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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Tempers Flare as Recession Creeps into Tech Industry

Putting fuel in my truck was the last place I expected to get into a confrontation.

Especially concerning Free Open Source Software. I mean, come on...

It was one of "those vans".


You know, the brightly colored ones that promises to propel a computer tech or two as it goes down the road? The one that pulls up in front of houses with people who have broken their computers?

You know the ones...

I suppose what surprises me most is how fast it happened...and how it was good that it stopped when it did.

I was pumping gas into my vehicle when the guy next to me looked over and commented on the number of computers in the back of my SUV. I of course, mentioned that I owned a business in the tech industry. I explained to him that I was also a Director of a charity that provided computers to disadvantaged kids. He seemed truly interested and while I didn't have any business cards with me, I gave him our website and blog address. I excused myself as I walked toward the store to pick up some other things before leaving the station. I fully expected him and his van to be gone when I returned.

He wasn't. It wasn't.

As I approached my vehicle from the store, I had a new perspective on the area. I could now see through the windshield of the van at the pump and there was another person sitting in the passenger seat...a person I had not seen earlier. The guy I talked to was behind the steering wheel and he rotated between jabbing his finger in my direction and then turning his head sharply back toward the other person in the van as he spoke. It did not seem to be a tranquil conversation. As I came within ten steps of my Rodeo, the driver got out of his van and approached me.

It wasn't a friendly approach.

We made contact just under the edge of the canopy. I say "we" made contact...the initial contact was his right index finger stabbing into my chest.

"It's _____ ________ hippy freaks like you that are costing us our jobs. You got any idea how many people are getting pink slips because of your b_________? Every time you put that ____ on someone's computer, some guy trying to feed his family has to go home and tell his wife that he lost his job. How about I snatch that silly little ponytail and give you a tour of the parking lot?"

The veins in his temples were at critical mass and he physically spit as he screamed at me in front of his van. This is where the narrative is going to stop, and it's going to stop for two reasons. First, there's no good way to tell the rest of the story. Second, it's because that's when any verbal communication between him and I stopped. He made first hostile contact and I didn't do anything but react. In the end it was no big deal...but of the two of us...

I am the only one of the two that did not involuntarily leave his feet that day.

Besides, that "silly little ponytail" represents all the hair I have left. Just protectin' the real estate.

The guy in the passenger seat came streaking out of the van with a laptop in one hand and a cell phone in the other. A small crowd had semi-gathered to watch the show but it was over as quickly as it began.

As I spoke with the other guy, it turned out that he was the crew chief of that team and a salaried member of that company's Field Management. The driver had used the truck laptop to go to our website and blog. It didn't take him long to figure out I am an Open Source/Linux Advocate. From talking with the supervisor, I found out that their store location had taken a beating from November of last year until the present. "Memos" had been circulated amongst the management teams, giving advice and training on how best to deal with the "Open Source Threat."

And are you curious as to the machine that is creaming their laptop AND desktop sales?

The Dell Mini 9. It's killin' 'em.

Also I didn't know, the fewer machines they sell with Windows, the fewer positions in the field they can justify. And he said it so I didn't have to.

"We schedule a technician visit for six months in the future with every home visit. Both they and we know their registries and computers will be messed up again by then."

That I did not know.

So what I learned is that "Microsoft Technicians" from this company actually help the particular store project sales and profit in six month blocks, for their "call-out" business that is.

Interesting.

That lead me to think about an entire nation of computer techs. Do they "project" their profits based on the duality between the customer's computer ignorance and the product's inherent insecurity and instability? Do they project their frustration and anger at self-serve gas stations? Geez...how many of them do you imagine there are?

Hey...just thinking allowed.

It did make me a bit more aware of who I tell about my business.

Not that it's going to alter any behavior...just stuff to think about.

All-Righty Then

135 comments:

digitalpioneer said...

"Thinking allowed"? ;P

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

I suppose when users stop needing tech support, that creates a problem for the support industry; but is it really ethical to push a system with a 6-month breakdown guarantee? That's like selling cars with an engine that self-destructs after the first 10000 miles...

einfeldt said...

This is an incredible story. Ken, I'm really sorry you were attacked, but I'm glad that you are okay.

This story is the best illustration that I have heard yet of the highly networked nature of the computer software industry, from Microsoft at the top through to the retail distribution points.

We are having a hard time getting traction because we are not just fighting Microsoft. We are fighting lots of retail chains and others in the vast distribution network upon which Microsoft sits.

And yes, Free Open Source Software is going shift commercial value. Value will shift from the software to back to the hardware. Best Buy will lose customers, but NewEgg.com and AsusTech and HP will gain customers.

It is a basic fact of economic life that commercial value is neither created nor destroyed -- it just moves from one place to another, all driven by human need.

Thanks to the FOSS community, people will spend less on software, but more on hardware. People will buy no-name desktop machines, and get bigger hard drives and more RAM. They will also buy more gizmos running Linux, from TiVo to SmartPhones to netbooks.

They will spend a lot less on anti-virus software.

They will buy more self-help books.

And some smart company will pay technicians to service both Microsoft Windows AND Linux. Eventually, it will become more Linux than Windows.

You will know that the real world digital tipping point has arrived when you look back on this event and smile that the guy who attacked you didn't see that there is lots of money to be made servicing Linux customers.

Christian Einfeldt,
Producer, The Digital Tipping Point

Anonymous said...

Thinking allowed.

Yep, that's one of Kens dubble ontontrays he's famus 4.

Makes us hiks thikn

Anonymous said...

This story sounds familiar. Where do we keep hearing something similar? Oh right, from the music industry. And when it gets physical, you know the other side has run out of rational arguments. They can no longer hide the fact that the broken window fallacy is just that. Essentially, you're living proof these people are parasites. Of course they can't stand you.

I'm just glad you're OK. Take care.

Andres Mujica said...

You know what, this only confirms that we're living a paradigm shift!! and heck we're the ruling force on it!!!

You were like the machines attacked by the workers at industrial revolution.

I'm happy for the revolution we are living!!!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you're ok. Would've missed no longer being able to read the blog :D

The fact that such stories show up more and more often is probably a good sign. As someone else commented, it weans that THAT other side is out of rational arguments. Which confirms that a global balance shift is on its way. which is always good news for humanity.

Dave said...

Thank goodness you're OK Ken - it sounds like this fellow has been watching a few too many episodes of Chuck! Glad to hear you're OK!

Apparently he didn't realize that a pending assault charge (on company time, at that!) will put an end to his employment a lot more rapidly than the free software movement will.

Ronald Jamison said...

Helios, now you see why it is referred to as a disruptive technology?

As a 25 year student of the arts I am guessing an instep circumferential cupped blow. Just a guess.

I don't think that the "other side" is out of rational arguments. I believe the frustration is in knowing that they honestly do not have any and never have. They now have to face a consuming public with an almost apologetic bend. "yes, we've taken your money and time for years while knowing there is a cheap and viable solution to your problem."

Their frustration isn't due to the lack of arguments, it's knowing the gravy train is coming to a screeching halt.

Glad you are ok pal, and besides, you've shown that us bald, ponytail-wearing hippies aren't all pacifists.

Ron Jamison - Moscow ID

Craig Adams said...

I have come across this attitude many a time. Back in the days when Microsoft was making inroads against Novell on the server side, I was employed by a company who had an official internal policy of selling up Windows against Novell.

The reason?

Novell was reliable and technicians seldom had to go back to site to attend to billable issues.

I recently (about 4 months ago) had contact with the same company and they still operate the same way, slagging GNU/Linux, Novell and Apple merely to ensure the regular call out fees.

Funny how I left that company after a short time on ethical grounds, not only because of misrepresentation to customers, but also because of the way they treated their staff.

Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is fairly common amongst resellers here in ZA. Most see GNU/Linux and Free Software as a threat to their income streams and profits, and regularly make up and pass on FUD to all and sundry.

Anonymous said...

This is not new.

Read "The Apple Cart" by George Bernard Shaw from 1929(!). He summarized this practice beautifully.

You are up to "Breakages, Limited, the biggest industrial corporation in the country".

Quote from Gutenberg:
http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks03/0300431h.html

"He had been concerned in an electric lighting business, and had been revolted by the prodigious number of breakages of glass bulbs involved by the handling of the crates in which they were packed for transport by rail and road. What was needed was a method of transferring the crates from truck to truck, and from truck to road lorry, and from road lorry to warehouse lift without shock, friction, or handling. Gattie, being, I suppose, by natural genius an inventor though by mistaken vocation a playwright, solved the mechanical problem without apparent difficulty, and offered his nation the means of effecting an enormous saving of labor and smash. But instead of being received with open arms as a social benefactor he found himself up against Breakages, Limited. The glass blowers whose employment was threatened, the exploiters of the great industry of repairing our railway trucks (every time a goods train is stopped a series of 150 violent collisions is propagated from end to end of the train, as those who live within earshot know to their cost), and the railway porters who dump the crates from truck to platform and then hurl them into other trucks, shattering bulbs, battering cans, and too often rupturing themselves in the process, saw in Gattie an enemy of the human race, a wrecker of homes and a starver of innocent babes."

Winter

Anonymous said...

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

Anonymous said...

Wow, glad to hear you are ok. I did tech support for friends and family in my local area until I went away to school. Most were windows dependent for legacy software packages and limited desire to learn new systems. When I rebuilt a system though, I created restore disks of the build and instructed the user in how to use them (and sat with them through a restore). The local "IT Shop" folks always struck me as having a questionable ethical alignment. They charged inflated prices for hardware and ridiculous prices for house calls to "fix" things that they knew would be recurring.

Kind of interesting to see things beginning to force an end to that sort of parasitic business.

kozmcrae said...

I know a good lawyer in San Antonio, my brother. If it looks like you'll need one let me know (BTW, he's married to a judge).

@ Christian
"basic fact of economic life" That was beautiful, thank you.

Grant Johnson said...

Being assaulted for promoting freedom is part of what this country was founded on. Keep up the good work.

In a lighter note, the fact that they KNOW they will have less work to do if Linux is being run (instead of thinking they will need to learn Linux, and have twice as much to know now) shows exactly what we have been saying for a long time.

I am not in Austin (I am in Wyoming) but if I were, I would be honored to help you with this effort.

I have started a somewhat similar effort here, but as all of the hardware has thus far been funded by me, and all of the work done by me, I have only placed three machines so far. I have two more on the way, but even at surplus prices, hardware can get expensive.

I think I need to start to try to get hardware donations.

Matthew Lenz said...

In all fairness, the guy that got beat up did take the fight on 2 days notice. ;)

Anonymous said...

It's a good story illustrating an extreme attitude. It's a cautionary tale, too.

There is, of course, a category of person who is comfortable with what they know, and threatened when presented with something they do not know. And it's easy to become smug that one is not that kind of person.

However, people can sometimes belong to this category in certain ways, but not others. It makes me ask myself whether I'm belligerent about my preferences. About tech? Food? Music? Religion? Politics?

Phillip said...

This is too funny. I'm in Houston and next time I'm in Austin I will have to look your company up lol.

Well they can rest assured that their industry will take a serious beating because Linux is catching on in places I would never have suspected. I went to get a state inspection the other day at a lube shop. When the tech turned the terminal screen to me to show my my price and info I notices something very strange but familiar. Then I saw that orange title bar on their terminal application and smiled. They were running Ubuntu. And this isn't a mom and pop shop its a large chain.

This type of user ignorance based support contract industry is partially whats wrong with the economy now. Too many people are creating value out of thin air through marketing and perception. Eventually this fake money catches up with everyone. Rather than make a good product crap is marketed and then support for that crap is pushed to make up for the fact that its crap.

I fail to see why people in the support industry get mad about Linux when it offers them the chance to cut out the upstream man and provide and support their own custom system. Of course this is because they don't want to actually learn to do any real work (value once again). They just want to make money for nothing.

namo said...

I can tell another story. Duped victims of a ponzi scheme in one country came to a meeting demanding from official do not convict fraudsters on the following basis - fraudsters shold be allowed to continue business, in a hope to get their "investments" back.

Ken Jennings said...

So, giving computers to disadvantaged kids is a bad thing? hmmmm.

I hope you offered to give his kids a free computer when he's unemployed.

frEEk said...

Here's what I don't get about buddy: FOSS taking over just means he'll be doing support for FOSS instead of commercial software. Other than educating himself on a different set of products, it does not have to affect his livelihood. As much as linux and other FOSS zealots love to suggest, and many non-techies believe, FOSS is not perfect software. I have plenty of issues running Ubuntu. Not sure if it's more or less than windows (at least 2k or XP), but it hardly runs without a hitch. It freezes hard periodically, I have constant browser crashes mostly thanks to Flash (granted, that is arguably a non-FOSS issue), and I can't get some of my hardware working properly due to bad drivers (that aren't getting fixed despite over a year of regular complaints from many).

To be clear, my point is not to slag FOSS here, or to say commercial software is better. The points is simply that people who live on supplying tech support will have jobs regardless of whether commercial closed source software or FOSS is the leader. So morons who go on moral crusades based on supposed economic disasters caused by FOSS need to quit the knee jerk reactions and try thinking and informing themselves.

And buddy needs some SERIOUS anger management classes and a boot to the head (to kick his brain into a higher gear).

Anonymous said...

Let the windows users blow their top. they'll feel better about it later. they're just protecting their turf, a dying turf at that.
but just to be safe next time, send the windows tech to /dev/null/microsoft

leo said...

Anyone else ever see the UK sitcom "Saxondale"? Maybe you got into fisticuffs with the Tommy.

Anonymous said...

Tech support to home users is usually rebuilding virus infected Windoze machines. Its a racket not a business. It starts at the point of sale: I listened to a sell job going on at a local B___ B__ store. After the consumer made the choice of a laptop with Vista the Sales person immediately followed with pushing sales of two year subscription of virus protection software, plus a total reinstall of the OS. This was said to be required because the software installed by the manufacturer was described as spyware, impossible to cleanly uninstall, crapware, etc. The rebuild was to add slightly over a hundred dollars to the purchase. Not to mention the computer would have to picked up later after the rebuild. The sales pitch continued with pushing MS Office educational version for the kids at home. This kind of sales and service is NOT good for the consumer hence not good for business.

Anonymous said...

I hope you are fine. This incident shows how ignorant the tech service industry is getting. I hope they realize soon enough that at least commercial organizations use and prefer Linux for their servers 75% of the time. However this being an incident where these particular support people seem to be servicing the desktop users I would still say that if they are beginning to lose customers to Linux then they need to wise up and learn Linux to better support their own customers. If their customers are getting smarter its not your fault (which is why they seemed to be so pissed at you). People don't like to use substandard products like Windows.

Bob said...

To be the voice of reason, the only thing this proves is that one Windows Tech Support guy had a really bad day and felt the need to assault someone over it.

Congrats, you get blamed because Dell sells a less expensive product then their particular shop.

Anonymous said...

The moment his finger touched your chest HE was responsible for anything you did to him.

Paul Sams

Khan Md Ashraf said...

MS Windows has always been about the 'successful' promotion of business. They never had anything to do with excellence or concern for people. It was/is always about making 'money' no matter what, paying lip service to the rest. They succeed because that is the way most of the world is. But for the first time in the history of mankind there is something out there that is not based on or is about making money. It is about people helping people without any limitation whatsoever. Will it succeed? I don't know! But I am going to enjoy it and promote it while it lasts.
Welcome to the Brave GNU world.

jecook said...

That's utterly intolerable. No service company worth it's salt would have allowed an employee to keep their job after a verbal argument with that, let along a physical altercation.

I used to do on site support for small businesses a number of years ago before I went back into the Corporate IT world, and getting into a verbal argument 'on company time' with someone else would have gotten me fired before I made it back to the shop. And that's not including criminal charges for assault.

TripleII said...

