Subject: High
From: Mark Kuharich <>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 06:40:02 -0700


"the Software View" is archived at:

As we live in the world of today, we have the great good fortune of being
able to bear witness to a unique and special confluence of long-term trends
emerging from off in the distance.  Please allow me to inform you of a
company that will enable you to take advantage of these coming trends.


>From the ether of the Internet, emerged a powerful operating system that
breathes fresh air into a desktop world populated with few alternatives.  It
is free, yet is as robust as any Unix operating system and more reliable
than Microsoft's Windows.  Linux is the fastest growing software operating
system environment in the world, is loved by pony-tailed software developers
world-wide, is free, and best of all, it's open-source.  No longer the
rarefied operating system environment of Unix developers, it is making its
way onto numerous corporate networks.  Many aspiring developers and Unix
systems administrators cut their teeth on Linux, taking advantage of bundled
software development tools, numerous well-written books, and fully
open-source software code.  It's fast becoming the darling of networking
vendors and enterprise users alike, with a very devoted and knowledgeable
following.  Tux, the Linux penguin mascot, has finally waddled off its
isolated iceberg into the waters of enterprise network operating system
environment territory.

Although warmly embraced by its devotees, Linux has often gotten the cold
shoulder from the proprietary Microsoft Windows establishment.  The efforts
of loyalists to get the word out about this versatile, flexible - and
undeniably economical - operating system environment were once considered a
Linux love fest thrown by fringe-element code junkies who occasionally
peered up from their workstations to flip through the latest issue of
"Pocket Protector Monthly".  As this stereotype persisted, it pushed Linux
to the bottom of the pile when it came to mind share among network managers
and information technology professionals who were becoming more aware of the
link between enterprise computing resources and business issues.

The open-source Unix look-alike was hatched a mere eight years ago by an
obscure, self-effacing twenty-one years old, native of Finland, University
of Helsinki graduate student named Linus Torvalds.  The thought that
anything free could eventually have commercial value might make skeptics
smirk.  We're so invested in the party lines of behemoths like Microsoft,
that many of us disregard Linux, at least where serious work is concerned.


Dan Pink writes, "There's a new movement in the world.  From country to
country, in communities large and small, people are declaring their
individual independence and drafting a bill of rights.  An authentic
grassroots spirit has appeared and infused the world.

If you go look for it, as I did, you can't miss it.  It's out there, from
country to country, and it's growing every day.  The residents of Free
Agent, USA are legion: Start with the fourteen million self-employed
Americans.  Consider the 8.3 million Americans who are independent
contractors.  Factor in the 2.3 million people who find work each day
through temporary agencies.  Note that in January, the IRS expects to mail
out more than seventy-four million copies of Form1099-MISC - the pay stub of
free agents.

So let's hazard a guess.  If we add up the self-employed, the independent
contractors, the temps - a working definition of the population of Free
Agent Nation - we end up with more than sixteen percent of the American work
force: roughly twenty-five million free agents in the United States of
America, people who move from project to project and who work on their own,
sometimes for months, sometimes for days.

Free Agents feel more invigorated than they ever did in traditional jobs.
No surprise there.  But - and this is one of the many counterintuitive
truths of Free Agent World - they also feel more secure.  They pilot their
work lives using an instrument panel similar to the one they use for their
investments: plenty of research, solid fundamentals, and most of all,
diversification.  Just as sensible investors would never sink all their
financial capital into one stock, free agents are questioning the wisdom of
investing all their human capital in a single employer.  Not only is it more
interesting to have six clients instead of one boss; it also may be safer.
This concept eludes some.

Unless you're into self-abuse, or you're incredibly lucky and avoid
restructuring, being a lifer is no longer an option.  As you take to the
highways found on the new map of work, you'll soon learn the foremost rule
of the road: freedom is the pathway to security, not a detour from it.  Free
agency forces you to think about who you are and what you want to do with
your life.  Previously, it was only those wonderful, flaky artists who had
to deal with this.

The old social contract didn't have a clause for introspection.  It was much
simpler than that.  You gave loyalty.  You got security.  But now that the
old contract has been repealed, people are examining both its basic terms
and its implicit conditions. 

