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Linux Journal: Guest Editorial: World Domination

Dec 21, 1999, 19:15 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Eric S. Raymond)

"World domination. It's a powerful and faintly sinister phrase, one you might imagine some B-movie mad scientist muttering as he puts the finishing touches on some infernal machine amidst a clutter of bubbling retorts and crackling Tesla coils. It is not a phrase you would, offhand, associate with cuddly penguins."

"When Linus says he aims at world domination, it seems as if he wants you to laugh at the absurd image of a gaggle of scruffy hackers overrunning the computing world like some invading barbarian horde--but he's also inviting you to join the horde. Beneath the deadpan self-mockery is dead seriousness--and beneath the dead seriousness, more deadpan self-mockery. And on and on, in a spiraling regress so many layers deep that even Linus probably doesn't know where it ends, if it ends at all."

"The way Linux hackers use the phrase ``world domination'' is what science-fiction fans call a ``ha-ha-only-serious''. Some visions are so audacious, they can be expressed only as ironic jokes, lest the speaker be accused of pomposity or megalomania. It is in much the same spirit that I sometimes describe myself as Linus' Minister of Propaganda, as if I were some evil communist bureaucrat in a campy remake of Orwell's 1984."

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