The Fish
for 3 September 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

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Forsyth, " we're just spanning time "]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor

Out of Eden

Subject: Re: Friday's Article

I was able to sneak an early
look at today's (late) Friday
posting. I think that you are
wrong about Linux. Although,
as said in the movie Wall
"Greed is good!" I
believe that freeware is a
rising star.


I don't know that greed is
good so much as it's
inevitable. Because free
software is a rising star,
plenty of people are going to
try to hitch their wagons to
it, although not all of them
will be purely interested in

Or, um, something like that.

Greg Knauss
Fish With Letter Icon

Nice prose at today,
but I don't think you
understand strength through
diversity. Sure, some
corporation is going to add
something repulsive like a
talking paper clip, but that
doesn't mean that I have to
give a rat's ass, let alone
install it.

Corporations only ruin
software by adding stupid
things that become required
by something you need or by
taking things away. ("Sorry,
we don't support that, buy
our New Technology instead.")
Frankly, they're powerless to
do either in an open source

So then it's all about money.
Yawn. I've got to get back to


But coding what? I'll give
you $10,000 to write a
talking paper clip instead of
that journaled file system
you've been working on.
Others may not end up
installing your vomitously
cute help system, but neither
will they be able to install
the file system you
abandoned. Where do your
loyalties lie when there's
cash on the line? Where do
most people's? Where will
Linux development be in the
future based on that?

Greg Knauss
Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Knauss article

Knauss' article had some
interesting points —
buried deep, deep under what
appears to be a total
misunderstanding of the

You guys should stick to
commenting on things you
actually understand.


But then every article would
be about the tender, loving
hug of a small child. And
wouldn't that get dull quick?
No, being lectured by people
who "know better" but are too
busy to explain it to us is a
much better way to go, we

Thanks for your input,

Greg Knauss
Fish With Letter Icon

Note. Red Hat is a Linux
DISTRIBUTION. An iteration.
To suggest that Red Hat and
other commercial distros
represent the entirety of the
Linux community is like
saying KFC is the only place
that sells chicken.

Saying that money and
superficial features will be
the primary forces driving
Linux development is also
somewhat short sighted. The
real answer lies in what you
call the earlier sins of
Linux: vanity and pride. To
the geek, these are the real
brass rings. Recognition of
the superior hack. Respect
for the technically sweet.
And yes, a level of disdain
for the end user. These will
continue to be the
motivations of the majority
of the Linux community. Let's
remember, most of the Linux
übernerds out there are
already gainfully employed
and hack around with their
kernels for the same reasons
marketing VPs go to baseball

So Red Hat went public. So
it's beholden to their
shareholders. So what? Is it
going to start actually
writing most of its own code?
I doubt it; that would be a
major change of its business
model — a nonsensical

Regardless, Red Hat is one of
a thousand blooming Linux
flowers, and even if all the
distros begin marketing to
the lowest common
denominator, they'll only be
a part of the picture. That's
open source.

Jonathan Gran

No, the distributions aren't
the whole of Linux, just like
money won't be the whole of
coders' motivations. But they
will be very, very big (even
the biggest) parts. Vanity
and pride have motivated
coders up till now because
that's all there was. Add
money to the mix and the
dynamic changes dramatically.
Vanity and pride will still
play a role, of course, just
as they always have. But I
— and, I suspect, most
people — would trade them
in an instant for a few
thousand dollars.

Greg Knauss
Fish With Letter Icon

Linux means different things
to different people, and
because each user owns the
source, it is not possible to
take that away.

Also, each distribution is
different. If Caldera thinks
an easy install is important,
will any Debian users even
think twice? No.

What is important is to
maintain some level of
compatibility between them;
and that is where Red Hat
will play the most important
role. It is the de facto Linux
Standard Base system. As long
as it stays truly open
source, compatibility between
distributions with completely
different agendas will

Mark Lehrer

And what's Red Hat's
motivation for doing this? It
has a legal obligation to get
the maximum return for its
shareholders, and making
things easy for Caldera just
doesn't do that. Red Hat will
do what corporations do, and
that's make money in whatever
way possible: gimmicky
features, closed source
development, all that.