They will just have to deal with it. The secret is out, and I have 55 people off Windows forever, and 5 other netbooks running the stock Linpus and 3 with Mandriva (including this one I am typing on). Once set up, it is the "just works" proposition Windows dreamed of being. Balmer said it best himself...
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/steve/2009/02-17MWCkeynote.mspx
We have benefited in this industry too. ... In fact, the industry makes about $18 for every $1 that Microsoft makes through the Windows platform.

There you have it, every 1$ Linux takes away from MS, we also take $18 away. They will have to adapt. Linux may result in $5 post sales revenue, that's just the way it is. Keeping a (IMO) defective (XP in terms of security, Vista in terms of bloat) alive just to preserve the perverse market of the Windows enabled ecosystem is very very wrong. Hey, folks, it was good while it lasted, but you know what, they same $18 is out there to be spent on something else, instead of the easy peasy registry corruption revenue, you will have to learn something different.

TripleII

Anonymous said...

Actually these guys were telling the truth!! There are many companies whose entire livilihoods depend upon "broken Windows."

From the Windows service tech to the server rooms where Windows serves must be patched constantly, hard drives defragged and rebooted, Windows has always created jobs!

Do not forget the Virus companies Linux threatens, the Firewall companies, the mom and pop repair shops, not to mention the hardware companies who with each Windows release must sell faster and more powerful hardware to run the beats called Windows.

Linux and Unix admins are much less than Windows admins, tis true. One Unix or Linux admin can easily managed 50-100 machines. However, a Windows server farm requires at least one technician per 10 Windows boxes. The Unix tech may not bust everyday, but you can be sure the Windows tech will be!!

Windows may not be very good for the consumer, but it is great for the hardware and services industry!

Trix said...

I'm a Windows admin, and have been for over a decade. However, dude doesn't realise we're in a *service* industry, and it doesn't really matter which platform we service (although don't talk to me about Macs in an enterprise environment).

If I ran a Windows domain where every machine required serious work within 6 months or even 12 or 24 months, I'd be out of a job. Seriously, I'd be fired for incompetence. Home machines are a different kettle of fish, mind you.

So yeah, maybe Dell and the OEM suppliers might have a vested interest in machines clogging up, although I actually don't think so. It's more the end-user support outfits that rely on staff with primary skills in scandisk and defrag that are probably more the problem there.

Linux machines - home or office - are not at all immune from maintenance requirements. I get more patches for Linux boxes (yes, yes, including all the packages I've installed) than I do for Windows machines. There are viruses and worms - not so virulent... yet. Wait till users demand to be running with an administrator account all the time (although I think the package managers like aptitude are doing quite a good job with forcing sudo, but making it easy). Users want to add new peripherals, get on the internet, and get things running smoothly, sort out package dependency hell, and such quaint things as video drivers.

A lot of scope for service work there, once Linux gets sufficient penetration in the home market (it's still geeks and power users there, let's not kid ourselves) - a home user will be able to screw up a Linux machine within 6 months, I'll bet you.

So let's not paint all Windows support engineers as being like GeekSquad drones - that guy was simply a moron and has obviously never heard of such a thing as "broadening the skillbase".

Anonymous said...

@Trix:
"There are viruses and worms - not so virulent... yet."

Please, elaborate.

I have been using Linux at home and at work, even as a very public web site for over 10 years now.

I have never, ever encountered or seen a Linux virus or worm. I know they "exist", but somehow, no one I talk to has experienced or even seen such a beast. There has been talk about desktop launchers etc, but no one seems to have seen one either.

So I am glad I can now hear from you, from first person experience how these work.

Please, note that this "might" sound sarcastic, but that is NOT my intention. I am really interested in securing my machines but there is such a dearth of data on active viri and worms.

Winter

PapoAnaya said...

I'm glad that you are ok, but it seems to be a sign of the times in which people are concerned about their job as unemployment continues to increase. The odd part is that IT jobs should be holding up fine which makes the whole affair rather silly.

One thing I learned while working through the "after Ma'Bell divestiture" times and the recession of '92-'93 that you have to adapt or die. If the Mini 9's running Linux is what's selling, you should start training your staff on the system.

We all in IT know that users will always have questions and get in trouble. It may not be a registry issue, but when the apt-get repository gets corrupted, it can be as nasty (which it can happen on a regular system update).

Those guys would've been better of advertising their Linux expertise after being properly trained rather than slugging peers in a parking lot.

swiftnetcomputers said...

In my experience, Windows definitely generates more revenue than Linux in terms of service. I used to be a Windows only IT administrator. In 2001 I became familiar with Linux. I began switching my clients over to Linux based servers around 2002. I noticed a drop in 'billable time' at the end of that year. As I migrated more and more clients from Windows to Linux, I noted two things. The first was I could handle more customers then ever before. The second was that the amount of 'billable hours' concerning server administration was significantly lower for all Linux server installs.
A Windows server needs to be rebooted at least once every three months. In my experiences rebooting once month is best. I've had Linux servers running for over two years without a reboot. These were special cases where the machines were secured and did not require security updates. The only reason I had to reboot is from hardware failure or power failure or expansion.
All the people I've switched to Linux on their home systems are much happier. GNU/Linux is more reliable and less prone to malware than Windows.

Janes Dixon said...

> I am the only one of the two that did not involuntarily leave his feet that day.

Why am I not surprised? :)

You'd think he'd know enough to spot ex-military.

> That's like selling cars with an engine that self-destructs after the first 10000 miles...

It's been done, though from memory I think the self destruct point was in the 35-50K range.

The Exiled V.2.0 said...

Could you provide some more corroborating evidence? You had claimed a schoolteacher was confiscating Linux disks independent investigators at Slashdot were unable to locate any such incidence occuring at any school. Now you were attacked in a manner that would cause any corporation or business to fire the employees.

The reason I ask for corroborating evidence is so that your claims can be...made more believable. As these incidents have not happened to anyone but you (on your say-so) and have not been independently corroborated or verified, it makes them a bit suspect. I'm certain, as a programmer, that you can understand why that would be.

JHardin said...

swiftnetcomputers said...
> A Windows server needs to be rebooted at least
> once every three months. In my experiences
> rebooting once month is best. I've had Linux servers
> running for over two years without a reboot.

For a long time I've said that I'll respect Windows when Windows admins start getting into uptime dicksize wars on Usenet with Unix admins...

FelixTheCat said...

@The Exiled
Hmmm...the only one???
http://www.kernel-panic.org/pipermail/kplug-list/2009-March/106765.html

Try again.

Darren Hale said...

I find it interesting that a pair of technicians who make they're livelihood servicing computers, don't see Open Source as an opportunity to expand the services they provide. If those service techs worked on computers, regardless of operating system, they would probably grow their business.

shirtees.net said...

Was a good read, thanks. These punks should lose their jobs. They are relying on people screwing up their systems and the OS to get screwed over time. Its like cause and effect. They create the problem, and they have a solution for it at a cost (sounds like Norton to me).

Ive installed Ubuntu on 23 computers now. Everyone loves it, everyone is always calling me thanking me how smooth their systems work... it really is amazing. One neighbor of mine heard about my computer knowledge and begged me to come over to fix his XP system. I sat down at his computer and it took 9 minutes to boot up. WTF? I guess I have forgotten how bad MS software can really be. His system now boots up in 40 seconds, and this guy was thinking he had to go buy a brand new computer (with what, Vista on it??). What a friggin' racket Microsoft is running also. Gates is a just a damn eugenicist anyways. Open source is the way to go! Thanks for fighting the fight!

shirtees.net said...

I forgot to add... Im a web designer and graphic designer. All of my t-shirt designs in the past two years have been done with GIMP and Inkscape, both free. The quality is better, becuase I am actually forcing myself to learn these programs instead of mindlessly figuring things out in Photoshop. It really is enlightening to use linux.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. Sometimes I really miss Texas.

Anonymous said...

This is a created divide that does not have to be. Local shops don't have to lose business to free software if they learn to work with instead of against it. Instead of fixing Bill Gates intentionally defective shit, those guys could provide something of value to the customer, like setting up video conferencing, DVRs and the like. Not everyone is going to want to learn all of the ins and outs of GNU/Linux, there will always be a service market. Shame on M$ for lying and creating such hatred. I suppose I should expect nothing less from the people who sabotaged OLPC and would eliminate the Helios Project and all software freedom if they could.

