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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

* [...] Note that 120 sec is defined in the protocol as the maximum
* possible RTT.  I guess we'll have to use something other than TCP
* to talk to the University of Mars.
* PAWS allows us longer timeouts and large windows, so once implemented
* ftp to mars will work nicely.
(from /usr/src/linux/net/inet/tcp.c, concerning RTT [retransmission timeout])
Ever wondered about the origins of the term "bugs" as applied to computer
technology?  U.S. Navy Capt. Grace Murray Hopper has firsthand explanation.
The 74-year-old captain, who is still on active duty, was a pioneer in
computer technology during World War II.  At the C.W. Post Center of Long
Island University, Hopper told a group of Long Island public school adminis-
trators that the first computer "bug" was a real bug--a moth.  At Harvard
one August night in 1945, Hopper and her associates were working on the
"granddaddy" of modern computers, the Mark I.  "Things were going badly;
there was something wrong in one of the circuits of the long glass-enclosed
computer," she said.  "Finally, someone located the trouble spot and, using
ordinary tweezers, removed the problem, a two-inch moth.  From then on, when
anything went wrong with a computer, we said it had bugs in it."  Hopper
said that when the veracity of her story was questioned recently, "I referred
them to my 1945 log book, now in the collection of the Naval Surface Weapons
Center, and they found the remains of that moth taped to the page in
                [actually, the term "bug" had even earlier usage in
                regard to problems with radio hardware.  Ed.]

Due to a recent systems overload error your recent disk files have been
erased.  Therefore, in accordance with the UNIX Basic Manual, University of
Washington Geophysics Manual, and Bylaw 9(c), Section XII of the Revised
Federal Communications Act, you are being granted Temporary Disk Space,
valid for three months from this date, subject to the restrictions set forth
in Appendix II of the Federal Communications Handbook (18th edition) as well
as the references mentioned herein.  You may apply for more disk space at any
time.  Disk usage in or above the eighth percentile will secure the removal
of all restrictions and you will immediately receive your permanent disk
space.  Disk usage in the sixth or seventh percentile will not effect the
validity of your temporary disk space, though its expiration date may be
extended for a period of up to three months.  A score in the fifth percentile
or below will result in the withdrawal of your Temporary Disk space.
                                SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT

Title:                Are Frogs Turing Compatible?
Speaker:        Don "The Lion" Knuth

        Several researchers at the University of Louisiana have been studying
the computing power of various amphibians, frogs in particular.  The problem
of frog computability has become a critical issue that ranges across all areas
of computer science.  It has been shown that anything computable by an amphi-
bian community in a fixed-size pond is computable by a frog in the same-size
pond -- that is to say, frogs are Pond-space complete.  We will show that
there is a log-space, polywog-time reduction from any Turing machine program
to a frog.  We will suggest these represent a proper subset of frog-computable
        This is not just a let's-see-how-far-those-frogs-can-jump seminar.
This is only for hardcore amphibian-computation people and their colleagues.
        Refreshments will be served.  Music will be played.
This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does
something child-like.
                -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington
This quote is taken from the Diamondback, the University of Maryland
student newspaper, of Tuesday, 3/10/87.

