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Puzzling Evidence, and a call to arms

(Note: I posted this to the OS Dev forum earlier today, but I felt that this group would also appreciate the sentiments express herein. I hope no one is too offended, and I welcome any disagreements or corrections.)

I just read this jeremiad at the Gemini Nucleus site, and I'm not sure if to be depressed by its implications, vindicated because it matches what I've said for years, or outraged that it should get to this point.

"Systems Software Research is Irrelevant" by Rob Pike

What I *do* know is what this group should see it as: a challenge. Pike has thrown down the gauntlet, knowing full well that the academics won't reply. What he hasn't counted on is *us*: the private fanatics, the grassroots hackers who have nothing to lose except time and pride if we take risks we can't meet. It is from people like us that the next big thing will come from, because *no one else is going to*.

This isn't a new problem; The Futurist Programmers
saw it coming ten years ago. All that has happened is that things have gotten so frozen stiff that people mistake marketing for technology. The dot.com crash proved to everyone that the technology didn't matter; all you needed was a name and an IPO to shear the sheep. For all it mattered, they could have been selling tulips, instead of computers. The boom, and the bust, had *nothing* to do with computers, at all, at all. And neither do most of the things in the industry today - .NET, Bluetooth, JINI, SOAP, all nonsense names for marketroids to rattle off. If there's any technology involved in them, I can't find it.

Think about it: if something doesn't come up, then we could be locked into the MS/Linux/Mac treadmill indefinitely, ever rushing to catch up yet never getting anywhere. That alone is enough reason to want to jump out of line.

They call the past ten years 'the computer revolution'. Fuck that noise; I say we show them what revolution is all about! Let's throw it *all* away, and start fresh, with new ideas and new systems that don't owe them anything. If we don't, we'll be slaves forever.

J. Osako
Operating Systems Designer, Notational Engineer, Generalist