Monotheists, Liberals, and The Blind

Yeah, I'm in a ranting mood. One of the reasons (and the one that will probably provide me with the most steam) is the gall of some people when they say "the technology we believe in will solve all your problems" - as if the Crusades and more modern forms of religious conflict weren't enough evidence that zealots are only experts on causing trouble for all concerned.

Another is the fact that my criticisms towards vendor X, Y or Z are taken as some sorf of fscking political stance. Get a life - I don't hate Microsoft, or Linux (well, maybe Debian, but only a little and as a matter of principle to annoy some ex-zealots), or Palm, or whatever. I just point out the shortcomings in their approaches (and pick out the good bits) instead of sitting there in the audience with the rest of the sheep and going baaaaaa on cue.

It has become a fact (to me at least) that the increasing commoditization of things like databases, mail, security, workflow, network management, etc. has made IT buyers insensitive to cost (perceived, TCO or make-believe), the actual adequacy of the things they buy to the purpose in mind (i.e., running a business) and return on functionality (specifically, how many features of what they are buying will actually be used).

So what remains (since these, despite being quite objective criteria, are hard do measure) are intangible factors, like comfort (the other guys are using it, so it must be OK), laziness (this ought to work, so I'll buy it), sheer incompetence (we'll just buy licenses for everyone and the company will flourish) and the basic oh-so-human feeling of envy (we must have that too).

But that's not what I'm getting at. The real issue, for me, is the way unprejudiced people (who mix and match technology to suit their purposes without looking to a single vendor) are treated by the conformists - jibes and sneers quickly turn into a petty version of religious persecution, with the monotheists among them (who often lack hard facts to back their claims) gradually increasing their tone until some sort of confrontation ensues.

(It is probably worthwhile to note at this point that I've seen this happen several times - in the UNIX wars, the early Mac/PC wars when Windows ran on the 286, the current Windows/Linux tug of war, and in a multitude of skirmishes inside the Linux camp. In my eyes, all of the people involved were to blame, because they behaved like spoiled brats.)

I, personally, can deal perfectly well with the fact of being poked fun at for owning a Mac. I know that I'll use anything at hand to get my job done better, and am unlikely to ever feel the need to part with my Windows laptop or stop using Outlook and Exchange, just to give you an idea.

But the fact that I don't try to foist any of my pet technologies on anybody seems to be lost on monotheists. And, of course, human stupidity conspires to ensure that I keep being called a Linux fan in some circles and a Microsoft sellout in others, or a Cisco fan during weekends and a Juniper fan on even days (on odd days, for whatever reason, I supposedly hate both Cisco and Juniper) - when none if it is actually the truth. I just know what I like and dislike about any of them, and make my own mind about things.

And that, I guess, is still as controversial today as it was in Galileo's time - with the slight improvement that they don't actually burn people at the stake anymore.

I guess I could say that shallow people tend to make shallow judgements, but some of these monotheists are supposedly rational people (i.e., with a full college degree, experience, responsibilities, etc.) and have an obligation (even if a moral one) not to be so petty.

Monotheism, I guess, leads to blindness. And blindness tends to manifest itself in utter ignorance of things outside their own sphere of expertise - which, as any management guru will tell you, is a suicidal trait in the modern economy. And the modern economy revolves around IT.

That said, I'll leave the relationship between blindness and deafness as an exercise to the reader, and try to catch up on the news.