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ESR Recasts Jargon File in Own Image 521

don.g writes "As reported by NTK, ESR appears to have embarked apon the process of recasting the Jargon File in his own image, adding terms like "Aunt Tillie" and "GhandiCon" that he dreamt up and seemingly no-one else uses, and various terms from (of all places) the warblogging community, where he is active. He's also updated the "Hacker Politics" page to be more closely aligned with his own views."
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ESR Recasts Jargon File in Own Image

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  • by Levine ( 22596 ) <levine.goatse@cx> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:07AM (#6143361) Homepage
    And here I thought ESR was a level-headed, objective advocate of OSS.

    levine
  • by sudog ( 101964 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:08AM (#6143374) Homepage
    The guy's an egomaniac, both online and off; if he's the maintainer of a project, he's god of the project. Whoever handed that one off to him is to blame, not ESR himself, because it's not like he's gone through some horrible, recent metamorphosis. :)
  • Linux (Score:2, Funny)

    by dorward ( 129628 )
    In the dictionary:

    Linux: Bastardisation of GNU/Linux used by entities that simply don't care about all my hard work.

  • by baudbarf ( 451398 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:10AM (#6143396) Homepage
    Who the heck is ESR, and why is he messing with my jargon file!??
  • Oh come now...ever since APL and C the geek community has relied on write-only, only-original-author-understands languages. This is just maintaining the great tradition.
  • by Nexus7 ( 2919 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:12AM (#6143412)
    - There lived a man once who was called Gandhi. If you see the Jargon file, he uses Gandhi and Ghandi as if they were interchangeable. Then again, as long as you inventing you own Jargon, what's a spelling here and there?

    - What, no gun advocacy yet?
    • - There lived a man once who was called Gandhi. If you see the Jargon file, he uses Gandhi and Ghandi as if they were interchangeable. Then again, as long as you inventing you own Jargon, what's a spelling here and there?

      - What, no gun advocacy yet?


      Perhaps the submitter thinks warbloging and gun advocacy are interchangable.

      BTW, misspellings are a computing TRADITION that will not be stamped out. Kinda like that Referrer thingie.
    • Re:Coupla things... (Score:3, Informative)

      by scumdamn ( 82357 )
      Actually, when word are translated from Hindi to English the spelling isn't constant. It's like Osama vs. Usama. They're both right. That could be what's going on there.
      Like Laxmi vs. Laksmi. They're pronounced the same but spelled differently. But in Hindi they'd be spelled the same.
      • by rsidd ( 6328 )
        No they're not both right. I don't have any Hindi (Devanagari) or Gujarati font expertise to demonstrate this, but there are two forms of g, hard (gh) and soft (g), and two forms of d, hard (dh) and soft (d). Gandhi is a reasonably correct transliteration, and moreover is the one he himself used (don't forget he wrote extensively in English). Ghandi is wrong: the h after the g is wrong, no argument about that.
        (Tamil-speakers use a different convention about where to put an h, which I won't go into. But
  • Warblogging? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GMontag ( 42283 ) <gmontag@g[ ]ontag.com ['uym' in gap]> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:12AM (#6143421) Homepage Journal
    What is wrong with adding phrases from the warbloggers and what is with singling that out as something "bad" (of all places)? Especially since that is an area where he is familiar.

    A better objection, or better phrasing, would be the non-admittance of other phrases from other collectives. It sounds so juch more inclusive that way, much less of that pot-kettle business you know.
  • When a single person has that much control over the content of what is ostensibly a "living document", these things are bound to occur. I'm glad that he informed me that I'm supposed to reject hard-left political thinking, otherwise I may have embarassed myself in the near future.
  • So, what's new? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BJH ( 11355 )
    ESR's been doing this for years - ever since he took over maintenance of the Jargon File, he's been adding crap definitions that exist only to push his views.

    That's why I treasure my original copy of the GLS-edited Hacker's Dictionary...
    • by Tony ( 765 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:59AM (#6143729) Journal
      That's why I treasure my original copy of the GLS-edited Hacker's Dictionary...

      ME TOO!

      Seriously. I found "The Hacker's Dictionary" in a bookstore in Ketchikan, Alaska, in 1984. Until then, I felt as if I was the only geek in the world. After that, I realized I was the only geek in Alaska, and there was a real world Out There.

