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No Kidding. I Want To Be An Analyst.
Wednesday, January 19 2005 @ 07:12 AM EST

I have decided what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a tech analyst.

No, don't bother to try to talk me out of it. My mind is made up. It's the only job I have ever heard of where you can have huge gaps in your knowledge, get random but truly vital facts utterly wrong, say the opposite of what is observably true, and nobody sues you. They don't even fire you. They don't even notice. No one says a word. In fact, they actually pay you good money, and the next time they want to know something, they forget you got it all wrong the last time and ask you for your opinion all over again.

Being a fortune teller might be just as easy. In fact, I met one once, by chance, and she confided in me what she did for a living and confessed, just between us girls, that she just made stuff up. But I think analysts get paid more, and I believe they get retirement benefits too. And of course it's steadier work.

That's got to beat being a journalist, where you have to do time-consuming actual work that's really hard, like research for hours to dig up proof for the facts you write about.

Not that we haven't had some fine examples of journalists writing silly, inaccurate things this week, but I suspect they must be auditioning to be analysts themselves.

No kidding. Think of all the time I'd save. No more toiling away at 2 AM doing icky things like reading -- with rolling eyeballs -- analysts' pontifications about the future and What It All Means. I'd just *be* one, and I could sit back, prop my feet up on the desk, and guess airily away whenever someone asked me something, like whether Linux will ever be ready for the desktop and stuff like that. If someone wished to slip me some inspiration, if you know what I mean, I might do even better. Nah. I'm sure that never happens. I mustn't get carried away with sweet monetary fantasies. But really, the hardest thing about being an analyst for me would be keeping a straight face.

Ms. Laura Didio's ineffable wisdom about software code is on display in Linux Insider (where else?):

"If you look at the success of Linux you have to ask how it got so good so fast," Didio said. "Well there's a reason. A lot of people will maintain that Linux is ripped-off Unix code -- and certainly there is a lot of Unix in Linux."

Actually, a lot of people think it has to do with the new method of software development. But why quibble? I'm thinking IBM might ask her about that sentence. "Certainly there is a lot of Unix in Linux"?? Certainly? Ripped-off code? A lot? Says who? Darl McBride and who else? But tish tosh... who cares? She's an analyst, after all. They get to say whatever they like. And nobody sues them. Of course, life is all about change, so you never want to say never.

Paul DeGroot, who is an analyst with the research firm Directions on Microsoft was interviewed late in December by the Wall Street Journal about Microsoft putting up the EU court-ordered code on its website. You don't want to miss it, if you have a sub. Here's a taste, and you'll instantly see why I've set my sights on such a position myself.

Mr. DeGroot knows quite a lot about Linux, or maybe nothing at all, I can't be sure. He says:

"Realistically, the Linux desktop has a long ways to go before anyone would want to use it . . ."

It will be at least two years, he says, before Linux solves all its problems with fonts and the interface and so on. Before *anyone* wants to use it? Two years?

Meanwhile, back on Planet Reality, Asianux is getting ready to ship in July. That's the Korean/Japanese/Chinese version of Linux for Asia:

Leading Chinese Linux software maker RedFlag Software Co Ltd expects to achieve a 50 per cent growth in sales revenues this year, pinning hopes on Asianux 2.0, a new product to be jointly launched in July with Japanese and Korean partners.

"We expect our sales revenues to increase by 50 per cent," said Bai Ke, RedFlag's marketing supervisor. "Asianux 2.0 will be a great impetus."

China is that really big country where the government decided at the end of 2003 to financially support Linux and encourage its development and adoption. I hear a lot of people live there, but I'm no analyst so I couldn't say What That Means. By the way, if any of you can read Chinese, I have a small translation request, if you would please email me.

