Troubleshooters.Com Presents

Troubleshooting Professional Magazine

Volume 5 Issue 11, November 2001
Linux Outlawed!
Copyright (C) 2001 by Steve Litt. All rights reserved. Materials from guest authors copyrighted by them and licensed for perpetual use to Troubleshooting Professional Magazine. All rights reserved to the copyright holder, except for items specifically marked otherwise (certain free software source code, GNU/GPL, etc.). All material herein provided "As-Is". User assumes all risk and responsibility for any outcome.

[ Troubleshooters.Com | Back Issues ]

Steve Litt is the author of Troubleshooting Techniques of the Successful Technologist and
Rapid Learning: Secret Weapon of the Successful Technologist.

If we don't implement election reforms soon, we can kiss democracy goodbye -- Robert Reich


Editor's Desk

By Steve Litt
As I write this article, I savor what might be the very temporary luxury of writing it on a Linux box. If Disney, the record companies and the movie studios have their way it will soon be illegal for me to do so, because of a law called SSSCA. And in the long run, Microsoft will be SSSCA's primary beneficiary.

What does the banning of Linux mean to Linux advocates? What does it mean to Windows users? What does it mean to America?

How could a free country like America ban an operating system? Republicans pride themselves in minimal government intervention in business. How could the Republicans allow a law that would tell every business in America what operating systems that business could and could not use? Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska is a co-developer of SSSCA.

Democrats pride themselves in being pro-consumer and anti-monopoly. How could the Democrats permit passage of a law that would eliminate Microsoft's last competitor? Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina is the other SSSCA co-developer.

And guess who is helping these two senators write the legislation? None other than Disney corporation -- those champions of diversity. Disney's love of diversity extends to all races, religions, and sexual preferences. But it stops short of users of operating systems. Consenting adults MAY NOT use Linux.

What will your life be like when Windows is the only major legal operating system? If you choose to try to stop this law before it becomes law, what can you do? And what will become of Americans who violate SSSCA and continue to run Linux?

How can Disney, huge copyright holders, and other SSSCA supporters show their face after such shameful behavior? What is their excuse, and does it hold water? What is Microsoft's position?

This issue of Troubleshooting Professional Magazine discusses the law that will reach right into your office or living room and determine what operating system you can use. At this point of the Editors Desk column I usually mention that if you're a Troubleshooter, this is your magazine. This time it's a little different:

If you want to live free, this is your magazine.

Steve Litt is the main author of Samba Unleashed. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.


By Steve Litt
SSSCA stands for "Security Systems Standards and Certification Act".  Isn't that a good thing? We all want security, especially after the terrorist destruction of the Twin Towers.

Trouble is, it's not about security. It's about copy protection. SSSCA "secures" two things:

  1. The ability to effectively, end to end,  copy protect films, audio, software, and other "intellectual property" of huge corporations.
  2. The ability of Microsoft to gain, with the government's help, a complete monopoly on the operating system, media, the Internet, and business processes and tools.
SSSCA forces ALL digital hardware AND SOFTWARE to implement the various copy protection schemes of film companies, record companies, and software vendors. At each stage, it enforces rules about which encryption schemes the data can be sent to -- a sort of cradle to grave copy protection.

But if that were the only downside, I wouldn't be so concerned. I part company with the FSF in that I strongly believe in copyrights, and strongly believe I have a right to charge what I want for my books, and not giving others the right to copy my books. If a vendor wants to copy protect his CD or file, that's his right.

But he doesn't have the right to reach into *my* office and tell *me* what kind of technology I can have in my computer system. He doesn't have the right to tell me my hard drive must contain expensive copy protection technology that makes restoring from backups difficult or impossible. And most of all, he doesn't have the right to make my operating system of choice illegal. You see, SSSCA mandates that every operating system incorporate copy protection schemes. By its very license Linux cannot incorporate proprietary (and likely patented) copy protection schemes.

Some might respond "but we must do something to prevent piracy". Maybe that's true, but that "something" should not be reaching into the office of innocent third parties and messing with their technology. Let me give an analogy of child abuse.

