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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

"I admit I've done too much playing around without understanding
the issues involved over the last years as well, but it's time
to stop reinventing the (sometimes octangular) wheel and learn
everything from history which we can learn."

        - Rik van Riel
There seems to be a bug in the mail routing again. It may be related to the
recent problem with ditto copier history outbreaks on Linux S/390 and the
infamous 'pdp-11 memory subsystem' article routing bug that plagued
comp.os.minix once.

In the meantime can people check that their mailer hasnt spontaneously added
linux-kernel to their history articles before posting them ?

        - Alan Cox about off topic cross posting on lkml
The whole history of computers is rampant with cheerleading at best and
bigotry at worst.
             -- Larry Wall in <>
Best Beer: A panel of tasters assembled by the Consumer's Union in 1969
judged Coors and Miller's High Life to be among the very best. Those who
doubt that beer is a serious subject might ponder its effect on American
history. For example, New England's first colonists decided to drop anchor
at Plymouth Rock instead of continuing on to Virginia because, as one of
them put it, "We could not now take time for further consideration, our
victuals being spent and especially our beer."
        -- Felton & Fowler's Best, Worst & Most Unusual
  "Triumph without Victory, The Unreported History of the Persian
  Gulf War", -Headline published in the U.S. News & World Report,
  Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man
  can never learn anything from history. -George Bernard Shaw
It is a lesson which all history teaches wise men, to put trust in ideas,
and not in circumstances.
                -- Emerson
Missouri Town Changes Name to 'Linux'

LINUX, MO -- The small Missouri town of Linn, county seat of Osage County,
announced yesterday that it will be henceforth called 'Linux'. Mayor Bob Farrow
said, "Linn needed something to put it on the map. A few weeks ago my daughter
mentioned that she installed Linux on her computer and how great she thought it
was. I thought to myself, 'Self, changing the town's name to 'Linux' could be
an opportunity to attract attention -- and money -- to our town. We could even
hold a Linux Convention at the community center.' So I approached the city
council about the idea, and they loved it. The rest is history."

Farrow's daughter is organizing the Linux Linux User Group. She hopes to be
able to hold a Linux Convention this fall. "The Linn, er, Linux community
center probably won't be big enough, we'll probably have to hold it in nearby
Jefferson City," she said.

The mayor does have one reservation. "How the hell do you pronounce Linux?" One
of the mayor's contenders in the next election, Mr. Noah Morals, says he will
start an ad campaign calling Bob Farrow "the Incumbent Liar of LIE-nucks".
Needless to say, the mayor usually pronounces Linux as "LIH-nucks".
Attack of the Tuxissa Virus

What started out as a prank posting to comp.os.linux.advocacy yesterday has
turned into one of the most significant viruses in computing history.
The creator of the virus, who goes by the moniker "Anonymous Longhair",
modified the Melissa virus to install Linux on infected machines.

"It's a work of art," one Linux advocate told Humorix after he looked
through the Tuxissa virus source code.  "This virus goes well beyond the
feeble troublemaking of Melissa.  It actually configures a UMSDOS partition
on the user's hard drive and then downloads and installs a stripped-down
version of Slackware Linux."

The email message that the virus is attached to has the subject "Important
Message About Windows Security".  The text of the body says, "I want to let
you know about some security problems I've uncovered in Windows 95/98/NT,
Office 95/97, and Outlook. It's critically important that you protect your
system against these attacks.  Visit these sites for more information..."
The rest of the message contains 42 links to sites about Linux and free

Details on how the virus started are a bit sketchy.  The "Anonymous
Longhair" who created it only posted it to Usenet as an early April Fool's
gag, demonstrating how easy it would be to mount a "Linux revolution".
Microsoft Mandatory Survey (#1)

Customers who want to upgrade to Windows 98 Second Edition must now fill
out a Microsoft survey online before they can order the bugfix/upgrade.

Question 1: What is your opinion of the Microsoft antitrust trial?

A. The DoJ is wasting taxpayer's money. Now, if the DOJ were to upgrade
   all of its computer systems to Windows, then the department would be
   making wise use of tax dollars.

B. All of the Microsoft email messages that the evil government has
   presented as evidence are obviously taken out of context or have been
   completely twisted around. I mean... Bill Gates would never say "let's
   cut off their air supply" in a memo; it's an obvious fabrication.

C. Judge Jackson is obviously biased in favor of the DOJ's vigilante
   persecution of Microsoft.

D. If Microsoft loses, it will be the gravest miscarriage of justice in
   all the history of mankind.
Freaks In Linux Houses Shouldn't Throw FUD

By Mr. Stu Poor, technology pundit for the Arkansas "Roadkill
Roundup" newspaper. [Editor's Note: He's the local equivalent of Jesse

As you all know, February 17th was the happy day that Microsoft officially
released Windows 2000. I went down to the local Paperclips computer store
and asked if they had any copies in stock.

One of the pimply-faced Linux longhairs explained that Paperclips didn't
carry Win2K because it is not intended for consumers. What FUD! I can't
believe the gall of those Linux Communists to spread such FUD (Fear,
Uncertainty, and Doubt) about Windows 2000, which is _the_ best, most
stable operating system ever produced in the history of mankind!
Brief History Of Linux (#1)
Re-Inventing the Wheel

Our journey through the history of Linux begins ca. 28000 B.C. when a
large all-powerful company called MoogaSoft monopolized the wheel-making
industry. As founder of the company, Billga Googagates (rumored to be the
distant ancestor of Bill Gates) was the wealthiest man in the known world,
owning several large rock huts, an extravagant collection of artwork (cave
paintings), and a whole army of servants and soldiers.

MoogaSoft's unfair business practices were irritating, but users were
unable to do anything about them, lest they be clubbed to death by
MoogaSoft's army. Nevertheless, one small group of hobbyists finally got
fed up and starting hacking their own wheels out of solid rock. Their
spirit of cooperation led to better and better wheels that eventually
outperformed MoogaSoft offerings.

MoogaSoft tried desperately to stop the hobbyists -- as shown by the
recently unearthed "Ooga! Document" -- but failed. Ironically, Billga
Googagates was killed shortly afterwards when one his own 900-pound wheels
crushed him.
Brief History Of Linux (#2)
Hammurabi's Open-Source Code

Hammurabi became king of Babylonia around 1750BC. Under his reign, a
sophisticated legal code developed; Version 1, containing 282 clauses, was
carved into a large rock column open to the public. However, the code
contained several errors (Hammurabi must have been drunk), which numerous
citizens demanded be fixed.

