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shlomi-fish-homepage / lib / docbook / 5 / xml / human-hacking-field-guide-v2.xml

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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<article xmlns="http://docbook.org/ns/docbook" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" version="5.0" xml:id="index">
    <info><title>The Human Hacking Field Guide</title>

        <authorgroup>
            <author><personname><firstname>Shlomi</firstname><surname>Fish</surname></personname><affiliation>
                    <address>
                        <email>shlomif@shlomifish.org</email>
                        <uri type="homepage" xlink:href="http://www.shlomifish.org/">Shlomi Fish’s Homepage</uri>
                    </address>
                </affiliation></author>
         </authorgroup>
         <copyright>
             <year>2004</year>
            <holder>Shlomi Fish</holder>
        </copyright>
        <legalnotice>
            <!-- Ci vis pacem -->
            <para>
                <!-- belum. ;-) -->
                This document is copyrighted by Shlomi Fish
                under the
                <link xlink:href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">Creative
                    Commons Attribution Share-Alike Unported License version 3.0</link>
                (or at your option a greater version).
            </para>
        </legalnotice>
        <revhistory xml:id="hhfg-revhistory">
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1134</revnumber>
                <date>2004-08-20</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Started working on this document after forking the template
                    of an older one.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1143</revnumber>
                <date>2004-08-21</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added up to the middle of the “Are you done insulting me?”
                    chapter.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1152</revnumber>
                <date>2004-08-22</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the end of “I’m just a geek”.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1158</revnumber>
                <date>2004-08-22</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the end of the first IRC conversation (“BETH!”).
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1168</revnumber>
                <date>2004-08-24</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the end of “She still is…”
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1168</revnumber>
                <date>2004-08-27</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the end of “Evil HTML E-mail”
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1194</revnumber>
                <date>2004-08-27</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the end of “TRIZ”
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1203</revnumber>
                <date>2004-08-30</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the end of “Divine’s Good”
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1266</revnumber>
                <date>2004-09-30</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the end of “‘Abandoning’ Debian” and fixed
                    many typos and incorrections.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1280</revnumber>
                <date>2004-10-02</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Fixed many typos, many of which were discovered by
                    Andrew Dexter.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1284</revnumber>
                <date>2004-10-05</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the End of “RMS is Coming to Town”.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1287</revnumber>
                <date>2004-10-07</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added to the End of “God Works in Mysterious Ways”.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1289</revnumber>
                <date>2004-10-09</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Fixed many typos reported by Uri Bruck.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1369</revnumber>
                <date>2005-05-20</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Fixed some typos.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1373</revnumber>
                <date>2005-05-27</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Finished the document, and spell-checked it.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1379</revnumber>
                <date>2005-05-28</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Changed “FreeNode” to “Freenode”. Also fixed two minor
                    but important typos and mis-punctuations.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1380</revnumber>
                <date>2005-05-28</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Fixed some missing quotes, courtesy of Freenode’s
                    <link xlink:href="http://rob.axpr.net/">AthlonRob</link>.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1382</revnumber>
                <date>2005-05-28</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Read the story cover to cover, and fixed many typos
                    I discovered.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1384</revnumber>
                <date>2005-05-30</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Fixed some problems courtesy of Steve Harris.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1389</revnumber>
                <date>2005-06-01</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Added another joke to the last chapter.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1414</revnumber>
                <date>2005-10-14</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Revamped a part in “Divine’s Good”. Also fixed a lot of
                    other bad phrasing, punctuation, etc.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1418</revnumber>
                <date>2005-10-17</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Made the “radius” detail much more realistic. (10 km
                    instead of 40 km)
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1443</revnumber>
                <date>2005-11-05</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Fixed the major/minor mix-ups in “God Works in Mysterious
                    Ways”.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1443</revnumber>
                <date>2005-11-05</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Corrected a typo.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1559</revnumber>
                <date>2005-11-05</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Corrected a typo and changed a word to a variant with
                    more character.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1685</revnumber>
                <date>2007-04-09</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Corrected a few errors in “Search of Lost Time”
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1752</revnumber>
                <date>2007-05-09</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Revamped the beginning (discussion of how to get
                    into a better college) to make it more believable.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1841</revnumber>
                <date>2008-07-15</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Revamped the start of the beach scene.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>2710</revnumber>
                <date>2009-09-07</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Revamped the
                    “Committing Adultery in Your Heart is…” part, a little.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>2768</revnumber>
                <date>2009-09-14</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Made various corrections and enhancements.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>3001</revnumber>
                <date>2009-10-06</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Some grammar, and formatting corrections. Changed
                    dot-dot-dots to Unicode ellipses (“…”). Converted
                    a quote to a blockquote.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>3135</revnumber>
                <date>2009-11-06</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Converted the spelling of “Maths” to the commonwealth
                    spelling (which is the standard spelling used for my
                    English stories).
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>3904</revnumber>
                <date>2011-02-27</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Converted to DocBook 5, upgraded the licence to
                    CC-by-sa-3.0, and added my homepage as a link.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>3954</revnumber>
                <date>2011-03-12</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Revised the paragraph describing RMS to those
                    unfamiliar with him, per his request.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>3955</revnumber>
                <date>2011-03-12</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Add the third IRC conversation - “She must be a fine cat”.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>4354</revnumber>
                <date>2011-04-12</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Finished writing the “She must be a fine cat” chapter.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>4356</revnumber>
                <date>2011-04-13</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Converted a lot of punctuation to Unicode.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>5179</revnumber>
                <date>2012-09-20</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Correct some spelling errors reported by a spell
                    checking script.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>5656</revnumber>
                <date>2012-01-30</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Correct university into college. Thanks to muskrateer.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>5758</revnumber>
                <date>2013-02-11</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Start correcting the English phrasing to be more somewhat
                    more mature. Thanks to ssta (from Freenode) and Joel
                    (from the E-mail).
                </revremark>
            </revision>
        </revhistory>
    </info>

<section xml:id="things_you_do_to_get_to_univ"><info><title>The Things you do to Get to College</title></info>

    <para>
        My name is Jennifer. Jennifer Susan Raymond, to be exact.
        I live near Los Angeles, in one of those nice neighbourhoods that they
        always show in movies. I’m in my high-school senior year now.
    </para>
    <para>
        Allow me to introduce myself further. The first thing to note is that
        I’m an honours student. I especially like Mathematics, whose high
        school exercises are easy and fun and the difficult ones, which can be
        found in puzzle books and Math competitions, are challenging.
        I’m also good in other subjects, but Math is really my passion.
        Other than that I’m blonde, have a cute face (I don’t really consider
        myself beautiful, but most guys seem to think so) and try to
        dress as elegantly as I can. As a Math geek, I sure have a social life.
        Everybody around me seems to like me.
    </para>
    <para>
        Finally, I should tell about Taylor Lawrence, who is my best
        friend. When we were in the fourth grade and were both grounded
        for 4 weeks, and instantly became friends.
        When we were 12, we started having, eh, sexual sensations, so we
        started dating each other at first. However, we then both had a crush
        on different people, and we were relieved when we found out. We
        decided exploring our feelings would not be a worthwhile goal, and we
        dated other people since.
    </para>
    <para>
        Taylor is probably even more popular than I am. Even though he wears
        prescription glasses, he looks great, and girls almost always agree
        to go with him on dates, and sometimes ask him out themselves. One
        thing he seems to like and I don’t is computers. He spends hours on end
        tampering with his computer at home. Mine, on the other hand, is
        almost always turned off. I have good hand writing, thank you, so I
        don’t need a word processor. I turn it on only to listen to audio
        files, do some random browsing on the Internet (either for research,
        or to kill time or whatever) or play Freecell or Tetris. I think
        computers are impersonal and boring.
    </para>
    <para>
        It all started one day, when I was attending class, paying attention
        to the teacher, when suddenly it hit me: I don’t have any
        special skills, and have never really been involved in the community.
        So, no prestigious college will prefer me over someone else. This
        bothered me so much that for the rest of the day, I just mechanically
        wrote down what the teacher said in my notebook, and kept worrying
        about this issue.
    </para>
    <para>
        I would really like  to graduate from somewhere nice, so I can be proud
        of myself, and have the entire world at my disposal. But my entire
        life I’ve been concerned only about myself and my friends, trying to
        be happy (and being very successful at it), and just doing
        what my studies required me to do. I’ve never really been involved in
        anything for the community. And I never found it necessary to get
        any special skills, unless you call hitting the gym twice a week
        (with Taylor), jogging, and biking — special.
    </para>
    <para>
        So I was relieved when I met Taylor that day, when we both finished
        school.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Taylor, I’m worried about college.” I told him.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Why?” he said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I don’t have any special skills and no community involvement.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jenn, you’re sweet, intelligent and the kindest person I know. Every
        college will be glad to have you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “So are most of the other candidates they get, but as opposed to
        me, they do have some special skills and show some community
        involvement. How am I going to get it by the end of this year?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, you might as well try.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Try what?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Learning a special skill”, he said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “A special skill? Like what?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You could study Sumerian!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sumerian? What on Earth would I do with Sumerian?”, I said, unamused.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Talk to native speakers of Sumerian, of course.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Now I was angry. “They’re all dead!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK, OK. How about Latin or Hebrew or Greek?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I have a hard enough time studying Spanish, and you know
        how all of its vocabulary just clutters my mind, and I do not really
        need to learn another language.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Si, comprendo.” Taylor said. “OK, OK”, he continued. “I know -
        why don’t you help the poor or whatever. Tutor kids with
        difficulties.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well…” I thought for a moment, “Taylor, you’re just making up
        random suggestions.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Taylor thought for a moment.
    </para>
    <para>
        “How about if you do something that I can help you with,
        and you can relate to, and that will also expand your knowledge.
        Jenn, what do you say about becoming an open-source hacker?”
    </para>
    <para>
        From talking to Taylor, I already knew that hacker did not
        necessarily mean a computer intruder, but rather someone who
        technically inclined, who liked to bend the rules. So I told him:
    </para>
    <para>
        “Open-source hacker? You know perfectly well that I’m a
        computer-phobic.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jennifer, you’re a computer-phobic now, but you can grow to
        like computers. I mean what are your options? Become an Electronics
        hacker like Jonathan is?”
    </para>
    <para>
        Jonathan is my boyfriend, and has been since the start of the
        eleventh grade. He likes to build machines with wires, batteries, and
        many other components. Taylor and he have become good friends.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Electronics? You know I have two left hands with these kind of
        things.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “But Jenn, you’re left-handed!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “So I have two right hands! Taylor, are we going to argue
        about semantics now?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK, but Jenn,” and he held my hands, “I want you to better relate to
        what I’m doing”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmm….” I said. I started feeling guilt and confusion and lots
        of other feelings. “Alright. ”, I said, “I’ll be an open-source
        hacker. Or at least try to. So… are you going to give me private
        lessons and stuff?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sure, why not. ” he said, “Wait a second! Hold that thought - I think
        I have a better idea. Come with me.” he said, and he went down the
        hall.
    </para>
    <para>
        I followed him for a few hallways and then we entered a
        computer lab. There he walked over to some figure (looked like a girl)
        with purple (!) hair.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi!” he said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hiiiii…” I heard an enthusiastic feminine voice. “Whatcha doing here?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jenn, please come here. Jenn I’d like you to meet Eve Siegel, who
        likes to be called ‘Erisa’. Erisa, I told you about Jenn.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I looked at this Erisa character. Her hair was dyed purple, her face
        had too much makeup, and her facial expression was horrid. Remember
        that episode in “Sabrina - The Teenage Witch” where Sabrina transforms
        herself into a punk? She looked only a bit better than that.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi…” I said reluctantly.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmm… ” said Erisa, “a bit too elegant for this school, aren’t we.
        I know your type of girls. Let me guess: you are an honours student,
        right?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes,” I told her.
    </para>
    <para>
        “You exercise a lot”.
    </para>
    <para>
        I was becoming worried — “Yeah.”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “You listen to these girlie bands like NSync, All Saints, Backstreet
        Boys, Britney Spears and…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well…”, I wanted to say that I did not like NSync much.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes, Atomic Kitten! These babes are the worst.”
    </para>
    <para>
        <emphasis>How does she know that I have all their CDs?</emphasis>
    </para>
    <para>
        “Furthermore, you’re a goody two shoes, never violated any rules,
        your parents are proud of you, you watch shows like ‘Friends’ and
        ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Sabrina’. Eukh… I hate Melissa Joan Hart so much…”
    </para>
    <para>
        I could not take it anymore. She seemed to know everything about me,
        I started crying and left the room to the hallway. I hardly even
        noticed that everyone in the lab was looking at me.
    </para>
    <para>
        Taylor went out and came to me. He hugged me and calmed me down.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Am I as superficial as she describes?” I asked after I stopped
        crying.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jenn, don’t take Erisa so seriously. She’s a bit of a punk, and seem
        to have a grudge against the world at large and pop culture in
        particular.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Why do you want her to tutor me in hacking?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Because she is a girl, so you won’t have prejudice.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “She might be a girl, but she doesn’t seem like a human being.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Trust me, she is once you get to know her better. And she gets
        to know you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Can’t you find another girl hacker to tutor me?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jennifer… she’s the best girl hacker in a 10-kilometre radius
        and one of the best hackers I know, female or male. She’s the
        best person I can think of.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Fine,” I told him, “I’ll give it a shot.”. The things you do to
        get into college.
    </para>
    <para>
        We entered the room again, and Taylor and I approached Erisa.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Erisa, Jennifer here would like to become an open-source hacker.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “She?” she made a fake laugh, “What for?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “To get into a better college.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “You want to engage in a purely altruistic activity for a selfish
        cause? Well, I won’t be the judge of that.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmpff,” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Anyway, if you want me to tutor you, it will cost you. My software is
        free, girlfriend, but my time isn’t. 20 bucks an hour. And trust me,
        I’m almost never this cheap. I’m just doing it as a favour to Taylor
        here.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “20 dollars is fine, I guess.” I told her.
    </para>
    <para>
        She opened her bag, took out the school’s students list, said
        “Jennifer?”, (I said “Raymond”), and checked my address. “Heh”, she
        said, “a couple of blocks from my house.” She took note of my name in
        her PDA that lay on the computer’s table.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Now for some homework. Go to the Internet and read ‘How to become a
        Hacker’ by Eric S. Raymond. I’ll drop by in two days, and guide
        you through the installation process of ‘Mandrake Linux’. Chicks
        dig Mandrake, and while I’m using Debian, it’d probably be the best
        for you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Thanks, I said.” I took a mental note of the resource, shook Erisa’s
        hand, and left the lab.
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="are_you_done_insulting_me"><info><title>Are You Done Insulting Me?</title></info>

