Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the promulgation of the term “open source”. Three days before that, Christine Peterson published How I coined the term ‘open source’ which apparently she hd written on 2006 but been sitting on since. This is my addition to the history; I tried to leave an earlier version as a… Continue reading How “open source” was coined
Today, for the third time in the last year, I got email from a new SF author that went more or less like: “Hi, I’d like to send you a copy of my first novel because [thing you wrote] really inspired me.” All the novels so far are libertarian SF with rivets on – the… Continue reading Three times is friendly action
A lot of people, especially younger people who haven’t quite figured out what they’re good at yet, want to be famous and have lots of admiring fans. Me, I’ve been famous, and I still have a lot of admiring fans. I’m here today to talk about why a thoughtful person might want to avoid this,… Continue reading The heaviness of fame and fans
This morning I stumbled over a comment from last September that I somehow missed replying to at the time. I suspect it’s something more than one of my readers has wondered about, so here goes… Edward Cree wrote: If I’m really smart enough to impress esr, I feel like I ought to be doing more… Continue reading How to change the world in Zen easy lessons
I had a great time at Penguicon 2016, including face time with a lot of the people who help out on my various projects. There are a couple of thoughts that kept coming back to me during these conversations. One is “It is good, having so many impressively competent friends.” The other is that without… Continue reading With a little help from my friends
Because people do in fact drop money in my PayPal and Patreon accounts, I think a a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that I occasionally update everyone on where the money goes. First in an occasional series, Recently I’ve been buying Raspberry Pi GPS HATs (daughterboards with a GPS and real-time clock)… Continue reading Where your donations go (#1)
Who are the programmers who are famous for doing programmer things? I’m wondering about this because my wife Cathy asked me a simple question last night, and I realized I didn’t have an answer to it. “Are you” she asked “the most famous programmer in the world?”
For at least fifteen years my name and its tri-letterization has been something with which you could conjure up a lot of attention among hackers and other sorts of geek. This fact presented the more clueful of my personal friends with a delicate problem: under what circumstances would it be proper for them to invoke… Continue reading Namedropping “ESR”
Ever since the open-source rebranding in 1998, I’ve been telling people that “open source” should not be capitalized because it’s an engineering term of art, and that we would have achieved victory when the superiority of (uncapitalized) open source seeped into popular culture as a taken-for-granted background assumption. There’s a thriller writer named Brad Thor… Continue reading Victory is sweet
Every few months I get a letter from a would-be hacker petitioning me to accept him (always a “him” so far) as my disciple. Happened again today; I think this time I’ll share part of the request, and my response, so I have it to point to next time this happens.
A couple of weeks ago a friend asked me how he could become more charismatic. Because the term “charismatic” has unhelpful religious connotations, let’s begin by being clear what he was actually asking. A person is “charismatic” when he or she has the ability to communicate a vision to others in a way that makes… Continue reading Charisma: a how-to
Evan Miller’s essay The Mathematical Hacker is earnest, well-intentioned, and deeply wrong. Its errors begin with a serious misrepresentation of my views and my work, and fan out from there.
Considering the extent to which I’m still a public figure, it is perhaps surprising how seldom I get email that deserves a thorough, up-one-side-and-down-the-other flaming. I got one today which I shall reproduce here as a perfect example of how not to engage me.
A thoughtful commenter objected in a procedural way to my open letter to Chris Dodd. He praised the letter and affirmed that I spoke for him in it, but said:
On G+, Stephen Shankland links to RMS’s travel rules. He faintly praises their transparency but finds them a bit bizarre. For contrast, here are my travel rules, from back when I was accepting a lot of speaking engagements: Yes, mine are much simpler, but don’t be quick to judge RMS until you’ve walked a mile… Continue reading On not being destroyed by travel
This is not actually going to be a post about the G+ nym wars. Rather, it’s about something curious that I discovered while thinking about them. I would like G+ to support persistent pseudonyms, so G+ users could say “+ESR” and have it point to my G+ profile. But here’s what’s interesting; I don’t actually… Continue reading The importance of being “ESR” – a sidelight on the G+ nym wars
It’s Saturday night at Penguicon. A few hours ago I blatantly pulled social rank on someone, and I am not ashamed. This is how it happened.
Human beings being what they are, famous people attract fans. Human beings being what they are, famous people also attract haters, the dark obverse of fans. If you are famous, normally your fans are going to be more visible to you than your haters because your fans will have more tendency to seek you out;… Continue reading Taxonomy of the haterboy
One of my commenters speculated as follows: Perhaps I overestimate him, but I suspect that without Eric our choice would be Richard Stallman or Bill Gates without much in between. That isnâ€™t a pretty picture. Maybe Linus Torvalds would have help fill the vacuum, or perhaps someone else would have stepped up. Because I think… Continue reading A world without “ESR”
Yesterday I discovered that Donald Knuth at least occasionally reads my blog. I only half-jokingly reported a vague feeling that I ought to be falling to my knees and crying “I’m not worthy!” In response, a “v. m. smith” popped up in my comments to say this: Dude, you have written at least two books… Continue reading Double Vision