Four well-dressed men sitting together at a LUG meeting, surrounding a laptop running Ubuntu 9.04.
First Yorkshireman (1Y): Ahh … Very passable, this, very passable.
Second Yorkshireman (2Y): Nothing like a good install of Ubuntu Jaunty, eh Gessiah?
Third Yorkshireman (3Y): You’re right there, Obediah.
Fourth Yorkshireman (4Y): Who’d a thought fifteen years ago we’d all be sittin’ here recordin’ a podcast usin’ Jokosher on Ubuntu?
1Y: Aye. In them days, we’d a’ been glad to have Slackware installed on t’hard disk.
2Y: A beta of Slackware.
3Y: Without network card or CD-ROM drive.
4Y: Or a hard disk!
1Y: In a filthy Packard Bell.
3Y: We never used to have Packard Bell. We used to have to use RM Nimbuses.
2Y: The best we could manage was to suck on a piece of a Sinclair QL.
4Y: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor.
1Y: Aye. Because we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, “Money doesn’t buy you operatin’ systems.”
3Y: ‘E was right. I was happier then and I had nothin’. We used to use Yggdrasil Linux on an old Compaq with half of case missin’.
2Y: Case? You were lucky to have a case! We used to have motherboards and components scattered about floor for ‘servers, all hundred and twenty-six of ’em, no cable ties. Half the things were un-updated; we were all huddled together in one corner for fear of being DDoSed!
4Y: You were lucky to have updates! *We* used to have to hand-patch kernels every week!
1Y: Ohhhh we used to dream of hand-patching kernels! Woulda been a weight lifted to us. We used to infiltrate remote systems to snoop on the kernel to see what’d been changed the night before to reverse engineer t’changes back on our own kernels. Patches!? Hmph.
3Y: Well when I say “patch” it was a hard copy of a diff printed on continuous paper with the green lines on it, but it were a patch to us.
2Y: We stopped gettin’ our hard copies; we had to fly to Finland and get Linus to transcribe bloody diffs onto notebooks!
4Y: You were lucky to have notebooks! There were a hundred and sixty of us passing code changes across Europe by t’game of Chinese Whispers.
1Y: By phone?
1Y: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a telephone exchange intercepting phone calls on the off-chance we’d catch your Chinese Whispers. We’d scratch the diffs onto nearby bits of copper wire, swallow ’em and spend fourteen hours on bog trying to get em back again when we got home. Then our Dad would thrash us t’sleep with his copy of BYTE!
2Y: Luxury. We use to have to swim t’Finland at three o’clock in the morning, sneak up to Torvalds’ house, spy on him until he typed in the bits we thought he was changing, scribble them down on newspaper and post them and ourselves back by DHL, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken Tulip network card, if we were lucky!
4Y: Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up at twelve o’clock at night, figure out t’diffs by mental projection, lick t’diffs onto EEPROMs for 1,166 Swatch Internet beats, debug the compiler with a slide rule, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with unsheathed Cat 5.
3Y: Right. I had to steal kernel diffs from you bastards, invent time machine, go back in time, give diffs to Torvalds to implement as the first version of the code instead of the twentieth, go forward in time, and find all the diffs already implemented in the kernel I got with Slackware, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing the Free Software Song.
1Y: But you try and tell the young people today that … and they won’t believe ya’.