    <para>
        The next day, I approached Taylor in one of the breaks, carrying a
        printout of this “How to Become a Hacker” essay. I was quite vexed,
        and wanted to consult him about it.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Taylor,” I said without saying hello, “what the hell does this Eric
        Raymond character want from me?”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “What did you find wrong with what he wrote?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Let’s see: role playing games - you know I hate them.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You don’t need to like RPGs to be a hacker.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Or Science Fiction. I prefer humorous writings and Realism.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “It won’t make you any less of a computer geek.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Here’s another thing:”, I said as I went over the document, “‘Zen
        or Martial Arts’. You know the mere thought of hurting someone else
        freaks me out and that I hit like a girl.”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hit like a girl?”, Taylor said, “Tell you what - here’s my open
        hand. Hit it as hard as you can with your fist? Let’s check your
        claim.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Really,” I said looking at his open hand?
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yeah sure. I’m ready.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I backed up my right hand, and hit his fist as hard as I could.
        Taylor cried “ow”, and rubbed his left hand with his right. Then
        he said out of quite a pain, “You forgot that we go to the gym twice
        a week.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh, right… weight-training… among else. Are you alright?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’ll be OK.”, he said as he released his left hand. “But I don’t
        think you hit like a girl. Keep that in mind in case you get into a
        chick fight one day.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heh”, I smiled, “So I’m a bit strong. So what? I still don’t want
        to learn Martial Arts.” I said. “And what kind of language is ‘Python’
        . Who would name a language after a snake.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, as far as I know Erisa, she’ll probably teach you Perl instead.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “But Raymond says…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “ESR (that’s how we refer to Eric S. Raymond), is a nice guy, but
        he has several faults. One of them is being a Pythoneer who bashes Perl
        quite irrationally. Erisa has learned Perl as her first language out
        of the so-called ‘scripting languages’, and she still prefers it to
        Python. She also told me that someone once told her that he’d rather
        teach people Perl at start, because it’s a language they can express
        themselves in.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, I also recall Pascal from my days,”, I said, “so I guess I’ll be
        alright.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jenn, ” he told me as he held my hands, “I’m sure you will.”.
    </para>
    <section xml:id="are_you_done_part2"><info><title>Are you Done - Part 2</title></info>

        <para>
            Erisa dropped by my house on Saturday. My brother answered the
            door, and was shocked, and a bit scared of the way she looked.
            After consulting me, I told him it was alright, and let her
            into my room.
        </para>
        <para>
            Erisa brought the CDs of the Linux distribution (they were burned),
            and said I could keep them. “Before we start, let me start
            Windows and check for configuration and stuff,” she said.
        </para>
        <para>
            “Wow!” she said later, “65 Gigs free out of 80? You obviously
            don’t make too much use of this machine. Well, that’ll give us
            enough space for installing Linux.”
        </para>
        <para>
            “OK,” she said, “now you sit at the computer and go through
            the installation, read the instructions and let me know what you
            think. I’ll let you know what you should do next.”
        </para>
        <para>
            “OK,” I said, as we switched places.
        </para>
        <para>
            Well, except for the part about re-partitioning which confused
            me a bit, everything was reasonably understood. Then Erisa
            instructed me to reboot the computer.
        </para>
        <para>
            When it started, it displayed a nice graphical menu which said
            if I would like to start Linux or Windows. I chose Linux naturally.
            Then a large number of messages appeared (Erisa said even she
            didn’t understand them all), and then I got the so-called “login”
            prompt, that asked me for a username.
        </para>
        <para>
            “OK, ” said Erisa, “we took note of your username and password, and
            of your root password. The root user can do anything, so it is
            considered a bad idea to use it all the time. When I started using
            Linux like you, I worked as root all the time, but you shouldn’t
            duplicate my mistakes.”
        </para>
        <para>
            “Heh heh”, I giggled. “OK, I’ll just enter ‘jennray’ here, and
            ‘schrodinger6590’ here. OK?”
        </para>
        <para>
            “Yes.”
        </para>
        <para>
            After that, this thing called KDE loaded (“KDE is the number one
            desktop for chicks”), displaying a nice boot screen. And afterwards,
            I saw the work screen.
        </para>
        <para>
            “Wow!” I said, “this is beautiful.”. And indeed it was: the icons
            were smooth and attractive, the windows had very nice decorations,
            it just invited people to play with it. I figured out the menu
            with the star was equivalent to Windows’ “Start” thingy, and started
            browsing the menus and starting applications.
        </para>
        <para>
            “Hold it right there, girlfriend!” Erisa barfed at me, “You ain’t
            paying me to play with Linux on my time. Now let me show you
            some things…”
        </para>
        <para>
            She showed me how to access the two control centres. (one for the
            desktop, and one for the entire system.) How to browse and manage
            files using the file-manager. (it had a cute Home icon), and
            explained about the kate text editor and why text editors
            in general are useful in UNIX. (“Linux belongs to a large family
            of operating systems, past and present, called UNIXes, which share
            a lot in common. So if you hear the term ‘UNIX’, don’t freak out.”)
        </para>
        <para>
            She ended up with searching Google and the Web for some good
            resources for learning HTML. She bookmarked all of them in the
            web browser, and then said:
        </para>
        <para>
            “Now, your homework for the next week is to prepare a homepage for
            yourself, after you’ve read everything I bookmarked you. (Possibly
            , along with reading it). Because you’re such an uninteresting
            girl, you’ll probably want to fill it with things you like,
            useless links, and raves about the Power Puff Girls. But I won’t
            judge you. Just make sure it has a lot of content in it.”
        </para>
        <para>
            “Are you done insulting me?” I answered.
        </para>
        <para>
            “For now,” and she grinned, “see you next weekend.”
        </para>
        <para>
            “Bye, I said!” and I paid her for her time.
        </para>
        <para>
            She sure seemed to know her stuff, but had a strange way of
            conveying it to me.
        </para>
    </section>
</section>
<section xml:id="just_a_geek"><info><title>I’m just a Geek…</title></info>

    <para>
        “I hate her, I positively and completely hate her.” I said to Jonathan.
        (Who, like I said, was my boyfriend)
    </para>
    <para>
        We were sitting in a nice restaurant having a romantic dinner. Yet,
        I could think of nothing more pleasant to bring than Erisa and her
        idiosyncrasies.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jenn, Taylor seems to be fond of her, so she cannot be all bad. Maybe
        she just sees you as a stereotype.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well,” I told him, “I’m not going to stop liking Atomic Kitten, just
        because she thinks they are a girly band. And I am a girl, damn it!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I have a better idea: why don’t you prove to her that you’re competent
        as a programmer? She seems to like Taylor, even though we both know
        that he likes Atomic Kitten and all the other girly bands as much as
        you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, maybe you’re right. I still have time on this weekend, I could
        try learning HTML and getting most of my homepage done. I think the
        next week won’t be so busy and so I can tweak it even more.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Right, maybe that way you’ll earn her respect.”
    </para>
    <para>
        And so I did. I studied HTML (Hyper Text Markup
        Language) and its CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) thing. I created a
        homepage with:
    </para>
    <orderedlist inheritnum="ignore" continuation="restarts">
        <listitem>
            <para>
                Some information about myself. My bio, my C.V.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                Pictures of myself and my family.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                Some jokes and quotations I was fond of.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                Links to books that I liked.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                Links to my friends’ web-pages.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                Some rants and raves about movies I’ve been to.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                Some pages about the Power Puff Girls, Atomic Kitten and
                Britney Spears. (I added them to tease Erisa)
            </para>
        </listitem>
    </orderedlist>
    <para>
        All of this with a nice style. (I played with the colours endlessly
        to get them right), and everything. It was actually quite fun, and
        I found myself doing it when I got too tired of doing homework.
    </para>
    <para>
        Eventually, I had a lot to show for. When Saturday came, I showed it
        to Erisa.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Not bad.” she said, “Not bad at all. Good content, nice style; nice
        , portable markup. You have validated everything right?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Good. Now let’s upload it. I happen to have my own private place
        on the Internet, for which I’m paying good money. I’ll give you
        an account there, if you promise not to abuse it. Wait a sec! Thinking
        about it, there’s no way someone like you will know how to abuse it.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmpppfff…” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “In any case, let me sit in front of the computer for a second.”
    </para>
    <para>
        We switched places, she opened up this weird window full of monospaced
        text, typed a few obscure commands, and after about 10 minutes, she
        said: “here you go. Your username is ‘jennray’ and your password is
        the same as one on this computer. Now, I’ll write a script that will
        upload it to the server, if you just type the password. Meanwhile,
        just take it for granted. Later on, I’ll explain what it does, but
        we still have a lot of ground to cover beforehand.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I was beginning to like her.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Another thing - our Linux User Group (or LUG for short) gathers
        around every first and third Wednesday of the month at 17:00 at the
        local university. You should come and get to know Linux better by
        listening to the presentations that people give there.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Wow! These Linux guys have nothing to do twice a month, than
        attend a presentation about it. But, then I thought about graduating
        from somewhere nice like Harvard or Berkeley and I said, “OK, I’ll
        come.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heh, the other girls there are more similar to you than
        to me.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Man, I am relieved.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You should be, girlfriend!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “My name’s Jennifer.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Listen, Blondie, I couldn’t care less about you or the whole culture
        and values you represent. I’m just a geek who is trying to make the
        world a better place. What have you done for the world recently?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heh”, I snapped at her, “at least I care about myself enough to
        dress properly, and to look my best, and to care about other people.
        You, on the other hand, make me miserable, so I would not call it
        making the world a better place.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Tough luck, Blondie. Your feelings are not facts, and you cannot
        sue me for making you miserable. I have plenty of friends whom I
        seem to bring a lot of joy to.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Who, like your boyfriend?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I don’t have a boyfriend and haven’t had one for a long time. I’m
        still dating guys, though.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Do they call you back?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Not usually, and that’s because I ask them not to.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You’re pathetic.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “At least I don’t need your help in learning how to hack.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Which reminds me,” she added, “if you want to get your money’s worth,
        you’d better want us to continue the lesson, instead of ping-ponging
        accusations between ourselves. Shall we go on?”
    </para>
    <para>
        I stopped liking her after this twist of the conversation.
    </para>
</section> <!-- End of “I’m just a geek…” -->
<section xml:id="hardware_hackers"><info><title>Hardware Hackers are…</title></info>

