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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

"Contrary to popular belief, penguins are not the salvation of modern
technology.  Neither do they throw parties for the urban proletariat."
        One of the questions that comes up all the time is: How enthusiastic
is our support for UNIX?
        Unix was written on our machines and for our machines many years ago.
Today, much of UNIX being done is done on our machines. Ten percent of our
VAXs are going for UNIX use.  UNIX is a simple language, easy to understand,
easy to get started with. It's great for students, great for somewhat casual
users, and it's great for interchanging programs between different machines.
And so, because of its popularity in these markets, we support it.  We have
good UNIX on VAX and good UNIX on PDP-11s.
        It is our belief, however, that serious professional users will run
out of things they can do with UNIX. They'll want a real system and will end
up doing VMS when they get to be serious about programming.
        With UNIX, if you're looking for something, you can easily and quickly
check that small manual and find out that it's not there.  With VMS, no matter
what you look for -- it's literally a five-foot shelf of documentation -- if
you look long enough it's there.  That's the difference -- the beauty of UNIX
is it's simple; and the beauty of VMS is that it's all there.
                -- Ken Olsen, president of DEC, DECWORLD Vol. 8 No. 5, 1984
[It's been argued that the beauty of UNIX is the same as the beauty of Ken
Olsen's brain.  Ed.]
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
X windows:
        The ultimate bottleneck.
        Flawed beyond belief.
        The only thing you have to fear.
        Somewhere between chaos and insanity.
        On autopilot to oblivion.
        The joke that kills.
        A disgrace you can be proud of.
        A mistake carried out to perfection.
        Belongs more to the problem set than the solution set.
        To err is X windows.
        Ignorance is our most important resource.
        Complex nonsolutions to simple nonproblems.
        Built to fall apart.
        Nullifying centuries of progress.
        Falling to new depths of inefficiency.
        The last thing you need.
        The defacto substandard.

Elevating brain damage to an art form.
        X windows.
I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens
who, reading newspapers, live and die in the belief that they have known
something of what has been passing in their time.
                -- H. Truman
Absurdity, n.:
        A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.
                -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
belief, n:
        Something you do not believe.
double-blind experiment, n:
        An experiment in which the chief researcher believes he is
        fooling both the subject and the lab assistant.  Often accompanied
        by a strong belief in the tooth fairy.
Hacker's Law:
        The belief that enhanced understanding will necessarily stir
        a nation to action is one of mankind's oldest illusions.
Optimism, n.:
        The belief that everything is beautiful, including what is ugly, good,
        bad, and everything right that is wrong.  It is held with greatest
        tenacity by those accustomed to falling into adversity, and most
        acceptably expounded with the grin that apes a smile.  Being a blind
        faith, it is inaccessible to the light of disproof -- an intellectual
        disorder, yielding to no treatment but death.  It is hereditary, but
        not contagious.
optimist, n.:
        A proponent of the belief that black is white.

        A pessimist asked God for relief.
        "Ah, you wish me to restore your hope and cheerfulness," said God.
        "No," replied the petitioner, "I wish you to create something that
would justify them."
        "The world is all created," said God, "but you have overlooked
something -- the mortality of the optimist."
                -- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"
Safety Net-ism:
        The belief that there will always be a financial and emotional
safety net to buffer life's hurts.  Usually parents.
                -- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
Divorce Assumption:
        A form of Safety Net-ism, the belief that if a marriage
doesn't work out, then there is no problem because partners can simply
seek a divorce.
                -- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
Diseases for Kisses (Hyperkarma):
        A deeply rooted belief that punishment will somehow always be
far greater than the crime: ozone holes for littering.
                -- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
        Quelle fashion mistake.  "It was really QFM.  I mean painter
pants?  That's 1979 beyond belief."
                -- Douglas Coupland, "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated
The final delusion is the belief that one has lost all delusions.
                -- Maurice Chapelain, "Main courante"
The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice
and tragedy.  What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the
master calls a butterfly.
                -- Messiah's Handbook : Reminders for the Advanced Soul
The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not
utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind,
a widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible.
                -- Bertrand Russell, in "Marriage and Morals", 1929
There was an old Indian belief that by making love on the hide of
their favorite animal, one could guarantee the health and prosperity
of the offspring conceived thereupon.  And so it goes that one Indian
couple made love on a buffalo  hide.  Nine months later, they were
blessed with a healthy baby son.  Yet another couple huddled together
on the hide of a deer and they too were blessed with a very healthy
baby son.  But a third couple, whose favorite animal was a hippopotamus,
were blessed with not one, but TWO very healthy baby sons at the conclusion
of the nine month interval.  All of which proves the old theorem that:
The sons of the squaw of the hippopotamus are equal to the sons of
the squaws of the other two hides.
"I would suggest you to read through the following book and files:
        * Kernighan & Pike, "The Practice of Programming"
        * Documentation/CodingStyle
        * drivers/net/aironet4500_proc.c
and consider, erm, discrepancies. On the second thought, reading K&R
might also be useful. IOW, no offense, but your C is bad beyond belief."

