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Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Sunday, May 30 2004 @ 11:58 PM EDT

In order to attack Linus Torvalds and free and open source, proprietary software vendors and their Media Mercenaries are having to invent new meanings for words, because the truth of what they are up to is so ugly, they have no acceptable way to express their true position.

And besides, there really is nothing not to like about code you are free to look at, modify, and share with your neighbor. Freedom appeals to the heart of every normal man.

So they must twist and spin. Sun's President Jonathan Schwartz has recently been twisting his tongue around in order to redefine the words "proprietary" and "free", with laughably loathsome results. AdTI's Ken Brown does some twisting of his own by naming his soon-to-be-published book Samizdat, a word with a very noble history, which he then distorts to give it an ugly meaning so he can attach it to open source. He says open source is like samizdat, by which he seems to mean plagiarizing the copyrighted works of others. That isn't what the word means at all. It also isn't what the authors of the Linux kernel did. Samizdat is a noble word with a touching history worth remembering. The question is: where does Mr. Brown see himself in that history?

Here is what the word means. It is a Russian word that means underground press or self publishing, "a system of clandestine printing and distribution of dissident or banned literature."

Here is another definition from the Jargon Dictionary:

"samizdat /sahm-iz-daht/ n. [Russian, literally 'self publishing'] The process of disseminating documentation via underground channels. Originally referred to underground duplication and distribution of banned books in the Soviet Union; now refers by obvious extension to any less-than-official promulgation of textual material, esp. rare, obsolete, or never-formally-published computer documentation. Samizdat is obviously much easier when one has access to high-bandwidth networks and high-quality laser printers. Note that samizdat is properly used only with respect to documents which contain needed information . . . but which are for some reason otherwise unavailable, but not in the context of documents which are available through normal channels, for which unauthorized duplication would be unethical copyright violation."

A similar definition can be found in Hyperdictionary:

"(Russian, literally 'self publishing') The process of disseminating documentation via underground channels. Originally referred to photocopy duplication and distribution of banned books in the former Soviet Union; now refers by obvious extension to any less-than-official promulgation of textual material, especially rare, obsolete, or never-formally-published computer documentation. Samizdat is obviously much easier when one has access to high-bandwidth networks and high-quality laser printers.

"Strictly, 'samizdat' only applies to distribution of needed documents that are otherwise unavailable, and not to duplication of material that is available for sale under copyright."

So, it has a simple meaning, self publishing, with the connotation of materials not available in any other way. The word has an honorable history, one that Mr. Brown obviously hasn't thought about clearly. That is a flaw he abounds in, judging from what we have seen of his writings so far. Martin Pool has a segment from the foreward to a review copy of a version of a paper that was supposed to represent the book, Samizdat, although they now say it is being rewritten. The foreward was written by Cynthia Martin:

"Russian culture has always recognized the power of the word, spoken and especially written. In contrast to a democratic tradition predicated upon the notion that protecting free speech is necessary to foster the open exchange of ideas, a monolithic world-view, be it tsarist, monarchy, or Communist totalitarianism, cannot tolerate the potential for alternative positions or systems of government gaining broad support. The written word, as the bearer of such alternative ideas, is viewed as quite powerful, and hence, it is not surprising that official control over all forms of publication has been exercised throughout Russian history, especially during the Soviet period.

"State-sponsored censorship developed during the pre-1917 tsarist period, and subsequently found its full elaboration in the Soviet Union. Samizdat was a response to the attempt by the Russian government to control access to all publications and publication outlets. Samizdat referred to the practice of 'self-publishing' by dissident thinkers in a variety of areas, including political thinkers, academics and scholars, scientists, and literary and artistic figures in the Soviet Union. . . . "The punishment for producing samizdat or even possessing such self-published literature could be harsh, resulting in prison sentences or worse. To prevent unauthorized publishing, state control of the printing apparatus was so meticulous, that over long holiday weekends, for example, publishing offices containing typewriters and other forms of copying technologies were literally locked and their doors were sealed. The particular keystrokes of all typewriters were registered with the authorities so that illegally typed works might be traced to those responsible.

"One of the most famous cases of a dissident writer whose works, political and literary, were published via samizdat is the case of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. His personal fate is evidence of how much Soviet Russia feared the bearer of alternative ideas, and how total the attempt was to control the dissemination of texts that offered alternative views. Solzhenitsyn came to be seen as more of a threat inside Russia, where he could still spread his anti-Soviet views, than outside, and therefore he was stripped of his Soviet citizenship and expelled from Russia in February 1974."

Solzhenitsyn is perhaps the most famous example known to most Americans, but I have another, personal favorite. My father suggested years ago that I read Nadezdha Mandelstam's book, "Hope Against Hope," and its sequel, "Hope Abandoned." It is the touching true story of her husband's persecution, exile, and eventual murder in the Gulag by the Stalinist government. His "crime"? He wrote some poems the state didn't like, particularly one about Stalin. In his early career, his poetry was published. Later, the state made publication impossible, and his poems were passed from person to person by samizdat. At the end, even that wasn't safe. They were memorized and spread by word-of-mouth, the ultimate samizdat.

Here is a bit about Russian literature, and samizdat, including a mention of Mandelstam:

"Sovietization of Russia affected literature after 1917. Maxim Gorky, Nobel Prize winner Mikhail Sholokhov, Valentin Kataev, Alexei Nikolaevich Tolstoi, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Ilf and Petrov came to prominence. Whilst Socialist realism gained official support in the Soviet Union, some of the writers were secretly continuing the classical tradition of Russian literature: Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, Andrei Platonov, Osip Mandelstam, Isaak Babel, Vasily Grossman, writing 'under the table', with the only hope of being published after their deaths. The Serapion Brothers insisted on the right to create a literature independent of political ideology. This brought them into conflict with the government. The experimental art of the Oberiuts was also not tolerated.

"Meanwhile, émigré writers such as Nobel Prize winner Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin, Alexandr Kuprin, Andrey Bely, Marina Tsvetaeva and Vladimir Nabokov continued to flourish in exile.

