Welcome to Humorixia
Fake News written by on Wednesday, November 3, 1999
"We the Geeks of Humorixia, in Order to form a more perfect, bullshit-free Society, establish real Justice, insure domestic Freedom, provide for the common defense of Geeks, promote the general Quality of Software, and secure the Blessings of Free Software to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this General Social License for the Nation of Humorixia..."
Last week I reviewed Sue Peena's book "...Guide to Defending Against Lawsuits...". At the time I thought her suggestion to "found an independent nation" (Chapters 5 and 7) was beyond ludicrous.
I've changed my mind. Within the last week several assaults have been made against the Geek Community: the McDonnell-Douglas Y2K patent, the Toshiba lawsuit aftermath, Australia's new censorship law, RealNetwork's privacy brouhaha... and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Something has to give. The lawyers and PHBs of society are out of control.
I joked about it before, but now I'm serious. We need to found an independent nation for geeks by geeks. There's bound to be some uninhabited island out in the Pacific that we could lay claim to.
This new island paradise -- which I'll call Humorixia -- should be based on a written Social License. Below I've drafted a prototype of this document.
What do you think? Write me at jonsplatz [at] i-want-a-website [dot] com.
THE HUMORIXIA GENERAL SOCIAL LICENSE
Version 1.0, November 3, 1999
The Constitutions and Social Contracts for most nations are designed to take away your individual freedoms. By contrast, this Humorixia General Social License is intended to guarantee your freedoms.
To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you are a Citizen of Humorixia.
Also, for each Citizen's protection and ours, we want to make certain that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free Citizenship. If the United State launches nuclear warheads against us, or if Microsoft deploys a fleet of Intellectual Property Police in black, unmarked helicopters, then you are on your own.
You are not required to accept this License, since you have not signed it. However, nothing else grants you Humorixia Citizenship and accompanying Rights and Privileges.
The precise Terms and Conditions for Citizenship in the Nation of Humorixia are described in the rest of the General Social License.
Article I. -- Legislative Branch
Section 0. All legislative powers shall be vested in all Citizens by means of the Grand Message Board and the guiding principles of "Rough Consensus" and "Running Code".
Section 1. Amendments, patches, alterations, and addendums to this License shall be submitted to the Grand Message Board in diff(1) format. During a one (1) week interval, Citizens may post comments to the Grand Message Board along with a single vote of 'Yes', 'No', or 'I Don't Care'.
If the number of 'Yes' votes is in excess of three-fifths, then the patch shall be submitted to the Benevolent Dictator who will apply the patch and distribute the upgraded version of the License to all Official Mirrors.
Article II. -- Executive Branch
Section 0. The powers to enforce this License shall be vested in the Benevolent Dictator and the Benevolent Vice Dictator. These officials shall be elected twice per year by popular vote on the Grand Message Board.
Section 1. The Benevolent Dictator shall be the Keeper Of The Root Password, the Guardian Of The General Social License, the Commander In Chief Of The Geeks With Guns, and the Metaphorical Grand Poobah. The Benevolent Vice Dictator is the Protector Of The Official Tape Backups and Administrator Of The Vast Spy Network(nontm).
Section 2. The Vast Spy Network(nontm) shall handle all Foreign Policy and Espionage. Any Citizen may become a member of the Vast Spy Network after completing an extensive training course and receiving a wireless uplink by means of a Neural Implant From the Future(nontm).
Section 3. The Benevolent Dictator and Vice Dictator, and all Civil Service officers in the Nation Of Humorixia shall be removed from Office on Impeachment and Conviction for: Treason, Aiding Script Kiddies, Unauthorized Code Forking, or Selling His Soul To Bill Gates.
Article III. -- Judicial Branch
Section 0. A single Meta-Moderator Judge serving an elected six-month term shall be vested with exclusive judicial power. The Judge shall, at His discretion, revoke the Citizenship of, levy fine against, and/or publicly ridicule any Citizen who is found guilty of infringing on the terms of this License.