Free agents quickly realized that in the traditional world, they were
silently accepting an architecture of work customs and social mores that
should have crumbled long ago under the weight of its own absurdity.  From
infighting and office politics to bosses pitting employees against one
another to colleagues who don't pull their weight, most workplaces are a
study in dysfunction.  Most people do want to work; they don't want to put
up with brain-dead distractions.  Much of what happens inside companies
turns out to be about ... nothing.  The international workplace has become a
country-to-country "Seinfeld" episode.  It's about nothing.

But work, free agents say, has to be about something.  And so, instead of
accepting the old terms, they're demanding new ones.  Thus the second rule
of the road for navigating Free Agent World: work is personal.  You can
achieve a beautiful synchronicity between who you are and what you do.

A large organization is about submerging your own identity for the good of
the company.  People have their game faces on.  In traditional companies,
people don't believe in themselves.  How they act is so frequently not who
they are.  They put on masks for eight hours and then take them off when
they're done.  Free agents gladly swap the false promise of security for the
personal pledge of authenticity.  In free agency, people assume their own
shape rather than fit into the shape of some corporate box.

As free agents, they have become something altogether new: they have become
whole.  They used to think that what they needed to do was balance their
lives, keep their personal and professional lives separate.  But they
discovered that the real secret is integration.  They integrate their work
into their lives.  They don't see their work as separate from their
identities.  The masks are gone.  For free agents, their work is who they

And just as the first rule of the road leads to the second, the second
yields to the third: Work is fun.  For example, they can come up with some
of their best business ideas while taking the afternoon "off" to attend a
day game of their beloved Florida State University Seminoles.  They don't
know if going to a college football game is business or fun.  But, they've
stopped worrying about it.  Because in Free Agent World, work is supposed to
be fun.

So, at the top of their careers, people leave to become free agents.  It's
yet another way that free agents have reversed the organizing premises of
work in the World.  Remember the Peter Principle?  That old chestnut held
that people rise through the ranks until they reach the level of their
incompetence.  The Free Agent principle: People rise though an organization
until they stop having fun.  Then they leave to become free agents.  They
are first-round draft picks who've opted to play in a league of their own.

One of the most compelling sub-plots in the Free Agent World story is
unfolding at  Throughout the world, small groups of free agents
are helping one another succeed professionally and survive emotionally.
These groups belie another of the central myths about free agency: that
without that office water cooler, free agents become isolated and lonely.
Working solo is not working alone. provides you a Linux
community on the Internet.

This group - at once hard-headed and soft-hearted - is creating a new
community.  One part board of directors, another part group therapy, this
small, self-organized cluster is part of the emerging free-agent
infrastructure.  It is helping to form the new foundation of our economic
and social lives.

They believe in a talent-driven model.  They have in mind something like the
film industry.  In a temp agency, you test 'em and roll 'em out.  In their
model, everyone is a star.  The new realities of computers and networking
make several of the old structures obsolete.  In the new metaphor of work,
the loyalty factor is still very high.  In the new metaphor of work, you
have a smaller-team model and a greater sense of loyalty to the team than to
this archaic, quaint artifact known as corporations.  Companies do not
exist.  Countries do not exist.  Boundaries are an illusion.  But the team

A new economic infrastructure is being built, and few people seem to
notice."  Include among those people in the know, the members of


This upstart company has offices in Burnaby, a remote Canadian city drawing
attention to a little-known area of British Columbia known as the "Silicon
Vineyard", an area that includes B.C.'s lush Okanagan Valley.  What you find
is one of Canada's best-kept secrets: a thriving high-tech community of some
500 companies in a stunning region blessed with mountains, lakes and balmy
weather.  A lot of people jokingly describe it as "the nicest neighborhood
in Seattle, Washington."

A four-hour drive east of Vancouver, the vineyard boasts six daily non-stop
flights to Seattle, a high-tech sector expanding at a rate of 20-35 percent
annually, and a GPD in 1997 estimated at $120 million, the same as the local
forestry sector's.  It's also on the telecommunications backbone running
between Calgary and Vancouver, making bandwidth cheaper than in Seattle. 