      If these allegations are true, and ESR is allowing editorial power to overcome the editor's responsibility to accurately reflect hacker culture, then this is a Very Bad Day for our collective family.

      I propose a new rule for the editor of the Jargon File: the editor cannot contribute entries, and instead is relegated to the role of researching and selecting entries, and possibly editing them for language and content (rather like TNT does to movies).

      However, as others have pointed out, the Jargon File is ESR's baby. If Guy L. Steele trusted him, I guess we have very little to say. The most we could do would be to fork the Jargon File and create a project called "The Hacker's Dictionary," with CVS access, an XML schema, etc.
  • Irony is .. (Score:5, Funny)

    by stevey ( 64018 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:17AM (#6143462) Homepage

    Just glancing over the site I see that the first entry in the changelog [catb.org] is the Entry called '404' [catb.org] - clicking upon that entry gives you what?

    A 404 - page not found error.

    I wonder how that'll be represented in the paper version of the book, perhaps listing it in the index as page 2.5?

    • Dare I suggest that this is self-referential hacker humor?
      -russ
      • Russ! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by chrisd ( 1457 ) *
        If I had to nominate anyone to take over administration of the jargon file (as if that job actually exists in the first place) Russ would be at the top of my list., Russ controlling some jargon/wiki thing where everyone can fold, spindle and multilate the thing to their hearts desire.


        Chrisd

  • Unit of ego (Score:5, Funny)

    by Graabein ( 96715 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:18AM (#6143468) Journal
    I propose a new unit of ego: The ESR

    1 ESR is basically redefining everyone around you to only exist in your own personal universe, where you of course are the most important person alive. Thus 1 ESR is the maximum this unit can ever attain, anything above 1 would mean instant insanity.

    With apologies to Douglas Adams.

  • Old news. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is not new. Ever since ESR first took over the dictionary he has been writing it around his own image. I guess he just found some time now to do a worse job and go full out.

    A dictionary should not have opinions in it and the lexicon is full of it.
  • "GandhiCon" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spock the Vulcan ( 196989 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:20AM (#6143487)
    Once again, it's Gandhi, not Ghandi.

    Also, while the changelog [catb.org] spells it correctly, the link [catb.org] there again points to the "Ghandi" spelling. This is the correct link [catb.org].

    And for the curious and lazy, this is the corresponding entry:

    GandhiCon

    There is a quote from Mohandas Gandhi, describing the stages of establishment resistence to a winning strategy of nonviolent activism, that partisans of open source and especially Linux have embraced as almost an explanatory framework for the behaviors they observe while trying to get corporations and other large institutions to take new ways of doing things seriously:

    First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

    In hacker usage this quote has miscegenated with the U.S military's DefCon terminology describing âdefense conditionsâ(TM) or degrees of war alert. At GhandiCon One, you're being ignored. At GhandiCon Two, opponents are laughing at you and dismissing the idea that you could ever be a threat. At GhandiCon Three, they're fighting you on the merits and/or attempting to discredit you. At GhandiCon Four, you're winning and they are arguing to save face or stave off complete collapse of their position.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:22AM (#6143498)
    The slashdot article fails to mention that ESR's update of the hackers' general political stand to suit his own views, was not included in the changelog.

    Somebody should fork this project now.

  • by Stephen Williams ( 23750 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:24AM (#6143505) Journal
    I always did think that the section at the back entitled "A Portrait of J. Random Hacker" read more like "A Portrait of Eric S. Raymond".

    -Stephen
  • by OwnerOfWhinyCat ( 654476 ) * on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:24AM (#6143512)
    ..it's ESR.

    This piece at NTK sounds like flamebait. For the following reasons.

    1) They claim he's added terms to the jargon file that... "on closer search-engine examination, appear to have been used almost exclusively by Raymond himself."

    The concept that a term that is (by the very context of it's entry) "jargon" would have to have any search engine presence seems like a very bad assumption. Though it's not a common part of net-speech, I'd had the word "Fucktard" taunted at me in Half-Life TFC games long before I'd read it in anything a search engine could reference. The fact that one of the hacker communities most literate advocates would have the majority of hits for a new bit of jargon sounds more like probability mechanics at work than any sinister plot by ESR to reshape the vocabulary of the Internet.

