Saturday, March 8, 2008


Charles Darwin sailed to southern latitudes and came up with the theory of evolution. I sailed south and came up with the idea for a Linux website that I would call Linux Latitude. Linux itself originated much earlier.

In November 2006 I was invited to go on a sailing rally, Baja Ha Ha, to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This annual event is sponsored by Latitude 38 Magazine. It was quite an adventure! We spent a month, stopping in isolated bays on the Baja Peninsula and ending up in Cabo. I had sailed a few times before, but seldom enough that what I learned on one trip I had forgotten by the next. It takes constant exposure and practice to learn anything complicated I guess.

As we moved south along the coast of Baja, we noticed greater changes in climate. At our first stop, about 2 1/2 days out of San Diego, California, we noticed the climate had changed - we were in a low enough latitude that the water was warm, and it was shorts and T-shit weather in November. The surroundings and lifestyle in Mexico, or at least rural Baja, were much different as well. Or first stop, Turtle Bay is 160 miles of dirt road from the main Highway One that runs down the peninsula. Life is slower here. Attitude was changing with latitude.

I was reminded of the old Corona Beer commercials. Remember the ones where the people are laying on a tropical beach with just the sound of the waves, a cold beer and the caption "A whole different latitude..."? Terrible beer, but great advertising. It really puts you in mind of a different, more relaxed place. With Jimmy Buffet playing on the boats stereo, it was easy to slip into this new life style.

Another inspiration, which I only now recognize as I write this, is the Darwin connection. Just as evolution changed how we think about natural history, Free/Open Source Software changes the way we think about software. It is no less than a revolution, though not as earth-shaking as evolution to be sure. And OK, maybe I am stretching to make a connection to evolution here. Actually we devolved from open software to proprietary and now are moving back to open. Come to think of it, there are parallels in evolution too though.

The first leg of the trip was rough, literally and figuratively. We hit gale force winds and 10 foot seas. At one point I figured I had only slept four hours in the last forty.
If the beginning of the journey was difficult, it got easier as we gained experience, got used to the new reality of life on board, and the weather got calmer. There were other rough times later on, but the worst was over, and for the most part, I could now keep learning and just enjoy the new experiences.

Kind of like Linux. The change may challenge you and you may have to adjust your attitude a little to enjoy the ride, but it's well worth the trip.

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