Local high-technology companies include 360networks, Workfire Technologies
International (which was recently acquired by Packeteer),; and of


The mission of is to become the leading Web destination that
connects customers, vendors, and a global supply of independent Linux
consultants.  The Web site's features emphasize community empowerment,
relationship building, virtual development and support teams, fair business
practices, and dispute mediation by peers.  It provides a market place where
open-source products and support services can be negotiated and acquired.

BEGIN AGAIN's founder, Peter So, grew up as an Asian on an Indian
reservation in the Pacific Northwest.  He started his career implementing
real-time computing and control systems relying upon Unix platforms.  He
ventured out on his own after a decade of working for the same forestry

While on his own, it turned out that he did a lot of software development
with Microsoft tools and platforms.  Work was abundant and demand for his
skills was high, coupled with the joy of his family's first child arriving.
After more than four years of building solutions in the so-called
mainstream, and accepting daily personal computer reboots as the norm, most
of the world seemed to have been sold on Microsoft marketing.

Although times were fine, he was always influenced by a dear friend, Jim
Pick.  His friend challenged him to rethink the necessity of having to
reboot an operating system to load a device driver.  Over the last two and a
half years, Peter So returned to his early computing roots and began to
explore Linux.  In the early days, although Linux was amazing, a Linux
solution was a hard sale.

Although the situation has changed more recently, he still finds it a
challenge getting enough experienced Linux people to work with when a
project becomes available.  With the birth of his third child and the
agreement of his wife, he worked up the courage to divest himself of all his
non-Linux clients and staff, and start over.

Last year, he started to design  Helping to introduce Linux to
the mainstream, to small and medium-sized businesses, and to the government
market requires more than just hiring a bunch of Linux experts and charging
a high rate for their consulting.  He saw the need for a Web site that would
bring Linux consultants together; a site that would enable them to work
together on projects or opportunities and set their own price.  Having been
a long-time consultant and owner of a company, he always found billing,
account settlement, heckling over bad debt, disputing with
sometimes-unreasonable clients, and marketing a chore. was
designed with those features in mind: to make consulting in a global setting

The project was initially developed using Zope, but they quickly ran into
challenges with a high transaction and heavy traffic Web site.  They
actually have a number of Linux servers in place now for production.  In the
future, they plan on rewriting the Web site using PHP, an open-source
scripting language.  Most of the software development and testing team have
family and they all have a weakness for Chinese food.

THE BAZAAR AS MARKETPLACE offers a unique vertical market portal for vital relationship
building and making contingent services available to the open-source
community; in particular, the Linux community.  This Web site provides great
value to its members - both for customers acquiring Linux products and
services, as well as consultants offering them.  Consultants are able to
collaborate and form virtual teams that will most effectively meet the
customer requirements.

The Web site can be thought of as both a meeting place and a market place;
it has been described as a combination of eBay and Onvia.  It brings members
of the open-source Linux community together and helps them to meet their
business objectives with as little overhead costs as possible.  Customers
are able to post their needs ("requests") and consultants are able to post
their available products and services.  The Web site supports the
negotiation and establishment of contracts between a customer and a
consultant.  Consultants are able to identify sub-contractors and form teams
collaboratively through the vertical market portal.  The Web site also
facilitates the acceptance of deliverables and closure of these agreements.
Should discrepancies arise in the course of delivery, dispute mechanisms are
provided to resolve them in a negotiated fashion. offers its members a powerful and flexible mechanism to join and
collaborate.  Members may assume one or more roles, simultaneously, if
needed.  When they first sign up, they are considered, by default, to be
customers who may avail themselves of any products or services offered
through the Web site.  Once a member has defined for him or herself a
profile of products and services, the member may also take on the role of
consultant - forming teams, bidding on requests for proposals posted by
other customers, and accepting service requests made directly to them by
customers.  Members may also make themselves available as sub-contractors to
other ("lead") consultants for the purpose of forming teams.

