From Fri Jan 1 17:52:35 1999
From: (Matthias Warkus)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
Subject: 6th RfD: c.o.l.a Frequently Rehashed Topics
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1998 17:30:43 +0100
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X-Markus: It's not Markus, it's Matthias, Matthias Warkus.
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Yes, it's another development version. I did not yet dare to make this
release final because there was quite a bit of discussion around this
document and how to make proper use of it.

Please tell me if you, too, think that there should be some URLs in the
document, i.e. the URLs of the Berlin and GNUStep project etc. I am in a bit
of a conflict here since I don't want to make the FRT a resource guide.

Special note to David Parsons: As you can see, this document is indeed
reposted weekly. I would appreciate it if you told me whether there is
something wrong with its content.

Special note to Navindra Umanee: If you want any changes made to this
document or if you want to participate in any other way in a discussion
about its *content*, feel free to e-mail me and I will remove your scorefile

Special thanks go, as usual, to anyone who has contributed. If you feel like
you should be mentioned in the Thanks section, e-mail me.

BTW I am still looking for the guy who wanted to host this document. If I
don't find him, well, I can always get a bit of Web space at Angelfire,
hopefully it won't get cracked by some childish dickhead again.

=====BEGIN FRT=====
Frequently Rehashed Topics on comp.os.linux.advocacy
Matthias Warkus,
Version: 0.6, first posted: December 28th, 1998

This document lists topics that are rehashed with annoying frequency
on the comp.os.linux.advocacy newsgroup.

Table of Contents

1. Purpose of this document

2. The Linux Desktop Environment(s)

2.1 Linux needs a single GUI.
2.2 We need Foo, Inc.'s single GUI!
2.3 They could kill it with proprietary extensions!
2.4 They could kill it with a proprietary desktop!
2.5 Diversity will be the downfall of X.

3. User-friendliness

3.1 Linux is impossible to install.
3.2 Grandmaternal issues

4. Market share and what comes and goes with it

4.1 We need more market share.
4.2 We need to crush Microsoft.
4.3 If it doesn't run Office, it's worthless!
4.4 We need a killer app.
4.5 Will it have to be dumbed down?

5. Licensing issues

5.1 You can't make money out of it.
5.2 You must give away everything you write for it.

6. The X Windowing System

6.1 X is slow.
6.2 X is brain damaged.
6.3 X is the only choice there is!

7. Linux and Corporate Pangaea

7.1 Apple must support us!
7.2 Red Hat and Intel will turn Linux into Windows.
7.3 Will Linux become a monopoly?

8. Philosophical Issues

8.1 Unix philosophy
8.2 Linux is an underground movement.

9. Being part of the community

9.1 Hey, don't expect me to fix things!

10. Thanks

11. Legal stuff

12. Copyright


1. Purpose of this document

This is a list of common misconceptions in the Linux advocacy
discussion. It is posted weekly on the comp.os.linux.advocacy
(c.o.l.a) Usenet group. This document is intended to free bandwidth of
c.o.l.a by explaining some topics that are constantly rehashed; the
people rehashing them are considered somewhat annoying by the broad
majority of the regular posters.

Every newbie on c.o.l.a should read this document. Furthermore, if one
of the topics in it is again brought up by someone without mentioning
any original aspects that haven't been discussed before, it is
encouraged to answer him by either quoting or pointing at the
respective article in this list. Mailing this document in its entirety
to someone without his consent is strongly discouraged though.
Probably the best way is to respond publicly with a quote of the
respective article so other lurkers may also learn the lesson.
Alternatively, one can just point the uninformed poster at the latest
re-posting of this list.

A satisfying ``'nuff said'' is encouraged when quoting the FRT as
one's only reply to a rehashing poster. Note, though, that the c.o.l.a
FRT list is not intended to suppress criticism in the advocacy
discussion. The goal of this list is to free bandwidth not (not only
;-)) for appraisal, but mainly for productive, creative criticism of
Linux that will eventually be of use to the OS, the community and the
users, as opposed to tiresome re-explanations.

2. The Linux Desktop Environment(s)

2.1. Linux needs a single GUI.

Q: I know something! We must make a single GUI for Linux so it gets
easier to use and we can achieve world domination! Why don't we do

A: Diversity has always been a major strength of Unix (``There's
Always Another Way''), and it would not be in anyone's best interest
to give it up in Linux. At the moment, there are dozens of major
efforts underway, each creating and developing novel windowing
systems, GUI toolkits and desktop environments that run on Linux.
There is no such thing as `one-size-fits-all' in the Linux community.