    2) They take issue with his update of the "politics" section. It's 77 words long, and seems like as good a summary as one could come up with. http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/politics.html

    3) I've put together documents like his rebuttal to the SCO mess, and they are an nightmare of fact checking and redesign. When someone makes claims as preposterous as SCO did regarding Linux it's hard to know where to start. It's even harder to know how much background is needed to explain your points to non-unixphiles. I read the whole document and it was a work of art. It was clear, it had links to piles of substantiating data, I'd be surprised if the IBM legal team didn't throw a party when they first read it.

    Did anyone pay ESR for this massive effort?

    Does anyone else find it thoughtless and ungrateful to criticize one of the communities greatest single person assets because the tremendous efforts he puts forth FOR FREE are colored by his personal experiences?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Hi, OWC. Or should I call you... ESR?
    • I believe IBM payed ESR for some of the SCO work. But he still deserves credit for doing the work.
    • Does anyone else find it thoughtless and ungrateful to criticize one of the communities greatest single person assets because the tremendous efforts he puts forth FOR FREE are colored by his personal experiences?

      No. I'm sick of people insisting that someone wasn't paid for their time then somehow they should be immune from criticism from whatever they do with that time. It's idiotic.

      He has decided to appoint himself voice of the hacker movement. When he starts trying to distort the truth to feed his own ego and his simple-minded politics, then why the hell shouldn't he be criticized?
      • by OwnerOfWhinyCat ( 654476 ) * on Sunday June 08, 2003 @01:04PM (#6144207)
        I would not grant them immunity either.

        I take issue with people who look the gift horse in the mouth, and greater issue with those who snivel incessantly that their perspective on something was somehow "slighted" by the fact that it's different from that of one who took the time to write it down.

        If someone were to produce a diff of the jargon file and found that 10 of the last hundred entries ESR added (or modified) were "bent" toward his perspective and point out how they were inaccurate and send it off to ESR, and publish it on /. that would be news, and worth reading.

        Simply combing through the changes to find things to bitch about may get you seat on the Jerry Springer show, but it isn't remotely objective or helpful.

        If you'd like to argue the issues, then please do so.

        Please provide us in 77 words or fewer, a better definition of hacker politics than the one ESR posted.

        What you may find incomprehensible is that if you succeed, odds are ESR will gladly add it, merge it, or even replace his with yours. I wonder, if he did so, if you'd still maintain that he's being egotistical, or whether you'd have time to do so after reading all the flamemail from the pink bottomed whiners sitting around in their SpiderMan Underoos misdirecting their pre-teen angst.
        • Please provide us in 77 words or fewer, a better definition of hacker politics than the one ESR posted.

          Fine:

          "Hacker" politics range widely, from left to right, from intensely political to completely uninterested in political issues.

          There, under 77 words. And a hell of a lot more accurate.

          Simply combing through the changes to find things to bitch about may get you seat on the Jerry Springer show, but it isn't remotely objective or helpful.

          And worshipful toadying of someone who to be honest h
          • "Hacker" politics range widely, from left to right, from intensely political to completely uninterested in political issues.
            >>>>>>>>>>>>

            WTF? ESR's definition is dead on, at least in my experience (and I know a lot of hackers!). Yours is just purposefully vague because you're trying to avoid making any statement of substance.

            Let's take a look at his original defintion:

            Formerly vaguely liberal-moderate
            >>>>>>>
            Where did the original hackers come from?
            • by Anonymous Coward
              You really don't know much about Western European politics, do you?

              The current political environment is largely social democratic and the "rise in conservatism" is mostly a rise in anti-immigration sentiment among working class people.

              In order to compare the spectrum of political ideology between the US and Europe, you have to consider that the baseline is different, and in some cases also the division between left/right ideals.

              Also note that neoconservatism is a US term and specifically refers to a grou
    • Did anyone pay ESR for this massive effort?

      Does anyone else find it thoughtless and ungrateful to criticize one of the communities greatest single person assets because the tremendous efforts he puts forth FOR FREE are colored by his personal experiences?

      Not all responsibility comes from money. I think that taking a voluntary task can also imply that you must take some responsibility, even if you're not getting paid by anyone. If someone claims he is describing the hacker folklore, then yes, I do not

    • Did anyone pay ESR for this massive effort?
      It's not as if anyone asked him to do all that. Certainly not the original authors.

