commentary Peter Quinn, the former chief information officer of the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, reckons the
sandals and ponytail appearance of many Linux and open
source evangelists presents a hurdle to adoption of open source
software in the corporate market.
Quinn believes corporate decision-makers are immediately
dubious when they see the free-spirited dress code of the evangelists, with that view colouring their perspective of
It is an interesting view, but I'm not sure that the sandal
and ponytail look is really an issue any more.
For starters, Linux is now backed by some real heavyweights in
the vendor community who are extremely unlikely to unleash anyone
who does not have an acceptably corporate look on customers to
explain why open source is the answer to their prayers.
Secondly, the federal and NSW governments in particular are
devoting hefty resources to marketing Linux and open source
software to their own departments and agencies. While other
states and territories are lagging, there is no question that
government in Australia is really working to build the confidence
of its IT decision-makers in at least trialling Linux and open
Thirdly, there is increasing anecdotal evidence that the
impetus for Linux and open source software in many information
technology shops is coming from the top down rather than the
bottom up. Chief information officers and information technology
managers have learned enough to make their own assessments of
what is available, what it can do and what the risks are.
In short, the sandals and ponytail set are really now just a
small part of the Linux and open source marketing machine. What
Quinn says may have been true as recently as a couple of years
ago, but the momentum and vendor backing for non-proprietary
offerings is now reaching a point that principles of governance
demand that decision-makers properly assess them when making
What do you think? Is the sandal and ponytail crowd now
virtually irrelevant when it comes to the marketing of Linux and
open source software? Or should they get a haircut and shoes and
"go corporate"? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
and let us know.
Iain Ferguson is the News Editor of ZDNet
To take your opportunity to vent about what's bugging you in
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