Anonymous said...

Rewind the story. Rename the angry, insecure Windows tech *Microsoft*, and Ken as *TomTom*.

Replay story, with the same end result. Freedom wins over *freedom-fighters*. Way to go Ken!

volomike said...

Wow, this was like an episode of LOST. Very strange. Sorry to hear this, Ken.

And for anyone out there that thinks putting Linux on computers is going to hurt them, they need to go back and put their thinking caps on. It's Linux which is now in most server rooms as the primary OS, and that means jobs. And it's Linux which is one of many factors that help IT departments cut costs so that they can keep companies afloat, and companies hire people. Also, because Linux is so reliable, secure, configurable, and just so much easier to maintain than Windows, it means less financial troubles for the companies using them, and, again, companies hire people last I checked.

Anonymous said...

I know its probably the bad action to take, but if someone came up to me like that. I would fuck their ass up.

granted I am on probation currently and will probably refrain from violence. but I feel very strong about promoting OSS and the magical things you can do when $$ is not the object. I been working in the IT field and have seen the atrocities that MS promotes with their "solutions".

It is because shitty software adaption and the $$ hounds from MS that we are so technically outdated. All they care about is making money and squeezing every once they can out their customers and never even deliver quality products ... IE anyone ? ...

** sigh, should have taken a keyboard out and beaten the shit out him to teach him a lesson and to get back from the people they rip off every 6 months :) with their shady business.

illyich said...

I agree 100% with what you do, but boy do you seem to find your own trouble.

Slackenblogger said...

WOW! So you're a Ninja AND you do Linux! hehe Great story, keep up the good work! Everyone is so tense these days...

Anonymous said...

"Do they "project" their profits based on the duality between the customer's computer ignorance and the product's inherent insecurity and instability?"

Yes, my company does. That's my I don't touch that stuff - it's like crack: you know they're gonna come back for more.

miyamoto-SAN said...

"However, people can sometimes belong to this category in certain ways, but not others. It makes me ask myself whether I'm belligerent about my preferences. About tech? Food? Music? Religion? Politics?"

Look, what he did was wrong, but he wasn't aggressive about his beliefs, he was aggressive because he and people he knew were losing their jobs. That's quite a bit different than being aggressive over abstract ideas, it hits home to be in danger of becoming homeless.

Anonymous said...

amazing i work for an anti-virus company doing tech support (worked in computer industry for over 10 years cause i love technology and helping people) so whilst the general small businesses use windows, the larger corps use linux, so i can appreciate both.

at the end of the day its about respect, we are all in for the love of computers and technology arent we ?

hope you're ok :D

Andrew Magnus said...

I agree 100% with what you do, but boy do you seem to find your own trouble.

Passionate people often do. Most people who sit behind keyboards in their Mom's basement don't usually have the opportunity to interact in a meaningful way. Ken is somewhat of a Local celeb, appearing on radio and TV, he is often recognized in public. I don't think this is the case here but again, involved people are just that; involved. Through increased involvement, some experiences are going to be negative by mathematical dictate. If you spend 80 percent of your time passionately engaged in an endeavor, there will be good and bad alike.

Collaborating evidence? Independent Investigators? Slashdotters? Oh...you mean the guys that sit behind their keyboards in their Mom's basement. Those Independent Investigators?

My name is Andrew Magnus and I was asked to drive Ken downtown today to be "interviewed" by an Austin City Detective. He thought he might be arrested and did not want his car impounded. I assure you from a first-hand experience, there is surveillance tape of the incident from that location and Ken was undoubtedly attacked first. His reactions were merited.

Again, spending larger amounts of time in any endeavor will expose one to negative circumstances. My personal advice to anyone who doubts the formula is to step out from behind the monitor and involve one's self in at least 25 percent of Ken's involvement. You will undoubtably get your "collaboration".

Drew Magnus - Austin

KoldFuzion said...

As a computer technician, I see all types. This is a sad day that fellow techs attack each other. Physically.

I work in a small shop. There are only 3 of us. We chiefly do Windows work. Unfortunately a majority of the computer repair outfits in this area are a bit dodgy. But despite being a PC oriented store, we always welcome Linux and Apple. Truth be told, we've been seeing a surge of Apple lately as well as more Ubuntu operating systems.

While a Windows man myself, I do own a MacBook as well as a Hackintosh. I've dabbled in Linux distros (Gentoo, Ubuntu, Debian). This is what I feel makes a computer repair outfit more progressive nowadays.

Every computer out there is not a Windows PC anymore. With Dell's Mini9, Ubuntu has become common name that ordinary people come in asking about. Apple stores are popping up left and right. What large outfits (like the fellow who assaulted you) fail to realize is, is that this is a new field to explore. New problems to learn and fix.

I don't consider myself a hippie. In fact, I'm a 23 year old student taking night classes while working full time. I may not know much at this age, but I do know that a computer is a computer. And as long as it has an operating system that I can learn and manipulate, I can fix it. Whether it's a PC, Mac, or Linux box it's all the same to me. They all use the same hardware (mostly same) and the OS's all follow some basic rules.

So don't resort to violence against fellow technicians. Stop being lazy and learn the new machines. It takes work to be good at what we do. It's too easy to just work on what you know. 10 years ago just about everyone was on Windows 98SE. Nowadays grandma's on her Mini9 running Ubuntu.

Times change. Change with it.

antemon said...

This is the next best thing I've read since that teacher that scolded her student about linux and saying that it was piracy (somewhere along those lines...)

pete said...

As much as I respect what Microsoft has done for computing, this goes to show that they have helped create entire industries that are dependent on years of poor decisions. You can bet that there is money flowing into the pockets of malware writers (otherwise unemployed programmers probably) from these industries in an effort to perpetuate themselves and their profits. I can understand that certain individuals may become violent when they are convinced that you are the one that is taking away his or her job. But perhaps they don't realize that eventually, even MS will close the holes and he will lose his job because he works in an industry that has no real usefulness in the world. We should never need computer technicians, we SHOULD have computers and software that work correctly all the time.

I would like to say that I support your charity work and I think its great to teach underprivileged youth about computers. Future generations of computer programmers will understand the problems that they will have to tackle regardless of whether they work in open or close-source software.

Daengbo said...

Dude -- Just thinking aloud, not "allowed." Or are you allowed to think? ;)

Interesting post.

Bart said...

LOL, luckily at least nobody got hurt.

I wonder what kind of lousy company they are anyway if they need to schedule half-yearly visits to their customers to keep their computers running. I'm in the computer business myself (sale & support) and 95% of my customers use Windows. I configure their computers in such a way that they don't have to call me all the time (separate administrative account, automatic updates, anti-malware). Apart from an exception here and there, I rarely have to go to somebody because their Windows install is screwed up.

Now, on the desktop I'm a (mostly) satisfied Windows Vista (and to a lesser extent XP) user myself, who uses OpenOffice.org for his office needs, and for servers I mostly use Linux. I've played around with Linux on the desktop too, and liked it a lot, but I can understand that for a regular customer, it's just more convenient to use Windows and call somebody (hey, almost every tech knows Windows) when they have a problem.

I tried moving a few of my customers to OSS a while ago, but all of them have returned to MS software:
- The one with Linux (Ubuntu) couldn't easily get everything to work as he expected it to
- The ones with OpenOffice.org on windows couldn't get used to it (not very computer-savvy), so they switched back to Office. Strangely, they seem to have made the switch from Office 2003 to 2007 without many complaints, though I find that interface a lot more different from the 2003 version than OpenOffice's

A few of my customers are using Linux either as their main operating system, or just one of many, and they are quite happy with it. Both of them work in the IT sector however, and are already using it for some time...

Richard Hurt said...

Just wanted to add that those Dell Mini 9's running Ubuntu are changing the world. My mom just spent two months in Florida with her new Mini 9 and I received more email than ever!

She really seems to like it, and she knows what Ubuntu is. That's what it means to truly pass the "Mom" test. :)

Juuso Alasuutari said...