    <para>
        I decided to attend these LUG meetings, from then on. Thus, on the next
        Wednesday, Taylor and I took the bus to the local university, and
        went into the room. Immediately after we entered, some guy wearing
        a T-shirt with a Penguin on it and some shorts said, “Hey Taylor!” and
        as we got closer he said, “Who’s the fox?”
    </para>
    <para>
        I blushed, and then reached my hand and said “Jennifer Raymond”.
        He shook my hand and said “Jeff Burtkowsky.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Are you new here?” Jeff asked.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes,” I said. “I’m Taylor’s friend and Erisa’s pupil.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Nice. Erisa is a first-class hacker (whatever her other faults are).
        Just note that you shouldn’t be offended if some guys here hit on
        you. Most of them are heterosexual and most of the viable girls in
        this club are already taken.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “That’s quite alright. I’m used to guys hitting on me. I guess Linux
        guys are not different. But I have a very sweet and caring boyfriend,
        so I kindly interrupt these passes.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “What does he do?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “He’s in high school too. Heavily into Electronics.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Electronics? Wow, that’s impressive. Hardware hackers are a whole
        class above software hackers. I mean we software hackers write code,
        and it can run everywhere there’s a GCC backend on. It just works,
        and if it doesn’t, it is almost certainly the fault of what’s above
        the hardware. Hardware hackers… now they deal with the physical
        world, where one wrong wiring can make a world of damage. Now, if we
        are cool, they are above-cool.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “What’s ‘GCC’ and what are its backends?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well,” Taylor interrupted, “GCC is a compiler that is not very fast,
        does not produce spectacular code, but is one of the seven wonders
        of the modern world.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “How’s that?” I asked.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, it can run everywhere and compile code for almost every
        architecture, and has tons of useful extensions, and can
        compile many languages, and can cross-compile, and it’s open-source.
        The Linux Kernel, for example, can only be compiled using gcc.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I understand you’re not a programmer” Jeff said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, I studied Pascal for two years in high school. Could not get
        myself to really become enthusiastic about it. And I had better things
        to learn at school.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, Pascal is a sexless language, if you ask me. And, plus, I think
        programming is not something you can be taught in school. Some people
        are better programmers after 1 year, than many are with 10 years
        of experience. It vastly depends on your attitude.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmmm…” I answered, “I confess that the only reason I want to
        become a hacker now, is because I want to have something good to show
        off to get to a good college. But I admit that creating a homepage
        for myself turned out to be fun.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “In that case, you might grow to like hacking. If you don’t - I suggest
        you find something else to do, that you happen to like. People who
        are not enthusiastic about their work, are almost never good hackers.”
    </para>
    <para>
        It made me a bit worried, so I just said “Yes, naturally”.
    </para>
    <para>
        At that moment, Erisa entered the room. She looked around, and
        eventually fixed her gaze upon me. “Jenn, you came!”. (Could you
        believe it? She called me “Jenn”!) “Yep, ” I told her, “I had a
        very nice conversation with Taylor and Jeff over here.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi guys!” Erisa said, as she approached us.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jenn here is quite clueless about Linux, but she is actually quite
        persistent, so she may become a really leet haxor, sooner or later.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I did not understand what a “leet haxor” is, but I figured it was
        probably something good. The other guys laughed.
    </para>
    <para>
        The presentation was way over my head, but Taylor, whom I sat next
        to, was kind enough to explain some things. I eventually understood
        or thought I understood most of what was going on there.
    </para>
    <para>
        At the break, I noticed that some other guy was typing
        enthusiastically on his laptop’s keyboard and constantly using the
        mouse. I approached him. I saw a huge black window saying “XChat”
        in the title bar, and lots of weird text looking like a conversation.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Are you talking with someone?” I asked him.
    </para>
    <para>
        “As a matter of fact, yes. It’s called IRC - Internet Relay Chat. It’s
        actually quite useful for resolving random problems, but it can also
        become very addictive.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Can you show me how to use it?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I guess.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Apparently, you connect to a server, and then join various “channels”,
        where “channel” is a fancy name for a chat-room, where you talk by
        entering text in a small text entry. You can also initiate a private
        conversation and do other stuff. I found the idea intriguing.
    </para>
    <para>
        “And the people you talk to, can be from the other side of the
        world.” he said. “And I recommend Freenode for most purposes. It’s a
        really nice network. Here, let me E-mail it to you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Taylor, Erisa and I took the bus home. On the way, Taylor and Erisa
        spent their time talking about computers and computing news, while
        I was too afraid to interrupt their conversation and ask what they
        were talking about.
    </para>
</section> <!-- End of Hardware Hackers are… -->
<section xml:id="beth"><info><title>BETH!</title></info>

    <para>
        The next time Erisa came to tutor me, she showed me some Perl
        tutorials (Taylor was right!) and started instructing me on how to
        program. As homework, she gave me a pageful of exercises.
    </para>
    <para>
        One exercise, that involved a lot of text-processing and the
        so‐called “regular expressions”, turned out to have a bug, but I could
        not find it. I thought about calling Taylor, but then thought that
        maybe the IRC would be helpful.
    </para>
    <para>
        So I logged on to Freenode, and joined the #perl channel. Here’s what
        happened:
    </para>
    <programlisting>

                --&gt;  You are now talking on #perl
                ---  Topic for #perl is Welcome to #perl :: Do not flood, use
                     http://sial.org/pbot/perl/ to show us code.  This is a
                     Perl help channel, please ask your question. :: Latest
                     perl golf can be found at http://terje2.perlgolf.org ::
                     Latest perl is 5.8.5
                ---  Topic for #perl set by qualoo
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Hi all!
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  So like I was saying, I did not had a serious experience
                     with the BSDs, so I could not say.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: hi!
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Can you help me with debugging some code? I’m trying
                     to learn Perl.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  Sure. Just don’t paste it here. Use the pastebot.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  perlbot: nopaste
          &lt;perlbot&gt;  Paste your code here and #perl will be able to view it:
                     http://sial.org/pbot/perl
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Okey dokey.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: I see on your /whois that your name is “Jennifer
                     Raymond”.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  So you’re a girl?
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Yes, I am.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: nice. We could always use more girl perlers.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  We have another female regular here called “beth”. She,
                     on the other hand, knows her stuff pretty well.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  :-)
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  Also, guys flirt with her all the time here. (And she
                     flirts back.)
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Well, I have a boyfriend.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  So does beth.
                --&gt;  beth has joined #perl
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: talk about the devil!
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  BETH!
             &lt;beth&gt;  RINDOLF! HOW ARE YOU?
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: something you need to know about beth is that
                     you must always greet her with ALL-CAPS.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Heh heh.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  beth: jennray is trying to learn Perl and she has
                     some erroneous code. jennray: will you please post it to
                     the pastebot now?
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Yeah, OK.
        &lt;pasteling&gt;  “jennray” at 127.0.0.1 pasted “Erroneous Code”
                     (16 lines) at http://sial.org/pbot/3326
             &lt;beth&gt;  hmmm… jennray, are you sure you want to use a ‘*’ in the
                     regex on the last character and not on the whole string?
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Oh! It affects just the last character?
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  Yes. You need to cluster it by using (?:mystring) or
                     capture it using (mystring).
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Trying…
          &lt;jennray&gt;  It works!
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Thanks beth and rindolf!
             &lt;beth&gt;  no problem. i’m here to serve.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  beth++
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: whenever someone helps you you must increase
                     their karma by plus-plusing them.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  rindolf: ah, OK.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  beth++
                  *  beth hugs jennray

    </programlisting>
</section> <!-- End of Section “BETH!” -->
<section xml:id="she_still_is"><info><title>“She still is…”</title></info>

    <para>
    Erisa continued to tutor me, and I continued to learn new things. Perl
    is positively huge and has many nuances. Eventually, Erisa told me that I
    was good enough to start contributing to open-source projects. She
    recommended looking for interesting CPAN (= Comprehensive Perl Archive
    Network) modules, adding automated tests, doing bug-squashing, and maybe
    even adding a feature or two.
    </para>
    <para>
    That’s what I did, and found myself contributing to various modules. Then,
    one day, Erisa approached me as I was taking things out of my locker.
    “Jenn,” she said, “I told my Mum about you, and now she bugs me about
    inviting you to dinner at my place. Would you like to come?”
    </para>
    <para>
    “Sure! I’d love to come.” I told her.
    </para>
    <para>
    “Good, it will give you a chance to see my computer and I’ll show you
    what a working environment of real men and real women is. Not the sissy
    environment that I recommended you to start with.”
    </para>
    <para>
    “Heh.” I said and smiled.
    </para>
    <para>
    We scheduled for the next day at 19:00. So, the next day, I wore some of
    my best clothes, and prepared myself for two hours. As I looked on my final
    form in the mirror, I said to myself, that I probably would have looked
    better than Erisa with much less effort. And so I walked to Erisa’s home.
    </para>
    <para>
    She answered the door. Looking at her, I noticed I was right - she
    did look awful. “Hey Jenn,” she said, “please come in.”.
    </para>
    <para>
    “Now I can warn you that my family likes to call me ‘Eve’. I don’t mind it
    too much, but to avoid bad habits, you should refer to me as ‘Erisa’.”
    </para>
    <para>
    “OK. Why did you change your name in the first place?”
    </para>
    <para>
    “Well, every person should have a right to choose his own name. My parents
    called me ‘Eve’ because they wanted a nice Hebrew name. I, on the other
    hand, am trying to be unique and individualistic, so I renamed myself.”
    </para>
    <para>
    “I’m never going to change my name. I like it a lot.”
    </para>
    <para>
    “Girlfriend, it’s you who succumbs to society, not me.”
    </para>
    <para>
    Then I noticed a young boy (dressed perfectly normally) descending down
    the stairs. He looked at me, and said, “Eve, is this Jennifer?”.
    </para>
    <para>
    “Righto.” Erisa said.
    </para>
    <para>
    I approached him and said “Jennifer Raymond! Nice to meet you. Are you
    Erisa’s brother?”.
    </para>
    <para>
    “Yeah,” he answered, “my name is Daniel Siegel.”
    </para>
    <para>
    “Nice to meet you, Daniel.”
    </para>
    <para>
    “Nice to meet you, too, Miss Raymond.”
    </para>
    <para>
    “Hey, you can call me Jennifer.”
    </para>
    <para>
    He looked a bit puzzled, and after a few seconds said “Whatever.” and ran
    to a different room.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, as a good hostess, let me tell you what there’s to do here.”
        Erisa addressed me. “In the living room we have video games, a DVD
        player, and a VHS player. My family has bought a large selection of
        movies and video games. I have, for a long time, frowned upon this
        practice, as it pumps money into the content industry’s lawsuit
        machine. Nevertheless, I still don’t mind using them once they
        are purchased.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “My personal computer is in my room up-stairs.” she added, “There
        are a few things I’d like to show you there.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’d love to see your room. And to meet your parents.” I told her.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, let’s go to my room now, OK? And then we can find some other
        entertainment for you until the food is ready.”
    </para>
    <para>
        And so I followed her up the stairs. Erisa’s room reflected upon
        her personality. While the walls were white (luckily), it was filled
        with posters of Heavy Metal bands, with activism posters, and with
        a large amount of books (some of them had Hebrew writing on the cover).
        It exhibited a lot of disorder. In one corner, stood a desk
        with a nice PC computer beneath it, a flat screen on top, and a
        keyboard.
    </para>
    <para>
        Erisa took the seat next to the screen and hinted that I should take
        the seat next to her.
    </para>
    <para>
        “See, this is Debian - a distribution that real men and real women
        (trademark) use. It is maintained by a group of packagers worldwide,
        is controlled by an organization, instead of one of those companies
        that don’t really care about their users.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “The first thing you should notice is that I login with a text mode.
        Newbies dig an X-login, but it causes many problems. After you are in
        a virtual console, you can start X-Windows [= the Linux windowing
        system] using ‘startx’.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “And here’s IceWM - a usable window manager that actually does not
        eat your computer’s resources like KDE or GNOME do. Other people
        use fluxbox or whatever, but Ice works for me.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Cool,” I said. “I suppose I can give it a try. It does not seem to
        have as much eye candy as KDE does.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Eye candy in - memory and speed out.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heeee.” I giggled. “Anything else you want to show me?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, can’t think of anything now. Why don’t you go downstairs and
        meet my family? The food should be ready soon.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I went downstairs. Daniel was watching a film I really liked so
        I joined him. Eventually, Erisa’s mother called
        everybody to say that the food was ready.
    </para>
    <para>
        Erisa’s family talked a lot during the meal, and I joined them
        whenever I could. I noticed that they called Erisa “Eve” (as
        she had previously noted). The food was delicious.
    </para>
    <para>
        After the meal, Erisa’s father and her older brother had volunteered to
        clear the table, and her mother asked me if I’d like to look at
        Erisa’s photo albums. “I’d love to.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        As a girl, Erisa was super-cute. “Us being Jews, she grew among lots
        of Jewish and Israeli kids, and she learned Hebrew very quickly. She
        also eventually learned how to read it, even without diacritics.
        Some of our Israeli friends and relatives were amazed at her mastery
        of the language, and said her accent hardly revealed her true
        birthplace.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “She was so proud of her Jewish heritage and culture. Here are some
        pictures of her during her Bat-Mitzvah.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I looked at them with interest. “So when did she become such a…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Punk?” Erisa interrupted me, “That’s alright - I fully acknowledge
        this fact.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, ” said her mother, “around the age of 14. She started
        staying away from her usual friends, dressing weirdly, and colouring her
        hair in flashy colours. We don’t believe in dictating our children
        how to lead their life, so we just let her be.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Was it because of her interest in computers?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh no,” she said, “she’s been tempering with computers since she
        was a little girl. She used to invite her friends, both girls and boys,
        home and show them how to play games and program. It was all very
        social. We don’t know what happened. She was always so caring for
        other people.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “She still is…” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        Erisa smiled, and then went back to reading her book. After a short
        while, she said: “You know, I’m not exactly Miss Altruism here. As
        much as I think commercialisation is evil, and Big Business is
        aiming to ruin our country and the world at large, I still think
        tangible goods and especially people’s time is something that does
        not have to be given away.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Fair enough,” I replied, “I can agree with that. So?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, just for your information, by charging people for my time
        alone, I now have over 20 thousand bucks in the bank.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You’re kidding?” I asked surprisingly.
    </para>
    <para>
        “She isn’t.” Erisa’s mother replied.
    </para>
    <para>
        “How did you earn all of that?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, Mum and Dad finance my food, my clothing, and school, so I
        don’t have to worry about that. I used to work during the Summers for
        software shops, and I also give lessons (as is the case with you),
        work as a freelancer and have other gigs.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’ll give you an extreme example: one day, in the very beginning of
        the Internet craze, this old man sent a mail to a mailing list I was
        a member of, asking for help trying to form a web-site of his own (with
        pictures of his grand-children, and stuff like that). I told him,
        that it won’t be scalable to create and maintain the site for him,
        and that he should learn HTML. It turned out he was living in the
        other side of L.A., so I said that I will be willing to teach him
        that, if he pays me for my entire time, including the long rides.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “So he agreed and I actually taught him. Took a long time. You know,
        people his age can sometimes type very slowly, and he was not
        exceptional. After that, when he learned HTML, I told him that I’ll
        be willing to host his site on my server for a uniform monthly fee. He
        agreed.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “So I got a lot of money teaching him, and now I get a constant
        stream of cash from him. He and his wife actually now totally dig
        having a web-site, and they fill it in with reviews and recommendations
        of their favourite movies, recipes, bio’s, memorial pages, and stuff
        like that.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I shed a few tears and wiped them with my elbow. “Erisa,” I told her,
        “that is one of the sweetest stories I’ve ever heard. You must be the
        most compassionate girl in the world, and…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “‘Compassionate’ my ass!”, Erisa interrupted me, “I’m charging this
        poor old man, instead of just hosting him on my server, free of
        charge.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I still think it’s very sweet of you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, Blondie, sweet or not, my time and my resources are not
        distributed freely. It’s a tough world, and if you want to make
        it a better place, you should not give away your time, because
        it’s too precious to be costless.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “‘Blondie’, again?”
    </para>
    <para>
        Erisa grinned. “Jennifer, the only reason I call you ‘Blondie’ is
        because I’m a sweet compassionate girl who totally digs your hair
        colour.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I reached to hug her. “No hug!” she snapped at me, as I stopped,
        and retreated, while she returned to her book.
    </para>
</section>    <!-- End of Section “She still is…” -->
<section xml:id="mime_poe_xul_other_beasts">
    <info><title>MIME, POE, XUL and other Beasts</title></info>