The net effect of the vertical market portal is that a
consultant is able to define a Web presence at a Web site associated
directly with the open-source Linux community and, thereby, market his or
her products and services to customers world-wide.  By utilizing this Web
site, he or she can effectively publicize the experience and capabilities of
his or her team and describe the capabilities and properties of his or her
products.  Furthermore, Linux customers regularly visit this Web site to
post their requests (project and technical support requirements); thus, the
consultant will be able to browse the Web site at any time for work
opportunities as they arise in real-time.


So many analogies and metaphors have been used to explain the success of
Linux.  The following quote is attributed to Mahatma Ghandi. 
"First, they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you.
Then you win."

This Unix clone, a community product of software engineers, based upon the
work of Torvalds, has escaped its cage.  Once prophesied by pundits to be
one more in the tragic line of superior technologies doomed to an untimely
demise (like AmigaDOS, the Next computer workstation line, and IBM's OS/2),
Linux has, instead, confounded its critics by establishing a foothold on
enterprise networks.  While Linux was initially smuggled in through the back
door by rebellious engineers, it's now rapidly gaining acceptance as an
enterprise operating system environment.  According to DataPro Information
Services (Delran, New Jersey), the number of companies using Linux grew by
twenty-seven percent from 1996 to 1997.  More and more professionals plan on
increasing the presence of Linux in their enterprises.

Why?  Because articles appeared in high-technology publications,
illuminating the attributes of Linux.  It outperforms all other operating
system environments, including Microsoft's Windows, when ranked by customers
according to interoperability, cost of ownership, price, and availability.
Indeed, DataPro's customer satisfaction poll of eight hundred twenty-nine
information systems managers in large organizations showed Linux trouncing
the likes of Open Server, UnixWare, AIX, NetWare, and, yes, Windows.

Why do professionals choose Linux for their enterprises?  Because Linux is
freeware and can be easily downloaded from the Internet; it's easy to manage
and configure; it's a legendarily stable operating system environment; and
it is supported by a large user community; its excellent performance, it's
easy to work with, it runs on legacy computer hardware, it has a large
number of low-cost or free applications that run on it, and because its
source code is easily available.  One of the reasons Linux has become so
popular is that no single vendor controls it.

Eric S. Raymond's essay, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar," argues that most
commercial software is built like cathedrals by small groups of artisans
working in isolation.  Open-source software, like Linux, is developed
collectively over the Internet, which serves as an electronic bazaar for
innovative ideas.  "It's subversive," says Raymond of open-source software,
"because it takes all of the thirty-year verities that we understand about
software engineering and stands them upon their head."

The first of the two programming styles is closed source - the traditional
factory-production model of proprietary software, in which customers get a
sealed block of computer binary bits that they cannot examine, modify, or
evolve.  Microsoft is the most famous practitioner of this approach.  The
other style is open-source, the Internet engineering tradition in which
software source code is generally available for inspection, independent peer
review, and rapid evolution.  The standard-bearer of this approach is the
Linux operating environment.

The open-source model threatens to make closed-source software companies
obsolete.  To understand why, we need to step back from the particularities
of Microsoft and Linux and consider that engineers and some high-technology
executives are attracted to open-source development for three reasons:
reliability, reduced total cost of ownership, and improved strategic
business risk.

Raymond says that open-source software, created in what anthropologists call
a "gift culture," is better at producing high quality software because
status is gained by giving ideas away.  Companies that value secrecy miss
opportunities to get wealthier by sharing ideas and creating information
pools.  "That's a pragmatic statement," says Raymond.  "Not an ideological

Traditional hacker culture traces its roots back to the early academic
Massachusetts Institute of Technology programmers who felt duty-bound to
give their solutions away so that their peers could move on to new problems.
Since good programmers are already well-paid, this mostly Unix-based, online
community is motivated by the satisfaction of advancing a good idea,
dispensing advice, or collectively building something superior to what any
one person or entity could create.  This is the community that created Unix,
the Internet, Usenet, and the Web.

The promise of an open-source operating environment is the ability to freely
exchange ideas in a community based upon voluntary service.  It's like
having an enthusiastic information technology Peace Corps standing ready to
solve the problems you've been paying vendors like Microsoft thousands of
dollars to resolve - if you can get Microsoft on the phone.