We all abhor child abuse. We all agree that all reasonable steps should be taken to prevent child abuse. But would we stand for legislation mandating video survelence cameras in every room of every house and business in the country. That would certainly prevent most child abuse. But look what it would do to the lives of the 99% of us who don't abuse children.

You can't invade the private property of all individuals just to prevent the bad acts of some. SSSCA does just that. It invades your office, your computer, and your operating system.

Vote against SSSCA. Vote out any legislator who votes for SSSCA. Vote with your pocketbook, and buy nothing from those corporations endorsing SSSCA. Films, records and amusement parks are soooo trivial compared to freedom.

Steve Litt is the author of Rapid Learning: Secret Weapon of the Successful Technologist. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

SSSCA's Bitter Harvest

By Steve Litt
What is the end result if SSSCA passes? It starts bleak, and gets bleaker. For starters, Linux is outlawed. That means:
  1. Over half the Internet infrastructure is destroyed.
  2. Many businesses (including mine) must migrate to Windows, become outlaws, or die.
  3. With its only significant competition gone, Microsoft will no longer be pressured to deliver quality or keep their prices in check. Licensing provisions will become even more onerous.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. With half the Internet and many businesses forced to migrate to Windows, you can be sure Microsoft will do the technology equivalent of a convenience store charging $10.00 per gallon of water after an earthquake. With the single exception of Redmond, Washington, a deep recession will engulf the economy for many years.

But that's not the worst of it.

Linux won't be banned in Europe, India, Ireland, Australia, or Mexico. As the United States retreats into technological inferioriority, those countries will continue their march into the future. The world's programmers will learn and progress while American programmers learn ever more arcane ways to circumvent Windows glitches. Like never before, the United States will lose technologists in a brain drain to Europe, India, Ireland, Australia and Mexico. In 10 years might we be seeing U.S. programmers captured at the border trying to sneak into Mexico?

Steve Litt is the author of Troubleshooting Techniques of the Successful Technologist. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

If SSSCA Loses

By Steve Litt
If SSSCA loses and loses big, Linux survives. That means Microsoft must compete against Linux, which Microsoft cannot do, because Microsoft's revenue starvation weapon doesn't work against Open Source. Maybe you disagree with me, but Microsoft doesn't. That's why all year they've been screaming for the legislature to make laws about Open Source. That's why Microsoft supported UCITA and DMCA. They couldn't beat Open Source with innovation. They couldn't beat them with monopolistic tactics. The only weapon Microsoft has left is getting Congress to outlaw Linux and Open Source.

Failing that, Microsoft will lose more and more market share to Linux and Open Source. Few disagree that Linux is more reliable  and more powerful. Few disagree that Linux treats its customers better than Windows.

As Microsoft retreats from the marketplace, small new proprietary companies will sprout up. This will cause an employment rise, spurring an economic boom.

Steve Litt is the documenter of the Universal Troubleshooting Process.   He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

My Boycott

By Steve Litt
This is my boycott. Your mileage may vary.

For their support of this law, I'll never buy anything from Disney again. No theme parks. No videos. No promotional products. I'll buy nothing advertised on ABC, the network owned by Disney. I will continue this boycott even if SSSCA fails to pass, for Disney has shown themselves to be a company willing to reach into my office and rip off my Linux just so they can garner even more profits.

Because they will be primary beneficiaries of this law, I will never buy anything from Microsoft again. Obviously, I wasn't going to anyway, but this must be mentioned.

Because Apple is partly owned by Microsoft, I will buy nothing from Apple.

Because of the various big copyright holders' sponsorship of this law, I will buy no music and no videos. I'll listen to the radio, to CD's I already have, and to independent artists offering their MP3 songs on the net. I'll tape movies off the TV and tape music off the radio.

It's kind of funny. Theme parks, videos, CD's, Disney clothing -- it's all so frivolous anyway, and quite easy to do without.

Steve Litt is the author of Troubleshooting Techniques of the Successful Technologist. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

The First Musician of the Post SSSCA Era

By Steve Litt
So what do I do now that my boycott prevents me from buying CD's? I'm looking forward to listening to the music of self-published artists like Artie Kegler.

