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A League of Our Own

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The story is rife with parallels to the software industry, particularly open source. I could not help but be reminded that the many leagues were almost like today's Linux distributions, with good and bad reasons for existing. There were even the big two leagues, just like the big two distros, Red Hat and SUSE. The players could represent the developers in today's scenario (though without the indentured servitude of baseball's early reserve contracts, developers are much more free to move from one project/job to another).

Distros are like leagues. They all play baseball, but they each have their own rules. Fans (the users) can choose between them based on where they are and what kind of baseball they like to watch. I, for instance, like a good minor league or college game. The lack of hype and "polish" tends to feel more authentic. Some leagues are based on others (like many of today's Debian-based distros).

You can take this analogy or leave it, but while I was ruminating it this week, I heard the story of the short-lived Federal League, a group of eight teams bankrolled by some wealthy businessmen eager to make some money from the huge baseball phenomenon in the early 20th Century. The Federal League set up in 1914, lured some players over who were sick and tired of fixed salary scales and reserve contracts, and got running. Immediately, the fan base was divided into three and the other two established leagues saw an attendance decline.

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