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Saturday, April 1st, 2006

And The Walls Came Crashing Down

I came into work Thursday morning, started logging in to the two computers I’m currently using, and launched Outlook on the one that wasn’t getting tweaked with Linux. There was new mail from my compadre in the IT department with the title “Corrpro & Linux”. Right away I knew it wasn’t going to be good, and sure enough, it started of with “I just had my talk with…” “…it didn’t go as well as we had hoped..”

Crash and burn.

Along with a set of perfectly reasonable and sensible explanations, I got the dreaded instructions to remove Linux from any company machine I had installed it on. I thought it had been too good to be true, and it was.

I don’t blame any of them wanting to steer clear of alternate operating systems – they’re all MS certified, MS has been their bread and butter, it’s the devil they know. The party line among their peers is that Linux is too difficult, to complicated, too much of a headache, and not necessary anyway. To be fair, I feel much the same way about protecting ductile iron from corrosion – there’s no way DI is magically exempt from the processes that affect all other metals; the tried-and-true methods of bonded, dielectric coating and cathodic protection would be the best way to protect it, and all those wackos out of DIPRA are just living in fantasy land thinking that polywrap is all that you need – they’re only so adamant because the polywrap solution is the only way they can be cost-competitive with coated steel or mortar-lined-and-coated steel. (Although I’ve witnessed some spectacular failures of polyethylene encasement, I’ve also seen ten-year old DI come out of brackish marsh soil looking brand new – but guess which story I’m more likely to tell.)

Hrmmp. Well, that comparison got as far as it’s going to get – Linux and my support of it are not the same as DI and DIPRA. (And there’s no way I’m going to link to them in any favorable light!)

I guess I had anticipated the reaction to even trying to use Linux. I had been thinking that I needed to put it all above-board; to file an official project request for a pilot project, and had been thinking about how to paint the whole thing as minimal or no cost to the company, offering substantial potential reward, and as sure to increase shareholder value as the sun will rise tomorrow. I have worried that I was going to get my new friend into trouble, and that our reckless tinkering was going to get the entire blame the next time the stock price took any dip, and that we would reinforce any reluctance to entertain the idea. **Sigh**

I’ve been feeling a lot of foreboding, accentuated by the coincidental appearance around the same time of Google Finance, with their page on Corrpro and its link to my blog. I’ve been waiting for the dam to burst, checking my access logs all the time, looking for the inbound flood of traffic because every employee has suddenly found out about it, and what was that blog with the sooo negative title, and who is this guy anyway? Some will come for the schadenfreude, others from the well-instilled reaction to put out any fire they see. Of course, most will come just because they’re desperately trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and whether they’re still going to have a job next month.

It’s funny in a way – even before this, I was starting to feel a little more positive about work. I had realized that the sky wasn’t going to come crashing down on us all when my boss left. I had actually gotten to meet and talk with some of the powers-that-be when they came tromping through; first, to make sure the office would continue to be the money-maker it had been, and second, to go to the NACE annual conference. I was starting to catch up with my backlog, and had finished a few reports that had just been sapping my strength whenever I looked at them, they had gotten so dreary. I had learned a few lessons from the experience, new important hazards to look out for, and how best to deal with them. I had exciting, challenging new stuff ahead of me, and I was getting back to finishing the coding project I had started so many months ago. I was seeing opportunities for the company and for myself. Lately, I been noticing that I’m now answering a lot more questions than I am asked, and I feel more sure about my answers.

I haven’t done myself any favors by describing myself as a maverick and a cowboy. I’ve nearly always tried to be a team player, not someone who thumbed their nose at authority and virtually challenged them to catch me at it. I’ve always enjoyed testing my limits, but always appreciated that firm hand steering me back in the right direction. I’m not someone who causes chaos just for fun.

So if you came here looking for what I have to say about Corrpro, and have read all of the posts I tagged, you should by now be getting the point that this is my blog, my online diary, so to speak. It’s not a CNBC analysis or criticism of an embattled company, not a whistleblower’s journal documenting [insert favorite fear here], not a diatribe against the corrosion industry’s “Evil Empire” (to quote Pete Lamb, a long-time Henkels and McCoy devotee, former boss, and Good Guy.) This blog is about me, what I find interesting, and what I think about it all. Corrpro is just a little part of my world, and after not being able to get back to sleep at three o’clock in the morning, right now it’s just a victim of my proclivity towards introspection, semi-colons, and run-on sentences.

Posted by Greg as OS, Posts About Me at 06:02 PST

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