Greg Knauss

Fish With Letter Icon

I just wanted to point out a
minor inaccuracy in your
column about the Red Hat
IPO ... and I quote:

"Fixing an obscure bug in the
driver code for a network
card may be useful, but it's
not sexy, and it's certainly
not going to get the author
noticed the next time
someone's handing out
prepublic stock."

Actually one of the sources
that Red Hat used for
selecting candidates for
pre-IPO stock was the credits
list in the Linux kernel. The
people listed in the kernel
credits get there by fixing
obscure bugs in driver code.

Note that all distributions
of Linux use the same kernel,
so programmers did not have
to directly contribute to Red
Hat to be selected for
pre-IPO stock.

I'm not a C hacker, so I have
no relation to Linux as a
programmer, but several of my
co-workers were invited and
did participate. All of them
were selected based on
obscure bug fixes and
extremely nonsexy,
unglamourous geeky-type
things that Mr. CEO Executive
T. Moneybags MBA would
never understand.

Aside from this item, I agree
with you that money may very
well change some people's
approach to Linux
development. I think it
already may have started
before the Red Hat IPO.
However, programmers are a
strange lot. For one thing,
good programmers are usually
making enough money at their
"day jobs" that they don't
really care too much about
getting more, more, more. I'm
sure some people are going to
greed out and go loco trying
to make Linux sexy and get
mentioned on and
InfoWeek, but there will
always be hackers who work on
the OS for the love of what
they're doing and not for
what they're getting.

Thanks for sucking :)

Joshua R. Davison

But there's no guarantee that
other IPOs — if they even
include community stock
distribution — will be
based on the kernel's
raising my profile meant the
difference between $25,000
and squat, you can bet I'd be
raising my profile, in every
way I could. Why take

Greg Knauss
Fish With Letter Icon

When I think of programmers
and corporations becoming
corrupt because of the
commercialization of Linux, I
am struck by the following:

If any of those people
contained the greed gene that
leads to corruption, wouldn't
they have already turned to
the dark side? This is the
software industry after all,
the hottest, most sought
after jobs are in it, and
brains are the commodity.
It's not like these people
are poor inventors whose
widgets have suddenly become
this year's hot Christmas
item. On the contrary, these
are engineers whose day jobs
let them drive BMWs.


Speaking as an engineer who
drives a 5-year-old Ford, if
someone were to offer me a
big pile of cash, even for
doing something I enjoyed
doing, I'd happily snatch it
up. I've got kids to put
through school. To say that
gosh, everybody working on
open source projects already
has enough money ... that's
just nuts. "No, thanks.
Really. I don't need that
extra $25,000. I've got
plenty right here. But
thanks. The offer is very

Greg Knauss
Fish With Letter Icon

I would read Suck almost every day
back three to four years ago
but haven't looked at it in a
long time, and your Linux
article reminds me why. It
wasn't even funny, for
Christ's sake!

Linux developers coded for
love long before the IPO and
the hype, and they'll
continue to do so long into
the future, even on obscure
device drivers. There are
plenty of people who really
LOVE this stuff, and they're
not going to curl up and go
away just because the
cocktail-party crowd is
suddenly interested in their

If I want to read what a real
hard-nosed realist thinks of
open source, I'll go read Sam
Williams' stuff in Upside.
Based on your article, your
opinions are not even worth a
second look. Goodbye.


So let me see if I've got
this straight:

Suck has lots of hype and
sells out — you stop
reading Suck.

Linux has lots of hype and
sells out — you stop
reading Suck again.

Y'know, Doug, another time
or two and we're going to
start taking it personally.

Greg Knauss
Fish With Letter Icon

Hit & Run

I very much enjoyed your
latest Hit and Run, the
interview being my absolute
favorite. It amuses me that
even in his fight for
independence, Chief Hypocrite,
or whoever, still succumbs to
good ol' Hollywood. A man's
got to make a living, right?
I can't blame him, but it
just seems fitting. So if and
when they gain independence,
is he going to become a
foreign film star or what?