        One disadvantage of the Univac system is that it does not use
        Unix, a recently developed program which translates from one
        computer language to another and has a built-in editing system
        which identifies errors in the original program.
You can write a small letter to Grandma in the filename.
                -- Forbes Burkowski, CS, University of Washington
Repel them.  Repel them.  Induce them to relinquish the spheroid.
- Indiana University fans' chant for their perennially bad football team
On our campus the UNIX system has proved to be not only an effective software
tool, but an agent of technical and social change within the University.
- John Lions (University of New South Wales)
Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.
- Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack
One may be able to quibble about the quality of a single experiment, or
about the veracity of a given experimenter, but, taking all the supportive
experiments together, the weight of evidence is so strong as readily to
merit a wise man's reflection.
- Professor William Tiller, parapsychologist, Standford University,
  commenting on psi research
I simply try to aid in letting the light of historical truth into that
decaying mass of outworn thought which attaches the modern world to
medieval conceptions of Christianity, and which still lingers among us --
a most serious barrier to religion and morals, and a menace to the whole
normal evolution of society.
- Andrew D. White, author, first president of Cornell University, 1896
A university faculty is 500 egotists with a common parking problem.
First as to speech.  That privilege rests upon the premise that
there is no proposition so uniformly acknowledged that it may not be
lawfully challenged, questioned, and debated.  It need not rest upon
the further premise that there are no propositions that are not
open to doubt; it is enough, even if there are, that in the end it is
worse to suppress dissent than to run the risk of heresy.  Hence it
has been again and again unconditionally proclaimed that there are
no limits to the privilege so far as words seek to affect only the hearers'
beliefs and not their conduct.  The trouble is that conduct is almost
always based upon some belief, and that to change the hearer's belief
will generally to some extent change his conduct, and may even evoke
conduct that the law forbids.

[cf. Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty, University of Chicago Press, 1952;
The Art and Craft of Judging: The Decisions of Judge Learned Hand,
edited and annotated by Hershel Shanks, The MacMillian Company, 1968.]
"Perhaps I am flogging a straw herring in mid-stream, but in the light of
what is known about the ubiquity of security vulnerabilities, it seems vastly
too dangerous for university folks to run with their heads in the sand."
-- Peter G. Neumann, RISKS moderator, about the Internet virus
[Astrology is] 100 percent hokum, Ted.  As a matter of fact, the first edition
of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, written in 1771 -- 1771! -- said that this
belief system is a subject long ago ridiculed and reviled.  We're dealing with
beliefs that go back to the ancient Babylonians.  There's nothing there....
It sounds a lot like science, it sounds like astronomy.  It's got technical
terms.  It's got jargon.  It confuses the public....The astrologer is quite
glib, confuses the public, uses terms which come from science, come from
metaphysics, come from a host of fields, but they really mean nothing.  The
fact is that astrological beliefs go back at least 2,500 years.  Now that
should be a sufficiently long time for astrologers to prove their case.  They
have not proved their case....It's just simply gibberish.  The fact is, there's
no theory for it, there are no observational data for it.  It's been tested
and tested over the centuries.  Nobody's ever found any validity to it at
all.  It is not even close to a science.  A science has to be repeatable, it
has to have a logical foundation, and it has to be potentially vulnerable --
you test it.  And in that astrology is reqlly quite something else.
-- Astronomer Richard Berendzen, President, American University, on ABC
    News "Nightline," May 3, 1988
The Seventh Edition licensing procedures are, I suppose, still in effect,
though I doubt that tapes are available from AT&T.  At any rate, whatever
restrictions the license imposes still exist.  These restrictions were and
are reasonable for places that just want to run the system, but don't allow
many of the things that Minix was written for, like study of the source in
classes, or by individuals not in a university or company.

I've always thought that Minix was a fine idea, and competently done.

As for the size of v7, wc -l /usr/sys/*/*.[chs] is 19271.

-- Dennis Ritchie, 1989
"The bad reputation UNIX has gotten is totally undeserved, laid on by people
who don't understand, who have not gotten in there and tried anything."
-- Jim Joyce, former computer science lecturer at the University of California
Each person has the right to take part in the management of public affairs
in his country, provided he has prior experience, a will to succeed, a
university degree, influential parents, good looks, a curriculum vitae, two
3x4 snapshots, and a good tax record.
        Graduating seniors, parents and friends...
        Let me begin by reassuring you that my remarks today will stand up
to the most stringent requirements of the new appropriateness.
        The intra-college sensitivity advisory committee has vetted the
text of even trace amounts of subconscious racism, sexism and classism.
        Moreover, a faculty panel of deconstructionists have reconfigured
the rhetorical components within a post-structuralist framework, so as to
expunge any offensive elements of western rationalism and linear logic.
        Finally, all references flowing from a white, male, eurocentric
perspective have been eliminated, as have any other ruminations deemed
denigrating to the political consensus of the moment.

