Ethical Computing


So 8 months ago I helped someone with getting their hands on the 2nd disc of the Gentoo LiveCD set. Someone in IRC needed a copy of it but didn’t have access to a burner or a CD-R so I felt bad for them and made it myself while I was working overtime on a Saturday.

I met them outside work, and gave it to them — seemed harmless enough. On my way home I got some good marks for helping a lady cross the street, got someone’s stolen purse, and sold some girl scout cookies. It was good to help out.

Flash to the now – same person got caught running versions of Knoppix and some accompanying software to scan a university network and distribute some nasty messages to the public on opening day. To say the least I was disappointed.

For one, it was contrary to my original impression of the person. I felt they were young and inexperienced and needed some help getting their feet on the ground. And they did — because they are bright and talented — and unfortunately they took a turn in the wrong direction and misused their talents to do some mischief.

Ok, so maybe at some point in their lives the best artists spray graffiti out of boredom or lack of a proper canvas. An even more probable cause is the theory that those who are good at rare arts or have special talents often lack the resources and direction needed to nurture those abilities.

So while most would probably pawn a handful of negative actions off as criminal mischief, I instead place blame on our schools, our leaders, our community for forcing this young adult into what pretty much seems like an act of pure boredom more than anything else.

It’s my hope that this person will learn from this experience, maybe seek a more honorable canvas and paint pictures with better paints and the finest brushes — and not be deprived of their right to creatively exhale.

Pressure and time lead to good things; they can also destroy youthful dreams and ambition.