    <para>
        I continued to learn new things, everyday. With the help of Erisa,
        I learned about C, (which is much sexier than Pascal), Internet
        Network programming, writing web applications, some GUI programming
        (very hard to get exactly right, but still fun), working with
        databases, and more. Erisa gave me problems like “fix at least three
        of the bugs in the bug-tracker of project foo”, or “add a new feature
        to project bar”.
    </para>
    <para>
        One thing I discovered was that reading code and understanding it
        was difficult. Much more than writing it. But after I understood how
        it worked, I could implement the fix or the new feature reasonably
        easily.
    </para>
    <para>
        The IRC chat was also a great help. Whenever I encountered a problem,
        I could join the appropriate IRC channel, and ask about it. If that
        did not work, I usually tried searching the web, or posting to the
        local Linux User Group’s mailing list, or to web-forums. IRC was a
        very nice experience: I met many people from all over the world,
        and chatted with them endlessly. Many of the chats were fun, but
        quite redundant, but a lot of them provided new insights or gave
        me useful new knowledge.
    </para>
    <para>
        There was only one thing that bothered me.
        When working on my homepage, I could very easily express myself. I
        was able to put pictures, sounds, hyperlinks, styled text, and files
        there. This was much more difficult in the IRC that was text only,
        with a few pretty useless embellishments, URLs that had to be copy
        and pasted, and all kind of other limitations. I wanted more.
    </para>
    <para>
        In one of the LUG meetings, Jeff, some other guy called Ervin, and I
        chatted between ourselves before the presentation, and somehow we ended
        up discussing IRC. So I brought this along.
    </para>
    <para>
        “So, maybe, ” said Jeff, “we need to create a new IRC protocol, that
        will allow such media. God knows I heard some people say they also
        want to be able to use Mathematical notation. Ever been to a Math
        channel before? The expressions there are not a pretty sight.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Ervin and I laughed, and Jeff joined us.
    </para>
    <para>
        “So we need a new protocol? What are we going to base it on?” I
        asked.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, on MIME probably.”, Jeff said. MIME is a standard for sending
        and receiving data and sub-data, identifying its type, etc.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Tell you what?” he said, “we can write a prototype for a server in
        Perl or Python using POE or Twisted.” I was surprised to realise
        that I knew what it meant.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yeah,” I said, “and let’s write the client in Mozilla’s XUL. That
        will give us all the media handling for free.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Nice thinking, Jenn, ” Jeff said, and we gave each other a high five.
    </para>
    <para>
        “But then we have lots of potential security issues, which we would
        like to avoid, and we need to think of a robust protocol.” I added.
    </para>
    <para>
        “So let’s go to the blackboard and start designing everything.” Jeff
        said.
    </para>
    <para>
        We scribbled a lot of boxes, arrows, buzzwords, state machines, and
        all other kinds of things. It was Erisa’s turn to give a
        presentation, and when she saw everybody next to the blackboard, being
        involved in the design, she was immediately puzzled.
    </para>
    <para>
        “What are you doing?” she asked.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi Erisa! We’re designing the next generation IRC protocol, with
        many improvements over vanilla IRC.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yeah, like Media support, styles, Math, a more robust and
        powerful protocol, and more features, etc. It was Jenn’s idea.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Interesting,” Erisa said, “since you all seem to be so much involved
        in it, I say that we delay my presentation in an hour. Jenn, I’m
        running out of things I really need to teach you, and you may wish to
        embark on this project, just to try and get closer to a demi-god
        status for yourself.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I blushed. “Sure, Erisa. It sounds very exciting. I don’t know how
        good a coder I am. Can anyone here become my partner for pair
        programming?”
    </para>
    <para>
        Lots of people volunteered. “Jeff,”, I addressed him, “Will you be
        my partner?” I felt I could trust him.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sure, why not? If only to make my girlfriend jealous. OK, Jenn
        and I will write a spec [= specification] together and send it
        to you. Jenn, do you know DocBook?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heard about it, but no.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Then I guess I’ll have to teach it to you. It’s not that hard.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Cool. ” I said, “Now back to designing this baby…”
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="evil_html_email">
    <info><title>“That would be as Evil as HTML E-mail is…”</title></info>

    <para>
        Jeff dropped by, a few days later. I offered him a drink, and we
        chatted about the latest Linux developments, and then we went to my room.
    </para>
    <para>
        Jeff instructed me to checkout a certain initial working environment
        he prepared for working on DocBook documents in advance, from its
        version control repository. We then started to work on the
        specification.
    </para>
    <para>
        DocBook is very verbose in comparison to HTML or any other
        document format I knew until then. Here’s a small glimpse of it:
    </para>
    <programlisting>

&lt;orderedlist&gt;
    &lt;listitem&gt;
        &lt;para&gt;
            First Item.
        &lt;/para&gt;
    &lt;/listitem&gt;
    &lt;listitem&gt;
        &lt;para&gt;
            Second Item.
        &lt;/para&gt;
    &lt;/listitem&gt;
    &lt;listitem&gt;
        &lt;para&gt;
            Fourth Item. Just kidding! It’s the third.
        &lt;/para&gt;
    &lt;/listitem&gt;
&lt;/orderedlist&gt;

    </programlisting>
    <para>
        But with a lot of fast typing and copy and pasting, it was pretty
        much OK. DocBook can be translated into a great deal of other formats:
        HTML, Acrobat Reader PDF, Microsoft Word, and even UNIX man pages. We
        routinely did the conversion only to HTML, but occasionally converted
        it into PDF as well.
    </para>
    <para>
        We made a lot of progress that day, despite the fact that Jeff or I
        initiated some breaks sometimes. It’s really good to work in pairs
        like that. At the end of the day, we checked in the most recent
        version into the version control repository, uploaded the specification
        in its various final formats to a pre-designated web-site, and sent
        a link to what we had so far, to the Linux User Group’s mailing list.
    </para>
    <para>
        The next day, when I checked my E-mail, I saw several messages about
        it. It also caused a flame-war. (“Media-enabled IRC? That would be
        as Evil as HTML E-mail is.”). Anyway, some of the input was useful,
        and some people even said they may be able to donate some time and
        help us out.
    </para>
    <para>
        Jeff and I finished the specification after two more meetings like
        that. We submitted it as a “Request for Comments” document, and
        started working on the client and the server.
    </para>
    <para>
        This took a while as we both had to learn Mozilla XUL, but we were
        able to get a working version in a relatively short time, that
        implemented a subset of the functionality. It was pretty neat talking
        with it, even though we were only two people there. So we set up a
        testing server for it, packaged the client and the server as
        media-irc-client and media-irc-server-perl (versions 0.2.0 for both),
        placed them online on a web-site, and announced it on Freshmeat. (The
        uneducated reader should know that freshmeat.net is a site that
        categorises software for Linux and other UNIX systems, and displays
        news of their recent releases.)
    </para>
    <para>
        It was a project of mostly just our LUG for a time being. Erisa decided
        it was a cool thing, and kept using the bleeding-edge of the
        program and talked with it. She also contributed some very nice
        patches (= changes that are both human readable and easy to apply) to
        it. Taylor got very enthusiastic about it (“You’re a first-class
        hacker now, Jenn!”) and kept suggesting ideas for the code, and doing
        clean-ups. Even Jeff’s girlfriend, Amanda, who wasn’t particularly
        technologically-inclined (well to be honest, she wasn’t computer-
        phobic, either) used it to talk from work and home, and reported bugs
        and stuff.
    </para>
    <para>
        We opened a channel for this on the old-fashioned IRC, where we could
        coordinate the efforts if the server broke down, or if we needed
        something simple. Eventually, we also started a mailing list for the
        developers. Some others of the user-group’s members gave a hand or lurked
        on the mailing list. It was all a lot of fun.
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="triz">
    <info><title>TRIZ</title></info>

    <para>
        At one of our semi-weekly gym sessions, Taylor and I discussed
        the latest happenings and traded gossip. Somehow, the conversation
        got to Taylor’s current girlfriend, Rebecca, and then Taylor said:
    </para>
    <para>
        “Becky broke up with me.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Really?” I said. “I’m shocked. I actually kinda liked her, and
        you two seemed so happy together.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I know, I liked her too.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Are you OK?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes, I’m fine. In any case - I have a great idea for a very nice
        girl I’d like to ask out, and wanted to for a long time.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Really? Who?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh, I want it to be a surprise.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Fair enough.” I said and we decided to go back to exercising.
    </para>
    <para>
        The next LUG meeting, I arrived relatively late, only to see
        Erisa standing with her back against the wall, next to a guy
        standing facing her with his hand on the wall. They were talking
        happily, and Erisa laughed a lot. It was obvious from Erisa’s movements
        that she was feeling flirtatious.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Another one bites the dust.” I thought to myself and decided to
        approach her. “Hi Erisa!” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hey Jenn, what’s up?” Erisa said and then the guy next to her turned
        around to see me and said “Jennifer, hi! What’s up?”. It was Taylor.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Taylor!” I said surprisingly, “… hmmmm, can you and I talk outside
        for a moment? Out… side…?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sure. Erisa, can you excuse us?” he said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “No problem.” she said.
    </para>
    <para>
        After we went out and got farther away from the room I said, “So it’s
        Erisa, isn’t it?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You mean the girl I’m asking out? Yes.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Are you out of your mind? Don’t you know how she treats her dates?
        She usually asks them not to call her back!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yeah, I know. Not always, though. And I feel that she became
        a lot more solid since she started tutoring you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Possibly. But she’s still full of it.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Jenn, don’t worry too much. We’ll go on a couple of dates and if she
        won’t be interested, I promise to you that I’m not going to get
        hurt. But it’s worth giving it a shot.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK,” I said, “so when’s your first date?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Friday’s night.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK.” I wasn’t particularly happy about that. I cared too much
        about both of them.
    </para>
    <para>
        When I returned home this night, I started talking on the #perl
        channel again, my mind still occupied by this.
    </para>
    <programlisting>