        Thank you and good luck.
                -- Doonesbury, the University Chancellor's graduation speech.
Signs of crime: screaming or cries for help.
                -- The Brown University Security Crime Prevention Pamphlet
Abbott's Admonitions:
        (1) If you have to ask, you're not entitled to know.
        (2) If you don't like the answer, you shouldn't have asked the question.
                -- Charles Abbot, dean, University of Virginia
Engram, n.:
        1. The physical manifestation of human memory -- "the engram."
2. A particular memory in physical form.  [Usage note:  this term is no longer
in common use.  Prior to Wilson and Magruder's historic discovery, the nature
of the engram was a topic of intense speculation among neuroscientists,
psychologists, and even computer scientists.  In 1994 Professors M. R. Wilson
and W. V. Magruder, both of Mount St. Coax University in Palo Alto, proved
conclusively that the mammalian brain is hardwired to interpret a set of
thirty seven genetically transmitted cooperating TECO macros.  Human memory
was shown to reside in 1 million Q-registers as Huffman coded uppercase-only
ASCII strings.  Interest in the engram has declined substantially since that
                -- New Century Unabridged English Dictionary,
                   3rd edition, 2007 A.D.
        "A university faculty is 500 egotists with a common parking problem."
Real World, The, n.:
        1. In programming, those institutions at which programming may
be used in the same sentence as FORTRAN, COBOL, RPG, IBM, etc.  2. To
programmers, the location of non-programmers and activities not related
to programming.  3. A universe in which the standard dress is shirt and
tie and in which a person's working hours are defined as 9 to 5.  4.
The location of the status quo.  5. Anywhere outside a university.
"Poor fellow, he's left MIT and gone into the real world."  Used
pejoratively by those not in residence there.  In conversation, talking
of someone who has entered the real world is not unlike talking about a
deceased person.
Robot, n.:
        University administrator.
University, n.:
        Like a software house, except the software's free, and it's usable,
        and it works, and if it breaks they'll quickly tell you how to fix
        it, and ...

        [Okay, okay, I'll leave it in, but I think you're destroying
         the credibility of the entire fortune program.  Ed.]
A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and
art into pedantry.  Hence University education.
                -- G. B. Shaw
A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest
in students.
                -- John Ciardi
"A University without students is like an ointment without a fly."
        -- Ed Nather, professor of astronomy at UT Austin
Did you know the University of Iowa closed down after someone stole the book?
Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers.  My
opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.  There's many a bestseller
that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
                -- Flannery O'Connor
I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone
has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.
                -- Professor Lowd, English, Ohio University
I appreciate the fact that this draft was done in haste, but some of the
sentences that you are sending out in the world to do your work for you are
loitering in taverns or asleep beside the highway.
                -- Dr. Dwight Van de Vate, Professor of Philosophy,
                   University of Tennessee at Knoxville
I think your opinions are reasonable, except for the one about my mental
                -- Psychology Professor, Farifield University
It's is not, it isn't ain't, and it's it's, not its, if you mean it
is.  If you don't, it's its.  Then too, it's hers.  It isn't her's.  It
isn't our's either.  It's ours, and likewise yours and theirs.
                -- Oxford University Press, Edpress News
Not only is this incomprehensible, but the ink is ugly and the paper
is from the wrong kind of tree.
                -- Professor, EECS, George Washington University