The attack you described just goes to show that any balloon of crap will go pop once it's inflated long enough. These phony professionals should acknowledge that what they have been doing is parasitism, instead of attacking random people at random locations.

It's funny when you think of it. Pushing an unoptimized technical solution during bloated financial times comes to a screeching halt when reality finally forces people to optimize both their tech and spending. The irony...

Jason Parker - Dallas said...

Dude -- Just thinking aloud, not "allowed." Or are you allowed to think? ;)

If you are not smart enough to recognize an obvious double entendre, you are certainly foolish enough to post this comment publicly. -1 for actually using your real identity to quantify that foolishness.

Put the phrase in the blog search and you will see he's used the phrase before from time to time. First time reader here I take it?

BlackWave said...

There is a dirty little secret that nearly everyone with a Windows computer at home has something seriously crippled with it.... it either runs dog slow and pops up garbage non-stop, or some major function of it just doesn't work and people either accept it or pay through the nose to fix it on a regular basis. If you can't afford the "tech support", you do without, no matter how much you paid for the machine and software. I can't count the number of people who tell me, "we have a computer at home but it doesn't work any more".

Another "adaptation" I've seen is that people pay to get their computers fixed then severely restrict the use of their computers (i.e. "no IM allowed", "no kids", etc.) to prevent it from breaking again.

I switched to Linux completely at home 3 years ago and it's easy to forget what an "alternative care-free universe" I live in compared to the pain of most people with home computers. I have often watched my kids click on spyware downloads and other things that I know for sure would have infected any Windows computer and of course it has no effect.

I just wish I knew what to do about it to help other people.

Kyle Potts said...

Dude that sucks, that happens a lot at my school. The teacher don't understand why I run Linux on my laptop and get quite flustered when I start talking about it.

Not sure why, but hey man at least there wasn't any physical violence that would of made the story even worse.

typicalmacintoshuser said...

The great thing about Texas is the concealed carry license. If I felt I was in mortal danger from this guy (easy to claim) I would have put as many rounds into his torso as I could. Then I would have told him I'm a typical Macintosh user.

Anonymous said...

I was following the action of the story, and it stopped when the guy involuntarily left his feet, and suddenly the passenger engages you in conversation. It's as if the man you defended yourself against just disappeared, like in cheesy movies where one punch puts a bad guy out of action entirely. Did his crew chief have anything to say about the tech-fight? Did you have your foot on the angry guy's chest while you were talking shop with his boss? Or was it one of those things where you're talking about the weather while still full of adrenaline and pretending that there wasn't just a moment of violence?

Anonymous said...

Jason Parker said...

If you are not smart enough to recognize an obvious double entendre, you are certainly foolish enough to post this comment publicly. -1 for actually using your real identity to quantify that foolishness.

Put the phrase in the blog search and you will see he's used the phrase before from time to time. First time reader here I take it?


I'm an English major, and the double entendre isn't obvious. He uses it in the appropriate place for the expression "thinking aloud", and in this particular post there's nothing to suggest it wasn't just a mistake.

And your argument that repetition makes it clearly valid = invalid.

-2 for snootiness coupled with weak logic.

Søren Madsen said...

You'd have to be really naive to believe this story. Provide just a tiny bit of evidence or any sort of verification (witnesses, name of the company, etc.) - I dare you. If none provided (of which I'm pretty sure none will see), I'll gladly call BS.

This grotesque example of Linux fanaticism is really hurting your cause, mate.

Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks! I think instead of "just thinking allowed" you might have meant "just thinking aloud" (aka "out loud").

ryansrants said...

@ Randall,

How nice of you to offer to bash in the face of a 20 year vet with two combat tours because you don't like his blog. Tell you what. Ken's pretty busy with his charity but I think I can accomodate you. I am due home in two weeks and must travel from New York to Texas. If you are anywhere between the two, I would be more than glad to stop by and discuss your desire with you.

Just post it here friend. We'll get this little matter worked out.

Ryan Sommers - Afghanistan

massysett said...

So you got the letter from the teacher who tried Linux in college, believes it is illegal, will bring charges against you, and loves Microsoft. Now someone is beating you up in a parking lot.

These stories are entertaining, but passing them off as true is not going to get people to use Linux. This sort of fanboy fanaticism and bloody-eyed Microsoft hatred is the worst element of the Linux community.

err said...

As a social worker, let me point out the most obvious problem with the repair guy's attitude. The people receiving linux based operating systems through the charity are the ones least likely to use a tech repair service. THEY'RE POOR. Otherwise they'd be buying their own computers and paying for tech service.

Anonymous said...

This entire story reeks of trumped up BS. You *MAY* have had a verbal confrontation in some parking lot, but even thought I have doubts about, but the rest is just sensationalist "look at me, the poor downtrodden FOSS advocate". Next thing you know, you will be posting a picture of a backwards MS carved on your face.

Anonymous said...

"Wow what complete bullshit story. you sir should be ashamed for making this up. No one would ever do this. Now that I read this story I would so bash your face in for making it up."

And more of the like.

Just as with the other, teacher, story we find a lot of "this cannot be true, therefor you must lie" reactions.

Is MS' situation that desperate that their supporters have to deny every single story? Are they unable to cope with reality?

Or is this the MS Troll brigade as exposed by boycottnovell.com/?

What is most ironic is that this commenter denies it (could have) happened, and is offering to repeat it himself. (or was this intentional, you never know with irony)

Winter

yoursfromabove said...

And here comes the flood of diggers and Linux Advocate haters to call BS on this, even though I am almost 100% certain that a Microsoft Tech would indeed do this.

No worries dude, I believe you.

Eric Honaker said...

The ironic thing (in my opinion) is that people like them properly supporting Open Source software would both loosen the stanglehold of Microsoft on their profits, and increase the viability of Open Source.

Let's face it, the same people who need help from those people could probably do everything they want with a nice Ubuntu or Mint install and a friendly face to call on when things get hairy.

I hope you (or him, but mostly you since here started) were not seriously hurt.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised you didn't have a Backwards M carved in your face! Ohh the humanity!

FelixTheCat said...

I wonder if it's both Slashdotters getting off on making such veiled threats ("bash your face..."?? Really??? Not getting much, are we? That big glowing globe in the sky, that's called "the sun"! Those objects that look like you and make utterances that sound familiar, those are called "people"! Go outside and socialize!) and PP's Mouse Brigade tilting at windmills.

Some folks don't know how to read. It's already been corroborated. Oh, I'm sure if they saw the gas station video they'd still find some way to detract. "No sound?? See, you MUST be lying! I see the name on the van, but it must be coincidence!"

I just had a flashback from watching The Wizard of Oz: "I'm melting...!!" Don't even ask where that came from, though.

Haven't been physically attacked myself, but I get hounded by Microsofties almost every day at work, some of them pretty upset that FOSS even exists. Couple that mindset with today's economic fears and a goofball already mentally unbalanced (not you, Ken!), this isn't a stretch. Now, once you realize there IS a video and a police record of the whole incident plus whatever is on that ex-employee's file, you have to simply be an idiot, a fool, or an outright bully to make some of those comments.

Ah, I did it! I fell for it:
"Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."

FelixTheCat said...

@Winter

Hahah! I just caught that! Good point!

Anonymous said...

...Sad but true. Bit the problem is U.S. We caused our fail mode.

If Capitalism was kept honest and with validations, we'd not only still be the best society on Earth, but better. But like the Soviets, the Nazis and the Feudal kings, our greed and arrogance allowed out stupidity to take over.

Your effort is noble, but have you seen "Idiocracy"? You are a finger in the leaky dam (heh, heh. yo, he said,like, dam...)

I mean there's a bunch of SUV and ""crossover"" driving people (oops - sorry, but...) who are whining that GM is going bankrupt, while they accept their Union and Corporate pensions!

Is common sense, integrity and situational awareness taught in school, by parents, by the government?

Linux and the "non-greedy-greens" and the few-and-far-between authority figure with a mouth AND a brain are not going to help the societal culture of freedom matter unless all of us realize it's time to act.

The only problem is, what can do as individuals?

Our government is throwing away our future to reinvest in the same failures that started it all. I mean, should we buy the President a fiddle to play, too?