One particularly brave Babylonian submitted to the king's court a stack of
cloth patches that, when affixed to the column, would cover up and correct
the errors. With the king's approval, these patches were applied to the
legal code; within a month a new corrected rock column (Version 2.0) was
officially announced. While future kings never embraced this idea (who
wanted to admit they made a mistake?), the concept of submitting patches
to fix problems is now taken for granted in modern times.
Brief History Of Linux (#3)
Lawyers Unite

Humanity faced a tremendous setback ca. 1100 A.D., when the first law
school was established in Bologna. Ironically, the free exchange of ideas
at the law school spurred the law students to invent new ways (patents,
trademarks, copyrights) to stifle the free exchange of ideas in other

If, at some point in the future, you happen upon a time machine, we here
at Humorix (and, indeed, the whole world) implore you to travel back to
1100, track down a law teacher called Irnerius, and prevent him from
founding his school using whatever means necessary. Your contribution to
humanity will truly make the world (in an alternate timeline) a better
Brief History Of Linux (#4)
Walls & Windows

Most people don't realize that many of the technological innovations taken
for granted in the 20th Century date back centuries ago. The concept of a
network "firewall", for instance, is a product of the Great Wall of China,
a crude attempt to keep raging forest fires out of Chinese territory. It
was soon discovered that the Wall also kept Asian intruders ("steppe
kiddies") out, just as modern-day firewalls keep network intruders
("script kiddies") out.

Meanwhile, modern terminology for graphical user interfaces originated
from Pre-Columbian peoples in Central and South America. These natives
would drag-and-drop icons (sculptures of the gods) into vast pits of
certain gooey substances during a ritual in which "mice" (musical
instruments that made a strange clicking sound) were played to an eerie
Brief History Of Linux (#5)
English Flame War

The idea behind Slashdot-style discussions is not new; it dates back to
London in 1699. A newspaper that regularly printed Letters To The Editor
sparked a heated debate over the question, "When would the 18th Century
actually begin, 1700 or 1701?" The controversy quickly became a matter of
pride; learned aristocrats argued for the correct date, 1701, while others
maintained that it was really 1700. Another sizable third of participants
asked, "Who cares?"

Ordinarily such a trivial matter would have died down, except that one
1700er, fed up with the snobbest 1701 rhetoric of the educated class,
tracked down one letter-writer and hurled a flaming log into his manor
house in spite. The resulting fire was quickly doused, but the practice
known as the "flame war" had been born. More flames were exchanged between
other 1700ers and 1701ers for several days, until the Monarch sent out
royal troops to end the flamage.
Brief History Of Linux (#6)
California Goldrush

Now we skip ahead to California in 1849, when the discovery of gold at
Sutter's Mill set the stage for countless prospectors (Fortyniners) to
travel West in the hopes to get-rich-quick by finding gold in them thar

What's the connection with Linux, you ask? Well, the same thing happened
exactly 150 years later, in 1999. The discovery of Venture Capital at Red
Hat set the stage for countless investors (Ninetyniners) to travel West in
the hopes to get-rich-quick by finding hot IPOs in them thar Linux
Brief History Of Linux (#7)
The Rise of Geeks

The late 19th Century saw the rise and fall of "geeks", wild carnival
performers who bit the heads off live chickens. This vocal minority,
outcast from mainstream society, clamored for respect, but failed. Their
de facto spokesman, Tom Splatz, tried to expose America to their plight in
his 312-page book, "Geeks".

In the book Splatz documented the life of two Idahoan geeks with no social
life as they made a meager living traveling the Pacific Northwest in
circuses. While Splatz's masterpiece was a commercial failure, the book
did set a world record for using the term "geek" a total of 6,143 times.
Brief History Of Linux (#8)
Let's all holler for Hollerith

In 1890 the US Congress wanted to extend the census to collect exhaustive
demographic information on each citizen that could be resold to marketing
companies to help pay for the newly installed gold-plated toilets on
Capitol Hill. Experts estimated that the 1890 Census wouldn't be completed
until 1900.  It was hoped that an electronic tabulating machine using
punchcards designed by Herman Hollerith would speed up the process.

It didn't quite work out that way. An infestation of termites ate their
way through the wooden base of Hollerith's machines, and then a wave of
insects devoured several stacks of punchcards.  Also, some Hollerith
models had the propensity to crash at the drop of a hat... literally. In
one instance, the operator dropped his hat and when he reached down to
pick it up, he bumped the machine, causing it to flip over and crash.

These flaws meant that the census was delayed for several years. However,
the system was, in the words of one newspaper reporter, "good enough for
government work", a guiding principle that lives on to this very day and
explains the government's insistence on using Windows-based PCs.
Brief History Of Linux (#9)
Edison's most important invention

One of Thomas Edison's most profound inventions was that of patent
litigation. Edison used his many patents on motion pictures to monopolize
the motion picture industry. One could argue that Edison was an early
pioneer for the business tactics employed by Microsoft and the MPAA.

Indeed, Edison's company, the Motion Picture Patent Company (MPPC), formed
in 1908, bears a striking resemblance to the modern-day Motion Picture
Association of America (MPAA). Similar initials, different people, same
evil. The MPCC, with the help of hired thugs, ensured that all motion
picture producers paid tribute to Edison and played by his rules. The
MPAA, with the help of hired lawyers, ensures that all motion picture
producers pay tribute and play by their rules.

Ironically, filmmakers that found themselves facing Edison patent
litigation (or worse) fled to Texas, California, and Mexico. Those same
filmmakers outlasted Edison's monopoly and eventually banded together to
form the MPAA! History has a tendency to repeat itself; so it seems likely
that today's DVD lawsuit victims may well come to power in the future --
and soon become the evil establishment, thus completing another cycle.
Brief History Of Linux (#10)
The AnyQuack Computer

One electronic machine, Colossus, was used by the British in World War II
to decode Nazi transmissions. The code-breakers were quite successful in
their mission, except for the tiny detail that nobody knew how to read
German. They had decoded unreadable messages into... unreadable messages.

Two years later in 1945, a group of professors and students at the Univ.
of Pennsylvania were discussing computing theory. An argument ensued, in
which one professor yelled, "Any quack can build an electronic computer!
The real challenge is building one that doesn't crash every five minutes."

One graduate student, J. Presper Eckert, Jr., responded, "I'm any quack!
I'll take you up on that challenge. I'll build a device that can calculate
1,000 digits of pi in one hour... without crashing!" Several professors
laughed; "Such high-speed calculations are beyond our level of technology."

Eckert and his friends did build such a device. As a joke, he called the
machine "AnyQuack", which eventually became ENIAC -- ENIAC's Not Intended
As Crashware, the first known example of a self-referential acronym.
Brief History Of Linux (#11)
Birth of Gates and the Anti-Gates

October 28, 1955 saw the birth of William H. Gates, who would rise above
his humble beginnings as the son of Seattle's most powerful millionaire
lawyer and become the World's Richest Man(tm). A classic American
rags-to-riches story (with "rags" referring to the dollar bills that the
Gates family used for toilet paper), Bill Gates is now regarded as the
world's most respected businessman by millions of clueless people that
have obviously never touched a Windows machine.

Nature is all about balance. The birth of Gates in 1955 tipped the cosmic
scales toward evil, but the birth of Linus Torvalds in 1969 finally
balanced them out. Linus' destiny as the savior of Unix and the slayer of
money-breathing Redmond dragons was sealed when, just mere hours after his
birth, the Unix epoch began January 1st, 1970. While the baseline for Unix
timekeeping might be arbitrary, we here at Humorix like to thank the its
proximity of Linus' birth is no coincidence.
Brief History Of Linux (#12)
A note from Bill Gates' second grade teacher:

Billy has been having some trouble behaving in class lately... Last Monday
he horded all of the crayons and refused to share, saying that he needed
all 160 colors to maximize his 'innovation'. He then proceeded to sell
little pieces of paper ("End-User License Agreement for Crayons" he called
them) granting his classmates the 'non-transferable right' to use the
crayons on a limited time basis in exchange for their lunch money...

