I excavated a bit of hacker history from old memories today. Not dead history either, but an important beginning of some large good things.
Earlier today I was in an email exchange with a Tier 1 tech support guy at a hardware vendor who makes multiport serial boards. I had had a question in as to whether a particular board supported the Linux TIOCMIWAIT ioctl. Tier 1 guy referred the question to an engineer in their Linux development group,… Continue reading On the duties of a geek-cred certification authority
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”
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 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:
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 regulars has expressed mildly disgruntlement about the degree to which a feeling of mutual tribal solidarity has taken hold among hackers, and become an increasingly defining characteristic of them. He finds it creepy – he didn’t use the phrase “disquieting groupthink”, but I’m pretty sure he was thinking something like it. “You… Continue reading The uses of tribal cohesion
I had an IRC chat with one of my semi-regular commenters a few nights ago in which she reported giving a talk on hacker culture that went extremely well. [00:12] <HedgeMage> It was one of those situations, though, where I felt *very* odd being treated like a subject-matter expert. I certainly don’t consider myself one… Continue reading Culture and certification
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
Received in email from Donald Knuth’s secretary: I know from your blog that you’re doing lots of real important stuff these days. So I’m sure you want a break; you clearly must be ready to hack INTERCAL just once more. Huh…Donald Knuth reads my blog? Um…Donald Knuth reads my blog? Wha…Donald Knuth reads my blog?… Continue reading Donald Knuth reads my blog?
During the controversy I described in Condemning Censorship, Even of Werewolves one of the parties characterized me as “nuts and in decline.”. This failed to bother me, and not because I’m insulated against such insults by my natural arrogance. OK, I am largely insulated against such insults by my natural arrogance, but that’s not the… Continue reading Killing the Founder
Redoubtable hacker Chip Salzenberg wrote me last night with the subject line “You have ascended”. I quote in full: Long time no chat. Hope you are well. In fact, I don’t have to hope, because I just read this in a book: Raymond in his brilliant The Cathedral and the Bazaar  … That’s all… Continue reading You have ascended
I received this a few seconds ago in my mailbox. It’s not especially unusual for me to get wow-you-changed-my-life email, I see two or three in a typical month, but this one is…well, I’ll say a bit more intense than usual. Also, 34 is an unusual age; they tend to be teenagers. Sender’s name masked… Continue reading How you know you’ve made a difference