I call Artie "the first musician of the post SSSCA era". Artie does everything: singing, playing guitar, running the drum machine, working with the flangers and fuzzetones, working the mixing board, and recording the MP3's. And best of all, his music is spectacular. He's ideally suited for the coming boycott and the desire for alternatives to the record companies.

When I heard Artie perform in the basement of Bernies Bagles in Columbus, Ohio I vowed to sometime own an Artie Kegler CD. But the record labels wouldn't record him. For years I had to do without. Then the Internet happened, and I found his MP3's on the net. He has a new song called "Stark Raving Mad" from his new "Modern Art" album that knocks my socks off.

Links to Artie's fan club site (guess who runs that :) and links to his MP3's are listed in the URL's section of this magazine. Download Artie's music and that of other great self-publishers so long denyed deserved recognition by the same record labels now trying to take away your Linux box.

Steve Litt is the author of Troubleshooting Techniques of the Successful Technologist. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

Kiss Democracy Goodbye

By Steve Litt
On a talk show (I think it was Politically Incorrect), former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich said the following:

"If we don't implement election reforms soon, we can kiss democracy goodbye."

If you think that's just liberal-speak, look at SSSCA. How could anyone seriously propose a law that eliminates consumers' choice of an operating system? And thereby solidifies a monopoly for one of the most hated organizations on the planet?

How could those freedom loving Republicans sign off on such a law? How could those trust-busting consumer supporting Democrats sign off on such a law?

In a word, Money.

Campaign contributions. Soft money. Slush.

For years we knew the Democrats walked in lockstep with their union contributors. And look at the Republicans, those protectors of individual responsibility who fought every dollar spent for societal safety nets, now rushing to give $20 billion to an airline industry that, through its own arrogance, was half in the grave before September 11.

Corporations get what they pay for. Their money funds the campaign, and they're rewarded after. Gone is any sense of equity or justice.

And now comes the SSSCA, which reaches right into your office and destroys your Linux computers. Bought and paid for by big copyright holders, with Disney and large copyright holders in the lead, and the ultimate beneficiary being Microsoft. The big copyright holders will spend millions -- maybe billions. Disney is helping to write the law. Is that the fox guarding the henhouse? Or maybe receipt of goods paid for?

Maybe you're a Windows user and don't care about Linux. You should care very deeply about Linux. Linux is the only thing standing between you and a $500.00 annual subscription fee. Judge Jackson couldn't keep Microsoft in line. The current Justice department certainly won't -- that's not what they're paid to do. The only thing stopping Microsoft from abandoning all quality and quadrupling their prices is the fear that if they go too far users like you will migrate to Linux. The day Linux is outlawed, your "Windows Experience" will get  a lot less fun.

Worse yet, through its inclusion of patented copy protection technology, SSSCA erects a tall barrier to entry into the PC sales business. You know all those little shops that compete at computer shows and swap meets, driving down the price? They'll be gone. Prepare for a return to the days when a top-notch personal computer cost $4000.00.

Will SSSCA be enacted? Too close to call. If given the opportunity to vote, would you vote for SSSCA? Would anyone you know vote for SSSCA? How in the world could such bad law be even considered? Where could such a law possibly get enough votes to pass? How could the president not veto it? Once again, let me quote Robert Reich:

"If we don't implement election reforms soon, we can kiss democracy goodbye."
Steve Litt is a hopelessly idealistic believer in citizen control of the government, the constitution, and the bill of rights. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

Preventing SSSCA

By Steve Litt
Can SSSCA be stopped? Certainly. If every one of Troubleshooters.Com's 55,000 monthly visitors wrote their congressman and both their senators, that would probably tip the scale. Ultimately, politicians want to be re-elected, and 1000 votes per state is nothing to cough at.

But will every one of you write? Or will you simply hope someone else will? If many do the latter, expect it to pass.

Were you a Democrat who didn't vote in the 2000 presidential election? If the election had gone the other way, how would you non-voting Republicans have felt? It's a lousy feeling -- take action.