When I tried to stop Billy, he kept harping about his right to innovate
and how my interference violated basic notions of free-market capitalism.
"Holding a monopoly is not illegal," he rebutted. I chastised him for
talking back, and then I took away the box of crayons so others could
share them... angrily, he then pointed to a drawing of his hanging on the
wall and yelled, "That's my picture! You don't have the right to present
my copyrighted material in a public exhibition without my permission!
You're pirating my intellectual property. Pirate! Pirate! Pirate!"

I developed a headache that day that even the maximum dosage of Aspirin
wasn't able to handle. And then on Tuesday, he conned several students out
of their milk money by convincing them to play three-card Monty...
Brief History Of Linux (#13)
Wanted: Eunuchs programmers

Everything you know about the creation of the Unix operating system is
wrong. We have uncovered the truth: Unix was a conspiracy hatched by
Ritchie and Thompson to thwart the AT&T monopoly that they worked for. The
system, code-named EUNUCHS (Electronic UNtrustworthy User-Condemning
Horrible System), was horribly conceived, just as they had planned.

The OS, quickly renamed to a more respectable "Unix", was adopted first by
Ma Bell's Patent Department and then by the rest of the monopoly. AT&T saw
an inexpensive, multi-user, portable operating system that it had all
rights to; the authors, however, saw a horrible, multi-crashing system
that the Evil Ma Bell Empire would become hopelessly dependent on. AT&T
would go bankrupt trying to maintain the system and eventually collapse.

That didn't happen. Ritchie and Thompson were too talented to create a
crappy operating system; no matter how hard they tried the system was too
good. Their last ditch effort to sabotage the system by recoding it
obfuscated C was unsuccessful. Before long Unix spread outside of Bell
Labs and their conspiracy collapsed.
Brief History Of Linux (#14)
Military Intelligence: Not an oxymoron in 1969

It was the Department Of Defense that commissioned the ARPANET in 1969, a
rare example of the US military breaking away from its official motto,
"The Leading Edge Of Yesterday's Technology(tm)".

In the years leading up to 1969, packet switching technology had evolved
enough to make the ARPANET possible. Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc.
received the ARPA contract in 1968 for packet switching "Interface Message
Processors". US Senator Edward Kennedy, always on the ball, sent a
telegram to BBN praising them for their non-denominational "Interfaith"
Message Processors, an act unsurpassed by elected representatives until Al
Gore invented the Internet years later.

While ARPANET started with only four nodes in 1969, it evolved rapidly.
Email was first used in 1971; by 1975 the first mailing list, MsgGroup,
was created by Steve Walker when he sent a "First post!"  messages to it.
In 1979 all productive use of ARPANET ceased when USENET and the first MUD
were created. In 1983, when the network surpassed 1,000 hosts, a study
showed that 90.4% of all traffic was devoted to email and USENET flame wars.
Brief History Of Linux (#15)
Too many hyphens: Traf-O-Data and Micro-soft

Bill Gates and Paul Allen attended an exclusive private school in Seattle.
In 1968, after raising $3,000 from a yard sale, they gained access to a
timeshare computer and became addicted. After depleting their money
learning BASIC and playing Solitaire, they convinced a company to give
them free computer time in exchange for reporting bugs -- ironically, an
early form of Open Source development!

The two then founded a small company called Traf-O-Data that collected and
analyzed traffic counts for municipalities using a crude device based on
the Intel "Pretanium" 8008 CPU. They had some success at first, but ran
into problems when they were unable to deliver their much hyped
next-generation device called "TrafficX". An engineer is quoted as saying
that "Traf-O-Data is the local leader in vaporware", the first documented
usage of the term that has come to be synonymous with Bill Gates.

Soon thereafter, the two developed their own BASIC interpreter, and sold
it to MITS for their new Altair computer. April 4, 1975 is the fateful day
that Micro-soft was founded in Albuquerque, NM as a language vendor.
Brief History Of Linux (#16)
Closed source, opened wallets

In 1976 Bill Gates wrote the famous letter to Altair hobbyists accusing
them of "stealing software" and "preventing good software from being
written". We must assume Bill's statement was true, because no good
software was being written at Micro-soft.

Bill Gates did not innovate the concept of charging megabucks for
software, but he was the first to make megabucks from peddling commercial
Brief History Of Linux (#17)
If only Gary had been sober

When Micro-soft moved to Seattle in 1979, most of its revenue came from
sales of BASIC, a horrible language so dependant on GOTOs that spaghetti
looked more orderly than its code did. (BASIC has ruined more promising
programmers than anything else, prompting its original inventor Dartmouth
University to issue a public apology in 1986.)

However, by 1981 BASIC hit the backburner to what is now considered the
luckiest break in the history of computing: MS-DOS. (We use the term
"break" because MS-DOS was and always will be broken.) IBM was developing
a 16-bit "personal computer" and desperately needed an OS to drive it.

Their first choice was Gary Kildall's CP/M, but IBM never struck a deal
with him. We've discovered the true reason: Kildall was drunk at the time
the IBM representatives went to talk with him. A sober man would not have
insulted the reps, calling their employer an "Incredibly Bad Monopoly" and
referring to their new IBM-PC as an "Idealistically Backwards
Microcomputer for People without Clues". Needless to say, Gary "I Lost The
Deal Of The Century" Kildall was not sober.
Brief History Of Linux (#17)
Terrible calamity

IBM chose Microsoft's Quick & Dirty Operating System instead of CP/M for
its new line of PCs. QDOS (along with the abomination known as EDLIN) had
been acquired from a Seattle man, Tim Paterson, for the paltry sum of
$50,000. "Quick" and "Dirty" were truly an accurate description of this
system, because IBM's quality assurance department discovered 300 bugs in
QDOS's 8,000 lines of assember code (that's about 1 bug per 27 lines --
which, at the time, was appalling, but compared with Windows 98 today, it
really wasn't that shabby).

Thanks in part to IBM's new marketing slogan, "Nobody Ever Got Fired For
Choosing IBM(tm)", and the release of the VisiCalc spreadsheet program
that everybody and their brother wanted, IBM PCs running DOS flew off the
shelves and, unfortunately, secured Microsoft's runaway success. Bill
Gates was now on his way to the Billionaire's Club; his days as a mediocre
programmer were long gone: he was now a Suit. The only lines of code he
would ever see would be the passcodes to his Swiss bank accounts.
Brief History Of Linux (#18)
There are lies, damned lies, and Microsoft brochures

Even from the very first day, the Microsoft Marketing Department was at
full throttle. Vaporware has always been their weapon of choice. Back when
MS-DOS 1.25 was released to OEMs, Microsoft handed out brochures touting
some of the features to be included in future versions, including:
Xenix-compatible pipes, process forks, multitasking, graphics and cursor
positioning, and multi-user support.

The brochure also stated, "MS-DOS has no practical limit on disk size.
MS-DOS uses 4-byte Xenix compatible pointers for file and disk capacity up
to 4 gigabytes." We would like to emphasize in true Dave Barry fashion
that we are not making this up.