I thought he was brilliant in
Thomas and the Magic


"Chief Hypocrite" was
fighting The Man before you
were even an itch in your
dad's pants, señor.
Considering how many
Hollywood westerns had
Indians played by Sicilians
(or in the case of The
Chief Scar was
played by the Berlin-born
Heinrich von Kleinbach), it's
only fair that a guy like
Russell Means make a little
jing from Hollywood.

Yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Suck,

I love reading your witty
views on different things
every day, especially with all
the cool visuals. My only
problem is that I find the
format of "not a lot of words
per line" kind of annoying to
read. I have to constantly
scroll down. Is there a way
you could add another regular
type format?

Ashish Shetty

Fish With Letter Icon

I don't watch movies or TV
very much, so I don't know if
you're pulling my leg.

I just thought it was an
interview with an angry guy
until you started rolling
with the questions about
acting in movies, etc. Come
on!!? A guy that hates the
American establishment takes
direction from somebody in

And if you did go to a
reservation with a casino,
how could you tell if the odd
man out was a Canadian or a
white guy (assuming he wasn't
wearing a toque)?

Kent Milani

If he's Canadian, the odd man
out will end every sentence
with the phrase "... but I'm
not from the United States;
I'm Canadian."

And don't say you don't watch
TV or movies. It throws off
the statistics.

(thanks) for the
interview with Russell Means.
It is opportunities like this
that allow the general
population(s) to learn about
our issues. As a Native north
of the 49th parallel (after
all, my ancestors did travel
across this continent), I was
pleased and keenly interested
to learn about the intentions
of my relations to the south.
Usually printed media, unless
published by our own people,
doesn't allow for full
discourse of the issues at
hand — we get to talking
semantics. Anyway, thanks for
spreading this news. Although
I usually read your page for
humor, it's good to see that
you take on serious issues
from time to time. (I have
only subscribed for a couple
months now.)

Denise Bouchard

Mega-opichi-meegwetch right
back atcha. You might find
that Means' opinions get
rather short shrift even in
media printed by The People.
But you've got to give him
one thing: He's colorful.

Yr pal,

Fish With Letter Icon

Talk about no sense of humor!
The appropriately named
Russell Means is doing
himself and his cause a great
injustice by being such a
rude bastard. His obnoxious,
sophomoric "come backs" and
post-PC posturing is just so
ridiculous. Thanks again for
humorously exposing the
depths to which people sink.

Nina Gregory

I don't know, Nina. I was
actually sort of pleased to
see that Means is still full
of piss and vinegar. His
autobiography ended with some
talk about anger management
and having gotten his temper
under control; it's good to
know he can still hand out
ass-kickings (as is well
known by the Navajo Supreme
Court, where Means is
currently fighting
extradition on assault

Yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

The reason Americans "chomp
blithely" on said foods is
that the FDA has actually
made it ILLEGAL to label
foods as not-genetically
altered (I'm sure you
remember the brouhaha over
BGH). The government knows
Americans wouldn't touch the
stuff with a stick if there
was anyway of their knowing
what to buy.

A large part of the trade war
with Europe was over this.
Europeans didn't want to be
guinea pigs for large
chemical companies and the US
biotech industry. Eventually
the United States caved a
little bit, allowing the
Europeans to label which
foods were genetically
altered (opening Europe to
"free market forces" and
"allowing consumers to decide
for themselves," a goal that
apparently carries no weight
here. This particular example
of our heroes on Capital Hill,
striking another blow for
freedom, is just dripping
with irony).

Since protection of the
consumer can't possibly be
offered as an explanation of
this policy (he must be
stopped before he cuts
himself out of this
incredible deal!), some of us
would see it as yet another
underhanded subsidy for US
high technology (à la
stealth). But given the way
you terated the Indian, I
guess you'd rather not hear


ZZZZZZZ! Wha'? Oh, sorry,
Joe, I just dozed off with my
face in the seedless winter

"... the way you terated the
Indian?" Did you read the

Yr pal,


Fish With Letter Icon

I am really confused and
concerned by Russell Means'
comment that there are no
black people on reservations.
An African-American friend of
the family worked as a doctor
heading the tribal public
health outreach program in an
eastern casino. We asked him
about the Native Americans,
and he said that most white
people would categorize them
as black because they were,
in some cases,
African-American and only
one-eighth Native American,
etc. The majority of the
tribe had some
African-American ancestry. As
far as I know, this is common
throughout all or most of the
tribes in the southern United
States, with only the western
tribes, albeit the largest
tribes, keeping more
genetically pure. I felt
Russell's comments couldn't
go by without some comment.