And after all this, we've come to see open-source development as only the
next in a series of incremental steps toward true open-standards computing.
It's a trend being propelled by the success of the Internet, which itself
grew out of a vibrant open-source tradition.  And it's contributing to a
business environment in which services and other extras are increasingly
more valuable than software code.  As Brian Behlendorf, the co-founder of
the Apache Group (which oversees the open-source Apache HTTP Web server)
suggests, in due time open-source software will be a given for the
infrastructure-level technologies like platforms, programming languages, and
servers that form the basis of the open-standards marketplace.  "You don't
have to own a platform to make money from it," says Behlendorf.

Linux advocate Raymond points out that unlike proprietary vendors, Linux
developers and distributors exchange ideas and information.  As soon as a
particular approach demonstrates viability.  Raymond says it gets propagated
across all the versions.  "Techniques don't propagate across corporate
boundaries," he says.  "But in the Linux world, you have this powerful
centrifugal force in which everyone wants to use the best of what everyone
else is doing."

Linux's open development model is appealing.  Because the software source
code is freely available, anyone can create modules for Linux.  Such a model
promotes innovation and the development of new Linux features.  Among Linux
developers, a system of checks and balances is observed to make sure that
bad code doesn't find its way out onto the Internet.  Before a programmer
posts code on the Internet, you can bet he or she will have thoroughly
tested it.  Otherwise, if there's a problem, that person risks his or her
reputation.  Also, once Linux code is posted, others are invited to tweak
it, either to improve it, or to correct errors.  Another advantage of the
open development model is that it enables programmers to rapidly fix any
problems found within Linux components.


Michelle Conlin writes, "And now, the just-in-time employee!  To cater to
the shifts of an ever contracting labor force; in the future, workers will
be auctioning their products and services.

A decade ago, directors of human resources never dreamed that the employees
they were axing from their rolls and "downsizing" in massive layoffs would
one day return as hot commodities, even earning a snappy new name to go with
their new status: free agents.  The revenge scenario couldn't have been
scripted any better: The great economic boom takes off, and once-dissed and
dismissed working stiffs find themselves in extra-ordinarily short supply.
Flush with offers, their good fortune forces worker-starved employers to
play along.  Need a new wardrobe?  We'll buy you one.  Your stock options
are underwater?  Consider them repriced!

The whatever-you-want attitude may seem like a seismic shift.  But many
labor experts see it as a symptom of a deeper change shaking the
old-employer-employee paradigm.  In the latter half of the twentieth
century, power flowed to corporations, where human bodies were as
replaceable as light bulbs.  Today, with the transition to and the emergence
of a knowledge-based economy and global connectivity, the power has shifted
to those people with intellectual skills.

Supplies of the talent needed to fuel the Next New InterNetworked Economy
are expected to remain scarce for the next twenty years.  At the same time,
corporations are finding it beneficial to have fluid and nimble work forces
that can shrink according to the demands of the global market place.  That's
why, in the place of the twentieth century labor model, something new is

Think of it as the Human Capital Exchange (HCE).  Just as the NASDAQ and the
New York Stock Exchange were the locus of much of the last century's wealth
creation, a market for skills and talent will fill the bill nicely in the
twenty-first century.  A market place like  Here, the value of
free agents is determined by the open market, rather than by a hierarchical
organization.  For a talented free agent, the old salary-plus-benefits
structure just doesn't cut it anymore as a way to realize one's true
economic value.  In an open exchange of human capital, people are much more
likely to get what they are worth - they will be able to participate in the

The legions who will keep their products and services permanently posted on represent only the first sign of the shift toward skilled New
Economy workers day-trading their careers.  More and more companies - from
market place sites to bounty-paying referral services - will pop up on the
Web, creating a kind of labor auction where every consultant from the United
States of America to Finland can offer their products and services.

Look at Andy Abramson.  The forty-years-old consultant figures he makes
seventy-five percent more as a gun-for-hire ronin than he would
traditionally.  The constant influx of new projects keeps work interesting
and offers equity stakes in a variety of companies - "like having my own
little venture capital fund."  Free agency also offers lifestyle perks,
allowing for an annual month in Europe.  "I just signed up for wireless
ISDN," Abramson gloats.  "Now I get to go to work on the beach."