Big vaporous plans were also in store for Microsoft's "Apple Killer"
graphical interface. In 1983 Microsoft innovated a new marketing ploy --
the rigged "smoke-and-mirrors" demo -- to showcase the "overlapping
windows" and "multitasking" features of Interface Manager, the predecessor
to Windows. These features never made it into Windows 1.0 -- which,
incidentally, was released 1.5 years behind schedule.
Brief History Of Linux (#18)
The rise and rise of the Microsoft Empire

The DOS and Windows releases kept coming, and much to everyone's surprise,
Microsoft became more and more successful. This brought much frustration
to computer experts who kept predicting the demise of Microsoft and the
rise of Macintosh, Unix, and OS/2.

Nobody ever got fired for choosing Microsoft, which was the prime reason
that DOS and Windows prevailed. Oh, and DOS had better games as well,
which we all know is the most important feature an OS can have.

In 1986 Microsoft's continued success prompted the company to undergo a
wildly successful IPO. Afterwards, Microsoft and Chairman Bill had
accumulated enough money to acquire small countries without missing a
step, but all that money couldn't buy quality software. Gates could,
however, buy enough marketing and hype to keep MS-DOS (Maybe Some Day an
Operating System) and Windows (Will Install Needless Data On While System)
as the dominant platforms, so quality didn't matter. This fact was
demonstrated in Microsoft's short-lived slogan from 1988, "At Microsoft,
quality is job 1.1".
Brief History Of Linux (#19)
Boy meets operating system

The young Linus Torvalds might have been just another CompSci student if
it wasn't for his experiences in the Univ. of Helsinki's Fall 1990 Unix &
C course. During one class, the professor experienced difficulty getting
Minix to work properly on a Sun box. "Who the heck designed this thing?"
the angry prof asked, and somebody responded, "Andrew Tanenbaum".

The name of the Unix & C professor has already escaped from Linus, but the
words he spoke next remain forever etched in his grey matter:
"Tanenbaum... ah, yes, that Amsterdam weenie who thinks microkernels are
the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, they're not. I would just
love to see somebody create their own superior Unix-like 32-bit operating
system using a monolithic kernel just to show Tanenbaum up!"

His professor's outburst inspired Linus to order a new IBM PC so he could
hack Minix. You can probably guess what happened next. Inspired by his
professor's words, Linus Torvalds hacks together his own superior
Unix-like 32-but operating system using a monolithic kernel just to show
Mr. Christmas Tree up.
Brief History Of Linux (#20)
Linux is born

Linus' superhuman programming talent produced, within a year, a full
operating system that rivaled Minix. The first official announcement on
comp.os.minix came October 5th, in which Linus wrote these famous words:

   Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote
   their own device drivers? Do you want to cut your teeth on an operating
   system that will achieve world domination within 15 years? Want to get
   rich quick by the end of the century by taking money from hordes of
   venture capitalists and clueless Wall Street suits? Need to get even
   with Bill Gates but don't know what to do except throw cream pies at
   him? Then this post might just be for you :-)

Linux (which was known as "Lindows", "Freax", and "Billsux" for short
periods in 1991) hit the bigtime on January 5, 1992 (exactly one year
after Linus wasn't hit by a bus) when version 0.12 was released under the
GNU GPL. Linus called his creation a "better Minix than Minix"; the famous
Linus vs. Tanenbaum flamewar erupted soon thereafter on January 29th and
injured several Usenet bystanders.
Brief History Of Linux (#21)
The GNU Project

Meet Richard M. Stallman, an MIT hacker who would found the GNU Project
and create Emacs, the operating-system-disguised-as-a-text-editor. RMS,
the first member of the Three Initials Club (joined by ESR and JWZ),
experienced such frustration with software wrapped in arcane license
agreements that he embarked on the GNU Project to produce free software.

His journey began when he noticed this fine print for a printer driver:

   You do not own this software. You own a license to use one copy of this
   software, a license that we can revoke at any time for any reason
   whatsoever without a refund. You may not copy, distribute, alter,
   disassemble, or hack the software. The source code is locked away in a
   vault in Cleveland. If you say anything negative about this software
   you will be in violation of this license and required to forfeit your
   soul and/or first born child to us.

The harsh wording of the license shocked RMS. The computer industry was in
it's infancy, which could only mean it was going to get much, much worse.
Brief History Of Linux (#22)

RMS had a horrible, terrible dream set in 2020 in which all of society was
held captive by copyright law. In particular, everyone's brain waves were
monitored by the US Dept. of Copyrights. If your thoughts referenced a
copyrighted idea, you had to pay a royalty. To make it worse, a handful of
corporations held fully 99.9% of all intellectual property rights.

Coincidentally, Bill Gates experienced a similar dream that same night. To
him, however, it was not a horrible, terrible nightmare, but a wonderful
utopian vision. The thought of lemmings... er, customers paying a royalty
everytime they hummed a copyrighted song in their head or remembered a
passage in a book was simply too marvelous for the budding monopolist.

RMS, waking up from his nightmare, vowed to fight the oncoming Copyright
Nightmare. The GNU Project was born. His plan called for a kernel,
compiler, editor, and other tools. Unfortunately, RMS became bogged down
with Emacs that the kernel, HURD, was shoved on the back burner. Built
with LISP (Lots of Incomprehensible Statements with Parentheses), Emacs
became bloated in a way no non-Microsoft program ever has. Indeed, for a
short while RMS pretended that Emacs really was the GNU OS kernel.
Brief History Of Linux (#23)

Linus Torvalds certainly wasn't the only person to create their own
operating system from scratch. Other people working from their leaky
basements did create their own systems and now they are sick that they
didn't become an Alpha Geek like Torvalds or a Beta Geek like Alan Cox.

Linus had one advantage not many else did: Internet access. The world was
full of half-implemented-Unix-kernels at the time, but they were sitting
isolated on some hacker's hard drive, destined to be destroyed by a hard
drive crash. Thankfully that never happened to Linux, mostly because
everyone with Net access could download a copy instead of paying shipping
charges to receive the code on a huge stack of unreliable floppy disks.

Indeed, buried deep within a landfill in Lansing, Michigan sits a stack of
still-readable 5-1/4 floppies containing the only known copy of "Windows
Killer", a fully functional Unix kernel so elegant, so efficient, so
easy-to-use that Ken Thompson himself would be jealous of its design.
Unfortunately the author's mother threw out the stack of floppies in a
bout of spring cleaning. The 14 year old author's talents were lost
forever as his parents sent him to Law School.
Brief History Of Linux (#24)
Linus Torvalds quotes from his interview in "LinuxNews" (October 1992):

"I doubt Linux will be here to stay, and maybe Hurd is the wave of the
future (and maybe not)..."

"I'm most certainly going to continue to support it, until it either dies
out or merges with something else. That doesn't necessarily mean I'll make
weekly patches for the rest of my life, but hopefully they won't be needed
as much when things stabilize." [If only he knew what he was getting into.]

"World domination? No, I'm not interested in that. Galactic domination, on
the other hand..."

"Several people have already wondered if Linux should adopt a logo or
mascot. Somebody even suggested a penguin for some strange reason, which I
don't particularly like: how is a flightless bird supposed to represent an
operating system? Well, it might work okay for Microsoft or even Minix..."

