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The Bee: Eric Raymond and the New York Times

Jul 14, 2000, 01:39 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bob Brand)

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"No longer am I just another small voice howling at the New York Times about distorted and misleading reporting on various aspects of the Internet. [Past articles: Net Depression?, eBay Addict?, Net Privacy, EBay in the News.] On June 27, NYT's Critic's Notebook contained "When the Geeks Get Snide" by Michiko Kakutani. This is typical, "Indeed geek-speak is flush with disparaging or defensive references to the real world and flesh-and-blood human beings. The nonvirtual world, so much messier than the one on line, is derogatorily referred to as a "carbon community" or "meatspace". The piece generated a rapid response from head geek spokesman, Eric Raymond. Operating at Internet speed, the following day, June 28, Salon Magazine printed Raymond's retort, "Don't Tweak the Geeks!"

"Arguably, two of the most misunderstood and inaccurately reported aspects of the Internet are hackers and open source software (OSS) programmers. Both belong to the species: geek. These subjects do not fit into neatly crafted 15 second media sound bites. Eric Raymond (known throughout geekdom as simply ESR) reluctantly emerged as spokesman for these arcane realms of Internet-land. (I heard ESR talk at a Connecticut Free Unix Group meeting in 1999.) While much has been written about this outspoken über-geek, the May 1997 seminal paper "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" (CatB) stands as the document that put him on the radar screen."

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