In Silicon Valley as elsewhere, there exists an intense labor market
competition.  The ranks of free agents are growing, from twenty-two percent
of the work force in 1998 to twenty-six percent this year, according to a
poll by Lansing, Michigan marketing research firm EPIC/MRA.  And by the year
2010, forty-one percent of the work force will be working on a contract
basis.  Career experts believe that, like actors or athletes, talented
consultants will have agents.  Groups of workers will come together to
tackle projects only to disband when the task is finished, a model already
common in Silicon Valley.

This model also tips its hat in reference to nearby Hollywood and Studio
City.  This model is reminiscent of how motion picture studios create movies
and other forms of entertainment.  Actors, directors, producers, and other
crew descend upon a studio lot; create the movie, then scatter to the four
winds; then appear again to start the whole process over again.  Actors,
like future consultants, will not be known for what studio they worked for
(which is always changing; usually, the highest bidder), but for their vitae
of roles they starred in.  Future consultants will be known for their vitae
of open-source projects they contributed to.

Increasingly, companies will keep their most prized employees on site and
outsource everything else.  When the United States of America-based computer
display unit of Nokia Corporation entered the U.S. market, it did so with
only five key employees.  Sales, marketing, logistics, and technical support
were all farmed out.

And just because an employee is on staff doesn't mean he or she isn't
thinking like a free agent.  A typical thirty-two-years-old, for example,
has already held nine jobs, according to the United States Labor Department.
Experts predict that these same workers will have as many as twenty
different positions in their lifetimes.  These most valuable players will
constantly bargain for better deals within their organizations (new
projects, Thursdays off, an August sabbatical).

The only way employers can get the staffing crisis under control is to
abandon the old-fashioned and quaint notion of an employee.  In some ways,
the free agent model hearkens back to the pre-industrial era.  One can liken
the e-lance economy to the time when blacksmiths and other tradesmen sold
their skills in the village green.  The difference is that in the wired
world, and thanks to, customers and consultants can purchase and
offer their products and services from around the globe.

We will bear witness to the evolution of organizations like the Screen
Actors Guild and the Writers Guild, only, say, for programmers and
marketers.  Such groups will provide a sense of community and identity, as
well as health insurance and other benefits that were once the purview of
corporations' responsibilities.

Stephen Barley, co-director of the Center for Work, Technology and
Organization at Stanford University has been researching contract employees
who work as software engineers and programmers in Silicon Valley.  Barley
says most of these gypsies prefer the free agent lifestyle because they
aren't constrained by organizational politics, they have more chances to
learn, they have control over their time, and they make more money.  "Some
of these guys are raking it in," Barley says, making thirty to two hundred
percent more than their on-staff counterparts.

Of those who define themselves as free agents: fifty-five percent of them
say their quality of life has improved; sixty percent of them say they earn
more money; and eighty-one percent of them say a major benefit is their
ability to make their personal and family lives a higher priority.  There
will be no going back to the old cradle-to-the-grave cocoon the corporations
of our fathers came to provide in the century just past.


Chill factor aside, Canada's technology sector is hot.  Once home to
curmudgeonly cabinet ministers and shifty-eyed government mandarins, British
Columbia has become the boomtown of "The Great White North."  Streets are
littered with nouveau-riche techies, cherry-red Ferraris, deep-pocketed
foreign investors, and sleep-deprived real estate agents.  The notoriously
stodgy B.C. is now a feather in Canada's cap.

The origins of B.C.'s burgeoning technology industry can be traced to World
War II.  Since then, the countless technology firms include semiconductor
components designer SiGe Microsystems and military hardware developer
Computing Devices Canada.  Now, private enterprise is set to stage a coup.

