Geek History

[I didn’t write this. I have no idea who the author is. I’ll be happy to add a credit if I ever find out.]

First there was God. He was quite lonely so he created Dennis.

Dennis was unimpressed with God.

So, God created Brian.

But, Brian got bored with God.

So Brian and Dennis started playing, and they created C. God saw C, and saw that it was good. So he decided to let Brian and Dennis play some more.

Then Brian and Dennis created Unix. God saw Unix, and he was jealous. So he created Bill to torment Brian and Dennis and obscure their creation (for God could not destroy Unix, for he secretly admired its perfection).

So Bill created Microsoft. And Microsoft created Windows. And God saw that it was bad, but it had market share, so he was happy. Then Bill got cocky, and his ego got bigger than God’s. So to knock Bill down a couple of pegs, God put into effect a wondrous plan.

First God created Tim. And Tim created the World Wide Web (using Unix, of course). This was good, but not THAT good. So God created Marc. Marc created Mosaic (using Unix, of course). Mosaic created a huge feeding frenzy that has got a lot of people who are reading this their jobs.

But that’s a different story. Mosaic was good, and God saw it was good, so he allowed Marc to start Netscape. Back to this later.

But all this time Brian and Dennis started to make something better than Unix called Plan 9. (Great legends say that God crushed Plans 1-7. There was no Plan 8 because Brian and Dennis pulled the wool over God’s eyes and just jumped to Plan 9, which was too bright a move for even God to figure out.)

Eventually, God figured out how to create Larry.

No one knows how or why he created Larry, except perhaps to reduce productivity at the Jet Propulsion Labs at NASA. Rumours are that God created Larry because he secretly liked what Dennis and Brian had done with C, but didn’t think C and Unix was enough — this probably isn’t true because God believed he had destroyed Brian and Dennis’s plans by destroying Plans 1-7, and by creating Microsoft to slay their beloved Unix.

Anyhow, Larry created Perl (using Unix and C, of course), and God saw it was good, so he made Randal. Larry and Randal wrote books about Perl. And everyone saw that this was good, except snobs who were too much into C, Windows, and Intel.

One day God and the angels were discussing all this, and in walks an Intel lawyer. God asked him, “Where have you been?” and the lawyer said, “Cruising the Net”. God thought he would cut the Intel lawyer down a peg, so he said, “You must have seen my faithful servant, Randal. What do you think? Books, courses, free advice on the news group, the guy never stops.” But Intel’s lawyer said to God, “Big deal, what with all money from royalties, consulting, courses, etc., no wonder he’s such a boy scout. Take it away, and he’ll give up, curse you and stop telling bad jokes.”

This was too much for God. “No way!”, he said. “Go take all Randal has, but let him keep teaching courses as long as he tells those great jokes. I love his jokes.” (Randal’s jokes are a big hit with God and all the angels. On earth folks think they’re bad. In Heaven they say you had to be there.) So the Intel lawyer had the Oregon D.A. take every penny Randal makes that isn’t necessary to keep him teaching courses. And that is why Randal tells bad jokes as if his life depended on it.

The Intel lawyer told the D.A. and everyone else that the reason Randal was being punished was because he sinned against God by breaking into Intel. And many repeat the story told by the Intel lawyer even unto this day.

Anyhow, Randal and Larry wrote books, but they had to be nice because of the people they worked for. So then came Tom. But back to Tom later.

Anyhow, God saw Netscape (made using Unix and C, of course), and he saw it was good, and that annoyed Bill quite a bit. And that made Him very happy, and made Marc very rich. But Bill was very very rich. But that’s a *completely* different story.

But as good as Larry’s creation, Perl, was, it couldn’t do everything, so God created Scott. Scott announced Java, and this was big news. Now Java really pissed Bill off, because Bill also created Blackbird, and Java killed Blackbird. This was bad because killing Blackbird also meant killing The Microsoft Network. And many rejoiced over that, but that, too is another story.

Now Java, obviously had done much to annoy Bill. For Java was so good that Bill had to license Java. All this time, Scott poked lots of fun at Bill because Sun, which was where Scott worked, made a better OS, derived — of course — from Unix, which was better than Bill’s and Microsoft’s Windows.

Anyhow, even God’s creations Steve and Steve who created Apple couldn’t make Bill license the much superior MacOS. But finally, Bill had to license Java. So justice was served, and Bill’s ego was served him on a platter for him to eat his words. Or something. That part is unclear.

So by this time Windows and Microsoft and Bill in general really sucked. Especially considering the advantages that Brian and Dennis’s C and Unix, running Marc’s Netscape and Mosaic over Tim’s World Wide Web, doing cool CGI stuff with Larry’s Perl, which you learned from Randal and Tom, and got to program with Scott’s Java.

And God realized he had put Bill down too far. So then God made it so that Marc’s Netscape and Mosaic could run on Windows. We already know that Bill had to license Java from Scott. We know that Bill missed the boat for not beating Tim to the punch on the World Wide Web. The last straw was for God to make it possible for Larry’s Perl to run on Bill’s Windows.

So back to Tom. Tom was a Perl God. And God didn’t like this, but Tom’s a God so there isn’t much God could do, so He couldn’t stop Tom from saying things like “install an operating system on your poor lonely computer the way God and Dennis intended”, and “Espousing the eponymous /cgi-bin/perl.exe?FMH.pl execution model is like reading a suicide note — three days too late.”

The moral to the story? God is fickle. That’s why Microsoft and Bill and Windows exists. Do what God intended, install C, Unix, Mosaic/Netscape, Java, and Perl on your system, and make Brian, Dennis, Larry, Tim, Tom, Randal, Scott, and even Steve and Steve, I’m sure, happy by doing so.

Oh yeah, Linus was cool too. He’s the guy you thank for being able to run all the cool stuff on your crappy little Pee Cee. (Anything with x86 on it, by default, is crappy, no PERSONAL flames intended.)

Glossary

  • Brian and Dennis – of Kernighan and Ritchie Fame for developing the “C” language at Bell laboratories. “The C Programming Language” The “bible” for C programmers.
  • “C” – came after “A” and “B” – perhaps the most flexible and extensible language for programming
  • Bill – Bill Gates (who else?)
  • Tim – CERN’s Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of HTML and the web
  • Marc – Marc Andraesson, developer of the graphical browser at NCSA – Mosaic, founder of Netscape
  • Larry – Larry Wall, Associate with O’Reilly and Associates (previously Unisys and Seagate)
  • Randal – Randal Schwartz “Eclectic Tradesman and Entrepreneur”, Stonehenge Consulting Services, previously, Tektronix, ServioLogic, Sequent
  • Larry and Randal – Authors of “Programming Perl, 1st edition”
  • Perl – “Practical Extraction and Report Language” sometimes referred to as “Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister”
  • Tom – Tom Christiansen, Free-lance consultant, previously with Convex
  • Larry, Randal, and Tom – Authors of “Programming Perl, 2nd Edition”
  • CGI – “Common Gateway Interface”, used for making web pages interactive
  • Scott – Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems
  • Java – locally run code on a PC, received, usually, from a web site
  • Steve and Steve – Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, co-founders of Apple Computer. Jobs went on to found NeXT, which created NeXTstep, an object-oriented Operating System for various platforms. “The Woz” went on to do other amazing and often legendary things.
  • Linus – Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, which is a free version of the UNIX operating system for PC’s

Leave a Reply