Anonymous said...

Every incident investigated by the police is issued a "Case Number". It's also sometimes called an "Offense Number." If "Helios" is actually a suspect or victim in this incident, he would have been given the "case number." Posting this number would go a long way toward proving this actually happened. If you take this number to an APD facility you can obtain the "public" version of the report (addresses and other personal info are sanitzed from the report the public can obtain). The numbers given out are in a unique format and it will be readily apparent if it is made up. Unless this number is posted, I call total BS.

"Ken is somewhat of a Local celeb, appearing on radio and TV, he is often recognized in public."

I'm a lifelong resident of Austin, have a strong interest in technology, and I've never seen nor heard of him until the teacher story came out, which I also believe was BS.

Anonymous said...

this is good to know. i'll be installing a lot more Linux distros in the coming months. with enough critical mass community colleges and universities will be forced to take Linux and all other OSs more seriously. Maybe the EFF and O_Office groups should start an online course for certifying user's proficiency.

Anonymous said...

Posted by some other Anonymous: If "Helios" is actually a suspect or victim in this incident, he would have been given the "case number."

Nice try, but not every altercation has a case number -- only the ones that get reported get case numbers, and he didn't claim that he reported it, so his story isn't vulnerable to this line of inquiry.

Anonymous said...

I hope people like the one you encountered continue to lose their jobs. They don't deserve them.

Goeb26 said...

That really sucks man. I work for a school district, and we're primarily Windows based.

The debate to me is moot. You will always have people that prefer to be able to muddle themselves through Windows GUI. Windows makes it easy to drop a server quickly, plain and simple. When I have to figure out how to release and renew a dhcp address on a linux box, I still know you guys have work to do.

I do have a couple 'nix servers here I admin, and I like running them... but I don't see Linux gaining ground even here in our Educational arena. For the record, I run cacti and snort, and neither of them have been easy to set up correctly.

Mario said...

Glad to hear that you're okay.

Does anyone else think that FOSS is becoming the Shmoo of our times?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shmoo

GoodDamon said...

If your business model relies on selling and then servicing defective software, don't blame the guy whose superior business model kills yours.

MikeW said...

Wowsers. Pretty crazy stuff. In the end, moving to Linux/Open Source will provide more jobs to more people in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna call BS on this one, too. Way too unbelievable for me.

Proof or it didn't happen. And don't think I'm defending MS or something, because I'm 100% Linux myself outside of work.

Sam said...

Aloud = not silently; "please read the passage aloud"; "just thinking aloud (out loud)"

Allowed = permitted, as in: No one under 17 allowed.

I applaud you for being a Linux advocate, but you're still a tool.

Anonymous said...

did this happen near the Oklahoma City airport or the SeaTac airport?

Just curious.

Rekrul said...

I'd consider switching to open source/Linux, except for the fact that I like to play games and the simple truth is that if you want to play the majority of games available for computers, you need Windows.

As for Windows systems needing service after six months, some of that is definitely due to the way Windows collects crap, but a lot of it is also due to the fact that most people today don't know squat about using a computer.

I'm far from an expert, but I've been using Windows systems since 2000 (before that I used an Amiga) and so far I haven't had any major problems that I needed an "expert" to fix.

Dr. Stephen J. said...

I think it is true that as the recession cuts into IT budgets, Windows people will feel more and more threatened as management takes Free Open Source Stuff seriously. Until this time, I didn't realize that it would result in violent attacks, but frankly I expect more of that to continue, possibly even the formation of Windows gangs who will protect their software turf not just through FUD but through targeted assaults. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if these Windows hooligans had been following Helios and sprang their attack when they thought he was most vulnerable (at a gas station where the fumes might be used to their advantage).

Kudos to Helios for keeping his cool and handling this unwarranted attack with the savvy and open source smarts of a Linux user. As someone who has moved his company to open source despite the hit to our bottom line, I say hang in there and perhaps consider a CCW for future confrontations. That will get those Windows people to take FOSS seriously!

Anonymous said...

Christ dude you really need to get out more. That could have been like one paragraph. It's such an incredibly isolated event that it's hardly newsworthy. Then again, I guess blogs are just places for people to express their narcissism.

Digg nerds will digg anything with the word Linux in it so there ya have it.

Tommy Johnson said...

My buddy brother big bear beating up windos tech's at gas stations. I got a good laugh out of this one, and I can't believe he was foolish enough to think he was gonna get in your face and threaten to drag you around by your pony tail.

Take care bud.

Anonymous said...

Ken, I appreciate you keeping everyone's posts up even if they say nasty things about you but whether he stepped over the line or not, any member of our military does not deserve the kind of remark jkfan87 made. Please, as a retired military man, would you erase that scumbag's remark from your blog. He's had to post about 5 times now to say the same thing. It looks like HE is the one looking for attention.

Thanks Dave

Anonymous said...

"A Linux advocate blogged about it, therefore it must be false!"

Anonymous said...

The nutbar who attacked you was a doofus. Even his supervisor recognized that (and came running).

Thanks for dealing with the supervisor so civilly. After being attacked, I would have found that difficult; more power to you. You leveraged that well into getting much more information than a mugging report could offer.

Nice to hear another ex-military is involved. I'm working with another couple in an interesting startup, and it's fun. Pretty sharp cookies.

Anonymous said...

The nutbar who attacked you was a doofus. Even his supervisor recognized that (and came running).

Thanks for dealing with the supervisor so civilly. After being attacked, I would have found that difficult; more power to you. You leveraged that well into getting much more information than a mugging report could offer.

Nice to hear another ex-military is involved. I'm working with another couple in an interesting startup, and it's fun.

Richard said...

That's absolutely disgusting - a clear example of how they are insecure about their own skills. If these actually KNEW computers (i.e. non-microsoft operating system were not so totally foreign to them), they would not be so defensive and consider you a threat.

I've seen some terrible things on (windows) machines i've been asked to look at, from machines with locked administrator accounts, cmos passwords, and 'experts' setting Wi-Fi security on the AP and the machines, but conveniently forgetting to tell the user the password :p.

This is all in a similar vein to how your attackers maintain their business, by refusing to provide their users with adequate defenses and best-use policies. It's despicable really, but computer systems are not legally required to have any kind of service history.

I plan on starting my own home maintenance business (as i have no experience of AD / Exchange i can't really do businesses), but when i do i am going to make it very clear that it is company policy to always deliver quality service, and that the customer always has a choice. Hopefully that honest approach in itself will encourage loyalty, as opposed to imposing it...

Anonymous said...


[...] I gave him our website and blog address. .[..]

Your blog has the word linux in it and yet he had go to on his laptop to find out more? Thats nice. I guess it was convenient too that there was a free wifi access point...



Geez you're horrible at lying...


Typical anti-ms troll here, nothing to see here... move along.

Mike Marshall - Houston said...

'while I didn't have any business cards with me, I gave him our website and blog address."

It's sad that you were in such a hurry to hammer this guy you didn't bother to read. In the first place, most techs are "always on" via the AT&T ultra or some other 3g device. My company provides us one the day we start in the field. I have one in my laptop now and am no where near a wifi spot, yet I seem to be getting this out just fine.

You are in such a hurry to be a fool that you didn't bother to understand the obvious. Anonymous is a good name to put to such an idiot.


Geez you're horrible at thinking...

Move along, not a single brain synapse to see firing with the previous comment.

Does your mommie know you are are at her computer?

Michelle Minkin - Austin said...

Ken,

Caught you on Channel 6 the other night with your City Counsel presentation. Great work Ken.

Pay no attention to the mud slingers here. They are hidden safely behind their keyboards and wouldn't have the courage to say to your face what they say here. I've seen your work in the schools and I for one appreciate what you do.

Don't waiver Kenny...you are doing good work.

Chel Minkin

Anonymous said...

lol@ Does your mommie know...

Anonymous said...

I call BS on this story; frankly, I just don't believe it, and here's why...

1. Linux is, and always will be a toy OS out on the fringe. A tiny sub-2% market share affects NO ONEs bottom-line.

2. I really wish I still had th elink to the story, but it has been widely reported that Netbook sales are driven by Windows. The return rate on Linux-based Netbooks was higher than 70%, prompting most manufacturers to cut back production of Linux machines and produce more Windows machines.