Taking action is very simple. Write a letter to your congressman (house of representatives), and each of your two senators. Here's where you find out who your congressman and two senators are, and find out their mailing addresses:

You can find your US Representative (Congressman) here:

You find each of your Senators here:

In case you need to write President Bush asking that he veto this law that intrudes on business, you can write President Bush here:

President George Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Here's the letter similar to what I wrote to my congressman and each of my senators:
Dear Senator _______,

My friends, family and I, all of whom are voters and vote regularly, are concerned about a proposed law euphemistically called "Security Systems Standards and Certification Act", or SSSCA for short. It is sponsored by Senators Ted Stevens of Alaska and Fritz Hollings of South Carolina. This law is not about security, but rather about forcing copy protection down the throat of every law abiding citizen and business in America. 

This law mandates that every digital system, either hardware or software, include copy protection. Because the Linux operating system's license precludes inclusion of proprietary software such as the copy protection mandated by the proposed SSSCA, this law will ban Linux, forcing many businesses and a large segment of the Internet to switch to inferior Microsoft operating systems.

Unauthorized copying of copyrighted materials is unethical and a crime, but this law goes much too far. We're all against child abuse, but you wouldn't vote mandatory placement of video cameras in every citizen's house to prevent it. This is a valid analogy.

The loss of Linux will hurt America badly. If SSSCA passes: 

1. Over half the Internet infrastructure is destroyed.

2. Many businesses (including mine) must migrate to Windows. Many will be bankrupted in the process.

3. With its only significant competition gone, Microsoft will no longer be pressured to deliver quality or keep their prices in check. Licensing provisions will become even more onerous. 

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. With half the Internet and many businesses forced to migrate to Windows, you can bet Microsoft will do the technology equivalent of a convenience store charging $10.00 per gallon of water after an earthquake. With the single exception of Redmond, Washington, a deep recession will engulf the economy. 

But that's not the worst of it. 

Linux won't be banned in Europe, India, Ireland, Australia, or Mexico. As the United States retreats into inferior technology, those countries will continue their march into the future. The world's technologists will learn and progress while American technologists learn only how to work around Microsoft's software glitches. The technological superiority that's fueled our economy for the last 50 years will be gone. What will we do --- become an agricultural or hospitality economy?

SSSCA is ludicrous. It's unbelievable that the United States is considering a law which will effectively ban American Citizens from using the operating system of their choice. Many will remember who voted for it and who voted against it. Please vote against it.

Thank you.



Given the current state of the United States Post Office after the anthrax mailings, you might want to back up your letter with either a fax or an email. Once again, here are the places you can find out who serves you in the legislature and all their contact information:

You can find your US Representative (Congressman) here:

You find each of your Senators here:

Contact and involve Linux-using government agencies like NASA, NERSC, NIH, NIST, NOAA, USGS, Fermilab, Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories, and enlist their help.

If you don't take action, and SSSCA passes, and you can no longer legally use Linux, don't come crying to me.

Steve Litt is the main author of Samba Unleashed. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

Attempted Theft of Linux

By Steve Litt
After a day of feedback on this TPM issue (thanks for the feedback everyone), it appears that SSSCA is stalled, and given the level of opposition, may never be resurrected in its current form. What do I mean by "in its current form"? Simply that current word on the net is that Hollings and Stevens, the guys who were all set to put you in prison for using Linux, will probably shave off a couple of the most offensive provisions of SSSCA, and bring back the slightly less nasty law as a "compromise".

Don't let them do it. Oppose ANY law requiring copy protection in ANY equipment or software. Better yet, give very close scrutiny to ANY law proposed by either of this pair. If they could attempt this sham, imagine what else they're capable of.

Don't think this thing is over. If Hollings, Stevens, Disney, and the record companies and the movie studios are not punished severely for their attempted theft of our Linux, they'll be emboldened to try again.

Keep up your anti SSSCA campaign. If the law's name is changed, campaign against the newly renamed law. These greedy and selfish people will try again and again until they make a few more bucks at the expense of your choice of software, hardware and operating system. Just say no to enforced copy protection. Vigorously. Continue writing your congress critters. If you don't, a slightly lesser form of SSSCA will pass, and you'll have the choice of Windows or felony.

Even if SSSCA sinks back into the primordial ooze, I will continue my boycott of Disney, commercial music and commercial videos. Those entities tried to rob me of my Linux. It appears like at least for now they might have failed. But future attempts must be prevented. Besides, these guys don't deserve my money. How dare they attempt to reach into my office and rip off my operating system.