         - Al Viro
> ...  And aren't you one of the Preists of Text in
> /proc -- those of the belief in managing everything with 'cat' and 'vi'.

No. That would be Al Viro.

        - Alan Cox on linux-kernel
There's something different about us -- different from people of Europe,
Africa, Asia ... a deep and abiding belief in the Easter Bunny.
                -- G. Gordon Liddy
It has long been an article of our folklore that too much knowledge or skill,
or especially consummate expertise, is a bad thing.  It dehumanizes those who
achieve it, and makes difficult their commerce with just plain folks, in whom
good old common sense has not been obliterated by mere book learning or fancy
notions.  This popular delusion flourishes now more than ever, for we are all
infected with it in the schools, where educationists have elevated it from
folklore to Article of Belief.  It enhances their self-esteem and lightens
their labors by providing theoretical justification for deciding that
appreciation, or even simple awareness, is more to be prized than knowledge,
and relating (to self and others), more than skill, in which minimum
competence will be quite enough.
                -- The Underground Grammarian
There's a trick to the Graceful Exit.  It begins with the vision to
recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over -- and to let
go.  It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its
past importance in our lives.  It involves a sense of future, a belief
that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on, rather than out.
The trick of retiring well may be the trick of living well.  It's hard to
recognize that life isn't a holding action, but a process.  It's hard to
learn that we don't leave the best parts of ourselves behind, back in the
dugout or the office. We own what we learned back there.  The experiences
and the growth are grafted onto our lives.  And when we exit, we can take
ourselves along -- quite gracefully.
                -- Ellen Goodman
I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis
pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only
by a change in our world view.  We shall have to shift from the materialistic,
dualistic belief that people and their environment are separate, toward a
new conciousness of an all-encompassing reality, which embraces the
experiencing ego, a reality in which people feel their oneness with animate
nature and all of creation.
- Dr. Albert Hoffman
I cannot affirm God if I fail to affirm man.  Therefore, I affirm both.
Without a belief in human unity I am hungry and incomplete.  Human unity
is the fulfillment of diversity.  It is the harmony of opposites.  It is
a many-stranded texture, with color and depth.
- Norman Cousins
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the
- H. L. Mencken
...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
I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and by men who
are equally certain that they represent the divine will.  I am sure that
either the one or the other is mistaken in the belief, and perhaps in some
respects, both.

I hope it will not be irreverent of me to say that if it is probable that
God would reveal his will to others on a point so connected with my duty,
it might be supposed he would reveal it directly to me.
- Abraham Lincoln
In respect to lock-making, there can scarcely be such a thing as dishonesty
of intention: the inventor produces a lock which he honestly thinks will
possess such and such qualities; and he declares his belief to the world.
If others differ from him in opinion concerning those qualities, it is open
to them to say so; and the discussion, truthfully conducted, must lead to
public advantage: the discussion stimulates curiosity, and curiosity stimu-
lates invention.  Nothing but a partial and limited view of the question
could lead to the opinion that harm can result: if there be harm, it will be
much more than counterbalanced by good."
-- Charles Tomlinson's Rudimentary Treatise on the Construction of Locks,
   published around 1850.
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.]
[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
"Despite its suffix, skepticism is not an "ism" in the sense of a belief
or dogma.  It is simply an approach to the problem of telling what is
counterfeit and what is genuine.  And a recognition of how costly it may
be to fail to do so.  To be a skeptic is to cultivate "street smarts" in
the battle for control of one's own mind, one's own money, one's own
allegiances.  To be a skeptic, in short, is to refuse to be a victim.
-- Robert S. DeBear, "An Agenda for Reason, Realism, and Responsibility,"
New York Skeptic (newsletter of the New York Area Skeptics, Inc.), Spring 1988
"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows."
-- Robert G. Ingersoll
But I find the old notions somehow appealing.  Not that I want to go back
to them -- it is outrageous to have some outer authority tell you what is
proper use and abuse of your own faculties, and it is ludicrous to hold
reason higher than body or feeling.  Still there is something true and
profoundly sane about the belief that acts like murder or theft or
assault violate the doer as well as the done to.  We might even, if we
thought this way, have less crime.  The popular view of crime, as far as
I can deduce it from the movies and television, is that it is a breaking
of a rule by someone who thinks they can get away with that; implicitly,
everyone would like to break the rule, but not everyone is arrogant
enough to imagine they can get away with it.  It therefore becomes very
important for the rule upholders to bring such arrogance down.
                -- Marilyn French, "The Woman's Room"
What do I consider a reasonable person to be?  I'd say a reasonable person
is one who accepts that we are all human and therefore fallible, and takes
that into account when dealing with others.  Implicit in this definition is
the belief that it is the right and the responsibility of each person to
live his or her own life as he or she sees fit, to respect this right in
others, and to demand the assumption of this responsibility by others.
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
©TU Chemnitz, 2006-2019
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