Canada is home to key industry players, including Mitel, MOSAID
Technologies, Corel, JDS Uniphase, Nortel Networks, NetActive (formerly
known as Channelware), Chrysalis-ITS, Decision Academic Graphics, data
switch designer Akara Canada, supply-chain-management software company
webPLAN, Newbridge Networks (recently acquired by Alcatel of Paris for $7.1
billion), fiber-optic company Nu-Wave Photonics, Research in Motion, and
application service provider

In the past six months, it's been absolutely astounding.  Start-ups are
popping up on every corner.  You can't get office space, everyone's looking
for 4,000 square feet.  The attorneys are going crazy setting up little
companies.  The accountants are going crazy setting up companies.  Staff, in
the last six months, is really hard to recruit.  A year ago, you had to sit
down and explain stock options to software engineers.

Canada's high-technology community holds the government responsible for the
nation's brain drain.  Industry experts say that, despite its
single-handedly putting Canada on the world's high-technology map, the
government has practically chased Canada's knowledge workers south of the
border by failing to sufficiently reduce the capital gains tax rate.

Those techies who haven't defected to warmer climates are busy riding
Canada's start-up wave.  Take Jeremy Norris, for example.  A former software
developer for the government, the twenty-three-years-old bid his
punchcard-toting colleagues adieu this May and joined, which
provides business networking technologies.  He has no regrets about leaving
an environment that was rife with pointless board meetings, out-of-touch
bureaucrats, and laggard production cycles.

Joanne Lussier True also grew tired of the government's "factory mentality"
during her six-years stint as a project manager.  In July of 1997, she
landed a job as a product development manager with Corel, a desktop software
maker and Linux seller.  It was the prospect of making a transition from
never-ending "red tape" to a world of excitement and glamour that she says
served as the perfect lure.  "There's nothing more rewarding ... than
attending one of our gala functions ... Frankly, the production that goes on
is on par with what Hollywood would put on."  Like many of today's
government defectors, she says that hocking stability for stock options is a
gamble well worth taking.

Today's techies are blowing their cash on designer homes, sporting
equipment, and sport-utility vehicles.


As the United States software giant Microsoft waits to hear whether an
American appeals court will order its break-up, it has been revealed that
the company is being encouraged to relocate its operations to neighbouring

The authorities in British Columbia have offered to do a deal with
Microsoft.  They are promising favourable treatment which may include a loan
to build a new headquarters if Microsoft agrees to move its operations one
hundred miles further north, to the other side of the Canadian border.

Microsoft currently has around 20,000 employees near the Seattle, Washington
area.  Transferring its headquarters could have a devastating effect on the
economy of the Pacific north-west corner of the United States.  The
Canadians see Microsoft's current battle with the United States government
as an opportunity to attract one of the world's most valuable companies.

The man in charge of attracting investment to British Columbia, Gordon
Wilson, said Microsoft would be what he called "a welcome asset."  It is
rumoured that his officials may have engaged in secret discussions with
Microsoft.  But the company itself denies this, saying it is focusing on
fighting any plans for a break-up through the American courts.


The Internet has become the means for a new model of how software is
created.  The open, shared development of software code has produced some of
the key underlying technology of the Internet, such as the open-source
Apache Web server and the Sendmail message transfer agent, but it is the
Linux operating system that has carried the torch for the open-source
software movement.  Beginning with graduate student Torvalds' first posting
of code in August of the year 1991, Linux has provided a free and reliable
Unix-type operating system that made many early Internet services possible.

Most surprisingly, it now is encroaching upon the turf of Microsoft,
challenging the notion that software is owned and controlled by vendors and
giving users more control over what is in the software they use.

"The real, long-term significance is that it gives us some hope of solving
the software quality problem, " says Raymond. "It is now clear that the way
forward lies through open-source and not around it."  Raymond argues that
Linux will continue to evolve faster and further than proprietary software
until it becomes one of the world's most trusted programs.

This is an operating system and a community of software developers that have
flourished despite many setbacks and difficulties.  Linux will remain free
and unrestricted, as will the GNU components that lend it stability.

Robert Young, Chairman of Red Hat, says Linux is in a marathon race, not a
sprint.  Indeed, the question in the minds of millions should not be "What
can Linux do for you, but what can you do for Linux?"  Says Young, "There is
a whole industry that has to be built and it's going to take us ten years to
do that before we are in a position to be perceived as an acceptable
alternative each and every time to Microsoft."  Please allow to
be your first step in this marathon.