"In post-Stalin Russia the Socialist realism was still the only permitted style; writers like Venedikt Erofeev and Nobel Prize winner Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who built his oeuvre on the legacy of the gulags, continued the tradition of clandestine literature. In the post-Communist Russia most of these works were published and became a part of mainstream culture. However, even before the decay of the Soviet Union, tolerance to non-mainstream art was continuously increasing. Bulgakov and Solzhenitsyn were published in the 60th. Social criticism of the Strugatsky brothers and the literature of the Mitkis became popular. Another post-Stalin development was the bard poetry.

"In the late Soviet era emigre authors like Nobel prize winner Joseph Brodsky and short story writer Dovlatov have been successful in the West and known in Soviet Union only in Samizdat."

Mandelstam had his own ideas about what to write:

"Yet the Bolsheviks had begun to exert an ever increasing amount of control over Russian artists, and Mandelstam, though he had initially supported the Revolution, was absolutely unwilling to yield to the political doctrine of a regime that had executed Gumilev in 1921. The poet published three more books in 1928—Poems, a collection of criticism entitled On Poetry, and The Egyptian Stamp, a book of prose—as the state closed in on him. Mandelstam spent his later years in exile, serving sentences for counter-revolutionary activities in various work camps, until his death on December 27, 1938, in the Gulag Archipelago."

You can read a bit of his published work here. The idea of the government telling you what you can write about is foreign to Americans, but here is a description of how it worked in then-Czechoslovakia between 1969 - 1987, at the time a Russian puppet state, and the terrible damage it wreaked on the culture and the arts:

"In preserving the status quo, the Husak regime required conformity and obedience in all aspects of life. Culture suffered greatly from this straitjacket on independent thought, as did the humanities, social sciences, and ultimately the pure sciences. Art had to adhere to a rigid socialist realist formula. Soviet examples were held up for emulation. During the 1970s and 1980s, many of Czechoslovakia's most creative individuals were silenced, imprisoned, or sent into exile. Some found expression for their art through samizdat. Those artists, poets, and writers who were officially sanctioned were, for the most part, undistinguished. The award of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1984 to Jaroslav Seifert--a poet identified with reformism and not favored by the Husak regime--was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak cultural scene."

Mandelstam is best known for the poem now called "The Stalin Epigram", which led to his arrest and eventual death/execution in 1938. The poem was untitled by the author and was memorized and passed from person to person for safe-keeping, a human chain keeping a poem alive. Mandelstam said he could be shot for composing it. Some have called this poem a sixteen-line death sentence. Here is the poem that Stalin thought was worthy of death, composed by Mandelstam in 1933. It was read aloud by Mandelstam and published only after his death, something made possible only because others risked their lives and took it upon themselves to ensure the poem's survival:

We live not sensing the country beneath us,
What we say can't be heard ten paces away,
and where there's a chance to half open our mouths
The Kremlin crag-dweller stands in the way.

His thick fingers are like fat worms.
He laughs through his bushy cockroach moustache,
And the polish on his boots shines.
All around him are the riff-raff of thick-skinned party leaders.
He plays the half-humans with favours.
Forging edict after edict like so many horseshoes
Shooting some in the forehead, others in the chest, the eye, the groin.

Every day there is an execution -
To our broadchested Georgian,
It's like picking raspberries.

Some estimate that 9.5 million human beings were killed in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. And the cultural loss is incalculable. Not every author is willing to die to write a poem, after all. Mandelstam's widow, after his death, wrote this:

"In the years of the terror, there was not a home in the country where people did not sit trembling at night, their ears straining to catch the murmur of passing cars or the sound of the elevator."

Mandelstam's friend and fellow poet Anna Akhmatova described those times, in her poem, "Requiem":

In those years only the dead smiled,
Glad to be at rest:
And Leningrad city swayed like
A needless appendix to its prisons.
It was then that the railway-yards
Were asylums of the mad;
Short were the locomotives’
Farewell songs.
Stars of death stood
Above us, and innocent Russia
Writhed under bloodstained boots, and
Under the tires of Black Marias.

It was in that atmosphere that Mandelstam's poems were preserved, primarily by his wife and his closest friends and admirers. She went into voluntary exile to Siberia with her husband for years. My favorite part of that section of their saga is where she writes about the local peasants in Siberia and how they would regularly ignore the rules to help them, despite being warned not to have any dealings with them. Still, they shared food and kindness with them, helping fellow humans in distress. Here is Nadezhda's account of one of his two arrests. A neighbor, who supposedly was a fan of Mandelstam's poetry and wrote literary reviews, had come uninvited and long overstayed his welcome. There was no food to feed so many, only one borrowed egg, but he stayed until 1 AM talking, ignoring all hints that it was time to leave, when suddenly there came a dreaded knock on the door:

"All hope vanished as soon as the uninvited guests stepped inside. I had expected them to say 'How do you do?' or 'Is this Mandelstam's apartment?' or something else of the kind that any visitor says in order to be let in by the person who opens the door. But the night visitors of our times do not stand on such ceremony -- like secret-police agents the world over, I suppose.

"Without a word or a moment's hesitation, but with consummate skill and speed, they came in past me (not pushing, however) and the apartment was suddenly full of people already checking our identity papers, running their hands over our hips with a precise, well-practiced movement, and feeling our pockets to make sure we had no concealed weapons.

"M. came out of the large room. 'Have you come for me?' he asked. One of the agents, a short man, looked at him with what could have been a faint smile and said: 'Your papers.' M. took them out of his pocket, and after checking them, the agent handed him a warrant. M. read it and nodded. . . .

"And so they burst into our poor, hushed apartments as though raiding bandits' lairs or secret laboratories in which masked carbonari were making dynamite and preparing armed resistance. They visited us on the night of May 13, 1934. After checking our papers, presenting their warrants and making sure there would be no resistance, they began to search the apartment. . . .

"M. often repeated Khlebnikov's lines: 'What a great thing is a police station! The place where I have my rendezvous with the State.' But Khlebnikov was thinking of something more innocent -- just a routine check on the papers of a suspicious vagrant, the almost traditional form of meeting between State and poet. Our rendezvous with the State took place on a different, and much higher, level. . . .