      Personally, I'd be happier if he just would stop stuffing pseudo-scientific hogwash in there to make himself look like the anthropologic self-consiousness of the "geek tribe". Then again, given his other interests, it is probably safer to let him spend time this way.

    • by Captain Rotundo ( 165816 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @02:12PM (#6144616) Homepage
      I beg to differ with you. I think the politics crap is totally off mark. I think a better answer is that political opinion is not tied to hacking. I have met many "leftist" hackers, and many "rightist" hackers, but ESR is clearly pushing his crazy political views into the description.

      if you would like evidence of his crazy views just watch "Revolution OS" (I think thats the title) and wit for the scene wear the ask him about the Free Software / COmmunist connection. The man gets rabidly defensive, yet fails to make a SINGLE political statement or reason.
  • by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:32AM (#6143568) Homepage Journal
    Ruchard Stallman could have changed it and added "GNU/" in front of every word!
  • by gallir ( 171727 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:33AM (#6143572) Homepage
    They gave ESR more free time to waste by not accepting his CML2. Linus, you should measure your decisions more carefully.
  • by AyeRoxor! ( 471669 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:33AM (#6143573) Journal
    I wept when, inexplicably, I could no longer access esr/jargon.

    Now, it is back; the same, yet different. And I weep again.

    Such is this "life" thing. /Const Woe=Me

  • by gmplague ( 412185 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:37AM (#6143594) Homepage
    I saw ESR speak a few years ago. It was a pretty small group (~50 people or so), and so the floor was constantly open to questions for him. He was an absolute dickhead. I asked him simply why he didn't include computer security experts in his definition of hacker and he went off on me for 20 minutes. I then countered with a perfectly valid point. To which he countered with a school-boyish sneer, and nothing more.

    He is also the most self-centered geek I've encountered. I can remember vividly a few years ago that he published "10 Sex Tips for Geeks" on Valentines day. If you have ever layed eyes on the man, you know that he is the last person you would ever want to be accepting sex tips from.

    If we want this open source movement to take off, we need somebody who's a little more socially adept as our spokesperson. Don't even get me started on how outrageous the whole bazaar and geek-gift culture are.
    • Sex tips (Score:4, Funny)

      by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:52AM (#6143683) Homepage Journal
      If they can get him laid, then they should be able to get anyone laid.
    • Raymond looks more and more like the introverted social-pigmy he is the more Linux and Open Source go mainstream.

      Waitaminit. Makes me look and feel that way too. I guess it was inevitable.

      Raymond won't ever leave his counter-culture, though. Growing up is hard to do. I'm only half grown up, and it's scary out there.

      So let's just keep thumbing through Green Egg back issues and preen and cultivate our 'Traditions' in the neopagan backwash, 'kay?
    • by -tji ( 139690 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:04PM (#6143756) Journal
      Yes, the sex tips for geeks was bested only by his "I am now very rich" publication after VA IPO'd (then later caldera'd).
    • Interesting...I had the exact same experience while seeing Stallman speak. Having seen them both, I thought ESR was a lot more down-to-earth and approachable than RMS was. Stallman just came across as bitter and angry and was just whining about all sorts of boring things, while ESR actually had a well-organized and far more entertaining talk prepared. I got the impression that Stallman was bitter that ESR and his phrase "open source" has won the battle over Stallman's preferred "free software". When I tried asking Stallman a question he get really defensive and wouldn't even let me finish the question - he interrupted with a dismissive comment. Stallman did, though, have a couple interesting highlights...the first was when he yelled at the professor who had set up the talk in front of the whole audience because it was going to be filmed and broadcast over the internet in Quicktime (since he was giving the talk for a class which is always broadcast in this fashion). He refused to start his talk until they turned off the cameras or came up with a way to broadcast it in a format viewable by open-source players. Here, he came across as a bit immature in the way he handled the situation but at the same time it was entertaining and he was making a good point. The other entertaining thing was the whole Church of Emacs routine, although it was heavily apparent that he does it and uses the same jokes at every talk he gives.
  • by rebill ( 87977 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:41AM (#6143620) Journal

    Or, rather, "attacking the dictionary".

    If the gang at NTK are so wound up about this, there is a simple solution - create a fork of the Jargon File (and maintain it, themselves). Quoting from the introduction:


    This document (the Jargon File) is in the public domain, to be freely used, shared, and modified.