I'm looking forward to working with you on this next year.
                -- Professor, Harvard, on a  senior thesis.
University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.
                -- C. P. Snow
"You should, without hesitation, pound your typewriter into a plowshare,
your paper into fertilizer, and enter agriculture"
                -- Business Professor, University of Georgia
Whatever doesn't succeed in two months and a half in California will
never succeed.
                -- Rev. Henry Durant, founder of the University of California
After this was written there appeared a remarkable posthumous memoir that
throws some doubt on Millikan's leading role in these experiments.  Harvey
Fletcher (1884-1981), who was a graduate student at the University of Chicago,
at Millikan's suggestion worked on the measurement of electronic charge for
his doctoral thesis, and co-authored some of the early papers on this subject
with Millikan.  Fletcher left a manuscript with a friend with instructions
that it be published after his death; the manuscript was published in
Physics Today, June 1982, page 43.  In it, Fletcher claims that he was the
first to do the experiment with oil drops, was the first to measure charges on
single droplets, and may have been the first to suggest the use of oil.
According to Fletcher, he had expected to be co-authored with Millikan on
the crucial first article announcing the measurement of the electronic
charge, but was talked out of this by Millikan.
                -- Steven Weinberg, "The Discovery of Subatomic Particles"

Robert Millikan is generally credited with making the first really
precise measurement of the charge on an electron and was awarded the
Nobel Prize in 1923.
Earl Wiener, 55, a University of Miami professor of management science,
telling the Airline Pilots Association (in jest) about 21st century aircraft:

        "The crew will consist of one pilot and a dog.  The pilot will
        nurture and feed the dog.  The dog will be there to bite the
        pilot if he touches anything.
                -- Fortune, Sept. 26, 1988
                   [the *magazine*, silly!]
The reason that every major university maintains a department of
mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.
The University of California Statistics Department; where mean is normal,
and deviation standard.
The eyes of Texas are upon you,
All the livelong day;
The eyes of Texas are upon you,
You cannot get away;
Do not think you can escape them
From night 'til early in the morn;
The eyes of Texas are upon you
'Til Gabriel blows his horn.
                -- University of Texas' school song
Repel them.  Repel them.  Induce them to relinquish the spheroid.
                -- Indiana University football cheer
The University of California Bears announced the signing of Reggie
Philbin to a letter of intent to attend Cal next Fall.  Philbin is said
to make up for no talent by cheating well.  Says Philbin of his decision
to attend Cal, "I'm in it for the free ride."
"I got into an elevator at work and this man followed in after me... I
pushed '1' and he just stood there... I said 'Hi, where you going?'  He
said, 'Phoenix.'  So I pushed Phoenix.  A few seconds later the doors
opened, two tumbleweeds blew in... we were in downtown Phoenix.  I looked
at him and said 'You know, you're the kind of guy I want to hang around
with.'  We got into his car and drove out to his shack in the desert.
Then the phone rang.  He said 'You get it.'  I picked it up and said
'Hello?'... the other side said 'Is this Steven Wright?'... I said 'Yes...'
The guy said 'Hi, I'm Mr. Jones, the student loan director from your bank...
It seems you have missed your last 17 payments, and the university you
attended said that they received none of the $17,000 we loaned you... we
would just like to know what happened to the money?'  I said, 'Mr. Jones,
I'll give it to you straight.  I gave all of the money to my friend Slick,
and with it he built a nuclear weapon... and I would appreciate it if you never
called me again."
                -- Steven Wright
Linux World Domination: Not A Joke!

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senator Fattecat (R-WA) is pushing for a ban on
Finnish-produced software. His chief of staff, Ms. Dee Septive, has
published a 200-page report revealing "the Helsinkian Underground", a
Finnish world domination plot hatched in 1943.

The Fattecat expose describes Finland's recent scheme involving free
software. "Linux, originally called Freix (FREIX Retrieves Electronic
Intelligence X), is a scheme to infiltrate the Western world with a 'free'
operating system with nasty backdoors hidden within its obfuscated source
code. IRC (Intelligence Relaying Code) is another Finnish innovation
designed for spying purposes."

Linus Torvalds plays a prominent role in the conspiracy. "That old story
about Linus developing a Unix clone in his spare time while at University
is a lark," the report states. "Indeed, the name Linux ("Line X") was
coined because the kernel can extract any arbitrary line of intelligence
from any document it has access to."
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.
Clippit Charged With Attempted Murder

Microsoft's Dancing Paper Clip turned violent last week and nearly killed
a university student testing a new Windows-based human-computer interface.
The victim is expected to make a full recovery, although psychiatrists
warn that the incident may scar him emotionally for life. "You can bet
this kid won't be using Windows or Office ever again," said one shrink.