Furthermore, there is a definition problem, too. What does ``a single
GUI'' mean?

A single windowing system?

A single GUI library?

A single desktop environment?

A single style guide?

The truth is, there is no definition of standardising a GUI that
everyone would agree with. Especially in the constantly growing and
changing world of Linux, there is no chance that such a
standardisation will ever be realised, since it would require phasing
out software hundreds of thousands, even millions of people are happy
with. No one will take decisions off your shoulders in the Linux
world. And no one in the Linux world cares to have decisions made for

Take your pick and be happy, advocate the choice you made, but keep in
mind that it does no good to evangelise that your choice should be the
only one available.

2.2. We need Foo, Inc.'s single GUI!

Q: Isn't the single GUI Linux needs the OS/2 Presentation Manager? Or
the Amiga Workbench? Or the RISCOS interface? Or the <blah> interface?

A: Perhaps you have come to Linux since you were previously using
OS/2, AmigaOS or RISCOS, and you felt like these systems hadn't much
of a future. You wanted to move to an alternative system though, and
not to one of the ``mere main-stream'' platforms. Effectively, you are
still advocating your old platform and not Linux.

Implementations of the user interfaces of distinct platforms are
always welcome in the Linux world, but please refrain from trying to
make your particular pet desktop environment or style guide look like
it is, or should be, the only game in town.

2.3. They could kill it with proprietary extensions!

Q: Couldn't MS crush Linux by, say, porting the Microsoft Foundation
Classes to Linux or making other proprietary extensions to it?

A: We learn from history that an emulator has almost never given a
positive boost to the platform it emulates. Most emulators have only
increased the popularity of the platform they run on. If Microsoft
ported its APIs to Linux, the result would be an emulator similar to
Wine. Since they wouldn't have to reverse-engineer and re-implement
the API completely, their emulator would probably be better.
Nevertheless, it is very unlikely that MS will develop such a Windows
emulator or that it would by any means be harmful to the underlying
core of Linux.

The bottom line is that any proprietary extension to an open
environment such as Linux, be it Microsoft-based or not, will be
soundly rejected by the community. Developers tend to frown upon such
extensions in general, as evidenced by, say, Microsoft's proprietary
`enhancements' to the WWW (Chromeffects et al.). Most likely these
extensions wouldn't have any impact on Linux at all.

2.4. They could kill it with a proprietary desktop!

Q: Couldn't MS crush Linux by making a commercial desktop environment
for Linux? If not them, could company <foo> do it?

A: People who bring this topic up are often the same that advocate a
single `standard' desktop environment, sometimes even a `standard'
shell for Linux. They fail to realise that reality is different. If
there was really a push towards such a `one-size-fits-all' desktop,
then such a thing manufactured by a big company could indeed pose some
`threat', depending on your definition. But there is no need for the
Big Standard Desktop.

Note that, for example, the KDE developers, who were (at least
recently) absolutely sure that their desktop would evolve into some
kind of standard, have recognised the need for interoperability with
other desktop environments, e.g. Gnome.

2.5. Diversity will be the downfall of X.

Q: With all these incompatible widget sets and window managers, X
Window will never be a success. Why don't you do something about this?

A: Widget sets are not incompatible with each other. This is a common
misconception with many Windows or Mac users, who think that widgets,
window management and desktop environments must be an integral part of
a windowing system. This is fundamentally different in the X Window
world. You can use applications with as many different widget sets as
you want in parallel, and it only affects memory usage. Excepting
performance and consistency, there is no reason to try to have all
programs run with the same widget set.

Window managers are incompatible with each other, but this is the
desired effect, since they give the 'feel' and to an extent the 'look'
of an X desktop. You can't run two of the at the same time on the same
display (without using special utilities like Xnest, that is). Anyway,
they should all adhere to the ICCCM guidelines.