As for your odd support of
the eco-psychotics, I can
only say that another friend
of the family lost 10 years
of his research and checked
himself into a mental
hospital after his
genetically engineered corn,
meant to help curb Third
World hunger and produce
stronger plants, was
destroyed by thinly veiled
luddite fascists. Had he
created the same product
organically, a process that
would have taken 50 to 100
years instead of 10, the same
eco-terrorists would have
left him alone and maybe even
used his organic
genetically altered corn as
an example of curbing Third
World hunger. It makes you
want to read that Onion
article ostensibly by the
16-year-old farm boy again
and again until it all sinks
in. Your kids can get blue
eyes one of two ways: by
genetic alteration or by you
fucking a blue-eyed person.
Either way, it's the same
exact result.

Don Smith

Last week, in comments before
the Navajo Supreme Court,
Means' own lawyer noted that
there are more non-Indians
than Indians living on Indian
reservations and that
therefore his client should
not be subject to the courts
of another tribe. Go figure.

Not fucking any blue-eyed

the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: Let's look at the
results of pot use

Scientific studies are but
one source of info on
marijuana.We have seen so
many "junk science" reports
floating around that they
cannot be relied upon as a
definitive answer to the drug
issue.The fact is that
scientists are human and have
just as many prejudices as
the rest of us.

Let's look at the results of
marijuana use. All the
admitted pot smokers I have
met on the Internet appear to
have certain characteristics
in common: They are
immature, illogical, and
incapable of discussing
things in a calm, adult
manner.They appear to be
totally obsessed with weed to
the exclusion of other
issues. They babble
incessantly about things
that appear to have no
relation to the subject under

I myself have read of several
studies which indicate that
long term use of marijuana
leads to permanent changes in
brain chemistry. Most studies
indicate that the byproducts
of marijuana use remain in
the bloodstream
permanently. That's enough for
me; I won't touch the stuff.

Joe Bruno

Once we were young like you,
Joe. Such days! Out on
seaside jaunts in our straw
boatmen's hats, we whistled,
"Hey Fiddle! Hey Fiddle!" at
the young ladies with their
matronly chaperones and drank
bathtub gin with the brothers
of Bones. When I graduated
from old DeQuincy, my father
called me into his study,
handed me his watch and fob
and an envelope full of
greenbacks, and told me,
"Son, this is yours to use as
wisely or as foolishly as you
see fit." I used half of it
to buy myself a Roadster and
put the other half into stock
in His Master's Voice. The
market was humming and
jumping like a Negro band in
those days. A year later, by
God, I was rich!

Youth! Youth! How buoyant are
thy hopes! They turn, like
marigolds, toward the sunny

It's all gone now, blasted
and seared with age. You kids
don't know lickspit about the
world. "Businessman, come
drink my wine," you sing,
"Come and dig my herb." It's
all beer, skittles, and toad-
licking to you, with your
"Be-ins" and "Happenings."
Oh, you'll learn!

Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
"Gary's Trajectory," A Wanderer in the Perfect City, Lawrence Weschler, Hungry Mind Press, 1998
The Parallax View, Alan J. Pakula, Paramount Pictures DVD, 1974
Rogues to Riches: The Trouble with Wall Street, Murray Teigh Bloom, Putnam,1971
Actual Air, David Berman, Open City Books, 1999
Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist, Peter Hall and Michael Bierut, editors, Princeton Architectural Press, 1998
Canary-wing parrots, Dolores Street, San Francisco
Super Shitty to the Max, Hellacopters, Man's Ruin Records, 1998
Request magazine (any issue after June 1999)
On the Road to Vietnam, Bob Hope, Cadet 4046 vinyl, 1964
The Flying Ballerina, Drums and Tuba, TEC Tones, 1998
Dino, Nick Tosches, Delta Alpha Publishing, 1999
The Soft Bulletin, The Flaming Lips, WEA/Warner Brothers, 1999
Big Red soda

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