[See also: In February 2005, Mark Langston sent on multiple public mailing lists a false claim that I had threatened litigation against BayLISA, an organisation I help run and from which he had just noisily resigned shortly before his accusation. Here is refutation.]
From rick Mon Jan 10 15:43:50 2005
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 15:43:50 -0800
To: Jeremy McLeod <email@example.com>
Subject: A brewpub debt
X-Mas: Bah humbug.
Jeremy, I probably owe you a beer. Two or three, to be certain I atone adequately for personal failings in the past.
In happening to look over prior posts on linux-elitists, I'm chagrined to note that I was cranky verging on downright rude to you — for little more reason than your trying to clarify Prof. [Daniel J.] Bernstein's qmail licensing. That was uncivil of me, and I apologise.
In partial defence, I ask leave to explain: Ever since posting my Web rant explaining why I personally choose not to use Dan's software (after the experience of having to admin qmail professionally), I've had so many proponents of Dan's software come at me out of nowhere with wacko personal attacks, in any and all forums, that I tend to get irritable even when it merely looks like that's about to happen again.
In addition, I note without complaint what you said back in 2001, in http://www.nylug.org/mlist/nylug-talk_mhonarc/2001-10/msg00161.html:
> As far as Rick Moen goes, I could care less what litigation-happy
> crack monkeys think. I lost all respect for Moen after the [name
> of fired Red Hat employee snipped] affair.
For the record, I've never sued anyone, nor to the best of my recollection ever threatened to do so.
My mother (and some other widows) sued Boeing Corporation for product liability when I was 10 years old, on account of their negligence that killed my father, Pan American Airlines Captain Arthur Moen. Other than that family lawsuit, I've not been a party to any litigation, ever, in my life so far. That includes also being defendant: I've never been sued.
Three individuals have, at different points, gone so far as to make (frivolous) legal threats against me. Prof. Bernstein was one of those. (I was very annoyed at the time, because I know from my family experience that lawsuits are not a frivolous matter. The Boeing suit ate my life and that of my mother and sister, for six years.)
All three individuals were politely referred to my attorney — at which point, not surprisingly, all apparently decided they had no desire to litigate, after all.
So, I would be obliged if you did not refer to me in public as litigation-happy, as that is plainly not the case. I was obliged to chase down the rumour — that for a while was going around the rather inbred Linux community in 2001-2 — that I am that sort of person: It turned out that people "knew" this solely because they saw you assert it as fact on nylug-talk. Without intending this to sound like a complaint, but just as a plain statement of fact: This has been a small but significant problem for me in the tight-knit Linux community, and I'd rather it not happen again.
On the other matter: I don't know what you think I did regarding the "affair". What I did was this: I posted several times on a Usenet thread that I thought it reflected very badly on Red Hat that it (at that time, seemingly) took no action regarding the employee for sending out that particular e-mail to a large number of people from his company account during business hours (an e-mail that others then distributed widely). What I would have expected would have been that his manager would have said "Don't do anything like that again", and that there would be a brief public statement saying "We told that guy not to ever do anything like that again."
I was quite aghast when I heard that Red Hat (months later) dismissed the employee from his job, over the incident. Their doing so struck me as wholly disproportionate to the event, an unreasonable managerial decision, and shocking in itself. I very much regret that sanction happening — but didn't in any way advocate it, or even dream that it would occur.
Had I known that the sequence of events as a whole would lead to a firing for basically nothing like adequate cause, I might very well have posted nothing at all to the Usenet thread. But I didn't know that. The limit of what I meant at the time (and tried to say) is exactly what I've written, above.
If you nonetheless have no respect for me, that's of course entirely your privilege, but I'm writing because people seem to often jump to conclusions. And, respect or no, I'd be delighted to chat with you some time, and buy you those beers.
[Feb. 2005 addendum: Despite having made very sure the above mail was confirmed delivered to Jeremy McLeod's mail server, I have thus far received no reply from him whatsoever. I'll be glad to update this page, if he ever sees fit to comment.]