Article IV. -- Rights, Priviliges, and Benefits Of Citizenship
Section 0. All Citizens shall enjoy the following benefits:
- Full and unhindered access to the Island of Humorixia in the South Pacific.
- Supply of electricity by means of a Waste-To-Energy Power Plant burning discarded boxes, documentation, and media of proprietary software (i.e. Microsoft Windows). Each Citizen is directed to contribute at least five (5) kilograms of such material per year.
- Total protection from all lawsuits and legal actions originating from any other country or jurisdiction.
- Unlimited free domain names registered under Humorixia's TLD.
- Full use of the Humorixia Vast Spy Network(nontm) for the purposes of retaliating against spam, Script Kiddie attacks, or Denial Of Service attacks.
- Broadband Internet access via retrofitted Humorix Spy Satellite Number Two.
- Humorixia Gold Credit Card and Secret Handshake accepted worldwide.
- No taxes, although all Citizens are requested to contribute at least two (2) items per year of Free Software, Documentation, or other related Services towards the Betterment of the Geek Community.
- Gratis "Got Freedom?" T-shirts to the first five hundred (500) people who apply for Citizenship.
- Right to post one comment and one vote on the Grand Message Board per issue or discussion.
- The usual rights to free speech, press, assembly, religion, Internet access, encryption, etc.
Article V. -- Illegal Activities
Section 0. The following activities are outside the bounds of this License and may result in termination of your Citizenship per Article III:
- Using Humorixia resources to aid the spread, distribution, and sale of software that does not meet the terms of the Debian Free Software Guidelines (or equivalent).
- Distribution of unsolicited bulk commercial email under any circumstances.
- Obtaining a Law Degree from any institution under any circumstances. [In other words, no lawyers allowed. This will certainly put a stop to the Lawyerclysm -- Jon Splatz]
- Inflicting physical harm on any other Citizen or their Computer Equipment (i.e. installing Windows as a prank, executing a malicious rm(1) command, etc.)
- Holding stock or other monetary interests in a company listed on the Official Black List, including Microsoft, Unisys, and Network Solutions. This Black List may be updated by three-fifths popular vote on the Grand Message Board.
- Posting a so-called "First post!" comment to the Grand Message Board.
UPDATE by The Editor:
Just as this opinion piece went to press, the following letter arrived from Microsoft's Legal Department. As much as we hate to admit it, the contents of this letter actually validate some of Jon Splatz's ramblings.
Dear Valued Mr. Splatz,
Please pass this note on to Sue Peena, the author of the book you recently reviewed. Unfortunately, her address is not revealed in the book itself, and we have been unable to convince a judge to issue a subpoena to Sue Peena.
We have come to the conclusion that your book violates as many as 37 Microsoft patents and contains at least 7 unproven statements damaging the reputation of Microsoft. Following your advice from Chapter 3, we see ourselves forced to file suit against you.
Our lawsuit contains, but is not limited to, the following items:
- Your name is listed as "Ms. Peena". "Ms" is a registered trademark of Microsoft, Corp., and not acknowledged as such.
- Your usage of the term "BEC" with Microsoft is correct, but you fail to state that the term BEC is short for "Best Ever Company".
- Chapters 5 and 6 are a reproduction of internal Microsoft research papers (aka Halloween VII and VIII), which we have just begun to execute. (see the result of the DOJ lawsuit against us)
- Your Chapter 0 ("Opening statements") violates a patent held by Microsoft Press (starting a book with a chapter with any heading indicating it is the first chapter).
- You have composed a book entirely of WORDs, without buying an adequate number of Microsoft Word® licenses.
Chairman, Microsoft Legal Department
Assistant Chief Of Lawsuits Against Individuals, Microsoft Legal Department
MSCL (Microsoft Certified Lawyer) #15,103