I was on the bleeding edge of public data communications. I ran dial-up BBSs under DOS. I ran a FidoNet point. You'll probably be surprised at the date on which this domain was registered (at the time, I thought I was behind the curve). I can program in COBOL and Java -- though I don't pretend to be a programmer. I can code well enough to teach intro- to intermediate-level courses.

Caldera Network Desktop

I was also on the bleeding edge of Linux.  I started using it while with AT&T: the Caldera Network Desktop distribution.  It had some amazing command-line utilities for administering both the NetWare Bindery and NDS -- networks I administered at the time.  It was also at the tail end of AT&T's ownership of UNIX SVR4, so having a UNIX-like front-end for NetWare seemed perfectly natural.  When it came to administering NDS, Linux won hands-down:  when you're dealing with 56K WAN links, GUI tools are a bad option.

Where I Think Things Are Going

I'm currently running Ubuntu 17.04.  With the release of 17.10, I will no longer run Ubuntu.   I'm unclear which will become my preferred distribution.  I'm tempted to try OpenSuSE.

As near as I can tell, Ubuntu has just committed suicide.  By dropping their attempt at a phone OS, there's no longer anything distinctive about Ubuntu.

The Microsoft, Ubuntu, GNOME 3 programmers have officially lost their minds.  Touch interfaces are simply inappropriate for a desktop.  It's unfortunate that Ubuntu has made this mis-step at the same time as Microsoft, because it would have been poised to pick up users who can't use Windows 8.  Unity is better than Windows 8, but not by much.  GNOME 3 is simply crap, even compared to Windows 8.

Linux has already taken the first battleground: the data center.  Linux is the underpinning of Google App Engine.  Windows Server has become a niche operating system.  Microsoft hasn't figured that out yet, but they will.  Soon, there will be no file servers -- only the cloud.

Personal and workstation versions of Windows are about to be completely irrelevant.  The next battleground is in handhelds and consumer electronics devices.  We're about to see Android battle Apple in the same way the PCs battled Apple -- but without Steve Jobs around, I don't see Apple lasting nearly as long nor coming out on top.

In only a few years, advances in quantuum computing and quantuum energy teleportation will revolutionize all aspects of life on planet Earth.  In very short order, we will be wearing a supercomputer on our wrist, and our contact lenses will overlay information and computing applications inside our field of view.  Control will be through miniaturized motion-detection systems.

Within the next five years.
In short, the world is about to become people waving their hands in the air, manipulating information, applications, and augmented reality that only they can see.

Out beyond that, within twenty years, we will have devices that we would not today recognize as a computer that will be capable of storing an individual's consciousness.  You will have the option of a kind of immortality.

Whether it will be possible to extract your consciousness from your body is another matter, though recent advances in neuroscience make this less implausible than you might think.

Distinctions ... ?

I have the distinction of being on both Richard M. Stallman's and Eric S. Raymond's ban lists.  Specifically, they both abruptly terminated email conversations by declaring that in future my email would be redirected to /dev/null.

In RMS' case, he took me to task for using the term "Linux" rather than "GNU/Linux" in an article aimed at non-technical readers.  While I agree with RMS that "GNU/Linux" is technically correct, I reserve the right to use "Linux" for short where it's appropriate.  Sue me.

As for ESR, we disagreed with regards to "intellectual property."  Specifically, "intellectual property" doesn't exist.

Ideas share none of the characteristics nor traits of property and it is a mistake to pretend otherwise.  All patent and copyright laws are state-sponsored attempts to limit the use of an idea -- or worse, a law of nature.

Sorry, but that's mind control, plain and simple.  I'll have none of it.

I also succeeded in angering a boyhood hero, David Gerrold, to the point where he de-friend-ed me on Facebook.  In that instance, Gerrold vehemently disagreed with my assertion that all taxation is theft.    Sorry, I'll have none of that, either.

For my next trick, I'll be piss off Bjo Trimble ...