It's odd. Attempted murder or attempted kidnapping are punished by years behind bars. But attempted creation of a blatantly unconstitutional law and attempted theft of your freedom -- no punishment at all. Let these selfish and greedy people know there's a punishment for attempted theft of Linux.

Steve Litt  takes his boycotts seriously. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

The Latest on the Microsoft Antitrust Case

By Steve Litt
Microsoft may have underestimated the political contributions necessary to call off the dogs. Although the feds and nine states capitulated, nine states still battle on.

As you remember, on June 7, 2000 Judge Jackson ruled that Microsoft was an illegal monopoly, and ordered it broken up. Soon after he deferred the breakup until appeal. Soon after that, Judge Jackson spoke publicly of Microsoft's distasteful behavior (you can't blame him -- who better to understand just how distasteful they are than Judge Jackson).

A few months after Judge Jackson's ruling, the United States presidency was decided when the Supreme Court ruled to stop the recounts which increasingly portrayed the possibility of a Gore victory. Many felt that a Bush administration would be soft on monopolies, or even friendly to them.

Judge Jackson's public utterances gave Microsoft what they needed at appeal, and on June 28, 2001, the Federal Appeals Court threw out the divestiture (breakup) penalty, but upheld the finding that Microsoft used illegal means to maintain its monopoly status. Microsoft appealed to the Supreme Court, who rejected their appeal on October 9, 2001.

On November 2, 2001, the Department of Justice reached a settlement with Microsoft. It was basically businss as usual, except that Microsoft must reveal their middleware (not OS) API. They're granted an exception where it impacts security or copy protection (however broad that may be). It also allows  computer manufacturers to place other software and icons on Windows PC's,  without retribution. But downloaded Microsoft software can de-install those vendor installed software and icons if it's over 14 days after initial use of the OS.

Consent decrees such as this usually carry severe consequences for  violation. Consequences like breakup. Not in this case. The consequence is 2 more years of the same slap-on-the-wrist consent decree. In a cynical moment, one might wonder if Microsoft's case was settled by the Supreme Court after all -- the day they stopped the recounts.

And now (11/6/2001 at 6:00pm Eastern time) the lawsuit remains only in the hands of 9 of the 18 states that were in the lawsuit  2 weeks ago:
Participation in the MS antitrust lawsuit
as of 6/6/2001 at 6:00pm Eastern time
These States fight on These states capitulated to Microsoft
West Virginia
North Carolina
New York

Nine states and the Linux OS are now all that stand between you and a new, boldly empowered Microsoft monopoly. If you live in one of those states, call your attorney general and let them know you support fighting on.

Meanwhile, the fact that the DOJ and nine states capitulated to the Microsoft-centric agreement invokes something called the Tunney act requires public comment on the new "agreement" between Microsoft and the DOJ (supported by 9 states). Quoting from the "agreement":

6.  Members of the public may submit written comments about the proposed Final Judgment to a designated official of the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice for a period of 60 days after publication of the proposed Final Judgment and Competitive Impact Statement in the Federal Register. 

Every Troubleshooting Professional Magazine reader should write to the "designated official of the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice" saying that the proposed settlement won't stop Microsoft's illegal monopolistic behavior. Here's why. Here's what I've gathered from a quick skim of the new settlement:

We learned in November 2000 that every vote counts, within the limits of vote fraud and supreme court appointees. Your vote counts. Tell the "official of the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice" exactly what you think of this agreement.

And keep supporting those brave states that continue to fight this illegal monopoly.

Steve Litt is the author of Rapid Learning: Secret Weapon of the Successful Technologist. He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

Life After Windows: Hopes and Fears

Life After Windows is a regular Troubleshooting Professional column, by Steve Litt, bringing you observations and tips subsequent to Troubleshooters.Com's Windows to Linux conversion.
On November 1, 2001, I completed the first draft of my upcoming book on Troubleshooting. 117,000 words. Authored in Open Source LyX.

