[linux-elitists] Rick Moen web frenzy!

Don Marti dmarti@zgp.org
Wed May 9 14:04:18 PDT 2001

All together now, "page sysop."

----- Forwarded message from OpenSource@bdcimail.com -----


Posted at May 4, 2001 01:01 PM PST Pacific

A COUPLE OF WEEKS ago Bob Lewis announced in his column
that he was laid off (aka downsized, riffed,
cost-synergized, liberated from the shackles of
financial security, add your favorite insincere
equivalent of "spoot-canned" here). Well, move over,
Bob. Not only have I joined you in the ranks, but it
all went down exactly the way you described.

No comments on my contributions, good or bad. Here's
what you have to sign if you want a severance package.
If you have any questions, call. Goodbye.

It's like the 10 commandments of HR now begin with
Miranda. Thou shalt not say anything because anything
thou sayest can and will be used against thee and
thine ass (as in donkey, of course) in a court of law.

Unlike you, Bob, I didn't have a bourbon. I prefer
Courvoisier over bourbon, and I save it for happy
occasions. But hey, I'm as vulnerable to stress as the
next guy. I simply leaned on a Xanax and a prayer

Like you, Bob, I immediately looked for the bright
side. It was fun working on nonprofit projects as an
"artist in residence" paid by Caldera International.
But it's also a relief to know that I am now free to
say whatever I like in this column about Linux
distributions. It has been a major annoyance having to
dance around the topic of Linux distributions for the
past year to avoid the conflict of interest,
especially because I dance with two left feet.

It may be true that being downsized is the best thing
that can happen to folks like us, Bob, but I'm not
sure I want to hang out my own shingle. I've done it
before, so it isn't the intimidating thought it once
was. But neither is it an exciting adventure anymore.
I gave it up more than a decade ago to take a
full-time job because I was tired of managing so many
details and working outrageous hours.

You need either a knack for business or someone to
manage your affairs if you're going to work for
yourself. Pardon my immodesty, but I know that I'm
extremely talented in many ways. But I also know that
I'm the world's worst businessman.

My business skills rank somewhere below those of an
asthmatic Chihuahua. (I was going to say French sewer
rat, but then I realized that I know of several
successful businessmen who could easily pass for
French sewer rats.)

On the other hand, the alternative hasn't lived up to
its promises, either. It turns out I was rather naive
to think that a full-time job meant 40-hour work weeks.

These days "exempt" status means, "We expect you to
live, eat, and breathe your work, but we're exempt
from having to compensate you for it." I really began
to understand what full-time meant when an employer
let me work at home, yet I still never saw my family.

Regardless, I've been scouring the classified ads under
B for beach bum and there never seem to be any
openings. I guess it's one of those careers with low
turnover rates. So I may have to work for myself after
all. We'll see how it turns out. I'm optimistic
because, like I said in a previous column, a slow
economy is actually the best money-making environment
for open-source companies such as, well, oh never mind.

Speaking of columns, how will this change affect mine?
Well, first I have to take a jaunt to New Zealand to
give a presentation on Web applications development
for Linux and host another Golden Penguin Bowl.
Following that, I have a vacation planned. Obviously,
this long overdue vacation turned out to be
exceedingly ill-timed, but the money is already spent
and there are no refunds, so off I go.

When I return at the end of May, I expect the column to
be a lot more fun to write. As I mentioned earlier, I
am now free to tackle a few topics that have been
begging to be addressed but have been off-limits due
to my connections with a Linux distributor. And I've
had the chance to check out a lot of very cool Web
development technologies in preparation for my New
Zealand presentation, so I have a lot to write about
when I return.

As for the VarLinux.org web site (http://www.varlinux.org),
fear not my friends. As far as I'm concerned, as long
as there is interest in the site, I'll continue to run
VarLinux.org or find others who will. Indeed, my good
friend and Linux expert Rick Moen has agreed to manage
VarLinux.org while I'm away. Time permitting, when I
return I have some big plans for expanding the
services VarLinux.org provides, including a subliminal
message that compels large companies to throw big
bucks my way.

But don't worry. I promise to be more subtle about such
things in future columns.

Nick is the founding editor of LinuxWorld and
VarLinux.org (http://www.varlinux.org). Reach him at
nicholas@petreley.com. Sign up to receive this column
free via e-mail each week
at http://www.iwsubscribe.com/newsletters.


Don Marti              "I've never sent or received a GIF in my life." 
dmarti@zgp.org            -- Bruce Schneier, Secrets and Lies, p. 246.
http://zgp.org/~dmarti/        (Free the Web: http://burnallgifs.org/)

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