Obligatory "ignore this space" : https://sacoronavirus.co.za

Dear Debian,
This is my second letter to you. In the first I was being caught by my own double meanings. To some, technological progress happens by one person issuing a death threat to another whenever something fails, not to let it happen again. Only being the occasional receiver of such useful guidance, I cannot commit to not making errors beforehand, and committing to the attempt suggests I'm the only one in the fucking world who knows what the word quality means.

Knowing that few cared, where I lived, about what they could get from their jobs besides the means to shop for things or nothing at all, with the only place for quality being as it may be wedded to experience, in the questionable bonds of attributivity, it should hardly be surprising that I let my enthusiasm for Debian slide. I was recommended to look at alternatives, but that history isn't interesting to you: if we need GNU we need Debian. A practical distribution needs to assess the quality of licences, which groundwork none but Ian Murdoch foresaw.

One omission, which gets me to revising a public letter, without yet having worked out a revision policy, which brings us to the question of the whether everything can be codified, no matter the treasures offered a coder, is the matter of Hurd, which confused many of us. If marketing is a machine, it is to be blamed for all human misery. Howsoever that may be, it is clear that work on Hurd continued for the sole reason that credit had been taken from GNU and given to Linux.

Debian does call itself GNU/Linux; we might just as well call it G'Nunix. Both projects are matters of necessity; but we'd rather say that they're going steady and not married, or even thinking of marriage.

For obvious reasons.

But they've been going steady for a long time and, looking to my four-score and ten and thinking that there isn't room for more than one programmer-mathematician, I took to using tools which no programmer could write in five-hundred years as a way of trying to make myself useful. We were expected to be religious of software. I can't say now the whether that way of thinking was wrong: we find that even tools which carry the GPL stamp get us to look at the word deranged with new eyes.

A depth-first search is one thing, but to make use of an object stack without the thought of reimplementing it in a language which alone can prove that what we're doing isn't actual black magic, and then to go on and make puns of XML, confounding such a worthy standard with SGML, only gets us to look at the word derangement.

Which fine example of the good that mathematicians have been doing since the advent of computers, gets us to look at the word good.

And the word fun: computer graphics movies best fit the description of things of quality of no substance at all. I like computer graphics: a virtual roller-coaster ride is to be preferred for those who know about error factors in risk calculations, for in this case they are then the equal of the people sitting with them, no matter how ignorant. But before I mention brave ignoramuses, I must mention an equal and opposite reaction that most affects Debian.

If you don't see a way to winning in the danger game, you might think of trying for fame; but while this might win fame for a time, the future world government might find it necessary to issue an instruction to remove all copies of Egg-Sgml; that is, we are not thinking about the future of any country at all.

Americans, however, who know that the one world government is best referred to as Aunt Jemimah, might want to retain a stake in what belongs to the world.

Aunt Jemimah might not know that Debian protects a mathematical discovery for the American people. It may so be that this is obvious to everyone who knows that we are making Great progress, but what may not be so obvious is just how easily the credit for the discovery may be reassigned.

It was given to the world with GPL.

Who actually gave it to the world is something which Americans themselves don't seem to care about.

Goodbye Americans, wherever you are.

Brian Jonnes

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