Here is a who-does-what table that should enlighten you a bit:

| MS Windows 9x/NT | Unix/Linux
Low-level kernel stuff| Kernel | Kernel
Displaying windows | Kernel | X Server
Moving windows around | Apps/`Shell' | Window Manager
`Look&Feel' of desktop| `Shell' | WM / Desktop Env.
`Look&Feel' of apps | single widget set | different sets
Behaviour of apps | Apps | Apps

As you can see, only the `Shell' (usually explorer.exe, but can be
something like LiteStep) and the Applications components differ under
Windows, whereas under Unix or Linux, every single component of the
system can be changed without affecting the others Unix/Linux
components. Many feel that this extreme flexibility of X Window fits
well into the Unix philosophy (see ``Unix philosophy'') and is
essentially a Good Thing for those who understand it.

3. User-friendliness

3.1. Linux is impossible to install.

Q: Linux is impossible to install. Why isn't anything done about it?

Not all installation experiences are homogenous, major problems
installing an OS can happen with every OS in this world. The best you
can do is inform yourself on the appropriate Web sites and newsgroups,
in books and freely available documentation, so you are well-prepared
when installing Linux. This may significantly reduce, if not
eliminate, your installation difficulties. Currently, you must be
literate in the classic sense to use Linux. That is, you need to read.
You need to read a lot. There is no way around it, and generally, the
community doesn't consider this a bad thing. For some of us,
installing Linux was a breeze; for others, it was torture. Installing
an OS is often a delicate task, no matter which flavour.

The mere fact that some Linux installations can be more difficult than
others will not have a detrimental effect on Linux in general. All
currently utilised Linux systems (that is, millions and millions) have
been installed, and once someone has installed a system they generally
find that ``it really wasn't that bad''.

Finally, please take note that nearly every Linux distributor, be they
a company (like Red Hat or SuSE) or a free project (like Debian),
works ceaselessly on making Linux installations easier. For those who
don't want to deal with a Linux installation at all, there are several
companies who sell computers with Linux pre-installed, making sure
that all the hardware components are well-supported.

3.2. Grandmaternal issues

Q: Could my Grandma install and use Linux? I will only bother with
Linux if she can.

A: You are asking the wrong question. Actually, you should be asking
three different questions.

1. Will she be able to install it?

2. Will she be able to use it?

3. Will she be able to administrate it?

Probably, installation and usage would be trivial, whereas
administration would not. Unices like Linux are multi-user OSes that
take care to make using the system as easy as possible - for the user.
They need to be administrated, though, if any non-trivial changes are
to be made to the setup. Other popular operating systems avoid the
need for administration by being deliberately impossible to
administrate by the layman.

If your Grandma buys a computer with Linux pre-installed and if she is
willing to consult the elaborate on-line documentation and the thick
manuals that come with it, she will probably run it happily, with all
the administration done by the distribution's admin tools.

The author of this document even takes the risk to claim that she will
probably be happier with pre-installed and well-configured Linux than
with another OS, in the long run.

4. Market share and what comes and goes with it

4.1. We need more market share.

Q: Why don't we do <foo> to get more market share? I mean, we need to
get more market share, don't we?

A: Linux is not a corporation. Corporations need to garner market
share in order not to be swallowed by others or simply to prevent
bankruptcy. Linux, on the other hand, will live on merrily without any
major market share. As long as there are people to maintain and
develop sources, it will thrive.

There is no driving need for Linux to gain market share for much the
same reason as there is no need to forcibly phase out older desktops
and window managers. The plethora of available software is Linux's
strength, and every piece of this software is important, be it popular
or not.

4.2. We need to crush Microsoft.

Q: Unless someone fixes <foo>, Linux will never crush Microsoft. Why
isn't it fixed, then?

A: As explained in ``We need more market share.'', Linux doesn't need
to increase market share. If in your view, Linux is mainly an
alternative to some other OS (typically a Microsoft one), it's OK. But
don't even try to think Linux has been made specifically to `fight';
or `crush' Microsoft or any other thing for that matter. If you do,
you may easily start to think that Linux needs to behave like the
clone of some particular OS, only better. Then you will not only be
deceived, but will be a nuisance and a destructive element in the
community. Linux needs to go its own way.

4.3. If it doesn't run Office, it's worthless!

Q: Why do you try to achieve world domination since everybody knows
only systems that MS Office runs on can be successful?

A: Usually, this question is either brought up by frustrated users
that are forced to use MS Office in a corporate environment, or
passionate MS Office. Obviously, saying this, they are either biased,
not well-informed, or plain wrong.