          &lt;jennray&gt;  Hi all, I’m back.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: hi!
             &lt;beth&gt;  hi jennray!
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Hey beth, rindolf.
                --&gt;  perlygatekeeper has joined #perl
  &lt;perlygatekeeper&gt;  Good morning, #perl!
             &lt;beth&gt;  good morning, perly!
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  Hi perly!
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Hi perly.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  Can I consult you guys on a personal matter?
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: shoot.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  OK, here goes: my best friend (a boy) has started dating
                     a good friend of mine, who treats her dates awfully,
                     and looks positively awful (purple hair, too much and
                     inconsistent makeup, and general neglect).
          &lt;jennray&gt;  She’s not really what his type of girls was so far, so
                     I’m afraid he’s going to get hurt. What should I do?
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: TRIZ!
          &lt;jennray&gt;  rindolf: what’s TRIZ?
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  TRIZ == Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.
                  *  jennray is puzzled
          &lt;jennray&gt;  That should be TIPS.
          &lt;rindolf&gt;  jennray: well, these are the initials in Russian.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  rindolf: ah OK.
  &lt;perlygatekeeper&gt;  jennray: why don’t you just perform a makeover on this
                     girl and get her to at least look better.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  But what about her attitude?
  &lt;perlygatekeeper&gt;  Well, one bird in the hand is better than two in the
                     bush.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  perly: you might be right.
                  *  rindolf gives perlygatekeeper the international TRIZ
                     medal.
          &lt;jennray&gt;  perlygatekeeper++

    </programlisting>
    <para>
        After this, I picked up the phone and called Jeff. “Jeff, you know
        Erisa, right?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yep. ” he said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “She doesn’t look too athletic, but does she pump iron or practice
        martial arts?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh no - she hates exercise. She says she’d rather exercise her
        mind than her body. Why?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I have this absolutely wicked idea…”
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="divine_is_good">
    <info><title>“Divine”’s Good</title></info>

    <para>
        That Friday’s afternoon, Jonathan, Jeff, Amanda (who is Jeff’s
        girlfriend as you may remember), and I arrived at Erisa’s home
        carrying a lot of makeup and female care accessories. We ringed the
        doorbell, and Erisa’s mother answered.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi, Jennifer.” she said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi Mrs. Siegel!” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “You guys are doing what carrying all these things?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “We are planning to give Erisa’s a thorough makeover. ‘Clueless’-
        style.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “It’s high time someone did, if you ask me. Did she agree to it?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Not yet, but we brought ropes just in case.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Lovely. OK, come in.”
    </para>
    <para>
        We entered the house, climbed the stairs and knocked on the door to
        Erisa’s room. “Come in” we heard her say within a large amount of
        heavy metal noise.
    </para>
    <para>
        We opened the door. Erisa was sitting next to the computer, doing
        something and as we entered she turned to face us. “Hi guys!” she
        said, “Whoa, what are all these things?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “We are making you ready for the date tonight.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “What? You mean a makeover? No way I’m letting you…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes way, and we can do it the easy way or the hard way.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Erisa rose up from her chair, “The hard way!” she said as she
        positioned herself in a defensive position, with her fists clenched,
        “You’ll have to get me first.”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Let me take care of this.” Jeff said, “I have a black belt in Karate.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’ll take care of it.” I said. I approached Erisa, quickly grabbed
        her hands, pushed her against the wall, and spread her hands across.
        She kicked my feet with hers - it hurt a bit but was nothing I couldn’t
        handle. “I go to the gym twice a week with Taylor. Weight training,
        among other things.” I told her.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I can see that, Ms. America…” she barked at me, “OK, OK, I’ll let
        you get on with this makeover thing.”
    </para>
    <para>
        I let her go. “Do you promise?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I swear by Life, Liberty and Tux the Penguin that I will let you do
        the makeover, while being fully cooperative.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Are you doing it for Taylor’s sake?” I asked her.
    </para>
    <para>
        “No, I’m just doing it so I could move my fscking limbs, damn it!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well that’s good, too.” Amanda said, “Now do you boys want to stay
        here for the beauty care session?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “It depends:” Jeff said, “will we get to see Erisa naked?”
    </para>
    <para>
        Erisa picked up a random object off her desk and threw it at Jeff.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Just kidding! No, we’ll go downstairs. Have fun here.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Ta ta.” Erisa said.
    </para>
    <para>
        Jeff and Jonathan left the room, while Amanda and I stayed to improve
        Erisa’s look. The first thing we did was to take off her hair dye. Then
        we instructed her to bathe and wash her hair. We washed all her makeup,
        and showed her how to apply a new one in a better way. We then arranged
        her hair, and asked her to choose her favourite evening dress.
    </para>
    <para>
        She was ready shortly before Taylor arrived. We let her look at
        herself at the mirror to see the improvement.
    </para>
    <para>
        Erisa looked at herself at the mirror smiling. “Wow!” she said,
        “I look… I look… nah! I’m not going to say it - it’s too corny.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Suit yourself,” I said. “I think we’re done with you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Excellent. Well, transformed or not, I still have my responsibilities
        as a computer hacker. I left a few people in limbo when you arrived,
        and hopefully can catch up with them.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sure, ” I said, “just don’t overwork or anything. I’m going
        downstairs.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’ll join you.” Amanda said.
    </para>
    <para>
        Downstairs, Jeff was playing video games with Daniel, while Jonathan
        was eating a fruit salad. “She’s ready.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Excellent.” Jeff and Jonathan said simultaneously.
    </para>
    <para>
        We then heard a ring in the door. Erisa’s mother went to answer it. It
        was Taylor. He was wearing some jeans and a T-shirt. He looked OK, but
        not much more than OK. He had a very nice flowers’ bouquet in his
        right hand, though.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi Taylor!” we said one after the other.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hey guys, ” he said, “what are you guys doing here?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Helping Erisa get ready for her date.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’ll get her.” Amanda said, and went up the stairs.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Don’t you think you look a bit plain for the date?” I asked.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, it’s only a movie and a pizza. Plus, there’s no way on Earth
        that Erisa is going to look better than I am.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Holy virgin mother of god!” exclaimed Jeff. He was looking at the
        staircase where Erisa stood, descending it slowly. Her jet-black hair
        was arranged in a ball and a pony tail, shining from the light.
        Her dark purple dress made her look especially beautiful, and
        complemented her body. She looked wonderful.
    </para>
    <para>
        “So, ” she said after she reached the ground floor, shaking her body
        and extending her hands, “how do I look?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You look… ” Taylor said, “divine!”
    </para>
    <para>
        Erisa thought for a moment and then said: “‘Divine’s good.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Here, Erisa…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hey, ‘Erisa’ was the old (and temporary) me. Call me ‘Eve’ now.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “…Eve! Here - I brought you flowers.” and he handed her the
        flowers he had.
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve (!) smelled them, and said, “they smell nice. Mum, can you put
        them in a vase with some water?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Ahhmm… Eve, can we stop by my house and give me a chance to pick
        up some better clothes?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Why?” Eve said, “we’re going to miss the movie.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, people will look at the two of us and say: ‘she is
        <emphasis role="bold">way</emphasis> out of his league!’”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve approached Taylor. “Well, to quote Richard P. Feynman, ” she
        said as she tied her arms around his neck “‘What do you care what
        other people think?’ We both know you’re a great guy and I’m so
        lucky to go on a date with you. Mwaaa…” and she kissed him on the
        cheek.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, ” he said, “I guess we’d better get going. Bye all!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Bye!” we all said. Eve and Taylor left and Taylor gave us a thumb’s
        up as he left, and we gave him back.
    </para>
    <para>
        “So, would you guys want to stay for dinner?” Eve’s mother asked us.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’d love to, Mrs. Siegel.” I said. “Yeah, me too.” everybody else said.
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="commiting_adultery"><info><title>Committing Adultery in Your Heart is…</title></info>

    <para>
        We did not stay late enough to see Eve return from her date. The next
        Monday, I arrived at school in time only to discover my first lesson
        was cancelled. So I went to the computer lab.
    </para>
    <para>
        As I was pounding on the computer, I heard a “Hey Jenn!”. It was Eve.
        She was wearing some Jeans and a T-shirt with the Linux penguin and
        some inscriptions on. Her hair was flowing in all directions and she
        was wearing good makeup. She looked great.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi Eve! So how was your date?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heh, Jenn, I’m gonna get you for this… one day… I swear.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “What’s wrong?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, Taylor could not help staring at me the whole time. When we
        got to the cinema and the movie started he actually hugged me with his
        arms.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Using the stretching trick?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “No.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “So what did you do?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I sort of cuddled into him. Then he smelled my hair. So I asked him
        ‘How did it smell?’ and he said ‘It smells lovely.’. Is he British?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “No, he’s not.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “That wasn’t the worst part. After the movie was over, he told me that
        I was too good for a Pizza, and instead took me to Loro’s.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Loro’s a very nice restaurant. Not too expensive but very nice.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I know!”, she exclaimed, “and we were chatting all this time. And when
        the meal ended, he insisted on paying for my part of the dinner. You
        know I have my financial resources.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes, I do.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Then he escorted me home, and when we arrived there, he asked if I
        want a good night kiss. I said ‘OK’, and we kissed. Well, it turned
        out to be more than a kiss - we were totally making out.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “And…”, I said eagerly.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I stopped him, said ‘Good night, bye, see you at school.’ and went
        inside. Didn’t want to push it too far.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “So you’re not going to see him again?” I asked her, puzzled.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Are you kidding? That was my best date of all time. I’ll better set
        up another one.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Nice, ” I said. “It’s really nice seeing you two together.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK,” she said, “I’ll better get going. Oh wait… can you come with
        me, two days from now, and help me shop for new clothes and for things
        to decorate my room with?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sure,” I said, “why not?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Great! And do you mind if I join you and Taylor in your gym workout?
        ‘Sound mind in a sound body’?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “No problem here. And I think Taylor would love to see you more
        often.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Judging by yesterday, I think he actually may. Ta ta!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Bye!”.
    </para>
    <para>
        Taylor entered the same room after about 20 minutes. “Hi!” I told
        him, “How was your date last Friday?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “It went pretty well.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “That’s it?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I guess…” he said hesitantly.
    </para>
    <para>
        I was shocked. “Man, you guys make awful gossipers.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh… Eve was here, wasn’t she? And she told you all about it.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yep. You smelled her hair and said it smelled lovely. You bought
        her dinner at a rather fancy restaurant.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes, it was a wonderful date, I guess. Eve was so great the
        other night.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yeah, she was.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Thanks for… you know… transforming her and all.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You’re welcome.”
    </para>
    <para>
        When Eve and I got together to go shopping, we went to a clothes
        shop. “You know, my newfound powers are intoxicating. Three guys
        hit on me at school since the weekend, including this really cute
        Football player.” she said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmm… ” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Are you ladies alright?” the shop’s clerk (Tim, a young
        and handsome man) approached us.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hey Tim!” I said, “I don’t believe you know my friend Eve here.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Eve Siegel!” she said and extended her hand.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Tim O’Brian.” he said and they shook hands. “OK, I’ll be there if
        you need me…”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve followed him with her gaze for a few seconds, and then smiled
        and went back to looking at the clothes.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Will you stop that?” I whispered to her.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Stop what?” she said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “You’re totally into him.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “So I’m lusting him a little bit, so what? ‘But I say unto you, that
        whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed
        adultery with her already in his heart.’”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, girlfriend, committing adultery in your heart is perfectly
        harmless and quite rewarding. And I’m not really raping anyone. I’m
        tenderly making love to them.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Listen,” I snapped at her, “Taylor is my best friend, and I swear
        that if you…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’m crazy about Taylor.” she interrupted me.
    </para>
    <para>
        “What?” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        She changed her pose. “I’m crazy about Taylor. Always have been. I
        promise I wouldn’t do anything to hurt him.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You always have been crazy about Taylor? Why didn’t you tell him
        that?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Come on, have you looked at me then? I wasn’t his type. He always
        dated these well-groomed girls, who had some sense not to rebel like
        I did. Hell, he also dated this incredibly dumb cheerleader once.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Stacie wasn’t dumb!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I was being sarcastic! My point is that he was way out of my league.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh!” I said and tried to hug her.
    </para>
    <para>
        “No hug!” she said. “In any case, I’ll do my best to make
        things work between Taylor and I. And even if they don’t, we’ll
        remain good friends. The kind of friends who go to movies together,
        or socialise at LUG meetings, fix dates for each other, etc.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Good, I’m glad to hear that. Now where were we?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Picking clothes.” she said, and after a while added: “You know,
        we should drop by Radio Shack and get some dolls of Tux and Beastie
        the BSD Daemon. I totally dig these guys. Oh! And a nice Looney Toons
        poster. I’d hate to pump money into the MPAA’s lawsuit machine, but
        I really like Marvin the Martian.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Who are you, and what have you done to Erisa?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hey, the makeover was your idea, Jennifer. What have
        <emphasis role="bold">you</emphasis> done to Erisa?” and we
        both laughed.
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="so_exciting"><info><title>Man, it was so exciting!</title></info>

