Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Newest Scum

The Newest Scum

He had his schooling private and
Dropped out of Harvard, just like that.
His drive, we all now understand.
His competition, he laid flat.

He stole, he bullied, played his game,
And added mightily to stash.
In doing this, he felt no shame,
For what we worship here is cash.

And so, each wannabe has Bill
To emulate. Though flat out broke,
They think, by using smarts and will,
They'll still get rich, with mirror, smoke.

Klein tried to take Gates down a peg,
But that was long ago, you see.
Now teachers must, for mercy, beg,
And Klein, to Gates, beholden be.

How strangely Fortune twisted, turned,
How blind we are to what's ahead.
So some did fiddle, as schools burned,
And others slaved, as sky grew red.

The capitalist has become
Philanthropist, yet more admired.
"Deprived of oxygen", we'll come     \1
To end, like Netscape (now retired).

But Phoenix rises, and is named
Not Firebird, but Firefox.
Raise up your heads, oh ye, ashamed
Of own profession. Erigo vox!

From these ashes, what will rise?
In the darkness, is there light?
Who will Klein and Gates surprise
By discerning wrong from right?

Profession that's corrupted, torn,
Invites invaders.  And they come!
Only when we are reborn
Can we repel the newest scum.

Arjun, 2010 July 10th Sat., Brooklyn

1. Microsoft's strategy to defeat Netscape included "depriving them of oxygen" by including
Internet Explorer with Windows (using, 
by the way, code derived from Netscape's originators,
from when they were working for the government) just as Netscape began to offer a commercial
version of its browser software.

Klein was the government's prosecutor in an antitrust case against Microsoft.  In the U.S.,
Microsoft basically prevailed, though Gates was taken down a peg. But in Europe, where a parallel
suit was launched, it had to make more substantial concessions.

Those seeking free (and better) alternatives to MS Office and Internet Explorer may find Sun's Open
Office suit and the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox to be excellent choices. Unfortunately, Sun, which
believed in giving away software (like Java) for free (making most of their money from hardware) has
now been acquired by Oracle, a rapacious software company that doesn't. But so far, Oracle has not
interfered with Sun's Open Office distribution.

(One can't, of course, object to software companies charging for software -- but one should be wary
of those, like Microsoft and Oracle, that use every possible underhand tactic to establish monopolies
or near-monopolies and also charge exorbitantly.)

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