Thursday, September 30, 2004

The energy of "anybody but X"

As previously pointed out elsewhere in my blog I am planning to vote for Kerry, against Bush.

I'll also point out that I work for Sun, in the group that makes Java. I joined Javasoft, as it was known then, because I was (and am) in the anybody-but-Microsoft camp, and Javasoft seemed to be the place to go for anybody-but-microsoft work.

Here's a piece of truth that governs what happens when you choose "anybody but X". There's a lot of anybodies out there who can be not-X, and you haven't done anything to specify what you want to replace X, you'll be satisfied with anything that is not X.

This begs a question: How can you know whether !X is any better than X was?

The !X anybody that shows up could, well, be anybody, right?

It's a lot better to be positive about your preferences. Instead of "not-Microsoft" you might want a reliable system, that doesn't crash, that doesn't have the virus-of-the-week problem, that is designed with security in mind, that is easy to use, that works, that has sufficient software availability, that follows open standards, that does what work you want to accomplish, that you can afford, etc.

Shoot, even though I tried a couple !X's snuck in, do you see them?

Anyway, with a list of positive requirements like that you've got a better chance of being satisfied than if you just say "!X" and pick the closest available !X.

Just a little thought for you on the eve of the first of the Presidential Debates. Happy voting!