    <para>
        Eve has certainly changed. Taylor, Eve, and I socialised a lot in
        school, and spent a lot of time discussing our Media-IRC project,
        and just exchanging news or gossip. I also saw Eve hanging around
        Israeli or Jewish kids speaking in Hebrew. Asking her about it in
        one of our mutual gym sessions, she said that she secretly still
        read the Hebrew books she owned, so she won’t forget the language.
    </para>
    <para>
        One day, I was standing across the hallway from Taylor’s locker, and
        saw Eve and Taylor kissing each other passionately. I wondered if
        it was a pleasant or revolting sight, but then realised I had to talk
        to both of them.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi!” I said as I approached them.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi Jenn!” Eve said, as she let go of Taylor. “Hi Jennifer!” Taylor
        added.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Listen, regarding M-IRC, I’ve been thinking that maybe we should
        start converting the server to C. The Perl version probably won’t scale
        too much beyond what we have now, and we are probably getting more
        and more users.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Right, ” Eve said, “the Perl version was only a prototype, anyhow.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Now regarding making it multi-processed or multi-threaded, that’s
        something I could use some guidance with, as I’ve never really done
        it.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmm… ” Taylor said, “kernel-assisted multi-tasking is a can of
        worms. Especially multi-threading. But I don’t suppose it’s
        substantially different than what other plain-IRC servers are
        doing.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “So you mean I should just read their code and see?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I guess. Cannot really hurt.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        A few days later, I was sitting next to the computer, and checked my
        E-mail. Then I noticed one E-mail to the Media-IRC mailing list that
        said “[PATCH] Client - Implement Logging.” from someone called
        “Jean-Pierre Gordo” from .fr (France). This was our first contribution
        from outside the user-group! I was so excited, that I decided to call
        Taylor on his cell-phone.
    </para>
    <para>
        It took some time to answer, and then Taylor said, “Hi Jenn! What’s
        up?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi Taylor! Guess what? We received a patch from some French guy!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Eve, ” I heard him saying on the other end of the line, “we received
        a patch from someone outside the LUG.”; “Aaaa!” I heard Eve shouting
        happily. “OK, Jenn, we’re coming right now. Meanwhile, review the
        patch.”
    </para>
    <para>
        They arrived shortly afterwards, “So, you two were together. ” I asked
        “What were you doing?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “We were watching a movie.” Taylor said decisively. I took a closer
        look at them. Taylor had lipstick smeared on his cheeks, and smelled
        like women’s perfume (Eve’s). Eve’s hair was a bit disorganised. But I
        decided not to comment about this.
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK. Well, the patch looks fine from what I saw. It’s pretty long,
        though.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Maybe we should take a look as well.” So together we went over all
        the code, and reviewed it. Took us some time, but we were finally
        convinced that it worked well. Then we applied it on our local copy,
        and tested that it does what it should do. After we were happy with
        the results, we committed it into the version control system (while
        acknowledging Jean-Pierre), and sent him a “thank you, your
        contribution has been reviewed and applied” E-mail.
    </para>
    <para>
        Man, it was so exciting!
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="raesha"><info><title>“Raesha - meh ho owmer?”</title></info>

    <para>
        Eve dropped by the computer lab some time later. “Listen, my extended
        family is holding a Passover Seder at our house next Saturday’s night.
        Normally, what I would have done then, is go out of the house to avoid
        it. But this year, I decided to stay.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK, ” I said, “So?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, I was wondering if you’d like to join us?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sure, ” I said, “I’ve got nothing better to do at that time.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Great.” Eve said. “I’ll see you then.”
    </para>
    <para>
        So the next Saturday, I took some time to prepare. I recalled that
        some observant Jews frowned upon females wearing pants and stuff like
        that, so I wore a nice dress. And so I walked to Eve’s house.
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve answered the door. “Hi Jennifer!” she said. She was also wearing
        a nice dress with flowers and all. There was a lot of commotion in the
        house, and many voices, both of grown-ups and children were heard.
        “Please come in, make yourself at home. Here, let me introduce you
        to my family.”
    </para>
    <para>
        And so I met Eve’s uncles, aunts, cousins, and grand-parents.
        After we finished meeting all of them we went to the living room,
        where Daniel and his cousin Deborah were busy playing a video game.
        “You suck at this. ” Daniel announced, as he won another round.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, you have this game at your house, while I don’t, so you can
        get much more practice.” his cousin responded.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Would you two like a round?” Daniel asked Eve and I, “this game is
        stupid anyway.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK.”, “Sure.” we said.
    </para>
    <para>
        Deborah looked a bit at us as she released her game-pad. “Say, you
        two have such wonderful hair. Can I play with it?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hey, I want to play with it, too!” Daniel said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sure!” I said as I grabbed the game-pad.
    </para>
    <para>
        “No problem here, either. Just don’t… don’t mix the strands of two
        different people.” Eve said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Here, we’ll sit apart.” I said as I took a little distance from
        Eve.
    </para>
    <para>
        “So what does every button do?” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve explained as best as she could, and we started to play. I was not
        particularly good at it, but Eve seemed to suck even more.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Daniel’s right. This game is stupid.” she said. “You know, some of
        the old DOS games were much more intelligent. Lots of puzzle games,
        Adventure games, and things you need to think to progress in. I
        still like to play them using a Linux-based DOS emulator.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, I’ve never been a big computer games fan.” I said, “Freecell
        is almost the only game I play. Of course, I find playing it with
        PySol on Linux much nicer than with the Windows-shipped one.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heh. Microsoft Freecell is absolute crap.” she said, as her
        character successfully hit mine.
    </para>
    <para>
        She added: “You know, I actually read a review for a recent game that
        came out - a first-person shooter. The review said it had good
        graphics and all, but otherwise you had an infinite amount of
        ammunition, and you just had to kill an infinite amount of monsters
        coming at you. Pretty dull. Still, it concluded by saying it may be
        good for the hot summer, instead of saying it sucked completely.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You’re doing it all wrong!” Deborah said to Daniel, “Here let me
        show you how to arrange a girl’s hair.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heh.” I said, and we continued playing for several minutes.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Everybody, we’re getting started!” Eve’s mother cried, and we gathered
        to the dining table. Eve and I rose up, and walked towards the table.
        As we passed by, Mrs. Siegel said, “Eve, Jennifer, what happened to
        your hair?”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve and I looked at each other, then burst out laughing simultaneously.
        “Heh, never mind.” Eve said, “we’ll fix it later.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve and a few other relatives who knew how to read Hebrew, started
        reading the Passover Hagaddah (= Ceremonial Transcript) in turn,
        translating it to English on the fly, each time instructing us what
        to do. When we reached the part with the four sons that the Jewish
        Law spoke against, and the Evil one, Eve said:
    </para>
    <para>
        “For this part, I have prepared in advance a Goyah…” and she pointed
        at me.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Heh, a Shiksa.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK, I’ll read it with your help.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK: ‘Rasha - mah hu omer?’”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Raesha - meh ho owmer?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Close enough!” and so we continued.
    </para>
    <para>
        After a while the food came. After the meal, some people continued
        reading the Hagaddah, while most of the others packed everything,
        or simply talked or played around. It was a lot of fun.
    </para>
    <para>
        After the ceremony, Eve and I fixed the strands of each other’s hair.
        “You know, Daniel and Deb may have a hidden talent as hair stylists.”
        Eve said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “You think so?” I said, as we switched places, “Your hair is a bit
        inconsistent. If they do have a talent, then I guess it is indeed
        very well hidden.”
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="debian"><info><title>“Abandoning” Debian</title></info>

    <programlisting>

From: Eve Siegel &lt;eve@eve-siegel.eu.org&gt;
To: Debian Devel &lt;debian-devel@lists.debian.org&gt;
Subject: “Abandoning” Debian

Hi all!

Debian has been my distribution of choice for 3 years now. I can testify that
I have been quite happy with it, and as you may have noticed also contributed
by being a packager. Recently, however, I noticed several trends
in the community and attitude of Debian that induced me into abandoning it.
Part of the reason for this was a personal transformation of mine, (a very
good one in fact) that made me realise that Debian was not the distribution to
which I belong.

The reasons I dislike Debian now are:

1. The community consists of many people who are loud, smug, feel a sense
of superiority in their distribution, and denounce all other distributions.

While I don’t accuse any of the Debian Leaders of this, it seems we all have
done too little to make clear this behavior was unacceptable.

Debian has or had some advantages over other distributions. It also had or
even still has some drawbacks. However, telling the world and his mother, how
much we are better than the rest (if we are indeed better) is not going to
help us making it better. And workers of other distros are less boastful,
and invest time in filling in the gaps.

2. Trying to apply the Debian Free Software Guidelines to things that are
not software, will bring no good. Software is something that should abide
by the free software ideology. Documentation, fonts, graphics, music and
other types of content, play by different rules and warrant different
guidelines for inclusion in the distribution, than these applied to software.

The last thing I need is documentation disappearing into the oblivion of
the non-free repository, fonts rejected for being non-modifiable, and other
annoyances like that.

As an extreme example, are we going to remove all the packages license
files, because their text is not free-as-in-speech?

3. The arrangement of Debian as an online democratic country, is heavily
causing a lot of bad side-effects. People are simply not accepted because
there’s too much red-tape. There are plenty of procedures. Many things
are decided according to a vote instead of what is better to do.

Re-structuring Debian as an anarchy controlled by a loose leadership will
do it very good. Otherwise, it seems things are progressing too slowly:

Debian used to have a very poor installer until not long ago, and even
now it is not a graphical one but a character based one. Furthermore, the
Debian release cycle is too long to be effective for most users. (and we
should remember that using the bleeding edge distribution is not an option
for many users, who cannot excessively download packages from the Internet).
Furthermore, Debian still lacks many of the graphical configuration tools
that are common in other distributions. That’s not good.

------------

It is beyond my power to fix all these problems on my own. So I looked for
an alternative distribution. I bought a new hard-disk which I’m dedicating
to distribution experimentation. For a long time I recommended using Mandrake
for many newcomers I’ve introduced Linux to. So I decided to give it a try.

Mandrake is very nice, and I’m happily using it. I have one partition with
Mandrake Cooker (the bleeding edge distribution) and one partition with the
stable one. There is a lot of glue and integration in the distribution and
everything is made to work together. The distribution is kept up-to-date and
the releases are more frequent than Debian.

Granted, there are more bugs than in Debian, especially in the Mandrake
Cooker. But they are nothing I cannot handle, and so I’m just trying to
fix what I find. I already contributed some bug-reports, and even fixes
there, and also submitted several new packages.

Note that I can still use and work on Debian, either by booting to it,
or running it on a PC emulator. I will continue to maintain my packages in
Debian at least until someone else volunteers to take over them. But I’m
officially no longer a Debianist.

Sincerely yours,

    Eve Siegel (“Erisa”).

