That's right: Not only is today Towel Day for fans of Douglas Adams' “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy, the anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars film, and the Glorious 25th of May for fans of Discworld, but it's also the day we can all revel without inhibition in our geekiness and love of technology.
What better time, then, for a quick roundup of some of the more exciting developments going on in the land of all things geeky? Here are a few of my favorite reasons to feel cheerful about technology on Geek Pride Day 2012.
1. The Patent Wars Have Been Dealt a Blow
It's true that the IT patent wars are raging on multiple fronts, but at least sanity appears to be prevailing in the important case of Oracle v. Google. In what some have called a “near disaster” for Oracle, the patent aggressor, this move is surely a sign that the legal system may be catching up with the technology world at last. Here's hoping, anyway.
2. Openness Is Spreading
On a closely related theme, it's becoming more and more clear every week that the tech world and beyond are becoming increasingly open thanks to trends such as open source software, crowdsourcing, and what's sometimes called “transparency tyranny.” The old ways of doing things behind closed doors are disappearing fast, and consumers are increasingly demanding openness, accountability, and a chance to participate. That can only be a good thing for everyone.
3. Tiny, Cheap PCs
Hear that sound in the distance? It's the sound of the barriers forming the Digital Divide coming crashing down, thanks to the tiny new Linux-enabled PCs that are flooding fast and furious onto the playing field. Think you need to shell out big bucks to be part of the latest computing generation? Think again. Diminutive and wildly inexpensive devices such as the Raspberry Pi are opening up a whole new world of possibilities for both the haves and the (formerly) have-nots. As countless new participants come on board, the results are going to be exciting.
4. Choice Is Increasing
Just as there are more and more choices on the hardware side, so too are there an ever-expanding array of options on the software end. Take even just a quick glance through PCWorld's Linux Line blog and you'll quickly see Linux is moving beyond its longtime dominance on servers and more recent dominance on smartphones to play a leading role on the desktop as well. Distributions like Ubuntu and Linux Mint are now helping to shape the desktop, in fact, so there's more competition than ever for Windows 8, with all the restrictions it promises to impose. And it's a similar story in other areas as well thanks to increasingly excellent contenders like LibreOffice, GIMP, and more. Can more choice ever be bad? I don't think so--especially when it brings more freedom and lower costs.
Bottom line? Get out your towel and your Star Trek action figures, because here in the world of tech, there's much to celebrate.