G. Stewart said...

So, these so-called techs know that a Windows machine is going to need attention 6 months down the line after the sale. They know that it's flaky. Does it not occur to them that they get what they deserve if they base their entire business model and indeed livelihood on the flakiness of an operating system?

Randy Schell - Rantoul said...

We owe our existence to Microsoft as we manufacture particular components for pc's and laptops. I get memos across my desk at least four times a quarter asking for data concerning open source solutions and it's Microsoft that is asking for them. You may not think Linux to be a threat but Microsoft does. How many companies DO get these memos across their desks? Anyone can enter a war of dueling links but you seemed to have cherry-picked yours.

Give these a shot.

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/789019/000119312508162768/d10k.htm#tx31450_3

http://blogs.computerworld.com/why_microsoft_fears_linux

The "industry" will continue to gaze into its crystal ball and tell us what it thinks but when Microsoft itself is publishing memos to it's technical and manufacturing support staff, reporting the linux threat, I call BS on your motive. If I was a technician and I started receiving these notices every month, I'd start getting defensive too.

Randy Schell - Rantoul IL

Anonymous said...

Some of the Windows guys want to site "statistics" to bring this story down to the bs level. I don't know if it's bs or not and I personally don't care. The guy does fantastic work in the community and that seems to be forgotten though.

Here, let's end the stat war right here as far as Linux and security. Seems there might be some confusion.

http://gizmodo.com/373779/linux-last-man-standing-in-pwn-2-own-thunderdome

Anonymous said...

I am not sure it is the same anonymous that always claims Linux to be a "toy" OS.

Else it must be in the MS' Troll SOP documents.

However MS seems to be at the bad end of the classical pincher movement:

- 439 of the top 500 largest computers runs Linux, only 5(!) some form of MS Windows

- Embedded systems, most likely your router, TV, and set top box run Linus

- Many servers (30%?) run Linux

- Many phones run Linux

So this is rather not what you expect from a toy system.

Which begs the question whether these commenters actually understand what they are talking about.

Or whether they care they do.

Winter

Mark - Houston said...

Your blog has the word linux in it and yet he had go to on his laptop to find out more? Thats nice. I guess it was convenient too that there was a free wifi access point...

Umm this is his personal blog...I'm pretty sure he gave out the website and blog to his charity's website, which is heliosinitiative.org...


and to the anonymous person a few posts up who gave two reasons why he doesn't believe the blog...Both of your "reasons" are just crap excuses attempting to say linux is "inferior"...doesn't give any reason why you shouldn't believe his blog...

JennRilkes said...

I hope the station security cams will bear out your version of the story.

If there are two of them - and one of you - then you're the one who's missing a corroborating witness for what actually went down.

Let's see...he pokes at you with his finger (maybe making contact - and maybe not) and you respond by decking him?

And then you go off and blog about doing so, claiming it was a reflex action?

Wow. Such testosterone!

Better hope the guy in question doesn't decide to initiate some legal action of his own.

I think you'd wind up on the short side of the law if he did.

Next time, why not just smile and walk away? I promise that nobody will think any the less of you for doing so.

But maybe that's just me: "thinking allowed."

Adam Pieniazek said...

Damn, that Dell Mini 9 looks pretty sweet...

Click, click, sold!

And another one bites the dust...

Perhaps Best Buy should stop blaming Open Source and start not sucking and they would at least have a chance at keeping customers like me, instead I just picked up a sick lil laptop with Ubuntu. Win for me, win for open source, fail for slow, un-creative big box corporations.

Anonymous said...

I held my breath on that Dell mini three weeks ago. Price seemed right, and it was supported by Dell. I took a chance although I have used XP for years.

I have never used a nicer little laptop in my life.

1. I don't have to worry about viruses.

2. I don't have to load that bloated, registry-clogging anti-virus software on my little machine and it absolutely screams.

I don't have to deal with the popups telling me that my anti-virus software is going to "expire" in months/years/days.

3. I don't have to worry about viru...oops. It just seems like such a relevant point. pwn2own I guess.

pwn2own? google it.

Michael said...

HeliOS,
don't let that sort of stuff get you down. Everything you do is appreciated greatly!!!!!


Mike

David Ray said...

I am Senior Member of a business in Portland, OR. and have been "thinking" of moving to Linux for many years but didn't know how. Ok now you know I'm a wimp user too; I just don't have time to learn very many new things and since my business is firearms manufacture I am overwhelmed enough in todays political structure.

The point of my post?
This "story" has, and the way it was handled by the people willing to list their names, has me convinced: I want to go Linux !!! can someone help me please?

For those 'anonymous' nah sayers out there; grow up emotionally before you are the next ones on the news. My Dad, and most credible Pastors I have known would say "If they can't put their name to it, it isn't worth the time to read it."

(ok so now for private contact ? so 'they' don't spam or mail bomb me?)

Blog of helios said...

David, if you will contact me at helios at fixedbylinux dot com I will be more than happy to get you on your way.

h

David Ray said...

Ken,

Thank you so much for your offer!
Email sent.

Please don't take ANY time from your work with the children, just to help me. They are far more important.

You are a true gladiator for heritage: HOOAH ! my friend

David †

Dante said...

Well, bugger me sideways!
I'm really sorry for what happened to you.

We have large retail chains here in the UK as well, but talking to everyone from the top salesmen to the lowly geek in the 'Tech Guys' section all prefer Linux (even though they advertised Windows all over the place). The only people I'm aware of that are loosing their jobs are those who abuse the customer.

Again, I'm really sorry, if I were more local I would give them a taste of their own medicine...gah!

-Dan

James Dixon said...

> I am due home in two weeks and must travel from New York to Texas.

Ryan, on the off chance you happen to passing down I-79 in WV on your way, contact me and I'll buy you lunch or dinner. Ken has my email address. It's the least I can do, both for your military service and for the work you've done with Ken.

James said...

"The return rate on Linux-based Netbooks was higher than 70%, prompting most manufacturers to cut back production of Linux machines and produce more Windows machines."

Well... in some cases I can believe that, e.g. the Eee 900A as Best Buy configured and sold it--with a 4 GB SSD and Xandros set up to use UnionFS, so that just pulling in the updates when you first got it used all remaining space on the SSD and rendered it unusable.

If I were an average person looking for a small, light, inexpensive computer, or worse yet had a child/grandchild who discovered that his or her spiffy new computer immediately rendered itself unusable, I would be extremely angry.

I was lucky--I knew to look around on the web, and found that the thing to do was to wipe Xandros and install Ubuntu Eee (now called Easy Peasy). Average Joe would stomp back to Best Buy and get upsold to a bigger netbook or a laptop, probably running Windows, with the assurance that by golly, he could get some real work done on this baby!

If ASUS and/or Best Buy were setting out to make Linux look bad, they could hardly have done better than what they in fact did in configuring the Eee 900A that Best Buy sold, and I have to wonder whether that wasn't their intent.

Gary Martin said...

Violence is always the last refuge of the mentally incompetent and it's sad to see people resort to this level.

Jobs are being lost every day and not due to open source but bad and greedy corporate leadership. Executives will always shed people in favour of their own perks and additions.

We need open source and linux even more now as most countries economies go down the gurgler and people are struggling to stay afloat.

That being said, Linux would spread a whole lot faster if some of the condescending, arrogant twats that I have met in that world would just shut their mouths and actually start helping people.

Open source and linux can still be a very heavy road to travel for the beginner and the unwary and more patience is needed.

Anonymous said...

I want an "Open Source Threat" T-Shirt!!

Anonymous said...

I race bicycles and am an avid Linux user. I love it how people assume you are a wimp because of your associations. Just because you do something they don't understand they feel O.K. to physically attack you. I'm glad you knocked him on his a$$. It's the only thing some people understand.

DiBosco said...

A cowardly anonymous person said:

"I call BS on this story; frankly, I just don't believe it, and here's why...

