Sunday, June 16, 2024

Keysight laid me off in January!

A little history first. Keysight is a large company that, primarily, makes testing equipment such as oscilloscopes and other electronics. They bought a company a few years back named TestPlant. Prior to that, TestPlant bought a company by the name of Redstone that produced a product known as Eggplant. Recently, I was laid off for economic reasons (at least that's what they said). It occurs to me that nothing in this world lasts forever. I was so depressed when I was let go because Keysight was the perfect home for me... they used GNUstep deeply. So, as you can imagine, I was deeply upset when things ended... but all things do. 

 I think it happened for several reasons: 
  • Economic - This is what was explained to me, but I am not sure I believe it 
  • Politics - I think this part is because I expressed my opinions HONESTLY about the direction of the company given that they wanted to make the application into a VSCode plugin.
  • Perception - I am 54 years old... so I think that they believed that Objective-C was my one and only talent, it's not... I know many other languages and have many other skills. 
Unfortunately, in the US, any employer can let go of any employee or contractor for ANY reason. This is known as at-will employment, making it very hard to take any action against any employer (not that this is something I considered).

Keysight is and will remain a major contributor to GNUstep.

That being said, I recently ran into something rather disturbing at another company.   I have been working with a company based out of New Mexico that is interested in space applications.  They have been using GNUstep and have been awaiting funding.

The lead of this effort expressed something during a meeting saying "We will work on the GNUstep side of this because there is no reason we should have to pay for any of this."   This hit a sour note with me to say the very least.   As it turns out he was under the mistaken impression that, because the work was on GNUstep, it was for free... which is WRONG.

I wonder if the same impression was present at Keysight or if other companies believe this.  The saying, according to RMS, is "Free as in freedom, not as in beer."   If you are a manager at a company who is under the mistaken impression that work on any Free Software or Open Source project is free when your product depends on it, please correct your thinking.   Just because it is someone's passion project does NOT mean that they are going to do that work for free and prioritize the things that need to be done for your organization.

All of that being said the positive sides are this:
  1. More time to code on GNUstep without interruption
  2. More time to work on my own projects
  3. Time to rest and relax
So, as much as I hate being unemployed there ARE some upsides to it.  Here's to hoping something works out soon.   I literally loved my job at Keysight and, honestly, hope to return.   I have my eye on their changes as well as those of others just like any other member of the community.  Yours, GC

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