    So ... they have a choice between whining about what ESR has done, or doing something about it, and they chose to whine.

    Heh. I guess I'm whining about them whining about ESR. Pot. Kettle. Oopsie.

  • by evenprime ( 324363 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:46AM (#6143650) Homepage Journal
    Finally (and not included in the changelogs), Eric has tweaked the Hacker Politics page, from its previous description as "vaguely liberal-moderate" to "moderate-to-neoconservative (hackers too were affected by the collapse of socialism)". Go tell that to the Kuro5hinners, Eric.

    Unless he's been holding surveys, the claims made for politics (both past and current) are impossible to verify. My guess is that the original statement reflected the people he associated with, and the current one does as well. (And if he's active in "warblogging", the people he hangs out with are probably conservative) Unless someone puts together a survey and figures out how to administer it to a representative cross section of the community, we won't have enough statistical data to back up any claim.
    • ... for a /. poll. It would by no means be the scientific evidence you're looking for, but it would certainly be interesting thought fodder.

      Where do you see yourself in the Political Spectrum?

      NeoConservative?
      Paleoconservative?
      Liberitari an?
      Traditionally well-established Liberal (hippie)?
      Post-Scarcity Gift Cultural?
      Redmondcentric?
      PaleoNeoCowboyNealisti c?
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:47AM (#6143656) Homepage
    Fork.

    ______
    Like any public domain or copyleft project, it doesn't really matter what kind of job the maintainer does with the Jargon File, since alternate versions may be created effortlessly. ESR should be free to do whatever he likes with the thing, even if it's a bit silly. And since ESR isn't bothering anymore to host the definitive version himself, and hasn't for like a year or something [tuxedo.org], and 90% of the jargon file mirrors found on google are old versions anyway, it isn't like a forking would even be noticed.

    I read the article after writing this comment and noticed NTK kind of makes this point themselves, but I think it's worth reiterating. Esp. since no one reads the article around here.
    • by the Atomic Rabbit ( 200041 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:44PM (#6144060)
      The pre-Raymond version of the Jargon File - the Hacker's Dictionary - is available here:

      The Original Hacker's Dictionary [dourish.com].

      This is more a historical work than anything else, as it documents the language of what Levy [echonyc.com] calls the "first generation hackers", the ones who worked in the AI labs at Stanford and MIT. Those communities died during in the 80s (which was, of course, the event that provided the impetus for the GNU project [gnu.org].) The Hacker's Dictionary has a genuine and honest flavor that the modern Jargon File lacks, which is probably inevitable, since the Jargon File covers the modern internet-based "hacker" community - a vaguely-defined entity that has even become confused over the meaning of the word "hacker". It's therefore not surprising that ESR feels he can get away with sprinkling the Jargon File with Raymondisms.
  • Jargon FIle (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @11:59AM (#6143726)
    The first time I read the Jargon File many years ago, I spent several days reading it LMAO. The entries were both funny and insightful. When I read the entries that ESR has added, I had a hard time reading the egotistical bullshit without being completely disgusted. Releasing a new version for the "hanging chad" was a complete waste IMHO. WTH did that have to do with computers? It seems that more and more of the newer entries are politically related. The sad part is that they are neither funny nor insightful.

    About six months ago I looked for copies of the older versions of the Jargon File. That was not as easy as it sounds. I don't know if ESR has been intentionally ridding the internet of the older versions, but I wasn't too happy about how difficult they were to find. If the older versions of the Jargon File completely disappear, then a valuable part of computer history will be lost. In it's place will be the mindless, egotistical rants of someone who thinks the Open Source community revolves around himself.

  • by leipold ( 103074 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:03PM (#6143748)
    A few years ago, Bertrand Meyer penned a fascinating article, "The Ethics of Free Software". (Printed in Software Development [sdmagazine.com] magazine (reg req'd), but mirrored many places including here [apostate.com] and here [netsoc.tcd.ie].)

    Meyer criticizes the self-assumed ethical superiority of ESR, RMS, and others, and in particular notes the "gun evangelism" ESR intertwines with his open-source evangelism.

    This thoughtful article should be required reading for all overly-strident geeks.