There are numerous alternatives to MS Office that are used with great
success on the home PC as well as on the corporate desktop. A couple
of these run on Linux in some way or another. Stating that MS Office
is de facto the only office suite in town is as insulting to the
developers of the alternatives, as it is to their users.

4.4. We need a killer app.

Q: Anyway, there is no killer app for Linux. Why bother with it?

A: Try to see it this way: Linux is enormously successful even without
a big killer app. Perhaps the OS or the philosophy is the `killer';
thing in it? Or perhaps there are just so many applications doing so
many different jobs well that there just isn't a need for a killer app
to promote Linux usage? Nearly every non-Unix OS out there has got a
killer app that is chiefly responsible for its success, but Unix and
Linux have never needed one.

The `killer' thing about Unix or Linux is rather the fact that there
is an enormous, open pool of software where the source code is
available in one form or another. Currently, no other operating system
has got a software cosmos that is this big and this dynamic.

4.5. Will it have to be dumbed down?

Q: If the market share of Linux on the desktop increases, won't the
Linux OS have to be dumbed down for the non-technical users? Hence,
isn't increasing market share a bad thing?

A: Market-leading OSes often seem to be `dumbed down' to make using
them less complicated and less dangerous for unexperienced users. Of
course it's arguable whether this can happen to Linux, too.

Simply put, it can't. It could happen to one distribution of Linux,
but not to Linux per se. It could happen to one interface to the
underlying core of Linux, but not to all available interfaces. Since
there is no corporation or organisation enforcing a single user
interface policy in the Linux world, it is simply impossible to `dumb
Linux down' in its entirety.

The foundations of Linux, i.e. the kernel, the philosophy (see ``Unix
Philosophy''), the community and the licensing model (see ``Will Linux
become a monopoly?'') will stay the same whatever applications and
user interfaces you use.

5. Licensing issues

5.1. You can't make money out of it.

Q: Come on now. Linux users will never buy commercial software. Why
bother about this OS since you can't make a buck out of it?

A: Effectively, Linux users are a big market for commercial software
right now, and they prove it each day by buying proprietary office
suites, X Window servers, mathematics packages, commercial sound
drivers, or even commercial games. Whoever claims that Linux will
never be a market for shrink-wrapped software has obviously missed
something or is blatantly lying.

5.2. You must give away everything you write for it.

Q: Since you need to give away all the software you write for Linux,
there won't be any major companies developing Linux software. How do
you deal with that?

A: This is perhaps the single biggest lie that is spread about Linux,
and all other free software platforms. Let's make this clear once and
for all: You don't need to give away the software you write for Linux.
For Linux, too, there is lots of software that are licensed and sold
in exactly the same way that the usual Windows software is licensed
and sold. See ``You can't make money out of it.'' on this.

Linux itself and most of the software that runs on it is licensed
under the General Public License. That doesn't coerce you to give it
away though, but merely gives everyone the right to give it away and
enforces that the source code of the software be always available.

6. The X Windowing System

6.1. X is slow.

Q: Why don't we use something better than X since it is so horribly

A: The perceived or real performance differences of X and other
graphical user interfaces are due to several separate circumstances. X
is a process that runs segregated from the kernel, in user space. This
has got the advantage that shutting down X is always possible, even if
the X server has locked up (which seldom happens). Also, often X
communicates with its clients over network connections, which can be
notorious bottle-necks. Finally, the graphics throughput of the X
server is always dependent on the graphics hardware and how well it is
supported. Other than this, the size and performance of the window
manager, the graphics libraries on top of X and any desktop
environments may affect X performance.

There are people who report X to have fluidly moved opaque windows on
486s where Windows 3.1 was sluggish to the point of unusability. There
are other people who report X to be incredibly slow on computers where
Windows flies. Don't condemn X if the real reason is the network, the
graphics hardware, the lack of support for hardware acceleration or
particularly bloated X applications (applications statically linked
with Motif are notorious for their bloat).

6.2. X is brain damaged.

Q: Why don't we use something better than X since it is so horribly
brain damaged?

A: Take a good look at X. Again, if you already have. X has got its
limitations, but it has also got a client/server architecture that
even supports modern networked 3D graphics (with the GLX extension).
Also, consider that X was deliberately limited to be just a windowing
system and not address user interface design in any way. If you still
can't understand why you should use X, please see ``X is the only
choice there is!''.

