You don’t realize how hard it is to type when you open your palm and insert your face.
Meg Whitman, who took the reins of Hewlett-Packard after being trounced in the 2010 California gubernatorial election that cost her and her campaign roughly $43 per vote, decided to bring back the HP consumer hardware, which was a good thing. I even ate some crow, with salt, yesterday in manning up to say something nice about Meg for making this decision.
Today I can thank her for something else: Thank you, Meg, for restoring my confidence in your incompetence.
Now Californians who voted against her — yours truly raises hand here — can be smug about not electing her to Sacramento for a typical Meg move.
An article today states that rather than include the already proven WebOS on the HP Touchpad tablet — which is what it came with until former HP CEO Leo Apotheker had what can best be described as the most profound brain fart in human history in dumping HP’s consumer technology — Meg wants to run the tablet with, wait for it, Windows 8.
Don’t take my word for it. The article by Tom Krazit is here, if you dare.
This blog, and all other blogs by Larry the Free Software Guy and Larry Cafiero, are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND license. In short, this license allows others to download this work and share it with others as long as they credit me as the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
(Larry Cafiero is one of the founders of the Lindependence Project and has just started developing software in his new home office. Watch this space.)
This week there was a sort of back-and-forth starting with Brian Proffitt in one blog item about Richard Stallman’s somewhat verbose Guardian article and a response by Bruce Byfield in a blog item about how he notices that lately people are picking on the Free Software Foundation. This kind of tete-a-tete is normally custom made for my participation, and last night I had thought about jumping in with both feet and an arm.
But you know what? Never mind. Just never mind. I had a whole blog item written last night. I went to bed. I woke up this morning and read my item. Then I deleted it. It’s just another “fuel, meet fire” situation that, despite my standard-issue remarkable and compelling prose (ahem), would have just removed focus from more important issues and would have created ill feelings.
So I’m just going to shrug, say “Ho-kay,” and write about something else.
Before I do, however, I will say that I do think Brian is right when he says that the Guardian article is another FSF broadside against open source, and that I don’t agree with Bruce’s arguments that the FSF is being picked on. Let’s look more importantly at the latter: The FSF does a lot of great things on behalf of software freedom, and does so with remarkably few resources. For this we are truly thankful. On the other hand, the FSF tragically has made an exact science of cultivating a “my way or highway” attitude (bring up dissenting viewpoints, as I have, and see how far you go), which makes its prevalent dogmatic stance a formula for organizational rigor mortis. For this reason alone (though there are others I won’t go into here), the FSF hand-delivers invitations for criticism — some of it deserved, some not — rather than than being victims of attacks for whatever reason externally. For all the great things he has done, Richard Stallman is largely responsible for this culture of dogma and rigidity, and when some — not me, but others — equate the FSF to being the FOSS equivalent of the Taliban, I’d like to argue against that comparison but, honestly, I really can’t.
But never mind.
Let’s go from one train wreck to another, shall we?
One of the items that is high on the tech radar today is the fact that Hewlett-Packard is about to push Leo Apotheker off the top of the building (the sentiments of some board members, it’s safe to say) and replace him with — I kid you not — Meg Whitman.
Meg Whitman. I would have prefered Slim Whitman — link to Wikipedia provided so the kids here don’t have to Google him. So while you read who he is, get off of my lawn.
This Whitman-for-Apotheker swap has been described as a “hangover solution” in one ZDNet blog item, a sort of “hair of the dog” after an all-night bender where the first question is, “I did . . . WHAT?!” And the best decisions are usually not made when you’re hung over. Hence we have Meg Whitman waiting in the wings when, according to people at HP, they have a very capable CEO choice in house with Ann Livermore.
While it would probably be best for HP to keep someone in house at the helm — that’s one vote for you, Ann, over Meg — whomever takes over hopefully will say, with one of their first utterances in charge, “Remember what we said about dumping our hardware and WebOS? We take that back.”
That would be nice, but on the whole that, too, probably deserves another shrug.