"Following their instructions, they looked in all the places cunning people are traditionally supposed to hide their secret documents: they shook out every book, squinting down the spine and cutting open the binding, inspected desks and tables for hidden drawers, and peered into pockets and under beds. A manuscript stuck into a saucepan would never have been found. Best of all would have been to put it on the dining table."

Mandelstam had been betrayed by the visiting poetry "fan", who really came in order to ensure that Mandelstam didn't flush any contraband poems down the toilet as the police entered the apartment looking for evidence of his crimes. Kafkaesque, but every neighborhood had such a person, she writes, to ensure the law was followed, which required arrests to be publicly witnessed. So, Mandelstam was carted off, to one prison camp and then another. Here is how the end came for her poet:

"Mandelstam was arrested for 'counter-revolutionary' activities in May 1938 and sentenced to five years in a labour camp. Interrogated by Nikolay Shivarov, he confessed that he had written a counter-revolutionary a poem which started with the lines: 'We live without sensing the country beneath us, At ten paces, our speech has no sound and when there's the will to half-open our mouths, the Kremlin crag-dweller bars the way.'

"In the transit camp, Mandelstam was already so weak that he couldn't stand. He died in the Gulag Archipelago in Vtoraia rechka, near Vladivostok, on December 27, 1938. His body was taken to a common grave."

An uncommon man tossed casually into a common grave by a country that had lost all proper sense of right and wrong and of how human beings should treat each other. A death that was perfectly legal according to the laws of that government at that time. That is one account of his death. No one knows for sure, though, precisely how he died or even when, because he had been officially declared an "unperson" after his second arrest in 1938:

"Mandelstam's death occurred in December, 1938, as Hass writes, roughly 'nine months later' in 'a transit camp near Vladivostok.' The details are unknown because Mandelstam was officially an 'unperson' in Stalin's Russia after his second arrest on May 1, 1938. The Russian poet had suffered several heart attacks and a nervous disorder throughout the 1930s as he was increasingly persecuted for his political outspokenness. It can be said with certainty, anyway, that Stalin was responsible for Mandelstam's death. . . .

"'I am no wolf by blood / Only an equal could break me' is a quote from Mandelstam’s March, 1931 poem #227, otherwise known as 'The Wolf.' Clarence Brown and W.S. Merwin translate these lines as 'I’m no wolf by blood,/and only my own kind will kill me.' (Selected Poems, 1974, 60). In his book Mandelstam, Brown calls 'The Wolf' one of the Russian poet's 'most dangerous poems' (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973, pg. 126). It was written in Moscow a few months after an official of the Soviet writers’ organization, the poet Tikhonov, forced Mandelstam to leave Leningrad forever by denying him work and housing."

One man, so long ago. Denied work and housing, then his freedom, and then his life -- for words. For thoughts. For expressing himself. Who wrote a poem and spread it underground, by word of mouth, in fear of his life because of a thought he wanted to share with others. Who lost his life because in every time in history, there are, sadly, those who lack principles and will do things that baffle and appall those who lead lives of integrity. Here is a Mandelstam poem that has outlived the frail and mortal poet:

The ranks of human heads dwindle:

they’re far away.

I vanish there, one more forgotten one.

But in loving words, in childrens’ play,

I shall rise again, to say – the Sun!

He left behind a wife who had done everything she could to save her husband, stuck by him through privations and terror, and who felt the anguish of failure and the pain of her unspeakable and -- by normal human values unnecessary -- loss, a loss that could have been prevented if others in the government-approved literary world had shown more courage:

"The Moscow writers, editors and publishers in the midst of whom Mandelstam was then living were a 'bitch pack' from whom he stood angrily apart. 'I have no manuscripts, no notebooks, no archives,' Mandelstam declared, 'I have no handwriting because I never write. I alone in Russia write from the voice . . .'.

"Fear, propitiation and courtesy played no part in Nadezhda Mandelstam’s self-presentation when she came to write her memoirs three decades after Osip Mandelstam’s desolate end in a Gulag transit camp on the way to Kolyma. 'I . . . was such a wild and angry one', says the unsent letter of farewell to her lost husband with which she ends her second book of memoirs. Even if its only reader turned out to be some 'expert whose task it is to destroy books, to eradicate words, to stamp out thought', her work would at least demonstrate to one of those 'functionaries to whom nothing matters', that 'this crazy old woman fears nothing'."

Here is the saddest part. Osip Mandelstam, toward the end, gave in to the pressure and wrote a poem he didn't mean, one more favorable to Stalin, in a last burst of hopeless, misplaced hope that perhaps it might save him or at least protect his wife after his death. By then he had suffered a nervous collapse and had at one point tried to commit suicide. Reality is hardly ever as swashbucklingly romantic as in the movies.

And so Mr. Brown would like to call his book, Samizdat, debasing a word covered with the blood of innocents. Brown has suggested the government "support" what he calls "true" open source code, and establish a government-approved "open source" code bank of some sort, giving money to universities to create it, to replace the free and open source code that thousands of creative volunteers have offered as a gift to the world already, code written by men and women who did it because they felt like expressing themselves, some of them because they wanted software code to be freely available to all, to benefit the world. As Mandelstam wrote in part of one poem:

How threadbare the language of joy’s game,

how meagre the foundation of our life!

Everything was, and is repeated again:

it’s the flash of recognition brings delight.

It's important to keep clearly before us that software code is speech, a form of expression. Even the law sees it that way. What side would Brown have chosen in Stalinist Russia? I cannot say, but he is attacking an upright man without cause, unless perhaps you count politics or money as a worthy cause, not sending Linus to his death, of course, nothing as dramatic as that. But he does attempt to deface a man's life's work, diminishing his remarkable achievement by falsely implying that it was plagiarism, so as to destroy it and replace it with state-sponsored code, which won't be allowed in business but can be used in universities.

I recall someone explaining to me once that in the Bible story of the three young men accused of not bowing down to an idolic representation of the Babylonian state, who were thrown into a furnace as punishment, that the Aramaic word "accuse", meaning in context accuse falsely or slander, can be literally translated as tearing the flesh off of someone and devouring it. Slander really is a serious thing. Forget the legal seriousness of it, for a moment, and just think about the morals of it, what you do to a man when you unjustly destroy his good name, or try to.

