I really worry about a change I see in geek-dom. Things are getting competitive and there is a bit of mean-spiritedness in the air. I think we can be honest and say some of this is the result of the blending of cultures in the industry and younger folks who have never known anything but the tough economic times of the dot-com bust.
Why care? Because there was a time when OURS was the MOST EGALITARIAN, CREATIVE and SIMPLY NICEST work or study culture to be found anywhere.
I took my doctorate in economics from a great school on the early '70s, went right off to Wall Street, and I am sure by now I’d be managing “my own fund” or some such. But I hated all that competitive, dog-eat-dog, “kick the other guy to the ground – and enjoy it” environment. ARROGANCE was the dominant personal trait among money managers.
I started hanging out with the folks in IT. Soon every weekend spent helping out anyone doing computing who would have me. Within a year I was at UCB and a little minimum wage job at Xerox PARC.
It was the early days of Unix, new powerful and expressive languages, and people doing really interesting first-time invention mostly for the love of it. Being a “geek” was starting to be a good thing. People were working on things for the beauty of it – the beauty of design, clear thinking, and whole new ways of looking at things
The geek culture of the day -- quickest way to be thought of as a jerk was not helping out the other guy, and even worse, holding back on what you had learned. These were some of the smartest people in the world, but being the least bit ARROGANT was the surest way to be disliked and distrusted.
I enjoyed the paper. HW v. SW Firewalls is an interesting topic, and I learned something from the authors. At least THEY are putting themselves out there in an interesting and organized way. Challenging their *competence* seems like a cheap shot, one I want to think is beneath you. What do you want, CCIE numbers - what a load! That is exactly the kind of thing threatening geek culture. If it keep up, the new breed of MBA's and Attorneys can outsource whatever they havent done so far, and we can all be happy with jobs in call centers 12 time zones away!!
noxxi, I don't know if you care one bit about "our" cluture. But if you do, how about applying some of those smarts to co-contribute to the paper??