6.3. X is the only choice there is!

Q: I am sick and tired of X. Why aren't there any alternatives?

A: There are, or at least there soon will be. The best-known is
probably Berlin, a large-scale project that is in the earliest pre-
alpha stage you can imagine and not yet useable, but very promising in
concept. It will even use a uniform GUI toolkit and a uniform desktop
environment, which will make many happy (see ``Linux needs a single
GUI.''). Another alternative is GNUStep, the GNU implementation of the
OpenStep specification, which uses X Window only as the supporting
layer of a Display GhostScript renderer. The Hungry Programmers are
working on the Y Windowing System, which will be very similar to X
except for its architecture and the way it addresses the differences
between colour depths on different displays.

7. Linux and Corporate Pangaea

7.1. Apple must support us!

Q: Do you know that for reason <foo>, Apple must support Linux?

A: This relates well to question ``We need Foo, Inc.'s single GUI.''
and ``We need to crush Microsoft.''. Actually, often this argument is
brought up due to the thoroughly flawed way of thinking of the
software and/or OS market. People often see this market as a zero-sum
game between Microsoft on one side and ``all the others, whoever they
may be'' on the other side. This makes them think that Apple or some
other `opponent' of Microsoft need to `team up' with Linux to `fight'

Nothing of all of this is true. Linux is not the spearhead of an
`offensive' against Microsoft. It was not specifically made to engage
Microsoft in any competition whatsoever, and those who call for a
major company to somehow grab a hold of the direction Linux is going
are not only underestimating the power of the Linux community as such,
but also denying the right of Linux to go its own way.

7.2. Red Hat and Intel will turn Linux into Windows.

Q: Won't Linux become an OS just like Windows since Red Hat are now
controlled by Intel?

A: No. You are making something up from hearsay, here. Not only is Red
Hat only one of many distributors of Linux, it is not under Intel's
control. Intel has only bought a limited amount of Red Hat stock.
Disproving the other blatant assertions is left as an exercise to the

All other statements similar to this are wrong and flawed in the same
way, since Linux isn't really an OS that can be controlled and led in
some direction like commercial OSes can. See ``Will Linux become a
monopoly?'' on this, too.

7.3. Will Linux become a monopoly?

Q: Perhaps it won't be under control of Intel, but if Linux gets
really popular, won't it turn into another monopoly like the OS(es) we
are considering it to be an alternative to?

A: Since Linux is released under the General Public License, no one
can grab a hold of it so tightly as to gain complete control over it.
Everyone will always have the right to simply take the source code of
the Linux kernel and release it on their own. Making a distribution
with it won't be a problem, either, since everything crucial for
making Linux more than a mere kernel is released under a licence equal
or similar to the General Public License (if made by the GNU project)
or the even less restrictive Berkeley License (if stemming from
original BSD UNIX).

Hence, there can be no company controlling Linux at any time. The
misconception that this is possible is usually due to people confusing
Red Hat with Linux. Red Hat is not the only company distributing
Linux. Other distributors of English-language distributions include
Caldera, SuSE and Debian, but there are several other distributions
tailored for special niches or even made up and maintained by
hobbyists without monetary interest. Don't forget that nearly every
country where English isn't spoken (e.g. Brazil, France, Germany or
Spain) has got its own Linux distributors that do not distribute
English versions (e.g. Kheops, DELIX), too.

8. Philosophical Issues

8.1. Unix philosophy

Q: What's this Unix philosophy thing, anyway?

A: Unix philosophy means that applications should be made to do one
task well, and no other tasks. This is reasonable because Unix makes
communication between these tools extremely easy. Unix is an excellent
rapid-development and scripting environment. The tools themselves are
not expected to present a user-friendly interface; that is the job of
a front end.

A simple example: If you want to archive and compress a directory tree
under Windows, you usually use a program like WinZip. It is an
archiver, a compressor and a GUI at the same time. Under Unix, there
is the tar archiver to archive files, there are several compressors to
compress tar archives and there are several front ends to both tar and
these compressors.

The Unix philosophy gives lots of flexibility, but to be successful it
relies on well-written front ends, and especially on users that both
understand and advocate it. Screaming for `one-size-fits-all' software
that would do a job where a combination of already available tools
already works excellently undermines this philosophy.

