SPUG: A little respect

Michael R. Wolf MichaelRWolf at att.net
Thu May 27 18:49:14 CDT 2004

An issue come up for me 3 times in the past 24 hours. The universe is
speaking to me. I'm listening. And now I'm sharing.

Observation: OS preferences can tend cloud other issues, and, however
    inadvertent, be off-putting.

I don't want to get *overly* Politically Correct, but I do want to
make sure that SPUG is inclusive. To paraphrase Walt Whitman[1]:

    Perl is large.  It contains multitudes.

It's come to my attention that Windows users can be made to feel less
than peers or less than welcome in some SPUG discussions, and could
possibly be intimidated to participate as a result. I'll take
responsibility for a piece of that, though it was never my intent. For
instance, I use the term WinDOS (or WinDoze) when referring to the OS
that's not as comfortable to me as Unix. (Actually, my OS is emacs --
I only escape to Windows, cygwin, or Unix for what emacs doesn't

It also came to my attention on the receiving end of this issue as it
was turned around and came to put me off. In my recently re-started
job search, I had two conversations just today that had me feel
degraded (in a MS-centric shop) for my Unix background. The phrase
"Oh, we don't do many of those legacy systems" really hurt. And I
understand that it was not their intent[2].

    It got me to thinking.

        Really thinking.

More important than the OS (I've used Perl on both Windows and Unix),
I'm a Perl User. I use Perl to get into the problem, and am rarely
even interested in the Operating System. Actually, above being a Perl
User, I'm a Problem Solver. (Listen to Ingy on this one -- he's really
language agnostic. Really unattached, in a Zen way.)

So my request is, that in SPUG -- the PU being Perl User -- that we
remember that we're all Perl Users, and all trying to get a problem
solved, with constraints. Sometimes those constraints are personal
preference; sometimes it's just what was there when we showed up.
Sometimes changing it is an option; sometimes it isn't. That's the
problem solving balance we call engineering. Only GOD gets to specify
all the boundary conditions[3]. We, on the other hand, have to live
with existing conditions.

A few suggested guidelines:

Unix users -- if we take pot shots at Windows, make sure that it's
    framed as a personal preference, and not as a personal attack.
    Pot shots at people are not OK.

Windows users -- humor us in our preference of OS's, don't take it
    personally, and educate us in the ways that Perl can help Windows,
    and Windows can help Perl.

All -- learn from the other side.

It's all a SPUGlicious learning/playing experience.  

Thanks for playing.
Thanks for listening.


P.S. I think this issue is really a 2nd or 3rd level undercurrent.
It's not an abrasive, flaming, harsh offensive environment. I'm
calling for a tweak where necessary, and it's not even necessary most
of the time, so don't take this more harshly than it's intended.

    Do I contradict myself?
    Very well then I contradict myself,
    (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

      -- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

2. In one of the conversations, when we peeled back the technology
   (ActiveX vs. Perl) and got to the core of the problem, and how to
   solve it, we both decided that the particular language didn't
   really matter as much as getting from A to B in a way that the
   customer never saw, but who, nevertheless, wanted to see B as soon
   as possible. When we focused on the problem, and its resolution, we
   set aside our pre-defined expectations for the solution, and came
   to a common ground understanding.

3. and even then, God has to do all the math to make sure that the
   Laws Of Physics (which are created by God) are not violated

Michael R. Wolf
    All mammals learn by playing!
        MichaelRWolf at att.net

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