Twenty-two years ago, when your humble author was a minor participant in the eventually-derailed-and-co-opted revolution known as “Linux”, we spent a lot of time talking about the Holy Trinity Of Linux Guys. Three authentic geniuses whose vision extended into the future just a little farther than everyone else’s:
- Richard M. Stallman, who had invented the concept of a “free operating system” and built a framework to create the GNU programs which would eventually make up most of what we call “Linux” today;
- Linus Torvalds, who did the one thing that Stallman’s team couldn’t quite manage, and that was to build a decent operating-system kernel around which Linux could coalesce;
- Eric S. Raymond, who was the first person to truly understand the power of what we’d eventually call “Open Source Software” and whose The Cathedral And The Bazaar served as a Bible of sorts for those of us who truly believed that software could change the world.
Take any leg away from this stool, and your life would be different in ways that you cannot readily conceive. Billions of people who use the Internet today simply wouldn’t have the ability to do so. Computing would be much more like it was in 1995: restricted to people who could pay for $5,000 computers and $50,000 servers. Both the iPhone and the Android phones, for example, rely heavily on “open source” to operate. Without Stallman, there’s no iOS; without Torvalds and Stallman there’s no Android; without all three of them, you wouldn’t have the infrastructure necessary for “the cloud”.
All three of these men are known for speaking truth to power, which was acceptable when “power” meant functional and admirable institutions such as IBM, Xerox, and the United States Government. Nowadays, as WokeCapital notes, we “speak power to truth”, allowing our culture’s frankly insane delusions to trample the good, the true, and the beautiful en masse. This is not a world in which outspoken and socially awkward geniuses can possibly survive. The Western World loves “EQ” now and values it far higher than it does IQ, which it prefers to import in very limited quantities from Asia whenever doing so is absolutely unavoidable.
Here’s an example: Maya Angelou, whose vacuous mumblings form the heart and soul of our modern catechism, actually wrote that “…I believe talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it.” Note that this is considerably stupider than the Insane Clown Posse’s “Fucking magnets, how do they work?” because magnetism is not all that well understood but electricity, by contrast, is. Think about that for a minute, if you will; this country awarded more than fifty honorary degrees and multiple Presidential commendations to a woman who didn’t understand the universe as well as “Shaggy 2 Dope” or “Violent J” and who furthermore reveled in every chance she got to demonstrate that inferior understanding to the American people. I think the edgy kids say “HONK HONK” now in response to that sort of thing.
It follows, therefore, that Clown World would eventually reward all three of these fellows with a public dragging. Linus was first: his lack of tolerance for midwittery ended up in him apologizing for being mean to people and leaving the Linux kernel. That’s right: the man who invented Linux and gave it to the world free of charge had to quit because of hurt feelz. Stallman was next, being shamed out of Free Software for giving a technically correct but politically ignorant opinion about Epstein’s Rape Island.
This left only Raymond, an omission which has now been rectified.