My machine is a dual Celeron 300A (cranked up to 450mhz), with 512MB RAM, 80GB of 7200 RPM IDE disk, and Mandrake 8.0 Linux using the Icewm desktop. In February of 2000 I paid a little over $500.00 for the memory, and considered it a steal (local sources were over $100.00 higher). This is a fast machine, but my 117,000 word LyX file takes about 20 seconds to render. An inconvenience, but tolerable.

At the last LEAP Installfest I installed 512MB in my experimental machine, a Mandrake Linux 8.1 Celeron 333 (cranked up to 375mhz). The 512MB was purchased from LEK Computers in Winter Garden, Florida for $57.00. I could have gotten it for $42.00 plus tax at a computer swap meet, but with something as incompatible as RAM it's better to buy from a trusted vendor.

The extra RAM, combined with the use of the extremely light weight Icewm desktop, makes this experimental machine practical for actual work. If my main machine went down I could carry on with the experimental machine.

But the real news is the opportunity. With RAM so cheap, you can get a really heavy hitter machine for very little money:
1700mhz processor
Pentium 4 1700 or less expensive Athlon XP 1700+
Western Digital 100GB 7200RPM
4 sticks of 512 (careful of compatibility)
Excellent Motherboard
Name brand, see for evals
48x CD
High capacity processor Fan
Don't skimp on the fan, especially with AMD processors
32MB Graphics card
Go commodity, or raise the price for killer cards
Intel EEPro 100+ NIC
Reliable with Linux
Midsize case, 300Watt
Older soundblaster or Ensoniq for max compatibility
16/10/40 CD burner
Hermanator hard disk cooler
Misc cables and fans
Mandrake 8.1 Linux
From LinuxCentral.Com, includes shipping. 
Add $20 to $30 for commercial boxed set.
If you already have Mandrake 8.1, 
subtract $13.00, as it's perfectly legal to 
install it on multiple machines.
Not bad for a computer that can hold 
a book, its authoring program, 
and a couple music CD's in RAM.

The following is a very rough estimate. If you're aggressive with Internet purchases, or if you live in a competitive market, you can probably get it for less. If you live in a rural area and want to buy locally, you'll pay more. But the bottom line is that for about $1400.00 you can get a full featured business computer with a 1.7Ghz processor, 2GB of RAM, and 100GB disk. Remember to use a 6GB partition for swap -- you're slinging a lot of RAM. With a machine like this, disk reads will be very rare, and performance will be incredible.

I'll be ready to buy a new main computer in about a year. By that time $1400.00 will probably buy me a 2.5Ghz processor, 4GB of RAM, 150GB disk, and a much faster Linux kernel. What a pleasure work will be.

If, that is, I'm still legally allowed to use Linux.

If SSSCA passes, Linux will be illegal. At first I'll be able to use it under the grandfather clause. Hardware and software made before SSSCA passage will be exempt. But soon any modifications in these systems will require SSSCA copy protection. So no new Linux. And when my current crop of computers break, any new computers I buy will be SSSCA enabled and probably will deliberately sabotage Linux. The rest of the world will use state of the art Linux, and I'll still be on Mandrake 8.1.

According to initial Windows XP test publications, 2.5Ghz, 4GB and 150GB will be a little bit better than adequate for Windows XP. My dreams of owning a screamer machine will be dashed.

I'll never go back to Windows. Maybe I'll violate the law. Maybe I'll drop out of programming, technical writing and book writing. Maybe I'll emigrate to a saner country. Maybe I'll stay and fight the crooks who are hijacking this country. But I'll never go back to Windows.

SSSCA or not, I'll never give another cent to Bill Gates. I'll never again endure the blue screen of death, or whatever its Windows XP equivalent. I'll never participate in Passport.

WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

Goodbye Microsoft. Goodbye record industry. Goodbye film industry. Goodbye Disney. I'm independent.

All you readers out there -- come join me.

Steve Litt's newest book will be a complete 300+ page treatise on Troubleshooting, and should be available in the next month or two.  He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

Linux Log: Life after SSSCA

By Steve Litt
If SSSCA passes:

You may be a criminal

If you continue using Linux after SSSCA passage, you may be a criminal, and if so, you may be convicted by up to 5 years in prison. One would hope that prison sentence would be served in a minimum security federal prison, but if the government wants to make an example of you or show fidelity to those who contributed SSSCA money, it might be high security. There are some prison links in the URL's section. You might want to start pumping iron and learn how to fight with a knife.