The victim had been alpha-testing CHUG (Computer-Human Unencumbered
Groupware), a new interface in which the user controls the computer with
force-feedback gloves and voice activation.

"I was trying to write a term paper in Word," he said from his hospital
bed. "But then that damned Dancing Paper Clip came up and started annoying
me. I gave it the middle finger. It reacted by deleting my document, at
which point I screamed at it and threatened to pull the power cord. I
didn't get a chance; the force-feedback gloves started choking me."

"We told Clippit it had the right to remain silent, and so on," said a
campus police officer. "The paperclip responded, 'Hi, I'm Clippit, the
Office Assistant. Would you like to create a letter?' I said, 'Look here,
Mr. Paperclip. You're being charged with attempted murder.' At that point
the computer bluescreened."
* [...] Note that 120 sec is defined in the protocol as the maximum
* possible RTT.  I guess we'll have to use something other than TCP
* to talk to the University of Mars.
* PAWS allows us longer timeouts and large windows, so once implemented
* ftp to mars will work nicely.
        -- from /usr/src/linux/net/inet/tcp.c, concerning RTT [round trip time]
Convention organizer to Linus Torvalds: "You might like to come with us
to some licensed[1] place, and have some pizza."

Linus: "Oh, I did not know that you needed a license to eat pizza".

[1] Licenced - refers in Australia to a restaurant which has government
licence to sell liquor.
        -- Linus at a talk at the Melbourne University
The Worst Car Hire Service
        When David Schwartz left university in 1972, he set up Rent-a-wreck
as a joke.  Being a natural prankster, he acquired a fleet of beat-up
shabby, wreckages waiting for the scrap heap in California.
        He put on a cap and looked forward to watching people's faces as he
conducted them round the choice of bumperless, dented junkmobiles.
        To his lasting surprise there was an insatiable demand for them and
he now has 26 thriving branches all over America.  "People like driving
round in the worst cars available," he said.  Of course they do.
        "If a driver damages the side of a car and is honest enough to
admit it, I tell him, `Forget it'.  If they bring a car back late we
overlook it.  If they've had a crash and it doesn't involve another vehicle
we might overlook that too."
        "Where's the ashtray?" asked on Los Angeles wife, as she settled
into the ripped interior.  "Honey," said her husband, "the whole car's the
ash tray."
                -- Stephen Pile, "The Book of Heroic Failures"
Rincewind had generally been considered by his tutors to be a natural wizard
in the same way that fish are natural mountaineers.  He probably would have
been thrown out of Unseen University anyway--he couldn't remember spells and
smoking made him feel ill.
                -- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
Unseen University had never admitted women, muttering something about
problems with the plumbing, but the real reason was an unspoken dread that
if women were allowed to mess around with magic they would probably be
embarrassingly good at it ...
                -- Terry Pratchett, "The Light Fantastic"
Watch Rincewind.

Look at him.  Scrawny, like most wizards, and clad in a dark red robe on
which a few mystic sigils were embroidered in tarnished sequins. Some might
have taken him for a mere apprentice enchanter who had run away from his
master out of defiance, boredom, fear and a lingering taste for
heterosexuality.  Yet around his neck was a chain bearing the bronze octagon
that marked him as an alumnus of Unseen University, the high school of magic
whose time-and-space transcendent campus is never precisely Here or There.
Graduates were usually destined for mageship at least, but Rincewind--after
an unfortunate event--had left knowing only one spell and made a living of
sorts around the town by capitalizing on an innate gift for languages.  He
avoided work as a rule, but had a quickness of wit that put his
acquaintances in mind of a bright rodent.
                -- Terry Pratchett, "The Colour of Magic"
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
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