    • Bleh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jonathan ( 5011 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:30PM (#6143949) Homepage
      Unfortunately, Betrand Meyer is probably one of the few people *more* bombastic and annoying than ESR. Really, there is nothing of interest in Meyer's bogus ad hominem attack against ESR. I don't like guns either, but what in the hell does that have to do with software?

      And the whole "Tartuffe" attack against RMS was just sickening. Does anyone have any evidence that RMS is *not* sincere? Just because a famous French play showed that some noble-seeming people are hypocrites, doesn't mean that all are hypocrites.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:08PM (#6143781) Homepage
    Where does Raymond get off claiming authority over the "Hacker's Dictionary". He's not even mentioned in the original edition. The real "Hacker's Dictionary", of course, comes from the MIT AI Lab, and the MIT Jargon File. The original book publication was in 1983 (Steele, Guy. New York, Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-091082-8). That's the Hacker's Dictionary. Everything else is popular trash by people who weren't there.
  • Not surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Bungi ( 221687 )
    I always found his weird rant [catb.org] rather amusing. For example:

    Bill Gates has pissed me off from day one. [...]when his track record suggests that he wouldn't know a decent design idea or a well-written hunk of code if it bit him in the face. He's made his billions selling elaborately sugar-coated crap that runs like a pig on Quaaludes, crashes at the drop of an electron, and has set the computing world back by at least a decade.

    Especially amusing is the fact that the "sugar coated crap that runs like a pig

  • by kien ( 571074 ) <`gro.fsf.rebmem' `ta' `neik'> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:33PM (#6143974) Journal
    I see much wailing and gnashing of teeth against ESR because it is perceived that:

    • He is changing the jargon file

    • and
    • He is skewing it to match his own beliefs/interets.


    You can keep the personal attacks...I don't buy them because they seem to spring from either long-held grudges or unsubstantiated claims against Eric's character.

    What bothers me is the apparent willingness of this community to attack a person that has done a lot to bring us all here in the first place. If you don't like ESR's version of the jargon file, feel free to fork your own, or email ESR with your specific complaints and work it out.

    I'm not disappointed that Taco posted this story because it's not a bad idea to question those we consider leaders in this loose society that is the FOSS community...but I'm surprised and a bit disappointed at how quickly we turn into a bunch of sharks willing to devour each other. The tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theory part of my brain thinks that any proprietary-software-funded trolls have certainly earned their money in this thread.

    --K.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08, 2003 @01:00PM (#6144179)
      ESR is the most egotistic person I've ever met in my life. During his talk at a local LUG, he kept on implying that he started not only the Open Source revolution, but had a hand in Linux, GPL, and creating the Internet. RMS is also pretty egotistical, and truthfully, downright *weird*, but he has a legitimate claim to the Free (as in speech) revolution. Maddog is downright humble. So were the MySQL creators, Apache developers, and folks like Robert Love. It's ESR's constant self-promotion that really makes me think of him as some vain actor.

      Yes, there's a lot of politics involved. But I think it was his rampant egotism that sunk his kernel config patches more than technical merit. Seriously, my guess is that no one wanted to fan his flames and give him something to boast about. "Yes, the kernel is OK, but it's the configuration utility that really made it work for the enterprise. Oh, I did that. Nyah nyah nyah."
      • i've met and talked at length with some of the biggest names in the business: Maddog, Torvalds, Stallman, even Redhat's Bob Young.

        but i gotta tell you, the most pleasant experience i had was discussing the future of open source with the very humble Bruce Perens.

        if you see Bruce at an expo or somewhere else, introduce yourself and have a chat. you won't be disappointed and i promise you will walk away a smarter person.
  • Great (Score:3, Funny)

    by CausticWindow ( 632215 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:34PM (#6143980)

    Now if people would just stop saying "It's called cracker, not hacker. Teh jargon file even says so."

  • by uncadonna ( 85026 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (sibotm)> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @12:52PM (#6144127) Homepage Journal
    Raymond is still immensely interesting. Just apply a judicious filter here and there.

    "Gandhicon" may not be a word in common use, but it has a lot of nice features. Why should WSR not be able to use his position of influence on hacker vocabulary to expose neologisms he likes?

    Take everything he says with a grain of salt. Hell, take everything anyone says with a grain of salt. (Except maybe Linus himself. All hail Linus.)

    Raymond says a lot of silly things and a lot of interesting things. Do you think the right way to respond to this is to ask him to shut up? The cost of silly things is small compared to the benefit of interesting things. Raymond easily manages a high enough ratio that it's worth paying attention to him.