It must be noted that there exist a couple of extremely popular
multipurpose tools and applications as exceptions to the rule. These
include the nearly omnipotent GNU Emacs and XEmacs editors, some file
managers like the GNU Midnight Commander and especially scripting
languages like Perl, Tcl/Tk or Python. Nevertheless, even they are
aware of the Unix tool philosophy and interface well with tools.

8.2. Linux is an underground movement.

Q: You've been talking altogether too much about commercial things.
After all, Linux is a strike at the commercial underbelly of our
society, isn't it?

A: There are people who think Linux is either communist, libertarian,
anarchist, anarcho-capitalist, anti-commercial, conservative,
progressive, underground, grass-roots, rebellious or any combination
of these. Simply put, these people need to get real. More exactly,
they need to realise that Linux is not less and not more than an OS
based on a philosophy (see ``Unix philosophy'') and a licence (see
``Will Linux become a monopoly?'') offering lots of advantages, and
that is supported by an almost legendary community, but that using
Linux is not a political statement and that no one tries or should try
to enforce some ideology with its users.

The fact that some of Linux's advocates, even some of the Linux
`demigods', are political radicals, is in no way related to the OS
itself, its success or the direction it's going. Again, an OS is an
OS, there aren't (or at least, there should not be) any connotations.

9. Being part of the community

9.1. Hey, don't expect me to fix things!

Q: I need to have this done by someone else. And don't tell me to do
it myself! Who do you think I am? A geek?

A: The Linux community is not a corporate help desk. However you got
Linux, you didn't pay the community for it. Perhaps you paid a
distributor, and you can turn towards them for support, but don't
think you can coerce the community to do something for you, and don't
be upset if someone tells you to fix your problem yourself.

The community is driven by people fixing their problems themselves.
Unlike the users of commercial OSes, every Linux user becomes a part
of the OS in some way, some more, some less. The typical ``Do I look
like a programmer? Do I look like a geek?'' reaction is ignorant at
best. It's not arrogance of the community if they tell you to do
something yourself. It's the spirit of Linux.

10. Thanks

Thanks go to (in chronological order):

o Persona, for the idea for ``Diversity will be the downfall of X.''
and minor bugfixes.

o Alan Boyd, for the ideas for ``You must give away everything you
write for it.'' and ``Will Linux become a monopoly?'' and minor

o Evan DiBiase, for addressing the licensing problem.

o Stephan H.M.J. Houben, for making me add the trademark stuff.

o Matt Kressel, for pointing out that there can be more than one WM
per X server.

o jedi, for pointing out that there is Xnest.

o Pedro Miguel Semeano, for a bugfix.

o Eric Ortega, for improving the general quality of my prose.

o Tony Towers, for fixing the British English and the English in

o Bill McClain, for a bugfix.

o Anthony Ord, for fixing lots of things, especially the commas.

o Sean, for a couple of minor fixes.

11. Legal stuff

All trademarks, though not explicitly marked, are property of their
respective owners. Wherever a single company is mentioned in a context
that could also apply to other, similar companies, the text should be
read as if these companies were included. No such mention of a single
company related to more general issues is intended to refer only to
this particular company. The term `Unix' doesn't refer to the UNIX(TM)
trademark in this document, but serves as a placeholder for any POSIX-
compliant operating system generally perceived as being a Unix system,
including Linux if it isn't mentioned separately. Every term in this
document that applies to grammatically male or female subjects or
objects is intended to apply to all humans of both sexes, unless
biologically impossible.

12. Copyright

This document is Copyright (C)1998 by Matthias Warkus. Contributions
are welcome at Any way of distribution is
encouraged, but do not distribute this document in a modified form
without notifying the author. Correction of spelling errors and
deletion/insertion of whitespace does not count as a modification. You
will be allowed to fork your own version off this document if you make
its title noticeably different of this one and if you notify the
author of the place you keep it. You may not modify this copyright
notice itself in any way except for changing the name and year in case
you are forking off your own version. Distribution of this document
for a fee is forbidden unless allowed by the author.
=====END FRT=====

Feel free to comment on this or flame me for it.


Matthias Warkus | | Dyson Spheres for sale!
My Geek Code is no longer in my .signature. It's available on e-mail request.
It's sad to live in a world where knowing how to program your VCR actually
lowers your social status...