The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution claims it studies "the spread and perfection of democracy around the world." I don't think so.

Epilogue: After I read "Hope Against Hope", I contacted the publishers of Mandelstam's collected work, and asked if there was any way they would permit his poetry to be published on Project Gutenberg for the world to enjoy, even if only a selection of it could be placed in the public domain. It seemed appropriate, something he would find fitting. Mandelstam's widow is dead, and the couple had no children. They refused to permit it. Their book is copyrighted now, you see, and they figured they can make some money for themselves.

The evolution of a poem.


Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History | 319 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections here please
Authored by: PJ on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 03:04 AM EDT
Thank you for putting corrections here, where I can find them easily.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topics Here, Please.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 03:28 AM EDT

[ Reply to This | # ]

Source on rewriting claim?
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 03:29 AM EDT
<blockquote>Martin Pool has a segment from the forward to a review copy of
what was originally supposed to be the book, Samizdat, although they now say it
is being rewritten.</blockquote>
Can you cite a source for that? I haven't heard such claims yet.
<br /><br />

[ Reply to This | # ]

Institute or Institution?
Authored by: RedBarchetta on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 03:31 AM EDT
Ken Brown seems to have a problem with word meanings. For instance, he can't distinguish between an institute, and an institution.
in·sti·tute ( P ) Pronunciation Key (nst-tt, -tyt) tr.v. in·sti·tut·ed, in·sti·tut·ing, in·sti·tutes n. [..] 2. An organization founded to promote a cause: a cancer research institute.

in·sti·tu·tion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (nst-tshn, -ty-) n. [..] 3. 1. An established organization or foundation, especially one dedicated to education, public service, or culture.
Given that Ken Brown runs his organization using postal boxes as fronts for his business, I would hardle call Alex de Tocqueville established. It definitely seems to be promoting a cause on someone's behalf, so therefore it actually qualifies as an institute.

Collaborative efforts synergise.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Osip Mandelstam's poems if you are interested
Authored by: OK on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 03:51 AM EDT
Collection 1 - this one is in Russian
Collection 2 - this one is in English

The one I was...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 03:56 AM EDT
The copyright works of Mandelstam - are they the Russian originals, or the
English translations?

The Russian originals are presumably free, as I guess they could not have been
copyrighted during the Stalinist regime.

The English translations are presumably copyright to the translaters. They had
to work at translation, etc, and they as much deserve their copyright as any
other translater does.

Yes, it would be nice if all copyright owners licensed their work under a
Commons-style licence, but that is still the owner's call. Perhaps there is a
Russian who could provide a new translation from the original - assuming you
want something a little better than Babelfish.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: star-dot-h on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 04:01 AM EDT
A very moving and eloquent piece. Thank-you. Reminds me of Alan Paton's
"Cry the Beloved Country" which equally eloquently exposed the
absurdities of another state imposed abomination - apartheid.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: etmax on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 04:23 AM EDT
It seems Samizdat and The Alexis de Tocqueville Institution have a lot in common
with the Swastika and Adolf Hitler. He took a symbol of brotherhood (or a
derivative) and made it a symbol of hate persecution and intolerance on a global

Are these people right wing extremists seeking to subvert our freedoms like
Hitler did for Germany?

They say History repeats itself, and these guys seem to have taken their ideas
from the worst history has to offer.

Thank God for free speech, but without political pressure on politicians, they
may yet have their day.

Max - Melbourne Australia

[ Reply to This | # ]

Unintended compliment
Authored by: StNuke on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 04:33 AM EDT
Ken Brown, in his choice of title, has inadvertantly cast the open source
movement in the role of those standing up against tyranny. And by extension,
those enforcing, supporting, and lobbying for restrictive copyrights as
totalitarian thugs.

Embrace it.

*edited to add the word restrictive; I know many support copyright with fair use

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Lions Commentary - Also Samizdat
Authored by: DoctorW on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 05:06 AM EDT
John Lions' Commentary on 6th Edition UNIX was also spread by samizdat once UNIX
left the research labs and became a commercial product. That's pretty ironic,
because Lions and many others at UNSW made several changes to 6th Edition UNIX
to add features and improve performance. Many of these changes were subsequently
folded back into UNIX and were carried as far as SysVR2 (and perhaps further).

It took lobbying by Lions, Ritchie, Salus and others to finally convince oldSCO
to allow the Commentary to be be legally republished.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat and complacency
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 05:32 AM EDT
"The idea of the government telling you what you can write about is foreign
to Americans,"

- Of course the government won't. It knows that the private sector is better at
this kind of thing, and has privatised censorship.

Before being so complacent, consider the fate of 15 year old girls being
expelled from school for expressing opposition to Bush's war. Or the attacks on
Al-jazeera's web presence for telling the truth when western (especially US)
media were disseminating propaganda. Or the current supression of the
award-winning "Fahrenheit 911" in the US.

This is where samizdat is really needed today.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Shadrach Meshach, and Abednigo
Authored by: SammyTheSnake on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 06:43 AM EDT

I recall someone explaining to me once that in the Bible story of the three young men accused of not bowing down to an idolic representation of the Babylonian state, who were thrown into a furnace as punishment, that the Aramaic word "accuse", meaning in context accuse falsely or slander, can be literally translated as tearing the flesh off of someone and devouring it.

This is a little offtopic, I know, but the three men in the story mentioned above were certainly not falsely accused, they were defiant in the face of accusation, they refused to bow down to a false god, in much the same way I would imagine any one of us would refuse to condone SCO's POV (or that of AdTI or whoever else).

If you want to read the story again, have a peek at Daniel chapter 3.

Just thought you might want to know :)

Cheers & God bless
Sam "SammyTheSnake" Penny

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 07:22 AM EDT
The state telling you what to write should no longer be foreign to Americans who pay attention to current events. You might find that publishing a website with detailed instructions on building bombs is now somewhat unwise, for example. I wonder if even getting out a series of books on bomb building and similar topics is even overly smart. Sure, you're not going to "disappear" but you may find yourself answering a series of odd questions or otherwise rather severely inconvenienced. The Jefferson Muzzles may be enlightening. Admittedly, these document some of the worst offenses, but even so they're somewhat scary.