  • politics (Score:5, Funny)

    by loudici ( 27971 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @01:05PM (#6144212) Homepage
    Someone should tell ESR there are hackers outside of Texas. Neo Conservatism is virtually inexistant in Europe, where the corporate brain washing procedures are much less developped than they are in ESR's trailer park, and have to actually compete with a working education system.
  • by ByTor-2112 ( 313205 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @01:21PM (#6144304)
    As a general rule, anyone in the OSS community who is referred to by their 3 initials is likely to be nuts.
  • by BarakMich ( 90556 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @01:34PM (#6144396) Journal
    Here's a new word for you --- "ESRhole"

    ESRhole - one who takes command of something, proclaiming himself God and is no longer subject to criticism. ...or something like that.

    As for applicable fixes, wget yourself a mirror of v4.2 here [science.uva.nl]

    I know, it's still got a bit of ESR in there, but it's free from the latest bugs, and so therefore more easily cleaned... ..which I hope somebody will do:

    Fork it! *kerrack* Fork it good!

    With the slightly older version, all one needs to do is set up a new tribunal or something to clean it, repost it, and then add to it as a team. Split the power three or five ways-- hold monthly or bimonthly meetings to discuss submissions, and Make It So.

    THAT would be a Good Thing.

    Barak Michener
  • Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Elias Israel ( 182882 ) <eli@promanage-inc.com> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @02:21PM (#6144661)

    For those too busy to read the article summary above, here's a summary summary:

    "ESR bias bad; hee-sa like capitalism-sa.

    Slashdot bias good; we-sa no like capitalism-sa, we-sa liberal-sa."

    Seriously, if the editors of Slashdot bitching about someone else's editorial bias isn't an example of the pot calling the kettle black, then I have no idea what is.

  • by Doktor Memory ( 237313 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @02:27PM (#6144698) Journal
    A few years back at Geekfest in Cambridge (MA), a co-worker of mine observed ESR telling a local newspaper reporter with a straight face that all geeks are libertarians. I don't think that the idea that every single last one of his fellow engineers might not subscribe to every last one of his pet political causes would ever occur to the man.

    Raymond has always been an egomaniac blowhard with a self-opinion exceeding his actual worth by several orders of magnitude, and if you don't believe me, just ask any member of the linux kernel mailing list.
  • by sharv ( 71041 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @03:12PM (#6144962) Homepage
    If you're interesting in seeing a bizarre rant by any measure, check out ESR's Anti-Idiotarian Manifesto. There's enough pretentious pseudo-intellectual terminology to make Noam Chomsky jealous: "reflexive anti-Americanism", "Islamo-fascist", "...be vigilant against the expedient lie", etc.

    What's an Idiotarian? To my way of interpreting this writing, it's basically anyone ESR or his adherents disgrees with. At first, an idiotarian is anyone who supports terrorists and tyrants, a/k/a the American Left. However, the screed goes on to assail the American Right, who are most often in support of eliminating terrorists and tyrants. So, yeah, anyone who doesn't subscribe to ESR's version of militant libertarianism is an idiotarian.

    A lot of people here were really beating up on ESR; I decided to my own checking and decided that the guy is veering dangerously close to Unabomber material. Guns, anarchy, manifestos against both political sides, whatever. Time to get a cabin in the woods and issue forth open-source decrees. Just don't wrap 'em around pipe bombs and everything will be okay.

  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @05:35PM (#6145668)
    ... all our catch phrase are belong to ESR ...
  • by Sunnan ( 466558 ) <sunnan@handgranat.org> on Sunday June 08, 2003 @07:00PM (#6146098) Homepage Journal
    I have no beef with the entry on GandhiCon, which I thought was witty and deserving of a place.

    There are a few entries where the ESR-factor is bothering me, though, with the hacker politics page being the worst.

    I love the line "Hackers are far more likely than most non-hackers to either (a) be aggressively apolitical or (b) entertain peculiar or idiosyncratic political ideas and actually try to live by them day-to-day." which rings very true to my ears, and how the geeks (including myself) view politics. (I know people of both category a and b.)