    </programlisting>
    <para>
        Eve has sent me a copy of this message. It started an entire
        active discussion at the mailing list to which it was sent.
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="rms"><info><title>RMS is Coming to Town</title></info>

    <para>
        One day, when Jonathan, Taylor, and I were having a conversation
        in one of our school hallways, we saw Eve approaching us, carrying
        a piece of paper, and looking very anxious to see us.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi Eve, what’s up?” Jonathan said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hey guys - I have very exciting news: ”, she said as she approached
        us and then kissed Taylor briefly. “RMS is coming to town!”, and she
        let us see her sheet.
    </para>

    <para>
        In case you don’t know, “RMS” is Richard M. Stallman. He was one of
        the original hackers in the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He
        also coined the term “Free Software” (“Free” as in “Free Speech” or
        “Freedom”) which describes a certain licensing model of software
        programs and components, that is now popular among individual
        developers, many large and small corporations and many other
        organisations. This model later also became known as “open source
        software”, which is now likely the most popular term for that, and the
        one that my friends and I are using usually, especially when speaking
        with laymen. (Some software activists still feel there is a semantic
        and ideological difference between the terms “free software” and “open
        source”, but I’m not too infatuated with the distinction.)
    </para>

    <para>
        In any case, Stallman then went on to create the GNU project, as part
        of which a great deal of free software packages (or “open source” ones
        if you may), which make up a large and integral part of many modern-day
        UNIX-like systems (and are even available and commonly used on some
        non-open-source UNIX systems and some not-so-UNIX-like systems such as
        Microsoft Windows). The GNU-based UNIXes include the systems now known
        as “Linux” systems, which run the Linux operating system kernel
        combined with the GNU run-time and other free software user-land
        components (and as such, Stallman and other GNU people insist on
        calling them “GNU/Linux” instead).
    </para>

    <para>
        “Great!” Taylor said looking at the paper. “Jenn, would you like
        to meet him?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I suppose.” I said, “I’d rather not miss on this opportunity. Albeit
        he does have a reputation for being very stubborn. How is he in
        real-life?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, Taylor and I met him last time he’s been here.” Eve said,
        “We also signed each other’s keys. He’s very nice in real-life:
        intelligent, funny, and a very nice hippy-like person. I’m sure you’ll
        like him.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, there’s a key-signing party there too. Hmmm… it’s a bit far
        from here. I think the four of us should borrow a car. Jonathan,
        are you coming, too?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Sure, why not? What’s a key-signing party?”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve replied: “A key-signing is something you do with your
        cryptographical public-key and private key pair. You sign a person’s
        key and thus acknowledge you have verified that the key belongs to
        this actual person.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Key-signing parties are fun, but if you ask me, the chance of someone
        performing a man-in-the-middle attack over the Internet is god-damn
        small. Heck, I bet even the NSA cannot do that.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmm… ” I said, “I don’t have a GPG [= GNU Privacy Guard] key-pair
        yet. I guess I’ll generate one for the occasion. Is there a howto
        document or something like this?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yep,” Taylor said, “the Key-Signing Party Howto. Using GPG is
        not exactly rocket science.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Cool!” I said. And then we discussed the arrangements for picking
        everyone up.
    </para>
    <para>
        The day of the meeting, I placed everything I needed in a backpack,
        and went to Taylor’s house for the ride. Eve was already there and
        we waited for Jonathan, who arrived shortly afterwards. So, we all
        entered the car, and drove there.
    </para>
    <para>
        The hallroom in which Stallman’s presentation and get-together took
        place was quite crowded, which was expected. We spotted Mr. Stallman
        there, but decided to approach him only at the general get-together
        afterwards.
    </para>
    <para>
        RMS gave a very entertaining presentation about the history of
        free software movement, what it meant to him, and how can we help. He
        told the shop-worn story of his life at the MIT Artificial Intelligence
        Lab, the incident with the printer, and what he has done to remedy
        the situation. He also gave the standard preaching about why it
        was important to say “Free Software” instead of “Open-Source”
        and “GNU/Linux” instead of just “Linux”. Throughout the talk, he told
        a great deal of jokes, which caused the audience to burst into
        laughter. It was great.
    </para>
    <para>
        Then he gave some time for questions from the audience. They were
        also answered assertively and sometimes funnily. Then the key-signing
        party took place.
    </para>
    <para>
        We decided that Stallman will sign keys with each and every
        local separately and then the locals can sign each other’s keys. I stood
        in a long line, showed Mr. Stallman some pictorial IDs and vice
        versa. Eve and Taylor did not take part in it, because they had
        already signed his key. Instead they spent some time talking between
        themselves. Eventually, RMS was free, and we continued the
        key-signing between ourselves. Then came time for some socialising:
        Stallman brought some books and other gifts which he intended to sell
        to gather money for the Free Software Foundation (while autographing them).
    </para>
    <para>
        After a while, Eve approached him. “Hi Mr. Stallman!” she said,
        “I’m Eve Siegel. I’ve seen you in L.A. a couple of years ago. You
        may remember me as Erisa. We talked on E-mail later on - about the
        evils of big business, free software ideology and stuff like that.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “‘Erisa’, yes, I remember you. Didn’t you have… ahmmm… green hair
        back then?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes, as a matter of fact. Since then it became purple, but now I’m
        au natural.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You look nice.” Stallman said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Thanks. You too. So what are you doing now?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh the usual, advocating free software, trying to convert the world
        to the free software ideology.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Good, someone ought to do it. Are you seeing anyone by any chance?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “No. I’m not seeing anyone at the moment”,
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh well. In any case, please meet my friend and
        protégé for hacking - Jennifer Raymond. Jennifer,
        Mr. Stallman and vice versa.”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Nice to meet you, Mr. Stallman.” I said. “I’ve heard so much about
        you.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, everything positive you’ve heard about me is true, but also
        some of the negative things.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve and I laughed, and RMS quickly joined us. But then some other
        attendee wanted to talk to Stallman, and we let them converse.
    </para>
    <para>
        We arrived at Taylor’s house, and Eve and I walked home together
        from there. On the way, I said to Eve, “There’s something I don’t get.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “What?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “RMS is like this really funny and intelligent guy, and he’s a really
        cute hippy, and he had his share of life achievements and stuff…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Right.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “And he’s in his fifties now, and you know that girls dig older man.
        So how come when you asked him if he’s seeing anyone, he said he
        doesn’t? Why does he have a problem finding a suitable life-partner?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh, Jennifer, Jennifer… you are so naïve. Why don’t I drop by
        your house and show you some stuff he wrote on his homepage.” Eve
        replied.
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK.”, I said puzzled.
    </para>
    <para>
        Richard Stallman’s homepage greeted the random web-surfer with some
        political action items. It was hardly a pleasant way to be introduced
        to a web-page, and not my idea of a page I’d like to visit often. Then
        Eve showed me his former personal ad. It reads, and I quote:
    </para>
    <blockquote>
        <para>
            I’m a single atheist white man, 50, reputedly intelligent, with
            unusual interests in politics, science, music and dance.
        </para>
        <para>
            I’d like to meet a woman with varied
            interests, curious about the world, comfortable expressing her
            likes and dislikes (I hate struggling to guess), delighting in her
            ability to fascinate a man and in being loved tenderly, who values
            joy, truth, beauty and justice more than “success”--so we can share
            bouts of intense, passionately kind awareness of each other,
            alternating with tolerant warmth while we’re absorbed in other
            aspects of life.
        </para>
        <para>
            My 19-year-old child, the Free Software Movement, occupies most of
            my life, leaving no room for more children, but I still have room
            to love a sweetheart. I spend a lot of my time traveling to give
            speeches, often to Europe, Asia and Latin America; it would be
            nice if you were free to travel with me some of the time.
        </para>
    </blockquote>
    <para>
        “Oh, my God!” I said after I read it.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Do you wonder why now?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Not any more. Any half-normal girl would be scared off by the
        message he’s trying to give.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yeah, I always thought so too.” Eve noted.
    </para>
    <para>
        “But I might put him in the list of the 5 celebrities I’m allowed
        to have sex with.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmm… cool! He’s incredibly sexy. But I can warn you that
        I don’t think he’s much of a casual sex guy. You can always
        ask him that on E-mail.”
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="homecoming_queen"><info><title>“Who will Take a Second Look at it, unless…”</title></info>

    <para>
        I don’t remember whose idea it was, but we ended up enrolling Eve
        into the Homecoming Queen contest. When Eve discovered she was
        on the nominees list, she was a bit upset.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Homecoming Queen? Me? Why would I ever want to be a homecoming
        queen?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Eve, we thought you could see how beautiful you are, and how much
        people could like you, if they got to know you.” I answered.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hah! Well… oh heck, I don’t have a ready reply. But I’m going
        to get you guys for this. I really will.” and she started to walk
        from there. “You’ll see.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve showed up to the homecoming queen nominees roundup, wearing one
        of her best dresses. When her turn came, she began her speech:
    </para>
    <para>
        “Ladies and Gentlemen. I don’t know how many of you know me, but
        my name is Eve Siegel. I urge you to vote for me for homecoming
        queen, not for your sake, but for mine. I really need you to
        vote for me, because my entire future depends on it. Seriously.”
    </para>

    <para>
        “Take a look at my Résumé, for example. ‘Experienced in computers and
        programming since 1994.’ ; ‘Experienced in Linux and UNIX technologies
        since 1998’ ; ‘2000-2005 - Debian Packager’, ‘2005-Present - Mandrake
        Packager’, and more of this vain. Tell me, who will take a second look
        at this C.V. if it did not say, ‘2005 - Elected as a homecoming
        queen.’?”
    </para>

    <para>
        “Now for what I’m going to do if I’m elected. I’m going
        to erect a gigantic statue of Tux the Penguin, this guy [picture
        showing on the screen], and also one for Beastie the BSD Daemon,
        [picture showing] for good measure. I’m going to fight against abusive
        behaviour toward nerds and geeks, for computer literacy, and…
        for world peace. What the heck.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “But all these philanthropical causes are secondary to my egoistical
        motives of having to win this title for my own good. Thank you!”
    </para>
    <para>
        She practically brought down the house with this speech. Even Taylor
        and I could not resist a maniacal laughter. She ended up being one
        of the five finalists. As the elections were on, Eve started her
        own campaign sloganed “Don’t vote for Eve!” and gave away pamphlets
        with nothing but raves about the other four contestants. This also
        increased her karma considerably.
    </para>
    <para>
        She wore the same dress during the homecoming queen ceremony,
        as the pre-election. As the runner-ups were announced, she was
        given warm hugs from all-of-them. She ended up being the first
        runner-up with a margin of only 5 votes to the real winner. She ended
        up saying she was glad she did not take the title, but I never saw
        her happier than on that day.
    </para>
    <para>
        She did not put it in her résumé.
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="god_works"><info><title>God Works in Mysterious Ways</title></info>

    <para>
        Taylor, Eve, Jonathan and I gathered at the living room in my
        house, together with our college acceptance letters, and each
        having his university acceptance summary. We had previously decided
        that we will go to the same university together, and we needed to
        find the most suitable one to which we were all accepted.
    </para>
    <para>
        “OK, before we start - let me make one thing clear: I absolutely
        refuse to study in the East Coast.” Eve said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Why?” I asked.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, my parents moved there once when I was in the 5th grade. To
        Boston. I completely hated the cold, the rain, the snow, getting wet.
        I guess I’m a California girl.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Very well. So we’re going to pick a college in California. All for
        one and one for all.” Taylor said, and kissed Eve on the lips.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Besides - I did not get into M.I.T. and I guess no-one here did
        either.” she added.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Ahem.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes, Jenn?” she said as she looked at me.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I got into M.I.T…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, I’ll be damned. I guess the interviewer was flabbergasted by
        my then Purple hair. ” Eve said, “Oh well, California colleges. I got
        into Berkeley! Everybody else did?”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I got into Berkeley, too.” Taylor said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Ahem.” I said, “I was rejected from U.C. Berkeley.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “You were?” Eve said, “God Works in Mysterious Ways.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Taylor sighed, “Guess we’re not going to Berkeley. All for one and
        one for all. How about UCLA?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, while we’re setting our preferences” I said, “I’d rather not
        study somewhere close. I’d like to be a bit away from my parents.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “No problem.” Jonathan said, “We’ll be together away from our
        parents.” and he kissed me on the lips. “OK,”, he added, “I’ve
        got San-Diego University, University of Sacramento… hey, I
        got into Stanford!”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Me too” Eve said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Likewise” Taylor added.
    </para>
    <para>
        I checked my notes, “I got into Stanford, too. That’s great - we’re
        all going to Stanford.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “All for one and all in Stanford.” Eve said. There was a long period
        when we were just digesting the news, and just being plain joyful about
        it. After a while Eve said: “OK, we said we’ll all major in Computer
        Engineering, but have different minors. My minor is going to be
        Linguistics. Since I already know English, Hebrew and Spanish, I might
        as well get the hang of other languages.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’m going to minor in Ancient History and Languages of the Near East.”
        Taylor said, “I’d like to learn more about Eve’s background.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve smiled. Jonathan said, “I think I’ll be a philosophy minor. I
        think I’m a philosopher at heart. At least during the times I’m not
        an Electrician by heart.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well, as for me, I’m going to minor in fine arts.” I said. “Maybe I
        have a hidden talent for painting or something like that, and if not,
        at least I’ll find out.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Very well, so, we’re all sending the acceptance letters to Stanford,
        each with his selected Minor.” Taylor said. “OK, now, if you’ll excuse
        me, I think we still have some homework to do… high school one.”
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="fine_cat">
    <info><title>“She must be a fine cat.”</title></info>

