Geek tragedy

日期:2019-02-27 06:14:10 作者:抗镌 阅读:

Open-source idealists have been left hopping mad after being lured to the dark side of capitalism by software company Red Hat (www.redhat.com), only to be told that they haven’t got what it takes to play with the big boys. The controversy surrounds Linux, the operating system designed to be noncommercial, and which all good Microsoft haters swear by. Red Hat doesn’t own Linux, didn’t develop it and many versions are available for free. Even so, Red Hat has been so successful in selling its Linux-based operating system that the company floated 9 per cent of its stock this month. In the weird world of Wall Street, the issue raised $84 million and the shares shot up three times in value on the first day of trading. But it’s not the sell-off of Linux that has turned the open-source community against Red Hat. As a show of good faith to several thousand of the developers who have contributed to the open-source coding over the years, Red Hat offered them an early crack at shares in its initial public offering earlier this month. All but a few jumped at the chance to cash in on their work. But there was a catch: first, all the applicants had to open a trading account with the online brokerage E*TRADE (www.etrade.com). Sadly, having thrown their egalitarian principles to the wind and raided their piggybanks for the initial $1000, many were turned away. They were deemed ineligible by E*TRADE’s online questionnaire, which was not tailored for postgraduates with little to invest and no experience of buying shares. A poll in online forum Slashdot (www.slashdot.org) generated a response from over 400 hacked-off hackers who had lost out after, as one put it, “having had silver carrots waved in front of our noses” (www.salon.com/tech/feature/1999/07/30/redhat_shares/). Red Hat says it made clear that passing an E*TRADE inspection was a condition of the offer, although a spokeswoman admitted that the company hadn’t realised how vigorous that inspection would be. More on these topics: