The Apache server software saw steady growth in its use from its launch. But I never heard anyone criticise Web server administrators for being fashionable, or doom merchants predicting that the growth would come to an end and, therefore, there is little point in using the software.
And yet such arguments are being made when other software, such as Facebook, becomes popular. Why is this, I wonder? In part, I think this is because services such as Facebook don’t fit in with the ideology of the ‘chattering classes’ – it’s not, open source, for example. And, unlike Apache, there is a lot of money associated with Facebook, with large companies (such as Microsoft and Google) looking to invest in the company. Such rampant capitalism again doesn’t fit in with certain ideological perspectives. In contrast, plucky underdogs, like Twitter and Jaiku are to be admired, even thought (or perhaps because) they seem not to have gone beyond the boundaries of the geeks and early adopters.
I also feel that some people like to distance themselves from the vulgarities of profit and success. We’re British, after all; let’s leave the Americans and the Australians to boast about their successes, while we pride ourselves on heroic (or less than heroic) failures!
My view is that, whilst we may wish to reflect our national characteristics in the sporting arena (and I’m writing this in advance of this weekend’s Rugby World Cup games) as professionals we should base our judgments on evidence, rather than beliefs and, if the evidence shows that our beliefs aren’t working, then we may need to modify our beliefs, rather than ignore the evidence.
On the other hand, maybe Apache is starting to become unfashionable; after all as a recent Netcraft survey reported “its market share [is] declining closer to the 50% mark, as Microsoft … gained over 3 million hostnames“.