dammIT

A rantbox

Thu 02 March 2006

A Rebel Geek and His Ideas for an Open Company

Posted by Michiel Scholten in posts   

After capitalizing the title right [I hope], I wanted to share a little anecdote with you. A guy of the same year of my Computer Science study has a traineeship where he's profiling a large information system. He could choose between writing his application in Java or .NET with C#, and his mentor gave the advice to do it in C# as "that's new, and you'll need to learn it anyway".

Now I think his subject is very interesting, but the stance of his tutor brought out the rebel in me. It may be 'wise' from a carrier perspective where big companies use .NET for all their applications and more, but I think we -- as academic, larger thinking computer scientists -- should create awareness of alternatives for microsoft's platform to prevent vendor lock-in. He posed that ".NET will be available for Unix too", but as you know, that's only because of Miguel de Icaza's efforts on Mono. A project that's silently ignored by microsoft itself, while Redmond claims it's an open platform. It's bad enough that so much workstations at our department are windows machines, and that when a student encounters a Linux [or Minix] machine, he or she stares at it in amazement, then turns and leaves the room. Of course that leaves us in a quiet room, but it's not the way an academic Computer Science student should [re]act.

As you know, I quit working after 4.5 years of work with my current employer. I quitted because I want to devote myself and my time to my study, but as I was leaving they send around a note saying their new development server was to be hosted this and this and this [internal] projects, and was windows based. This in contrary to an old development server that's running Debian GNU/Linux Woody and runs the same services. Well, almost the same, as they where trading Apache for IIS. *cough* Anyways, I was one of the forces behind introducing another browser [yeah, it was Internet Explorer for ages there, while the company is a respected creator of web applications], new web standards [read: standard Cascading Style Sheets etc] and I even think one of the only people there pushing Open Source Software in general. It's that lots of companies are this way and I understand their reasoning, but I'm not entirely comfortable in such an environment.

Another idea that's been floating in my head is to start a little enterprise of my own. Of course after I successfully ended my study [or at least have the finish firmly in my reach]. A company building web based applications, stand alone applications that do fun stuff with connections to those web applications and livecd's. Not yet a clear portfolio as you can see, but it's just an idea I've been playing with. Without even mentioning this idea I've already heard several people voicing wishes to join a new, small, driven club with "fun" projects, where "fun" is very subjective of course. But it would be fun to have a geek playground and making money with clever solutions too. Also "fun" is that it won't have to be a company with an office building where you have to travel too each and every day. Members of our team can be located everywhere on the globe, just like the Morphix community. Of course I'd like to hear from people with ideas or an interest in participating etc.

Or am I a weird guy and completely alone in this?

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