"I would give Andy Tanenbaum a big fat 'F'."
Brief History Of Linux (#25)

By the mid-1990's the Linux community was burgeoning as countless geeks
fled Redmond monopolistic oppression, Armonk cluelessness, and Cupertino
click-and-drool reality distortion fields. By late 1991 there was an
informal Linux User Group in Finland, although its primary focus was Linux
advocacy, not drinking beer and telling Microsoft jokes as most do today.

Kernel development continued at a steady clip, with more and more people
joining in and hoping that their patches would be accepted by the
Benevolent Dictator himself. To have a patch accepted by Linus was like
winning the Nobel Prize, but to face rejection was like being rejected
from Clown College. The reputation game certainly sparked some flame wars.

One of the most memorable crisis was over the behavior of the delete and
backspace keys. A certain faction of hackers wanted the Backspace key to
actually backspace and the Delete key to actually delete. Linus wasn't too
keen on the proposed changes; "It Works For Me(tm)" is all he said. Some
observers now think Linus was pulling rank to get back at the unknown
hacker who managed to slip a patch by him that replaced the "Kernel panic"
error with "Kernel panic: Linus probably fscked it all up again".
Brief History Of Linux (#26)

On the surface, Transmeta was a secretive startup that hired Linus
Torvalds in 1996 as their Alpha Geek to help develop some kind of
microprocessor. Linus, everyone found out later, was actually hired as
part of a low-budget yet high-yield publicity stunt. While other dotcoms
were burning millions on glitzy marketing campaigns nobody remembers and
Superbowl ads displayed while jocks went to the bathroom, Transmeta was
spending only pocket change on marketing. Most of that pocket change went
towards hosting the Transmeta website (the one that wasn't there yet)
which, incidentally, contained more original content and received more
visitors than the typical dotcom portal.

Microsoft relies on vaporware and certain ahem stipends given to
journalists in order to generate buzz and hype for new products, but
Transmeta only needed Non-Disclosure Agreements and the Personality Cult
of Linus to build up its buzz. When the secret was finally unveiled, the
Slashdot crowd was all excited about low-power mobile processors and
code-morphing algorithms -- for a couple days. Then everyone yawned and
went back to playing Quake. It's still not entirely clear when Transmeta
is actually supposed to start selling something.
Brief History Of Linux (#27)

Microsoft's position as the 5,000 pound gorilla of the computer industry
didn't change during the 1990's. Indeed, this gorilla got even more
bloated with every passing Windows release. Bill Gates' business strategy
was simple:

1. Pre-announce vaporous product.
2. Hire monkeys (low-paid temps) to cruft something together in VB
3. It it compiles, ship it.
4. Launch marketing campaign for new product showcasing MS "innovation".
5. Repeat (GOTO 1).

With such a plan Microsoft couldn't fail. That is, unless some external
force popped up and ruined everything. Such as Linux and the Internet
perhaps. Both of these developments were well-known to Bill Gates in the
early and mid 1990's (a company as large as Microsoft can afford a decent
spy network, after all). He just considered both to be mere fads that
would go away when Microsoft announced some new innovation, like PDAs --
Personal Desktop Agents (i.e. Bob and Clippit).
Brief History Of Linux (#28)
Free, Open, Libre, Whatever Software

Eric S. Raymond's now famous paper, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar", set
the stage for the lucrative business of giving software away. In CatB, ESR
likened the software industry to an anarchistic bazaar, with each vendor
looking out for himself, trying to hoodwink customers and fellow vendors.
The produce vendor (i.e. Apple), for instance, felt no need to cooperate
with the crystal-ball seller (Oracle) or the con artist hocking miracle
drugs (Microsoft). Each kept their property and trade secrets to
themselves, hoping to gain an edge and make money fast. "With enough
eyeballs, all bug-ridden software programs are marketable," ESR observed.

ESR contrasted the "caveat emptor" Bazaar to an idealistic Cathedral model
used by free software developers. European cathedrals of medieval days
were built block-by-block with extensive volunteer manpower from the
surrounding community. Such projects were "open" in the sense that
everybody could see their progress, and interested people could wander
inside and offer comments or praise about construction methods. "Those
medieval cathedrals are still standing," ESR mused. "But bazaars built in
the 14th Century are long gone, a victim of their inferior nature."
Brief History Of Linux (#29)

"The Cathedral and the Bazaar" is credited by many (especially ESR
himself) as the reason Netscape announced January 22, 1998 the release of
the Mozilla source code. In addition, Rob Malda of Slashdot has also
received praise because he had recently published an editorial ("Give us
the damn source code so we can fix Netscape's problems ourselves!")

Of course, historians now know the true reason behind the landmark
decision: Netscape engineers were scared to death that a large
multi-national corporation would acquire them and crush Mozilla. Which
indeed did happen much later, although everybody thought the conqueror
would be Microsoft, not AOL (America's Online Lusers).

The Netscape announcement prompted a strategy session among Linux bigwigs
on February 3rd. They decided a new term to replace 'free software' was
needed; some rejected suggestions included "Free Source", "Ajar Source",
"World Domination Source", "bong-ware" (Bong's Obviously Not GNU), and
"Nude Source". We can thank Chris Peterson for coining "Open Source",
which became the adopted term and later sparked the ugly "Free Software
vs. Open Source", "Raymond vs. Stallman" flame-a-thons.
Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Linus Torvalds

SILLYCON VALLEY -- Nearly 130 former system administrators have filed suit
against Linus Torvalds in which they claim Linux cost them their jobs.
Recently several companies migrated from Windows to Linux, increasing
their productivity but decreasing the need for a large staff of tech
workers, prompting a wave of layoffs.

"The good old days when it required five full-time system administrators
to maintain a Microsoft Exchange server are history, all because of that
cancer known as Linux," explained the lead litigant in the lawsuit.

"It all started two years ago when some pimply-faced idiot down in
Accounting decided to smuggle in a Linux box to automate some of his work.
Before long every tech-savvy person in Accounting, Billing, and Sales was
secretly using Linux."

"That's when the troubles started. Productivity soared. Downtime was
limited to an average of three milliseconds per day. Macro viruses ceased
to spread. It was horrible! The entire IT staff was replaced by one
part-time bearded wonder, who was able to administrate the entire Linux
network! Due to the layoffs, I'm now sitting in a homeless shelter with
little hope to find work. Nobody wants to hire an MCSE anymore!"

On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place
of residence.
Television -- the longest amateur night in history.
                -- Robert Carson
The Great Movie Posters:

                -- Teenagers from Outher Space (1959)

Which will be Her Mate... MAN OR BEAST?
Meet Velda -- the Kind of Woman -- Man or Gorilla would kill... to Keep.
                -- Untamed Mistress (1960)

                -- King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963)
The Great Movie Posters:

She's got the biggest six-shooters in the West!
                -- The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend (1949)

CAST OF 3,000!
Be Brave--bring your troubles and your family to:
                -- The Prince of Peace (1948).  Starring members of the
                   Wichita Mountain Pageant featuring Millard Coody as Jesus.
"I wonder if this is the first constitution in the history of mankind
where you have to calculate a square root to determine if a motion
passes.  :-)"
        -- Seen on Slashdot
Don't worry, nobody really LISTENS to lectures in MOSCOW, either! ...
A student who changes the course of history is probably taking an exam.
History books which contain no lies are extremely dull.
History is nothing but a collection of fables and useless trifles,
cluttered up with a mass of unnecessary figures and proper names.
                -- Leo Tolstoy
                        It's grad exam time...
        You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a
bottle of Scotch.  Remove your appendix.  Do not suture until your work has
been inspected.  (You have 15 minutes.)

        Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present
day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political,
economic, religious and philisophical impact upon Europe, Asia, America, and
Africa.  Be brief, concise, and specific.

        Create life.  Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture
if this form of life had been created 500 million years ago or earlier, with
special attention to its probable effect on the English parliamentary system.
The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn.
                -- Earl Warren

That men do not learn very much from history is the most important of all
the lessons that history has to teach.
                -- Aldous Huxley

We learn from history that we do not learn from history.
                -- Georg Hegel

HISTORY:  Papa Hegel he say that all we learn from history is that we learn
nothing from history.  I know people who can't even learn from what happened
this morning.  Hegel must have been taking the long view.
                -- Chad C. Mulligan, "The Hipcrime Vocab"
The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.
                -- Hegel

I know guys can't learn from yesterday ... Hegel must be taking the long view.
                -- John Brunner, "Stand on Zanzibar"
GREAT MOMENTS IN HISTORY (#7):  April 2, 1751

Issac Newton becomes discouraged when he falls up a flight of stairs.
More than any time in history, mankind now faces a crossroads.  One path
leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction.
Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.
                -- Woody Allen, "Side Effects"
... proper attention to Earthly needs of the poor, the depressed and the
downtrodden, would naturally evolve from dynamic, articulate, spirited
awareness of the great goals for Man and the society he conspired to erect.
                -- David Baker, paraphrasing Harold Urey, in
                   "The History of Manned Space Flight"
The best rebuttal to this kind of statistical argument came from the
redoubtable John W. Campbell:

        The laws of population growth tell us that approximately half the
        people who were ever born in the history of the world are now
        dead.  There is therefore a 0.5 probability that this message is
        being read by a corpse.
When we jumped into Sicily, the units became separated, and I couldn't find
anyone.  Eventually I stumbled across two colonels, a major, three captains,
two lieutenants, and one rifleman, and we secured the bridge.  Never in the
history of war have so few been led by so many.
- General James Gavin
One of the saddest lessons of history is this:  If we've been bamboozled
long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle.  We're no
longer interested in finding out the truth.  The bamboozle has captured
us.  it is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that
we've been so credulous.  (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the
new bamboozles rise.)
-- Carl Sagan, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection," Parade, February 1, 1987
A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable.
-- Thomas Jefferson
Deliberate provocation of mystical experience, particularly by LSD and related
hallucinogens, in contrast to spontaneous visionary experiences, entails
dangers that must not be underestimated.  Practitioners must take into
account the peculiar effects of these substances, namely their ability to
influence our consciousness, the innermost essence of our being.  The history
of LSD to date amply demonstrates the catastrophic consequences that can
ensue when its profound effect is misjudged and the substance is mistaken
for a pleasure drug.  Special internal and external advance preperations
are required; with them, an LSD experiment can become a meaningful
- Dr. Albert Hoffman, the discoverer of LSD
"...proper attention to Earthly needs of the poor, the depressed and the
downtrodden, would naturally evolve from dynamic, articulate, spirited
awareness of the great goals for Man and the society he conspired to erect."
- David Baker, paraphrasing Harold Urey, in "The History of Manned Space Flight"
"Largely because it is so tangible and exciting a program and as such will
serve to keep alive the interest and enthusiasm of the whole spectrum of
society...It is justified because...the program can give a sense of shared
adventure and achievement to the society at large."
- Dr. Colin S. Pittendrigh, in "The History of Manned Space Flight"
The challenge of space exploration and particularly of landing men on the moon
represents the greatest challenge which has ever faced the human race.  Even
if there were no clear scientific or other arguments for proceeding with this
task, the whole history of our civilization would still impel men toward the
goal.  In fact, the assembly of the scientific and military with these human
arguments creates such an overwhelming case that in can be ignored only by
those who are blind to the teachings of history, or who wish to suspend the
development of civilization at its moment of greatest opportunity and drama.
- Sir Bernard Lovell, 1962, in "The History of Manned Space Flight"
The idea of man leaving this earth and flying to another celestial body and
landing there and stepping out and walking over that body has a fascination
and a driving force that can get the country to a level of energy, ambition,
and will that I do not see in any other undertaking.  I think if we are
honest with ourselves, we must admit that we needed that impetus extremely
strongly.  I sincerely believe that the space program, with its manned
landing on the moon, if wisely executed, will become the spearhead for a
broad front of courageous and energetic activities in all the fields of
endeavour of the human mind - activities which could not be carried out
except in a mental climate of ambition and confidence which such a spearhead
can give.
- Dr. Martin Schwarzschild, 1962, in "The History of Manned Space Flight"
Human society - man in a group - rises out of its lethargy to new levels of
productivity only under the stimulus of deeply inspiring and commonly
appreciated goals.  A lethargic world serves no cause well; a spirited world
working diligently toward earnestly desired goals provides the means and
the strength toward which many ends can be unparalleled
social accomplishment.
- Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner, in "The History of Manned Space Flight"
The vigor of civilized societies is preserved by the widespread sense that high
aims are worth-while.  Vigorous societies harbor a certain extravagance of
objectives, so that men wander beyond the safe provision of personal
gratifications.  All strong interests easily become impersonal, the love of
a good job well done.  There is a sense of harmony about such an accomplishment,
the Peace brought by something worth-while.
- Alfred North Whitehead, 1963, in "The History of Manned Space Flight"
Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think,
recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one
particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people.
- Eleanor Roosevelt
...And no philosophy, sadly, has all the answers.  No matter how assured
we may be about certain aspects of our belief, there are always painful
inconsistencies, exceptions, and contradictions.  This is true in religion as
it is in politics, and is self-evident to all except fanatics and the naive.
As for the fanatics, whose number is legion in our own time, we might be
advised to leave them to heaven.  They will not, unfortunately, do us the
same courtesy.  They attack us and each other, and whatever their
protestations to peaceful intent, the bloody record of history makes clear
that they are easily disposed to restore to the sword.  My own belief in
God, then, is just that -- a matter of belief, not knowledge.  My respect
for Jesus Christ arises from the fact that He seems to have been the
most virtuous inhabitant of Planet Earth.  But even well-educated Christians
are frustated in their thirst for certainty about the beloved figure
of Jesus because of the undeniable ambiguity of the scriptural record.
Such ambiguity is not apparent to children or fanatics, but every
recognized Bible scholar is perfectly aware of it.  Some Christians, alas,
resort to formal lying to obscure such reality.
- Steve Allen, comdeian, from an essay in the book "The Courage of
  Conviction", edited by Philip Berman
Already the spirit of our schooling is permeated with the feeling that
every subject, every topic, every fact, every professed truth must be
submitted to a certain publicity and impartiality.  All proffered
samples of learning must go to the same assay-room and be subjected to
common tests.  It is the essence of all dogmatic faiths to hold that
any such "show-down" is sacrilegious and perverse.  The characteristic
of religion, from their point of view, is that it is intellectually
secret, not public; peculiarly revealed, not generall known;
authoritatively declared, not communicated and tested in ordinary
ways...It is pertinent to point out that, as long as religion is
conceived as it is now by the great majority of professed religionists,
there is something self-contradictory in speaking of education in
religion in the same sense in which we speak of education in topics
where the method of free inquiry has made its way.  The "religious"
would be the last to be willing that either the history of the
content of religion should be taught in this spirit; while those
to whom the scientific standpoint is not merely a technical device,
but is the embodiment of the integrity of mind, must protest against
its being taught in any other spirit.
- John Dewey (1859-1953), American philosopher,
  from "Democracy in the Schools", 1908
History shows that the human mind, fed by constant accessions of knowledge,
periodically grows too large for its theoretical coverings, and bursts
them asunder to appear in new habiliments, as the feeding and growing
grub, at intervals, casts its too narrow skin and assumes another...
Truly the imago state of Man seems to be terribly distant, but every
moult is a step gained.
- Charles Darwin, from "Origin of the Species"
The history of the rise of Christianity has everything to do with politics,
culture, and human frailties and nothing to do with supernatural manipulation
of events.  Had divine intervention been the guiding force, surely two
millennia after the birth of Jesus he would not have a world where there
are more Muslims than Catholics, more Hindus than Protestants, and more
nontheists than Catholics and Protestants combined.
-- John K. Naland, "The First Easter", Free Inquiry magazine, Vol. 8, No. 2
"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history."
-- George Bernard Shaw
"Based on what you know about him in history books, what do you think Abraham
Lincoln would be doing if he were alive today?
        1) Writing his memoirs of the Civil War.
        2) Advising the President.
        3) Desperately clawing at the inside of his
-- David Letterman
"History is a tool used by politicians to justify their intentions."
-- Ted Koppel
"The argument that the literal story of Genesis can qualify as science
collapses on three major grounds: the creationists' need to invoke
miracles in order to compress the events of the earth's history into
the biblical span of a few thousand years; their unwillingness to
abandon claims clearly disproved, including the assertion that all
fossils are products of Noah's flood; and their reliance upon distortion,
misquote, half-quote, and citation out of context to characterize the
ideas of their opponents."
-- Stephen Jay Gould, "The Verdict on Creationism",
   The Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 87/88, pg. 186
"The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through
three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and
Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases.
"For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question 'How can
we eat?' the second by the question 'Why do we eat?' and the third by
the question 'Where shall we have lunch?'"
-- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Here in my heart, I am Helen;
        I'm Aspasia and Hero, at least.
I'm Judith, and Jael, and Madame de Sta"el;
        I'm Salome, moon of the East.