[ Reply to This | # ]

A fine analogy, and thank you to AdTI for suggesting it.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 07:56 AM EDT
It's interesting that AdTI choose to cast us in the role of the opponents of the
Evil Empire of the USSR. It's even more flattering to consider that the culture
of freedom that samizdat kept alive was one of the principal reasons why (most
of) the former countries of the USSR are now free. The other reason being
economics; the USSR simply could not afford to compete with the rest of the

Thanks for predicting the victory of free software over unfree software, AdTI!

[ Reply to This | # ]

I originally misread the title
Authored by: raindog on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 08:22 AM EDT
When I heard Brown's book referred to as "Samizdat", without seeing
the subtitle, I actually assumed that he was taking a page from the recently
fashionable rhetoric that conservatives/white people/Christians/other powerful
groups in the US are being oppressed and forced to take their arguments
underground, and applying that to his arguments (and those of SCO, et al.) that
Linux must somehow have been copied from somewhere else no matter how
improbable. Claiming, in essence, that his book was the "hidden
truth" that needed to be passed around in secret for fear of harassment or

It turns out to be uglier, as this article indicates. But expect this to be an
actual strategy once Linux gains more than a couple points of market share.
Those poor, oppressed proprietary software vendors.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Oak and the Calf
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 09:12 AM EDT
by Alexander Solzhenitsyn is his account of the events
leading to his expulsion and exile. It is in our public

It's been a while since I read it, but two points stick in
my mind. One is how the Soviet state was afraid of
Solzhenitsyn because everything they did was publicized.
They dare not arrest and murder him because it would be on
the front page of every newspaper in the west.

The second point is Solzhenitsyn was frustrated by the
loss of control over his works. They were copied and read
mostly by those who had access to copying equipment, ie.
the functionaries of the state. In other words, one hand
of the beast that was pursuing him was spreading his
works, the other hand was trying to destroy him.

Thanks for defining the word once again. I hesitate to
draw any parallels from that time to now, but the word
Samizdat should bring to mind what actually happened.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: vonbrand on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 09:33 AM EDT

By now, I think it is a safe bet that the "book" won't ever see the light of day. Please give it a rest. The whole affair has been (in effect) an elaborate troll: Start a rumor on a way-off-track book to be published soon, one that touches a much sensible fiber in a large group of people, and soon it is in everybody's mouth. If it is ever published, many will buy it just to look it over and be able to publish on /. how revolting it is: Please don't. The worst you can do to trolls is ignore them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

  • I disagree - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 10:40 AM EDT
  • Will it, Won't it...? - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 12:40 PM EDT
Please don't feed the troll!!
Authored by: QTlurker on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 09:53 AM EDT
Why so much energy on this topic? Seven articles on Groklaw!

Mr. B has no knowledge or credentials on the subjects he writes. He is a troll
plain and simple. Should anyone care what he opines?

The enormous effort to rebut Mr. B may actually produce the opposite effect.

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
-- Shakespeare*

enuff said. Time to reread 1984 and also Animal Farm by George Orwell.

*Note: There are some that contend that Shakespeare didn't "invent"
Hamlet. (see how easy it is to troll!)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sometimes you get what you didn't even know you were looking for...
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 10:18 AM EDT
I first started coming here to enrich my mind; never did I expect that something
like this would be posted and enrich my soul.

PJ, I don't thin it is said near enough. Thank you for your work. Thank you
for your drive. Thank you for the experience you provide on this site. It is
truly a service the world needs.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - A subconcious slip
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 10:33 AM EDT
I think it was very appropriate for Ken Brown to have
chosen this word, of all others. The goal of those that
hate software freedom is to drive it underground, where it
can only be published and distributed not by companies
commercially, but only in the safety of secrecy, where
laws are passed to outlaw software freedom and enforced
with the totalitarian instution of legally mandated DRM,
where companies with laws and patents can and do tell
people what they are permitted to write and not write.
Yes, I see the parellels, and they are striking, and ever
an appropriate choice for picking this particular word.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Spamming of old story comments
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 10:48 AM EDT
There is a rather unpleasant spam comment (quite possibly illegal content as
well) posted on the end of several stories, including:

SCO's Corrected Motion to Dismiss or Stay,
Tuesday, April 27 2004 @ 07:48 PM EDT

RBC makes up it's mind

Business Week: MS Did Ask ...


[ Reply to This | # ]

Adaptive meme propagation
Authored by: T. ProphetLactus on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 10:51 AM EDT
...this book seems to be a trial balloon to plumb an alternate launching point
for FUD. The internet is much too interactive, as most of the staggeringly
dishonest claims made by the MicroSappers can be debunked within seconds on this
media. The 'book' format presents a one-sided viewing of the desirable
falsehoods, with no possibility for interruptions by the 'noise' of countering
information. The 'dead tree' version release is banking on a perversion of the
superior legitimacy often accorded to printed works, and has a potential to
reach a different targeted demographic. As this method evolves, look for this
'work' to be quoted as source material for 'facts' to be built on by the next
wave of MicroShills. There is quite a cottage industry arising out of the
commercial Rent-A-Straw-Man-Advocate business, as the floundering frontal attack
by the scogs is badly in need of external support in a non-courtroom setting.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Unpleasant/Offensive/Illegal mass spammed comments posted in old stories
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 10:55 AM EDT
This isn't a correction, but rather a warning

I watch the menu (on left) for locations of new comments. I noticed lots of
really old stories kept getting pushed up today.

So I looked over some of these, and discovered:

There is a rather unpleasant spam comment (quite possibly illegal content as
well) posted on the end of several stories, including:

SCO's Corrected Motion to Dismiss or Stay,
Tuesday, April 27 2004 @ 07:48 PM EDT

RBC makes up it's mind

Business Week: MS Did Ask ...


[ Reply to This | # ]

Is Microsoft a Communist Corporation? I wonder.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 11:33 AM EDT
After all a corporation is a soulless legal entity. Why couldn't a corporation
support totalitarianism? Microsoft has done and plans to do many very bad
things. Microsoft's strategy is to embrace, extend, and extinguish. Gates
has claimed that American programmers will not be necessary in ten years.
Microsoft has taught the Communist Chinese how to track their citizens on
the Internet. Microsoft has been guilty of and also admitted the intellectual
property theft that Brown ascribes to the FOSS community. What about the
$53,000,000.00? What about the foreign funding of SCO?

