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The "Red Hat" allegory

I was chatting with a former student today and was reminded of a funny story that is probably relevant to the OLPC story. When Wayan says "back in this amazing place I like to call 'reality'" I'm reminded of the time I wore my red hat to Austin.

Several years ago, my brother Phil bought me an official RedHat red hat for Christmas. At the time, I was using RedHat quite a bit and I've worn it proudly for years. I've probably received more compliments for that hat than for anything else I've ever owned or done in my whole life. On this one trip to Austin, while in airports, etc, I received many positive comments and three serious offer to buy the hat off my head.

Any time anyone would comment on the hat, I would mention that it was an official "RedHat" red hat. In Amherst, a fair number of people would know what RedHat was and, if they didn't, they would at least have heard of linux. Not so on the airports between here and Austin. Not one of the people I spoke to while travelling had ever heard of either RedHat or Linux. It was a valuable lesson to me to remind me what an insular world we netwits actually live in.

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