[linux-elitists] [ruben@mrbrklyn.com: Re: FW: Ruben Safir - Computer Misuse]

Karsten M. Self karsten@linuxmafia.com
Tue Oct 23 15:42:39 PDT 2007

on Tue, Oct 23, 2007 at 01:49:43AM -0400, Ruben Safir (ruben@mrbrklyn.com) wrote:
> ----- Forwarded message from Ruben Safir Secretary NYLXS <ruben@mrbrklyn.com> -----
> X-UIDL: FBg!!VmO!!A9Z"!Wgh!!
> Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 19:55:04 -0400
> From: Ruben Safir Secretary NYLXS <ruben@mrbrklyn.com>
> several email addresses removed
> Subject: Re: FW: Ruben Safir - Computer Misuse
> In-Reply-To: <17CD5D4D4A764A41B056E3583019773104C704@EXCHANGE>
> User-Agent: Mutt/1.3.27i
> X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.63 (2004-01-11) on www2.mrbrklyn.com
> X-Spam-Status: No, hits=-4.9 required=4.0 tests=BAYES_00 autolearn=ham 
> 	version=2.63
> X-Spam-Level: 
> X-Keywords:                 
> X-UID: 36144
> Friendly Director(name removed) and all
> I want to make this every clear to everyone involved, so there is no
> misunderstanding.  I've spent the last 4 months cleaning those insecure
> computers from key stroke capture programs, viruses, adware and spyware
> for several months.  The computer which died today, I spend 4 hours of my
> own time to resurect a hard drive which failed, most likely
> due to the dust and dirt and the fact that those machines are on the
> floor and old.

<... snippage ...>

While it may come as a shock to some, that email exemplifies a number of
characteristics not uncommon in business organizations:

  - An individual with good technical, but relatively poor tactical and
    political skills, getting involved in a technical problem.

  - Persons working outside their employment scope.  My understanding is
    that Ruben was hired as a pharmacist, not an IT tech.

  - A rabidly paranoid and dysfunctional organization.  As DM's followup
    suggests, exposing the company's internal flaws may have been one of
    the few vaguely satisfying outcomes possible.  Even that is a step
    which should be taken with care.

What I've seen, both past and present, in a great many IT situations is
a failure to secure critical buy-in, particularly within disfunctional
organizations, before taking "radical" steps.  Linux is far more
accepted in industry today than even 2-3 years ago.  Lord knows, it's
critical infrastruction in a great many places, many of which aren't
even fully aware of the fact.

Have I been bitten by similar paranoia?  Sure.  Am I cautious in what I
recommend.  Yes.  Do I continue to quietly build support for what I
think are valid, useful, and defensible choices for IT based on Free
Software solutions?  You bet.

The game is political.

Oddly enough, I seem to have read that on a sig somewhere recently.


Karsten M. Self <karsten@linuxmafia.com>        http://linuxmafia.com/~karsten
    Ceterum censeo, Caldera delenda est.
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