Here in my soul I am Sappho;
        Lady Hamilton am I, as well.
In me R'ecamier vies with Kitty O'Shea,
        With Dido, and Eve, and poor Nell.

I'm all of the glamorous ladies
        At whose beckoning history shook.
But you are a man, and see only my pan,
        So I stay at home with a book.
                -- Dorothy Parker
History is curious stuff
        You'd think by now we had enough
Yet the fact remains I fear
        They make more of it every year.
Please stand for the National Anthem:

        Australians all, let us rejoice,
        For we are young and free.
        We've golden soil and wealth for toil
        Our home is girt by sea.
        Our land abounds in nature's gifts
        Of beauty rich and rare.
        In history's page, let every stage
        Advance Australia Fair.
        In joyful strains then let us sing,
        Advance Australia Fair.

Thank you.  You may resume your seat.
        Sophomore Dave Strewzinski... likes to pass.  And pass he does, with
a record 86 attempts (three completions) in 87 plays....  Though Strewzinksi
has so far failed to score any points for the Crimson, his jackrabbit speed
has made him the least sacked quarterback in the Ivy league.
Wide Receiver:
        The other directional signal in Harvard's offensive machine is senior
Phil Yip, who is very fast.  Yip is so fast that he has set a record for being
fast.  Expect to see Yip elude all pursuers and make it into the endzone five
or six times, his average for a game.  Yip, nicknamed "fumblefingers" and "you
asshole" by his teammates, hopes to carry the ball with him at least one of
those times.
        On the defensive side, Yale boasts the stingiest line in the Ivies.
Primarily responsible are seniors Izzy "Shylock" Bloomberg and Myron
Finklestein, the tightest ends in recent Eli history.  Also contributing to
the powerful defense is junior tackle Angus MacWhirter, a Scotsman who rounds
out the offensive ethnic joke.  Look for these three to shut down the opening
coin toss.
                -- Harvard Lampoon 1988 Program Parody, distributed at The Game
Mankind's yearning to engage in sports is older than recorded history,
dating back to the time millions of years ago, when the first primitive man
picked up a crude club and a round rock, tossed the rock into the air, and
whomped the club into the sloping forehead of the first primitive umpire.

What inner force drove this first athlete?  Your guess is as good as
mine.  Better, probably, because you haven't had four beers.
                -- Dave Barry, "Sports is a Drag"
When I'm gone, boxing will be nothing again.  The fans with the cigars and
the hats turned down'll be there, but no more housewives and little men in
the street and foreign presidents.  It's goin' to be back to the fighter who
comes to town, smells a flower, visits a hospital, blows a horn and says
he's in shape.  Old hat.  I was the onliest boxer in history people asked
questions like a senator.
                -- Muhammad Ali
                Accidents cause History.

If Sigismund Unbuckle had taken a walk in 1426 and met Wat Tyler, the
Peasant's Revolt would never have happened and the motor car would not
have been invented until 2026, which would have meant that all the oil
could have been used for lamps, thus saving the electric light bulb and
the whale, and nobody would have caught Moby Dick or Billy Budd.
                -- Mike Harding, "The Armchair Anarchist's Almanac"
GREAT MOMENTS IN HISTORY (#7):  November 23, 1915

Pancake make-up is invented; most people continue to prefer syrup.
The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through
three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry, and
Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases.  For
instance, the first phase is characterized by the question "How can we eat?"
the second by "Why do we eat?" and the third by "Where shall we have lunch?".
                -- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Even historians fail to learn from history -- they repeat the same mistakes.
                -- John Gill, "Patterns of Force", stardate 2534.7
History tends to exaggerate.
                -- Col. Green, "The Savage Curtain", stardate 5906.4
2180, U.S. History question:
        What 20th Century U.S. President was almost impeached and what
        office did he later hold?
First Rule of History:
        History doesn't repeat itself -- historians merely repeat each other.
Fourth Law of Applied Terror:
        The night before the English History mid-term, your Biology
        instructor will assign 200 pages on planaria.

        Every instructor assumes that you have nothing else to do except
        study for that instructor's course.
History, n.:
        Papa Hegel he say that all we learn from history is that we
        learn nothing from history.  I know people who can't even learn from
        what happened this morning.  Hegel must have been taking the long view.
                -- Chad C. Mulligan, "The Hipcrime Vocab"
Katz' Law:
        Men and nations will act rationally when
        all other possibilities have been exhausted.

