A Nose for GNUs

By Spencer F. Katt  |  Posted 2006-01-23 Print this article Print

Stallmania; in praise of foilies.

From: spencer_katt@ziffdavis.com

Sent: Monday, January 23, 2006 12:22 AM

To: eWEEK readers

Subject: Stallmania; in praise of foilies

"I wish I knew how to quit you," Spence jokingly moaned as he shut off the KattPhone. Alas, the reference from the movie "Brokeback Mountain" was lost on the attendees sitting nearest him at the unveiling of the first draft of GNU General Public License 3.0 at MIT. The Kitty had dutifully shut off the device after Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and co-author of the draft license, expressed his displeasure when a cell phone rang during his opening remarks at the event. "If you have a portable tracking device, you should switch it off or remove the batteries if you do not wish to be located," Stallman told the crowd, adding, "but they have probably tracked you here, and they are welcome to attend."

Asked by one attendee if hed brought any aluminum foil with him, Stallman said he hadnt. The foil question was in reference to Stallmans well-known opposition to RFID. Apparently, at the 2005 U.N. World Summit on the Information Society, attendees were given an ID with a visible RFID strip on it. In protest of having his movements monitored, Stallman wrapped an entire roll of aluminum foil around the badge and wore the foil-shielded pass prominently.

Later, Spence stopped at a Cantabrigian watering hole, Mr. Bartleys Burger Cottage, and met up with an old Lotus vet for some brews. Spence asked his pal about Microsofts announced tools, previously code-named Red Bull, aimed at inducing IBMs Lotus Notes and Domino users to migrate to Exchange. The pal joked that Big Blue and Redmond have one thing in common: the ability to create cool code names and then release the goods with mundane monikers. "Dya think the drink Red Bull would have caught on with a name like Microsoft Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer Web Update Pack" laughed the Lotite. Before bidding Spence adieu, the pal did note that some IBM partners, such as Domino toolmaker Teamstudio, have already publicly dissed Microsofts plans. Arriving home, the Puss fashioned an aluminum beanie for himself after seeing an MIT Web site, people.csail.mit.edu/rahimi/helmet, which claims a foil beanie may well be a magnet, rather than a deflector of any signals beamed out.

Suddenly, sparks flew and the Katt was channeling an overload of rumors such as: Could Apples recent application for trademarks concerning the phrase "Mobile Me" really mean an iPod phone is on the way? Do rumors that open-source infrastructure provider SpikeSource has plans for some new business initiatives in the channel have any merit? And, if so, will SpikeSource CEO Kim Polese speak about them at the Open Source Business Conference in February? Should visitors to Department of Defense installations be aware that bases are getting closer to implementing a regulation restricting cell phone use while operating a private vehicle? The frazzled Furball frantically pulled the smoking cap from his head. "Woo," mused the Mouser. "Foiled again!"


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