Eric Sink: Baptists and Boundaries

Eric Sink, a fine essayist and software developer, does a little vanity Googling in “Baptists and Boundaries” and makes several excellent points about people and their world views, the punchiest of which is “Objects in browser are smaller than they appear.” Do read the essay and enjoy.

I’ve been involved in several insular communities (Commodore, GEOS, Amiga, FoxPro) that believed that they had The One True Truth and all others were mistaken, ignoring the growing evidence outside the walls that other alternatives might have something going for them, too. My biggest shock in my journeys outside the Microsoft Reality Distortion Field has been discovering that there are rich and powerful tools, long traditions of software excellence and some subtle (and blatent) differences in culture. The rich bazaar of choices: BSD vs. UNIX vs. Linux vs. Solaris, Perl vs. Python vs. PHP vs. Ruby, PostgreSQL vs. MySQL vs. SQLite vs. BerkeleyDB, tabs vs. spaces, vi vs. emacs, n-tier vs. mvc, African vs. English swallow, only add to the richness and freedom of the environment.

The biggest complaint of people stuck with a one-size-fits-all solution is that there is no choice. The biggest complaint when faced with the dazzling alternatives of FOSS is that there are too many choices. With great choices comes great responsibility. Conversely, “choosing” to stay with a one-size-fits-all monolithic solution is no choice at all, but rather an abdication of responsibility and a surrendering of freedom. Choose wisely.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.