Chad Perrin: SOB

13 September 2007


Filed under: Geek,Profession,Writing — apotheon @ 10:31

I’m sure some of you out there are familiar with the term “CYA”. It means “Cover Your Ass”. CYA is what you do when you make sure you put some kind of safeguard in place so that, even when you’re in a situation where official policies kinda “force” you to do something you think is a bad idea, you can later say “I participated in this under protest.” That’s what this SOB entry is all about.

I’ve entered a note on my Online Publication Credits page, referring back to this post, about the matter. My reasoning is simple: the more I write for money, the more I find I want to write for money. Writing about technical subjects for publication really seems to suit me. On one hand, writing for ITSEC at TR brings me visibility and name recognition, as well as giving me a little extra spending money and practice at writing for a regular deadline of sorts. On the other hand, the editorial control TR exercises over my words may reflect on me when others read my words for an indication of what kind of writer I am. In other words, while this should overall benefit my future writing career (he said with confidence such a future career will exist), it may also in subtle ways harm it.

Normally, I don’t air my grievances with editorial control here. It’s not terribly professional to do so, since I’m engaged in a business relationship with TechRepublic over this matter. This is a special case: TechRepublic’s policy is to spell all instances of the word Unix with all capital letters — “UNIX” — regardless of context. Unfortunately, that is a glaringly inaccurate usage in many cases, particularly when I write about BSD Unix systems like FreeBSD. Unix refers to a family of operating systems derived from the original AT&T Unix. UNIX® refers to a registered trademark that is “owned”, or controlled, by The Open Group. It is allowed for use only under license terms that depend upon certification by, and payment of fees to, The Open Group. Many Unix systems have not applied for certification, largely because of the money involved — to include the BSD Unix systems we’ve all come to know and love (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and derivatives).

Most people probably are not really familiar with the difference between the terms UNIX and Unix. Some are, however — and if at some point in the future such a person is in a position to make a decision about my future employability for some job (whether a contract or salary position), I wish there to be a record of the fact that I actually know what I’m talking about. I don’t want the fact that it is TR policy to ignore the specifics of trademark licensing with regard to this particular trademark to reflect poorly on me, personally, if I can avoid it.

All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License