A little truth illuminates the lies. More truth illuminates the liars. The
whole truth illuminates the schemes behind the liars.

Linus is a man with a good soul, and that forces Microsoft to paint their
target on him. The unvarnished truth is that Linus wants nothing from
Microsoft and has little to do with Microsoft. Microsoft wants to destroy
FOSS by dividing and conquering; first, destroy those who could oppose,
second, dictate the new rules as in Animal Farm, and, third, destroy their

[ Reply to This | # ]

More Research Went Into This Article...
Authored by: dmscvc123 on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 11:53 AM EDT
...Than All The Research For The Book.

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Ultimate Samizdat
Authored by: darkonc on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 11:56 AM EDT
Later, the state made publication impossible, and his poems were passed from person to person by samizdat. At the end, even that wasn't safe. They were memorized and spread by word-of-mouth, the ultimate samizdat.

For those who aren't familiar with it, Fahrenheit 451 (from who's name Fahrenheit 911 is taken) is about a future where that occurs on a mass basis. All books are ordered burnt, and the only legal way to preserve one is to memorize it, and effectively 'become' the book.

Fahrenheit 451° is the ignition point of paper.

A bit of language mangling similar to what Brown does to samizdat is applied to 'firemen'. In the book, firemen have gasoline in their pumper trucks. Their job is to burn book collections.

Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: darkonc on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 12:30 PM EDT
Slander really is a serious thing. Forget the legal seriousness of it, for a moment, and just think about the morals of it, what you do to a man when you unjustly destroy his good name, or try to.

The bible places it almost on par with murder. One of the 10 comandments is saved for this one:

Exodus 020:016
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Having been the victim of a wilful slander, I can say that there are few worse things.

Powerful, committed communication. Touching the jewel within each person and bringing it to life..

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Does anybody have any of these docs
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 12:49 PM EDT
Please does anybody have any of these docs (regardless of format, txt, pdf, png, tiff, whatever)


(1) Anybody seen the SCO answer to DC's motion for summary disposition?


(2) From 157:
Exhibit 28, and associated with 28, sub-exhibits A to G

(3) For doc 156: Exhibit 5: Event Transcript: SCO Group (SCOX) Conference Call, dated July 21, 2003

I have discovered this is the transcript of the particular July press conference in which Darl says users need to purchase a license from SCO, because of the copyright infringements caused by IBM and others.

There is a press release by SCO on the same date which includes partial quotes (but I haven't found the full text of this particular conference call anywhere)

Here, is relevant sections from the press release. As you can see it undermines SCO's argument that IBM case was not about copyright issues in Linux from an early date.
The SCO® Group (SCO)(Nasdaq: SCOX) today announced that it has received U.S. copyright registrations for UNIX System V source code, a jurisdictional pre-requisite to enforcement of its UNIX copyrights. The company also announced it will offer UnixWare® licenses tailored to support run-time, binary use of Linux for all commercial users of Linux based on kernel version 2.4.x and later. SCO will hold harmless commercial Linux customers that purchase a UnixWare license against any past copyright violations, and for any future use of Linux in a run-only, binary format

"Since the year 2001 commercial Linux customers have been purchasing and receiving software that includes misappropriated UNIX software owned by SCO," said Chris Sontag, senior vice president and general manager, SCOsource intellectual property division, The SCO Group. "While using pirated software is copyright infringement, our first choice in helping Linux customers is to give them an option that will not disrupt their IT infrastructures. We intend to provide them with choices to help them run Linux in a legal and fully-paid for way."

Hundreds of files of misappropriated UNIX source code and derivative UNIX code have been contributed to Linux in a variety of areas, including multi-processing capabilities. The Linux 2.2.x kernel was able to scale to 2-4 processors. With Linux 2.4.x and the 2.5.x development kernel, Linux now scales to 32 and 64 processors through the addition of advanced Symmetrical Multi-Processing (SMP) capabilities taken from UNIX System V and derivative works, in violation of SCO's contract agreements and copyrights.

"For several months, SCO has focused primarily on IBM's alleged UNIX contract violations and misappropriation of UNIX source code," said Darl McBride, president and CEO, The SCO Group. "Today, we're stating that the alleged actions of IBM and others have caused customers to use a tainted product at SCO's expense. With more than 2.4 million Linux servers running our software, and thousands more running Linux every day, we expect SCO to be compensated for the benefits realized by tens of thousands of customers. Though we possess broad legal rights, we plan to use these carefully and judiciously."

"Following the distribution of our letter to the Fortune 1000 and Global 500, many prominent companies using Linux contacted SCO to ask, 'What do you want me to do?'," added McBride. "Today, we're delivering a very clear message to customers regarding what they should do. Intellectual property is valuable and needs to be respected and paid for by corporations who use it for their own commercial benefit. The new UnixWare license accomplishes that objective in a fair and balanced way."

[ Reply to This | # ]

Not a 'real' book
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 01:39 PM EDT
Title aside, we should also keep in mind that what Brown is publishing isn't a real book in publishing industry terms. Despite the intense controversy surrounding it, it isn't listed for online prepublication orders at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It's not listed as a forthcoming book at Ingram, the largest book wholesaler in the country. It's not listed at the Library of Congress, which suggests it never asked for an LC control number. I didn't check to see if it has an ISBN, but if it does, that's the only scrap of legitimate publishing it has about it.

In short, Ken Brown's 'masterpiece' is no more a book than the bound business plans that people make at Kinkos. It's propaganda loosely disguised as a book for the 'this is serious stuff' effect. That's also why he picked such an absurd name.

We might point this out to reporters along with another startling fact. Microsoft certainly knows about this book and loves what it says. Yet Microsoft Press isn't touching it. Why? Because they don't want to ruin their reputation and trash their credibility by being connected with it in the slightest.

Like SCO, Ken Brown is yet another dupe of the Redmond behemoth, to be used covertly and then discarded when his credibility is destroyed. Maybe we should be feeling just a little bit of pity for him. From now on, he is a marked man, the one who wrote that absurd "history" of Linux.