American technology will deteriorate

The definition of a good programmer will change. Instead of being somebody who can design and code a program to solve a problem and serve the user, a "good programmer" will be the person most adept at working around Microsoft bugs and quirks. Meanwhile, programmers from other countries will continue coding and learning good technology. In fact, these trends have already started.

By the time the government admits that SSSCA was a mistake and repeals it, superior foreign competition will make American technologists unemployable.

The American economic dream will die

Since the end of World War II, America's economic engine has been fueled by superior technology. The government's award of monopoly power to a single "technology" company will eliminate all incentive for technological innovation. America will find herself increasingly backward, until she becomes third world.

The "Made in America" label will evoke an image of junk 10 years after SSSCA passage. American software will be the butt jokes worldwide.

The end of the American middle class

All software revenues will flow to a very few in Redmond. There will be little or no possibility for software entrepeneurship, because the minute you're successful, Microsoft will put you out of business. Going into management is not the answer, because the sky high cost of software ownership, combined with the competitive advantage of foreign corporations, will mean very few management jobs, and not much pay. Perhaps America will become a tourist destination. If you have a large sum of money at your disposal, perhaps you should purchase a vacation resort so you can profit from visiting foreign businessmen. Try not to get paid in dollars.
Steve Litt is president of Linux Enthusiasts and Professionals of Central Florida (LEAP-CF). He can be reached at Steve Litt's email address.

Letters to the Editor

All letters become the property of the publisher (Steve Litt), and may be edited for clarity or brevity. We especially welcome additions, clarifications, corrections or flames from vendors whose products have been reviewed in this magazine. We reserve the right to not publish letters we deem in bad taste (bad language, obscenity, hate, lewd, violence, etc.).
Submit letters to the editor to Steve Litt's email address, and be sure the subject reads "Letter to the Editor". We regret that we cannot return your letter, so please make a copy of it for future reference.

How to Submit an Article

We anticipate two to five articles per issue, with issues coming out monthly. We look for articles that pertain to the Troubleshooting Process, or articles on tools, equipment or systems with a Troubleshooting slant. This can be done as an essay, with humor, with a case study, or some other literary device. A Troubleshooting poem would be nice. Submissions may mention a specific product, but must be useful without the purchase of that product. Content must greatly overpower advertising. Submissions should be between 250 and 2000 words long.

By submitting content, you give Troubleshooters.Com the non-exclusive, perpetual right to publish it on Troubleshooters.Com or any A3B3 website. Other than that, you retain the copyright and sole right to sell or give it away elsewhere. Troubleshooters.Com will acknowledge you as the author and, if you request, will display your copyright notice and/or a "reprinted by permission of author" notice. Obviously, you must be the copyright holder and must be legally able to grant us this perpetual right. We do not currently pay for articles.

Troubleshooters.Com reserves the right to edit any submission for clarity or brevity. Any published article will include a two sentence description of the author, a hypertext link to his or her email, and a phone number if desired. Upon request, we will include a hypertext link, at the end of the magazine issue, to the author's website, providing that website meets the Troubleshooters.Com criteria for links and that the author's website first links to Troubleshooters.Com. Authors: please understand we can't place hyperlinks inside articles. If we did, only the first article would be read, and we can't place every article first.

Submissions should be emailed to Steve Litt's email address, with subject line Article Submission. The first paragraph of your message should read as follows (unless other arrangements are previously made in writing):

I (your name), am submitting this article for possible publication in Troubleshooters.Com. I understand that by submitting this article I am giving the publisher, Steve Litt, perpetual license to publish this article on Troubleshooters.Com or any other A3B3 website. Other than the preceding sentence, I understand that I retain the copyright and full, complete and exclusive right to sell or give away this article. I acknowledge that Steve Litt reserves the right to edit my submission for clarity or brevity. I certify that I wrote this submission and no part of it is owned by, written by or copyrighted by others.
After that paragraph, write the title, text of the article, and a two sentence description of the author.


All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Troubleshooters.Com(R) is a registered trademark of Steve Litt.

URLs Mentioned in this Issue