    <programlisting>
        <![CDATA[
        <jennray>  OK, so I invited my friend over here (the one we ended
                   up transforming, per perlygatekeeper’s advice) and she
                   should be here soon.
        <blarned>  She must be a fine cat.
              -->  erisa has joined #perl
        <jennray>  erisa: hi! Good timing, I just told the channel
                   about your arrival.
          <erisa>  jennray: Jennifer: ♥! I’ll see if I like the company here.
                *  blarned paws at erisa
        <rindolf>  Hi erisa! Meet blarned - he’s our resident cat. Kudos
                   for the Unicode, too.
          <erisa>  blarned: meow!
          <erisa>  rindolf: UTF-Love!
        <rindolf>  erisa: and ISO-Hate-Hate-Five-Nine-*.
<perlygatekeeper>  erisa: so I understand your transformation was
                   successful?
          <erisa>  perlygatekeeper: oh yes! I’m a completely different
                   person now.
          <erisa>  Hold on.
          <erisa>  http://eve-siegel.eu.org/temp-images/eve-before.jpg vs.
                   http://eve-siegel.eu.org/temp-images/eve-after.jpg .
          <erisa>  And that’s just the way I look.
                *  blarned claws the ‘before’ and nuzzles the ‘after’.
<perlygatekeeper>  erisa: yes, they are a difference of earth and heaven.
        <rindolf>  erisa: awesome. I understand you are jennray’s
                   classmate?
          <erisa>  rindolf: yes, we’re also good friends. And I will
                   continue to torment her during our (and our boyfriends’)
                   Bachelor’s in university.
        <rindolf>  erisa: sounds like a plan.
        <jennray>  erisa was initially reluctant to join IRC because she
                   thought it was a place for chronic time wasters and
                   “script-kiddies”.
        <blarned>  Perl cats like to waste time, but we are at a constant
                   war with those pesky script-kiddie critters.
          <erisa>  I’ll join that Perl Cats’ herd (“clowder”?). Meow!
        <rindolf>  erisa: by the way, how did you reach that conclusion about
                   IRC?
          <erisa>  rindolf: hmmm… let me think.
          <erisa>  Well, I used to enjoy chatting on IRC a bit before I became
                   a rebel, but then I recall an E-mail exchange with someone
                   whom I believed told me that the reason he was such a great
                   hacker was because he lacked any social life.
        <jennray>  A “nerd” so-to-speak?
          <erisa>  Yes, exactly.
          <erisa>  Oh my God…
        ]]>
</programlisting>

    <para>
        At which point, I received a phone call. It was Eve and she was
        crying.
    </para>

    <para>
        “Jennifer, I think I’ve realised why I became the punk that I was…
        it was all because of that E-mail exchange. I think… I think… I was
        trying to emulate a nerd, because I cared a lot about hacking.”
    </para>

    <para>
        “Oh, Eve!” I told her. “Maybe I should come to your house?”
    </para>

    <para>
        There was a pause. “Well, OK… if it’s not much trouble.”
    </para>

    <para>
        “It’s not, really. You’re my friend after all.” I told her.
    </para>

    <para>
        I went to her house, and when I came, she was still very excited.
        She told me about her past, how she was not happy with what
        she was, and how non-sensical her past philosophy appeared to her
        then. She returned to her happy, joyful, state after a while and we
        returned to the IRC conversation taking turns to type things at
        the computer. I showed her some of my other favourite channels,
        and she ended up making new IRC friends. Eventually, Eve concluded
        by saying: “Wow! Wasting time can be a lot of fun. I should do it
        more often, I think”.
    </para>

</section>

<section xml:id="search_of_lost_time"><info><title>I can write my own replacement for ‘In Search of Lost Time’</title></info>

    <para>
        After the summer vacation arrived, and we had some time before our
        Freshman year at the university, Eve said that she’d rather not work
        this year, and instead have a lot of “clean fun with my friends”. We
        decided to restrict ourselves to California and vicinity in our
        touring.
    </para>
    <para>
        Using our car, we drove everywhere. We went everywhere we could think
        of. We hiked in Yosemite, been to Disneyland, visited the San-Diego
        Zoo. We went to a lot of Linux-related conferences that took place in
        the summer, and met a great deal of fellow enthusiasts. Eve decided
        we should take the tour through Berkeley University, and after the
        tour, she went to see the rooms where BSD (= an early and pioneering
        version of UNIX) was developed, and where the GIMP (an image
        manipulation program) was developed. I think it was her idea of
        heaven.
    </para>
    <para>
        When Eve wasn’t driving, she spent a lot of time writing things on her
        PDA. She said she worked on a lot of articles, and Wikipedia entries.
        Eventually, at the Saturday before the last, we took a quiet day
        and went to a beach north of Los Angeles. As the boys went swimming
        again, Amanda, Eve and I sat on some chairs on the seashore. Eve sat
        on her chair wearing her bikini, I sat next to her with a shirt over
        my bathing suit, and Amanda sat beside me with Eve’s laptop. The
        laptop had speakers connected to it which we used to play music.
    </para>
    <para>
        We were finishing to hear an interesting punk song that Eve was fond
        of, and has sort of grown on Amanda and me. In fact, it was Amanda
        who picked it up this time. After the song ended, Eve said:
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yeah, Baby, yeah! I really like the guitar-and-drums solos in this
        song. This guy has an excellent voice. His technique is usually
        not too good, but here he does pretty well.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Amanda said: “Eve, are you sure you shouldn’t become a music
        critique?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Nah,” Eve said, “I’m a woman of many talents, but I need to
        work at what I’m likely to earn some money from.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Amanda giggled, “OK. OK.” and added, “So what song would you like
        to hear next?” she asked.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’d like to hear ‘I’m not a Girl, not yet a Woman’ by Britney Spears”
        Eve said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Britney Spears? I thought you hated her.” I said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yeah,” Amanda said, “I’m surprised you even have this song on
        your laptop.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh, give the poor girl a break. Some of her songs are pretty decent.”
        Eve said to us.
    </para>
    <para>
        “One Britney coming up.” Amanda said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “You know,” Eve said, “I think I’d like to be an
        Objectivist-slash-Libertarian. I mean, they rebel against the system,
        which works for me. But they are also pro-Capitalistic and everything,
        as long as it’s uncontrolled Capitalism, which is also something the
        new and improved me, really believes in, instead of the
        ‘Anti-Big-Business’ crap.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Eve,” I said, “you’ll be a wonderful Objectivist-slash-Libertarian.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yep.” she said, “Man, I’m going to miss my punky anti-Capitalistic
        self…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “No feelings of yearning here.” Amanda said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “None here either.” I added.
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve said, “Hmmm… you’re right, there’s nothing to miss really. Man,
        to think of how I wasted all this time being what I was. I can write my
        own replacement for ‘In Search of Lost Time’, and publish it, and it
        would be better than the original, and I will win the Pulitzer Prize
        for it, and be on shows like Oprah…”
    </para>
    <para>
        I stopped reading my book and placed it on my lap. Then I said: “Oh
        Eve, come on, look at you! You’re a beautiful person: you’re smart,
        cool, talented, likable, … you look great…” Eve smiled, “and
        you’re my best female friend, and you’re dating my best male friend.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you’ve wasted any time.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Eve rose up, and I quickly followed her. She approached me and
        before I knew it, she hugged me and I hugged her back. “I love you.”,
        she said. “I love you, too.”, I said to her. We remained hugging each
        other for some time and then went back to our seats.
    </para>
    <para>
        Then the guys returned. “Hey, did we miss anything?” Taylor said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yep, ” Eve said as she rose and tied her hands around his neck. “I
        am a beautiful person…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I can see that.” Taylor said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “…and Jennifer and I love each other dearly. We’re seriously
        considering dumping you guys, living together, eloping, et cetera”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “But luckily for you, we may wish to have some babies, so…”
    </para>
    <para>
        You can always count on Eve to convey the serious things in a
        completely non-serious way…
    </para>
</section>
<section xml:id="most_of_our_graduates"><info><title>Most of our Electrical Engineering graduates cannot…</title></info>

    <para>
        “Man, this is so exciting!” Eve said as the four of us were entering the
        hall in which the beginning ceremony of the new Stanford
        scholastic year for Computer Science students took place.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I mean,” she continued, “come on, this is Stanford. Tons of great
        names, lots of other departments, lots of interesting classes we could
        take, many extra-curricular activities.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “And we’re in the middle of Silicon Valley - we can attend
        conferences of all these companies, big and small; we can visit
        IBM or Google…”
    </para>
    <para>
        “And we’re studying Comp-Eng. One day, we’ll be more than
        just creators of bit buckets, but people who can actually wire
        transistors and stuff like that.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Of course, once we start having homework and we’re going to
        have bad teachers, we’ll curse this place to death, and continually
        bitch about it, but right now - I’m so excited.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “And the best thing about it,” she said as she started kissing Taylor,
        “is that I’m doing it with my best friends.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “I hope I’m more than just your friend.” Taylor said. “Oh, you are!” she
        replied and they started seriously making out.
    </para>
    <para>
        “I could not help overhearing what you were saying.” said a man in his
        fifties or sixties who approached Jonathan and me. “For your
        information, most of our Electrical Engineering Graduates, cannot
        even replace a light bulb.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hmmm… makes sense.” Jonathan said.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Yes, they are practically specialised mathematicians.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “What’s up with them?” He asked, pointing at Taylor and Eve.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Well,” I said, “it’s a combination of raging hormones and what we
        really hope is a match made in heaven.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Wait a sec… we haven’t introduced ourselves! I’m Jennifer Raymond
        and this is my boyfriend, Jonathan Demarco.”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Nice to meet you. I’m Professor Emeritus Don Knuth [Kanooth].”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Knuth,” Eve said as she let herself out of Taylor, “What about
        Knuth?”
    </para>
    <para>
        “Nice to meet you, Miss, I’m Don Knuth.” said the professor
        as he extended his hand.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Oh my god,” Eve got excited as she shook his hand, “Don Knuth,
        the TeX [Tekh] guy.”
    </para>
    <para>
        Prof. Knuth nodded an said, “Yes, TeX”.
    </para>
    <para>
        “Hi!” Eve continued, “I’m a… I’m a great, I’m a great adm…
        ehhhh…,” and she fainted into Taylor’s arms.
    </para>
    <section xml:id="hex_dollar"><info><title>Hexadecimal Dollar</title></info>

        <para>
            We were in a relatively quiet side room. Prof. Knuth was there
            and also the four of us, (with Eve still unconscious) and a
            doctor. Eventually, Eve woke up.
        </para>
        <para>
            “Oh my God,” she said, “…Taylor, Jennifer, Jonathan…” she
            looked around.
        </para>
        <para>
            “Professor Knuth! Oh, I’m so sorry.”
        </para>
        <para>
            “Nah! That’s OK.”, he said.
        </para>
        <para>
            “Ah, OK. Just understand that meeting you is sort of like meeting
            God.”
        </para>
        <para>
            “I’m not God.” he said, “Hell, last time I tried, it took me
            two days to build the Roman Empire.” Some people laughed or
            giggled. “Here,” he continued. “I made something for you.” and
            he gave her a check.
        </para>
        <para>
            “2.56 dollars,” she turned the check, “To my great adm.” she said,
            “Wow! One Knuthian Hexadecimal Dollar just for me.”
        </para>
        <para>
            “Are you going to cash it in?”, Jonathan asked whimsically.
        </para>
        <para>
            “Are you kidding? This stuff sells on eBay for at least a hundred
            bucks…”
        </para>
        <para>
            I burst into laughter.
        </para>
        <para>
            “I’m just kidding.” Eve said, “I’m going to cherish it.”.
        </para>
        <para>
            I admit that I did not entirely understand everything that
            happened right away. But when I returned to my dorm room, I
            spent some time browsing the web looking for answers. I still
            have a lot to learn, but I’m getting there. I guess I’m just a
            geek who’s trying to make the world a better place.
        </para>
    </section>
</section>
</article>