Finally, those who're looking for an analogy to explain how Linux can be like Unix and Minix without violating anyone's copyright can point to writing and publishing guides such as The Chicago Manual of Style. They define in great detail the standards books should follow and books written according to those standards do look quite a bit alike. But each book is an independent and non-infringing work deserving of its own copyright. The same is true of Linux, Unix and Minix.

--Mike Perry, Inkling Books , Seattle

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat vs. Agitprop
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 01:44 PM EDT
Ken Brown's misappropriation and misapplication of the term 'samizdat' is turning out to be a wonderful education (thank you PJ for your moving account of the history of the term) --the metaphoral linkage of the Free Software movement to the Soviet Union is turning the tables on AdTI and their MS masters. Following the definition of samizdat, I found an excellent resource website, containing several other applicable terms:

The Area Handbook Series/ Soviet Union / Glossary http:// contains a listing of Soviet-era terminology--here are a couple of my favorite terms, along with some of my own comments:

Agitprop (Otdel agitatsii i propagandy)
Agitation and Propaganda Department, established by the Central Committee of the party in 1920. Absorbed by the Ideological Department in 1988. The term agitprop means the use of mass media to mobilize the public to accomplish the regime's demands.

accordingly, what we have been experiencing from AdTI, SCO, and analysts such as Ms DiDio, has been a massive piece of agitprop...

Russian colloquial expression for a person of the party apparatus, i.e., an individual who has been engaged full time in the work of the CPSU (q.v.). Sometimes used in a derogatory sense.

Ken Brown, then, is merely an apparatchik...

Profitable connections, influence, pull, or illegal dealings, usually for personal gain.

...and of course, we've seen all kinds of blat...

but we should be hopeful that we are entering an era of software perestoika:

perestroika (restructuring)
Gorbachev's campaign to revitalize the party, economy, and society by adjusting economic, political, and social mechanisms. Announced at Twenty- Seventh Party Congress in August 1986.

It is both enlightening and amusing to see the apparatchik Mr. Brown's agitprop turned against him tenthousandfold, as we, ahem, capitalize on his metaphorical misstep, which, like many recent events, is turning out in favor of FOSS!


[ Reply to This | # ]

Inspiring. Thank you, PJ.
Authored by: possible on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 01:52 PM EDT
I am encouraged
when I see
that others share
(something that often seems so rare)
a deep stirring
of the heart and mind
in response to evil.

And even more I find
deep admiration
for those who love
neighbor and truth
enough to bear
the cost of resisting.


[ Reply to This | # ]

What MS just loves to read.
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 02:30 PM EDT
This article, Hewlett to Support Software of 2 Open Source Companies, is just the kind of thing that we are seeing so much more of. FUD only works for so long. For a while there, we were hearing advice about keeping a low profile if you use Linux. It seems that is not much of an issue any more.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Thanks, PJ!
Authored by: oleo on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 04:23 PM EDT
Thanks a lot - from Russia. I dind't expect to meet such a throughout article on
Samizdat and surely I didn't expect Mandelshtam to be known outside of USSR.

Just curious, do you know the name of Boris Pasternak who was nominated for the
Nobel prize and had to refuse because of the soviet government' pressure?

[ Reply to This | # ]

The Astroturf de Tocqueville Institute
Authored by: Tim Ransom on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 04:52 PM EDT
Good stuff on adti/Philip Morris PR from Tim Lambert

---Thanks again,

[ Reply to This | # ]

Copyright and translations
Authored by: Duster on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 05:03 PM EDT
PJ- A friend and I have looked into republishing some out of print works whosew
copyrights had lapsed. We came to understand is that no publisher can deny you
the right to republish any text or translation whose copyright has lapsed.
However, they can deny you the rights to reprint ancillary materials (original
translations, comments, introductory remarks, etc.) for which they hold the

A good translation of fiction and poetry is a remarkably difficult task to
perform ably. Ideas, idioms, images and common places, which poets often lace
their work with, frequently do not carry well across a cultural and linguistic
barrier. When this happens a translator - good one anyway - has to substitute
idioms, images, feelings and turns of phrase from the target language and
culture that can carry the weight of the feeling and vision from the original.
This is no simple thing and more or less demands that the translator either be,
or work closely with an able poet whose medium is the target language. So, if
you do not speak Russian, but the words of the poet affected you strongly even
so, then the translator should receive a modicum of the credit. If you DO speak
Russian, then you have the right to do what you wish with your own translations.
So, maybe let that anger and frustration ease a little. BTW, IANAT (I am not a


[ Reply to This | # ]

Oh, please, don't glorify "samizdat"
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 06:07 PM EDT
It's simply illegal publishing. Nothing more or less.

You get a book, make a copy, share with a friend. That's it. This book may
happen to be written by exiled "Russian" poet or amrican novelist.

I'll give you some examples. One of the most popular samizat books was "How
To Win Friends And Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. I don't know why,
but it wasn't published in Soviet Union. I don't think it has anything to do
with ideology. It's just how Soviet economy worked: planned not market-driven.
People wanted to read this book, but publishing industry didn't respond to this
demand. Not a big surprise to me. It was very common. So, someone took
translated it, and shared his copy.

It would be the same as sharing a copy of MS Windows with a friend. Oh, yes,
people still do it. They "share" their copies of software in that part
of the world. It's very common to copy software over there. In fact, it's
considered IMPOLITE to not share your software with a friend.

Another example of samizdat is all sorts of porn and erotic books. Once, I've
read one supposed to be written by a former call girl. It was a sort of a guide
for adolescents. Well, this one would be clearly prohibited by government,
because it was "immoral". Those who share and posses these books were
breaking laws. No, not copyright laws :) Nobody'd be caring about copyright.

Again, there were all sorts of samizdatted books, anything could be illegaly
published. It happens today. Right at this moment. People are samizdatting
books. Technology is more advanced. Now you can get everything in internet or on

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 06:54 PM EDT
Am I the only one who thought samizdat was slang for "same as that"?