1. Linux is, and always will be a toy OS out on the fringe. A tiny sub-2% market share affects NO ONEs bottom-line."

If your 2% was correct, 2% share whereas last year it as 1%. 100% growth rate. 2% is incorrect anyway; Linux has an equal share with Apple now on the desktop. As for the server market it is bigger than MS.

" 2. I really wish I still had the link to the story, but it has been widely reported that Netbook sales are driven by Windows. The return rate on Linux-based Netbooks was higher than 70%, prompting most manufacturers to cut back production of Linux machines and produce more Windows machines."

The reason you don't have the link is because you made this up. Most netbooks now are shipping 30% of their volume as Linux machines and the returns are about the same for Linux and Windows. One of the manufacturers was misquoted by a Microsoft apologist over returns and that FUD has been propagated over and over by people like you.

Apart from any of the above, even if what you said was true, it in no way invalidates the story. Your logic is as defective as Microsoft's amateur attempts at operating systems.

Some of the abuse and attacks from Microsoft apologists on here is nothing short of disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourselves and also stop hiding behind "anonymous" postings.

Robert said...

Ken didn't name the outfit in question, but by his description it sounds a lot like Geek Squad. Last time I checked, Geek Squad doesn't do much with Linux.

And I agree with some of the other posters that it seems a bit weaselly not to name the outfit and attacker. What possible legal liability could YOU have if you were publicly threatened by a Geek Squad employee? It's not defamation if it's true. In fact, you can easily legally say "Best Buy threatened me for using linux" because it would be true.

Most of his complaint had more to do with you providing discount/free computer services to people which indirectly cuts into his bottom-line. In that regard, he has nothing to complain about. If his large team can't provide better service with hefty fees than you can provide for free, he doesn't deserve to stay in business.

But most of this resistance is really just resistance to anything NEW. Novell people hated Windows and those same people now hate Linux.

A couple notes:

>I have never, ever encountered or seen a Linux virus or worm.

The primary attack vector on Linux is not viruses or worms. It's using portscanners to detect open ports (notably telnet and SSH1) and vulnerabilities on the Linux host and then "rooting" the system to seize control of it, most often to use to hack other systems or to run various servers.

Because it's less automated, this kind of attack is less of a constant issue than the viruses and worms common on Windows.

Linux has a small marketshare and it very heavily fragmented, making it a poor target for worms.

> If ASUS and/or Best Buy were setting out to make Linux look bad,

Assuming it was just the Ee 900A you might have a point, but across the board Windows netbooks are outselling Linux netbooks by about 10 to 1.

Anonymous said...

I had a very similar experience about 3 months ago.... with a MS MVP in New Zealand. Dude was foaming at the mouth, shouting at me, eyes wild. Apparently me refurbishing old PC's for the elderly was somehow threatening his bread and butter... and then he stormed off to his BMW. Maybe it was me saying to him: "Sorry dude, but there is no law in the world that says other people have to guarantee your income stream."

Drew Magnus - Austin said...

Maybe Ken didn't mention their name because he saw a chance to leverage this incident into gaining some equipment for his charity...something along the lines of every broken laptop they cannot fix goes to them...just a wild ass guess mind you, I wouldn't know this for fact even though I am close to the association and volunteer for them on occasion. Just a shot in the dark.

Maybe all the screams of lies and bull**** are falling on deaf ears. Maybe proving his point to a bunch of mudslingers isn't near as important as getting fresh hardware from a constant source. I am being coy about my first "observation" but dead on with the second.

Andrew Magnus - Austin

sweavo said...

I think those guys had some cheek using a self-serve gas station. Don't they know there's a downturn?

ScottW said...

Don't know whether this story is true or not (first visit here after following a link from Linkedin) but I'm amazed at all the M/S trolls here trying to defend the Tech or outright calling B.S. on Ken. Typical of them however.

Ken, I do commend you for your work with the kids. We need more people to do this type of unselfish work. Kudos to you Brother!

Anonymous said...

a bit of a sidenote. you ever get the feeling that ...theres just too many people, period. its not the human bank tellers, CD makers or even closed source software developers (?) Sure technology points that out...but theres just too many of us and we could play musical chairs and be just as fun with less of us humans.

Anonymous said...

If I could make a Venn Diagram here, I'd show that there is very little overlap between the world of Windows users and the world of Linux users.

Why are returns of Linux netbooks higher than returns of Windows netbooks? People learn they can't run the software they are familiar with on Linux. Sure, there are some Linux-compatible alternatives, but they just don't work the same way.

With the users I support, Windows -- not to say how to use a mouse and keyboard and remembering their username and password from one day to the next -- is enough of a challenge for them. I would never inflict them with Linux.

We do have some users whom I'd consider knowledgeable enough that they'd be able to handle Linux and know the difference and know how to find workarounds in Linux.

As for users getting registries corrupted in six months, that's the difference between home users and users in a controlled environment, e.g., schools, corporations, et al. When you're installing and uninstalling stuff willy-nilly, corruption will occur.

Let's say that Utopia arrives and we switch to Linux and all OS-related service issues become extinct and users are not permitted to install any software that isn't pre-loaded. We will still have plenty of work to do. For example keyboard and mouse issues, printer issues (the bane of my existence), recovering deleted files, explaining how to do use the software, etc., etc., etc.

As it is, if the user does something to screw up their computer, we simply re-image it and put it back to it's original state.

Don't tell me your Linux folks put a Linux computer in front of a user, walk away, and never see the user again? Wow! I guess you people are right, Linux is the Jesus OS. Linux is the light. Linux is your personal savior. There is no other OS besides Linux. Anyone who doesn't believe in Linux is an infidel and a blasphemer and must be destroyed.

Linux Akbar!

Blog of helios said...

Wow! I guess you people are right, Linux is the Jesus OS. Linux is the light. Linux is your personal savior. There is no other OS besides Linux. Anyone who doesn't believe in Linux is an infidel and a blasphemer and must be destroyed.

Yep, pretty much...

Someone teach him the secret handshake and give him his own engraved scepter. He's in the club. (I do ordain that the security penguins keep an eye on him through his initiation though...do what has to be done if he shows any signs of weakness)

h

Anonymous said...

This is a clear illustration of what an MCSE *really* stands for:
"Must Continue Seeking Employment".
Pun intended LOL. On another note, I would have wiped the parking lot with that hosers face if he approached me like that, followed by his unequivocal devotion to Open Source when I was done humiliating him for his single-minded stupidity and misplaced courage. My $.02

Brad Fallon said...

Are more Capitalist Conservatives making the decision that Obama should be President?

Dr. Stephen J. Krune III said...

I have an update people here might find interesting. I was using my Galaxy Tab at Starbucks the other day, and stating that, "This Android operating system is great!" and other such ejaculations, when a person wearing a Microsoft polo shirt interjected themselves into my personal space and said, "That stupid open source Android crap is ruining America! I hate illegal immigrants for the same reason!"

I replied, "Well then you probably hate me, because I forced my secretary to use Linux and have thus hastened your demise." Perhaps he could see a bit of a smirk on me as I said this.

In a rage he knocked over my cappucino and took my Galaxy and threw it to the floor. As I forced back tears, I noticed another man in an Apple t-shirt get up and shout angrily at me, "You deserve to die, faggot!"

I grabbed for my Galaxy, and with a relief found it was still working, so I flashed it to them and then scrambled in a panic to the entrance, as I was clearly outnumbered. But the next day I saw the Microsoft person standing at an intersection begging for money because he had been fired and was now penniless. As I drove past in my 1998 Toyota, I shouted, "Open source wins again!" His saddened face in my rear view mirror made my day!

Richard said...

Everytime I have to boot up the companys laptop I'm reminded why I abandoned Windows. It happened shortly after being introduced to XP. I was fed up with being forced to pay for upgrades to the "next new improved OS", and all they are 'trying' to do is fix the problems in the current version.
For a start M... S... you can start by elimanating that thing you call a registry.
Puppeee on my 7'Eee and LMDE on my Satellite. A a Puppy set up as a file server on my desktop.

And I have never regreted the decission.

Herman Miller chair said...

Why does Obama seem to think that the Tech Industry can employ Millions of people he says thats our future?