And Bill Gates has asked to meet with the president of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, at the World Economic Forum next week in Switzerland. Brazil is another country where the entire nation is threatening to switch to GNU/Linux, but I'm sure it can't be because anybody wants to. No, it must be Mr. Gates feels a sudden yearning to meet with Lula to discuss ... his poetry. I'm sure that must be it. Mr. DeGroot is an analyst, after all. He says nobody wants to use GNU/Linux, and he's the expert. Or maybe Bill wants to learn how to Samba. You think? Or maybe they'll talk about "Operation Open Gates" and rewriting the Linux kernel? Joke, joke. We already found out that was, OSDL says, well, not to put too fine a point on it, some O'Gara "horse puckey," as quoted in LinuxInsider.

They won't talk like that after she is bumped up to being an analyst, if I've discerned her true purpose in writing that article. Daniel Ravicher, senior counsel of the Free Software Foundation called the article "virtual fiction", which is the polite phrase for horse puckey, and said O'Gara had "substantial credibility issues. My opinion is that her story about Linux being rewritten to avoid patents was virtual fiction."

But if nobody wants to use Linux, what would Gates and Lula talk about? "Modern-day communists" destroying Microsoft's IP rights, maybe? That might not be politic, all things considered. Perhaps Mr. Gates wishes to apologize for that lawsuit against Mr. Amadeu when he said Microsoft was like a drug pusher. If you were wondering how that all worked out, Microsoft dropped the suit after Amadeu said he was just repeating what he learned in economics textbooks. But what is the purpose of the meeting Mr. Gates has in mind, if no one is interested in Linux? Let's let a representative from Brazil tell us:

“Brazil wouldn’t gain anything from this, but Microsoft would gain a lot,” Sergio Amadeu, head of the president’s national technology institute, told Reuters. “They want to try to lobby Lula in the other direction.”

Tired of paying costly licensing fees to companies like Microsoft, Brazil, the world’s eighth-most wired nation, has told agencies in its sprawling federal bureaucracy to move to Linux and free software programs that run on it.

This year, the government will try to get private citizens to make the switch. It will partially subsidize the purchase for lower middle-class people of 1 million computers running Linux along with 25 other open source programs.

An effort by Microsoft to arrange a meeting between Gates and Lula could mark a shift in strategy for dealing with Latin America’s largest country.

Ah. It seems there are some folks interested in Linux after all. Meanwhile, there is, the article says, no meeting scheduled with Mr. Gates on Mr. Lula's appointment book.

Maybe the Venezuelan President will meet with him. I believe that country is working on a decree to adopt Open Source software in the government too (Update: Rafiel, a reader in Venezuela, informs us that the decree, Presidential Decree No. 3390 [PDF, Spanish], is now a fait accompli), and it's not alone, as Robin Bloor, an analyst who breaks with the pack and gets it, points out in his story about Venezuela:

This is yet another straw in the wind as regards global government commitments to and enthusiasm for Open Source. There is currently a remarkable amount of proposed legislation world wide that mandates the use of Open Source in government.

The countries where this is the case are: Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, France, Italy and Peru. . . . More telling, in terms of a clear enthusiasm for Open Source are countries where a stated policy of a “preference” for Open Source has been declared. Countries where this is the case, in some areas of government IT use, include: Bahrain, Belgium, China and Hong Kong, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Poland, Portugal, Philippines and South Africa.

Beyond this, almost all governments have R&D projects which are investigating the practicality of Open Source for government use which will, in all probability lead to local policy guidelines at some point which favour open source.

He says it's "an established world wide trend and it is unlikely to be reversed." Sheesh. If only I'd known that you get to meet with Bill Gates personally by threatening to switch to GNU/Linux, I'd have alerted the media when I made my decision years ago. Send in the clowns, eh?

Here's a sentence from the Linux Insider article to preserve for a Ballmer or Gates deposition someday:

What is true is that Microsoft has used the threat of intellectual property infringement to discourage customers from adopting Linux.

Ah. The sweet smell of truth. Speaking of truth, Linux Insider says "it appears the only grain of truth to the latest round of Linux rumors is that the city of Beaverton, where OSDL is based, is in fact putting $1.2 million behind open-source software development." But it has nothing to do with rewriting the kernel.

Maybe Mr. Gates should stay home and talk to Beaverton. Piece by piece, government by government, company by company, individual after individual, his world is turning upside down.

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