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have
exhausted all other alternatives.
                -- Abba Eban
The history of warfare is similarly subdivided, although here the phases
are Retribution, Anticipation, and Diplomacy.  Thus:

        I'm going to kill you because you killed my brother.
        I'm going to kill you because I killed your brother.
        I'm going to kill my brother and then kill you on the
        pretext that your brother did it.
History repeats itself -- the first time as a tragi-comedy, the second
time as bedroom farce.
History repeats itself only if one does not listen the first time.
History repeats itself.  That's one thing wrong with history.
And yet, seasons must be taken with a grain of salt, for they too have
a sense of humor, as does history.  Corn stalks comedy, comedy stalks
tragedy, and this too is historic.  And yet, still, when corn meets
tragedy face to face, we have politics.
                -- Dalglish, Larsen and Sutherland, "Root Crops and
                   Ground Cover"
        "Any news from the President on a successor?" he asked hopefully.
        "None," Anita replied.  "She's having great difficulty finding someone
qualified who is willing to accept the post."
        "Then I stay," said Dr. Fresh.  "I'm not good for much, but I
can at least make a decision."
        "Somewhere," he grumphed, "there must be a naive, opportunistic
young welp with a masochistic streak who would like to run the most
up-and-down bureaucracy in the history of mankind."
                -- R.L. Forward, "Flight of the Dragonfly"
Great Moments in History: #3

August 27, 1949:
        A Hall of Fame opened to honor outstanding members of the
        Women's Air Corp.  It was a WAC's Museum.
History has much to say on following the proper procedures.  From a history
of the Mexican revolution:
        "Hidalgo was later defeated at Guadalajara.  The rebel army was
captured on its way through the mountains.  All were courtmartialed and
shot, except Hidalgo, because he was a priest.  He was handed over to
the bishop of Durango who excommunicated him and returned him to the
army where he was then executed."
History is on our side (as long as we can control the historians).
History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree on.
                -- Napoleon Bonaparte, "Maxims"
History shows that the human mind, fed by constant accessions of knowledge,
periodically grows too large for its theoretical coverings, and bursts them
asunder to appear in new habiliments, as the feeding and growing grub, at
intervals, casts its too narrow skin and assumes another...  Truly the imago
state of Man seems to be terribly distant, but every moult is a step gained.
                -- Charles Darwin, from "Origin of the Species"
History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have
exhausted all other alternatives.
                -- Abba Eban
My own life has been spent chronicling the rise and fall of human systems,
and I am convinced that we are terribly vulnerable.  ...  We should be
reluctant to turn back upon the frontier of this epoch. Space is indifferent
to what we do; it has no feeling, no design, no interest in whether or not
we grapple with it. But we cannot be indifferent to space, because the grand,
slow march of intelligence has brought us, in our generation, to a point
from which we can explore and understand and utilize it. To turn back now
would be to deny our history, our capabilities.
                -- James A. Michener
One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to
do and always a clever thing to say.
                -- Will Durant
Political history is far too criminal a subject to be a fit thing to
teach children.
                -- W.H. Auden
The Least Successful Executions
        History has furnished us with two executioners worthy of attention.
The first performed in Sydney in Australia.  In 1803 three attempts were
made to hang a Mr. Joseph Samuels.  On the first two of these the rope
snapped, while on the third Mr. Samuels just hung there peacefully until he
and everyone else got bored.  Since he had proved unsusceptible to capital
punishment, he was reprieved.
        The most important British executioner was Mr. James Berry who
tried three times in 1885 to hang Mr. John Lee at Exeter Jail, but on each
occasion failed to get the trap door open.
        In recognition of this achievement, the Home Secretary commuted
Lee's sentence to "life" imprisonment.  He was released in 1917, emigrated
to America and lived until 1933.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but
because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
                -- Thomas Macaulay, "History of England"
The so-called lessons of history are for the most part the rationalizations
of the victors.  History is written by the survivors.
                -- Max Lerner
The time was the 19th of May, 1780.  The place was Hartford, Connecticut.
The day has gone down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of
Judgement Day.  For at noon the skies turned from blue to grey and by
mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age,
men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came.
The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session.  And, as some of
the men fell down and others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the
Speaker of the House, one Col. Davenport, came to his feet.  He silenced
them and said these words: "The day of judgment is either approaching or
it is not.  If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment.  If it is, I
choose to be found doing my duty.  I wish therefore that candles may be
                -- Alistair Cooke
There is perhaps in every thing of any consequence, secret history, which
it would be amusing to know, could we have it authentically communicated.
                -- James Boswell
"Violence accomplishes nothing."  What a contemptible lie!  Raw, naked
violence has settled more issues throughout history than any other method
ever employed.  Perhaps the city fathers of Carthage could debate the
issue, with Hitler and Alexander as judges?
When we jumped into Sicily, the units became separated, and I couldn't find
anyone.  Eventually I stumbled across two colonels, a major, three captains,
two lieutenants, and one rifleman, and we secured the bridge.  Never in the
history of war have so few been led by so many.
                -- General James Gavin
My family history begins with me, but yours ends with you.
                -- Iphicrates
The Least Successful Collector
        Betsy Baker played a central role in the history of collecting.  She
was employed as a servant in the house of John Warburton (1682-1759) who had
amassed a fine collection of 58 first edition plays, including most of the
works of Shakespeare.
        One day Warburton returned home to find 55 of them charred beyond
legibility.  Betsy had either burned them or used them as pie bottoms.  The
remaining three folios are now in the British Museum.
        The only comparable literary figure was the maid who in 1835 burned
the manuscript of the first volume of Thomas Carlyle's "The Hisory of the
French Revolution", thinking it was wastepaper.
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
                -- Mark Twain
"I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
   -- Al Gore
"Today I am one of the senior technical cadre that makes the Internet
work, and a core Linux and open-source developer. I have closely studied
the history of the Internet technical culture."
   -- Eric S. Raymond
Five people -- an Englishman, Russian, American, Frenchman and Irishman
were each asked to write a book on elephants.  Some amount of time later they
had all completed their respective books.  The Englishman's book was entitled
"The Elephant -- How to Collect Them", the Russian's "The Elephant -- Vol. I",
the American's "The Elephant -- How to Make Money from Them", the Frenchman's
"The Elephant -- Its Mating Habits" and the Irishman's "The Elephant and
Irish Political History".
Writers who use a computer swear to its liberating power in tones that bear
witness to the apocalyptic power of a new divinity.  Their conviction results
from something deeper than mere gratitude for the computer's conveniences.
Every new medium of writing brings about new intensities of religious belief
and new schisms among believers.  In the 16th century the printed book helped
make possible the split between Catholics and Protestants.  In the 20th
century this history of tragedy and triumph is repeating itself as a farce.
Those who worship the Apple computer and those who put their faith in the IBM
PC are equally convinced that the other camp is damned or deluded.  Each cult
holds in contempt the rituals and the laws of the other.  Each thinks that it
is itself the one hope for salvation.
                -- Edward Mendelson, "The New Republic", February 22, 1988
You can now buy more gates with less specifications than at any other time
in history.
                -- Kenneth Parker
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
©TU Chemnitz, 2006-2019
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