Inessential weirdness and secret knowledge

I’ve been thinking about this compilation of the “inessential weirdnesses” of the open source community, for a few weeks. The post (and excellent comments) are worth reading, but I’ll try to summarize the idea anyways: an inessential weirdness is a common practice or preference that doesn’t help further a communities goals, and often serves to exclude people who may want to get involved.

I’ve seen some of these same preferences (for the command-line, for the classic Unix text editors, against all things Microsoft or Windows) cause some friction and frustration at work, as well.

So: I get it. I agree these things are harmful. And, yet…

I love it so much. It’s fun to stockpile vim tricks, git arcana, and command-line combos. It makes me feel like part of a secret society, one of the initiate.

Imagine if the Freemasons, in addition to secret handshakes and code words and rituals and drinking, had a line on some real secret knowledge (say, how to make a slightly-better-than-average omelette). Yes, I’d be tempted to show off my secret omelette skills every chance I could. Yes, I’d be tempted to show disdain for the merely-average omelette, and those who would serve such an abomination.

(this analogy isn’t perfect: there’s almost certainly no proof that using obscure and complicated tools produces better work)

The point of all this, I guess, is that secret knowledge can be intoxicating, maybe even addictive. Moving past “inessential weirdnesses” is going to be hard work.

(That secret omelette technique might be baking powder)

Docker + Windows is super-interesting

Microsoft Says Windows Will Run Docker, the Next Big Thing in Cloud Computing

I’ve only recently started really playing with Docker (following along with James Turnbull’s excellent The Docker Book). Since Docker is very much linux-native right now, this Microsoft announcement raises interesting questions, and I’m curious how it will all play out. Here’s a few that come to mind:

  • On the hosting-side, I suppose there will need to be something like Linux Containers, for Windows. Will this be provided by Windows itself, or Docker? Does it already exist?
  • On the container side, will each container need to include a chunk of the Windows libraries (needed to run on Linux hosts), or will that be provided by Docker?
  • Will you need to buy a license to run Windows containers on a Linux host?