    However, that category "b" definitely includes socialistic (esp. anarchistic) views, especially (but not limited to) outside the US. I've met plenty of hackers who hate all lefties and I've met plenty who see themselves as socialist. The phrase "affected by the collapse of socialism" just sounds like what I read in plenty of rightwing-oriented literature (I like to read stuff from both sides of the camp), but it seems false. The latest years I've seen a great strengthening in various leftlibertarian/anarchist movements. The only thing that's crumbling with the Berlin wall is leninism (and part of marxism), not the socialistic ideals themselves.

    Tonight, being in a good mood since it's a nice summer night here, I feel like suggesting that hackers should view each other with kindness regardness of immediate political view. Most hackers have a fondness for freedom, and even though some of us think that corporatism and capitalism are the greatest contemporary threat to that freedom while others think that capitalism is the best means to reach and uphold a state of freedom, the entry in the jargon file should reflect that hackerdom is not a homogenous political movement.
  • Yada yada (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday June 08, 2003 @10:52PM (#6147352)

    The article makes a specific claim about ESR's recent changes to the Jargon file, a document that he himself maintains, and I will comment on those claims and attempt to explain why I do not believe the claim has merit with respect to the "indications" (evidence) the article suggests.

    It claims he added terms he dreamed up that no-one else seems to use as evidenced by search engine use and cited as examples: "Aunt Tillie", "GhandiCon".

    He added terms from the warblogging community where he is active.

    He aligned the Hacker Politics page to his own views.

    Firstly The article links to a site that begins with: "*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>" This should start the warning bell, "The text is probably intended to be humor"

    As to the particular instances, individually:

    [1] Is perhaps true, that is if ESR goes by many aliases, as there seem to be multiple people using these terms, however:

    • Aunt Tillie - is widely used and the Jargon File's new definition is a fairly accurate characterization of how it seems to be used most widely (IMO). 1 [google.com] 2 [google.com] 3 [google.com] 4 [google.com] 5 [google.com]
    • GandhiCon: I see some mention of this term in comp.os.linux.advocacy postings, mentioned by people other than ESR. Even if the term(s) originated with ESR; there is some indication that ESR is not the only person who uses them.

    [2] I expect it to be true that he writes definitions mostly for words he is the most familiar with. This doesn't mean he's rewriting The Jargon File in his own image: it means that he is expanding it to include terms that he knows about and is likely to use, he is not entering junk bytes, he's entering informed bytes.

    I for one expect that he would focus on writing the terms that he is most familiar with and hoping that others will take the effort to contribute defintions for terms that they are more familiar with and feel are jargon, so he doesn't end up writing definitions for jargon used by groups he's less involved with. Definitions that could turn out to be less informative or less accurate.

    Moreover, adding definitions is not rewriting anything, let alone The Jargon File in his own image, but adding to it, i.e.: making it more useful, and this is a good thing.

    If some extra words are added to the Jargon File that suit ESR, then no loss, many only notice the jargon defintions for words they see or use anyhow. (In any event, a small price to pay to have the Jargon File, nobody else is maintaining it.)

    I don't believe adding a word or two that is jargon within the warblogging groups to the Jargon File is a thing that has anything to do with ESR's personal image; although, it is a fact and an expected one that the personal experience of any author will effect what they write about.

    [3] I recall a mention of Kuro5hin with regard to the fall of

  • thats the trick (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lateralus ( 582425 ) <yoni-r AT actcom DOT com> on Monday June 09, 2003 @02:23AM (#6148049) Journal
    Thats it kids, work it out of your system. He was there from the beggining, dealing with a healthy portion of what defines us and you were not. I know It's killing you. Is it his ego thats hurting or yours? Whos making the rabid attacks, him or you?. I love it when people trash the mountain that was built before their time. Of course if you've given more (or even a fraction more) for our community feel free to tell me off, otherwise don't even bother pressing "reply". Why do you go visit his website if it pisses you off? Does he owe you something? Have you paid him for a service that he is not giving you?
  • by geoff lane ( 93738 ) on Monday June 09, 2003 @02:52AM (#6148093)
    ESR has many less than pleasent characteristics. But he does get out and do stuff that others don't.

    If you don't like what he puts in the hackers dictionary then contribute the stuff _you_ see in everyday use. If ESR doesn't accept it then fork a version.

    Remember dictionaries don't contain stuff that is immutable, they contain current usage. Meanings and usage change with time, live with it.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.

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