Thanks PJ and everybody for teacing me, and possibly others, a great new word.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OT: Another SCO statement IBM case about copyrights
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 07:27 PM EDT
In view of SCO's recent assertion that IBM's 10th counterclaim (declaration of non infringement of copyrights with respect to IBM's Linux activities), should be stayed, on the theory that the SCO/IBM law suit is not about copyrights....

Emphasis added ns/ SCO's Lawsuits Do Not Involve Patents Source:, April 19, 2004 Misstatement "Utah-based SCO Group has sued IBM, AutoZone and DaimlerChrysler for using Linux in violation of SCO's patents on the related Unix operating system."


SCO’s lawsuits against IBM, AutoZone and DaimlerChrysler include violation of SCO’s copyrights related to the UNIX operating system, but does not involve patents.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Tokeville not content to pollute the Internet
Authored by: Tim Ransom on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 10:25 PM EDT
These wraiths for hire are also been busy helping Philip Morris (addressed in previous post) fight cigarette taxes and, apparently, they also astroturf for the Energy Industry. Maybe lack of oxygen could explain Ken Brown's somnambulant idiocy.

Thanks again,

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: RSC on Monday, May 31 2004 @ 10:52 PM EDT
Great article PJ...

But, it's also a little scary.

Maybe I have had my tinfoil hat on a little to long.. but a lot of parallels can
be drawn between the starlinist soviets power and control with that of modern
day corporate america. Both have the propencity to do what ever it takes to get
the out come they want. No matter the cost (in the broard sense of the word).

Thats the scary bit. What lengths will Redmond and such go to for the outcome
they want?

Just posing a thought. Ignore if you feel:).

Keep up the good fight PJ...


An Australian who IS interested.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: tredman on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 08:09 AM EDT

After I had a chance to digest much of this, I ran across a fortune on my computer that is pretty apropos to all this.

For those not in the know, fortune(6) is a program that gets run usually when you first log in to a shell in many kinds of operating systems. Originally, it just provided some little quips or thought for the day, and was very popular on BBS's in the eighties. Eventually, it evolved into using quotes from all over the place, and the one that popped up in my shell today is a quote from an episode of the British sci-fi series Doctor Who:

The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views ... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
-- Doctor Who, "Face of Evil"

'Nuf said.


[ Reply to This | # ]

The fate of the Ukranian folk singers
Authored by: SpahZ on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 10:51 AM EDT
Stalin was particularly concerned about Ukrainian
nationalism and their opposition to collectivization.
This was a major reason for Ukrainian opposition to Moscow
and a source of support for Ukrainian exiles abroad planning
for an independent Ukraine.

One strong base for this opposition was the peasant.
In the early 1930s Stalin created a famine. He blockaded
the Ukraine and would not let food in, and he sent cadre
on systematic forays against the peasants to uncover any
food they might be hiding. Even warm bread was taken off
peasants tables and seed grain for the next planting was
expropriated; dogs and cats were shot. At least 7 Million
and some accounts like Walter Durranty who helped Stalin
cover up this holocaust with propaganda writing for
New York Times cited 10 Million, Ukrainians died from
hunger and disease as a result. Walter got a Pulitzer

But, there was another source of nationalism, its

The communists therefore shot Ukrainian writers, historians
and composers, Ukrainian officials too considerate of the
Ukraine; and even itinerant, blind folk singers.

Those with "bourgeoisie sensitivities" might find the
following from the memoirs of composer Dmitri Shostakovich
to have its own chilling horror.

Since time immemorial, folk singers have wandered
along the roads of the Ukraine....they were always
blind and defenseless people, but no one ever
touched or hurt them. Hurting a blind man-what could be

And then in the mid thirties the First All-Ukrainian
Congress of Lirniki and Banduristy [folk singers]
was announced, and all the folk singers had to
gather and discuss what to do in the future. "Life
is better, life is merrier." Stalin had said.

The blind men believed it. They came to the congress
from all over the Ukraine, from tiny, forgotten

It was a living museum, the country's living
history. All its songs, all its music and poetry.

And they were shot, all those pathetic blind men

Why ? were these blind men, walking around
singing songs of dubious content. The songs weren't
passed by the censors. And what kind of censorship
can you have with blind men? You can't hand a blind
man a corrected and approved text and you can't
write him an order either. You have to tell
everything to a blind man. That takes too long.
And you can't file away a piece of paper, and
there's no time anyway. Collectivization.

It was easier to shoot them. And they did.


[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 11:26 AM EDT
Yes, nice word. Not applicable, that is unless you consider Open Source a
religion rather then policy/industrial movement.

Todays Hero's and villians will be differnt 5 years hence. Hero's like IBM,
Novell, Red Hat will eventually succumb to capitalism and greed. And current
villians like Sun will turn around and come into favor as they strive in ways to

Red Hat, though currently in favor and rich is doomed to fail if they continue
to just redistribue their flavor of Linux and do not develope their own
proprietary stuff.

[ Reply to This | # ]

ADTI is a political creature, writing political missives
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, June 01 2004 @ 01:21 PM EDT
ADTI's latest peice on Linux is a political peice for hire.

ADTI doesn't do investigative journalism, they do political writings.

Apparenlty it is someones political fantasy that Open Source is anti democratic
in the best "war is peace" fashion.

Apparently the monoply (and the rents) afforded by copyright is one of the best
forms of democracy that we have...

[ Reply to This | # ]

Samizdat - a Noble Word with a Touching History
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, June 02 2004 @ 07:59 PM EDT
See also:

[ Reply to This | # ]

Truncated jargon file entry
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, June 03 2004 @ 05:44 AM EDT
The quote from the jargon file is missing the next line: "See Lions Book
for a historical example."

I feel that missing that sentence (the only thing omitted from the dictionary
entry) is adding to the spin: there's a belief by a lot of contributors that
AdTI are abusing the word, but their book purports to show that Linus copied
from the Lions book - the very book referred to in the missing line of the
jargon file definition of Samizdat, the jargon file itself being maintained by
ESR, who's "Cathedral and the Bazaar" was for quite a while the
touchstone of the open source movement. AdTI's title seems to me to be
<i>just a reference to the Lions book</i>.

Even Stallman makes the connection - I mentioned this here:

I think there's plenty enough to criticise about AdTI's FUD, but this isn't

[ Reply to This | # ]

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