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Answers On LUGs, Life, and Linux in Iraq

Roblimo posted more than 10 years ago | from the power-is-out-as-often-as-it's-on dept.

The Courts 318

Adam Davidson is an American reporter who has been in Baghdad for many months, and in his 'spare time' helped start Iraq's first LUG. We sent him your questions last week, and he's replied in great detail, not only about the LUG itself but also with a rare 'geek's eye view' of daily life in Baghdad, and comments about how the Iraqi IT infrastructure (and laws controlling it) are being (re)built.

1) Computer density in Iraq - by MajorDick

What is the density per capita of PC type computers in Iraq ? I mean how many people even own computers ? What is the average computer available for use in Iraq ?

Adam:

It's impossible to get accurate statistics for pretty much anything in Iraq. But I've found that most middle-class families do have a computer. Middle-class in Iraq means the senior bread-winner makes anywhere from $100 to $600 per month. Many businesses have computers. And there are Internet cafes that have sprung up all over the country and are wildly popular. So, most people who want to are able to use a computer as often as they'd like. The computers available are surprisingly up-to-date. Sana'a Street, the main computer shopping area, has dozens and dozens of computer shops where you'll find almost everything you'd need: late-model P4 or AMD CPUs. Decent motherboards, even raid, good hard-drives, some decent soundcards, etc. Good printers from HP, etc. There are a lot of low-end brands as well as the well-known ones. You can get most of the gadgets you'd like: USB memory keys, digital cameras, portable harddrives, flat screens, whatever. And anything you want that's not in stock can be shipped in from Dubai in a week or so. The prices are far cheaper than in any other Arab country I've been to.

Most Iraqis have their desktop or tower computers assembled locally, from imported parts, of course. But you can buy full HP systems and a few other brands. It's also easy to buy pretty current laptops. A basic system--AMD, 256MB RAM, 40gig HD, is around $400. I just bought a fully loaded system for less than $1500.

I go to Sana'a street pretty often and it is always completely packed with people buying computer systems and parts. There is so much pent-up demand for so many things. Under the previous regime, import tariffs were so high that everything cost twice what it would elsewhere. Now, it's so cheap. And while many Iraqis are miserably poor, many others are benefiting from the current situation and are buying not only computers but their first washing machines, satellite TV systems, microwave ovens, and on and on.

2) Encryption - by onyxruby

For years strict encryption rules were an issue for Iraq. Has the US now stopped it's encryption restrictions for Iraq or do you simply get your crypto from elsewhere?

Adam:

I don't know too much about this. I'd check out Don Marti's coverage of the issue at LinuxJournal. But there is no regulation of software in Iraq now. There are tons of shops that burn you anything you want for about a buck a CD. I downloaded US-crypto here, because I'm a US citizen working for a US-based radio show and I figure I'm entitled. But I don't think Iraqis would even know what restrictions exist or have any idea how to follow them. That being said, security and crypto issues are not big concerns here. Most Iraqis just don't know much about them, since they're less than a year into using the internet freely. Under Saddam, of course, there was massive government restriction on what could be accessed and what crypto could be used.

3) What will the Iraqi government use? - by rueger

I'm presuming that any government computer infrastructure has been destroyed, and that they will be more or less starting from scratch.

Am I correct in assuming that Microsoft is in there big time locking down contracts to rebuild government computing sytems?

Adam:

In the massive looting after the war, pretty much the entire computer infrastructure of the government was stolen. I'm friends with the head of IT for the Ministry of Trade (one of the biggest users of computers in Iraq) and he told me that he had recently purchased 30,000 desktop workstations. Every single one was looted. So, yes, they're starting from scratch. My friend, the MoT IT guy, says he wants to deploy Linux. From what he knows, he thinks it's a much better fit for Iraq. It's cheap, adaptable, has good Arabic support. But he just doesn't know enough about Linux, since it was all but unknown in Iraq during Saddam's regime. I find that is typical--when I explain Linux to just about any Iraqi, they get it quickly and want it. Any company or ministry that had a server most likely used Unix and now wants to switch to Linux. And there is great interest in desktop Linux.

I know the guy who is Microsoft's sole agent in Iraq. He's actually a nice guy, lives down the block from me. He's having a very hard time. They are not as powerful here as you'd expect. First of all, since all software--including M$--costs a buck a CD, it's pretty much impossible to convince anyone that they should pay thousands of dollars for systems. Also, there is a general suspicion of large foreign corporations coming in and gobbling up Iraqi assets. So, people in the know are more excited about Linux. That being said, few Iraqis even know that there are operating systems other than M$. I've found exactly one Iraqi who has heard of Apple, and maybe a few dozen who've heard of Linux. So, just letting people know there is an alternative is a big issue.

The US occupational government, the Coalition Provisional Authority, uses M$ desktops and servers, as does the US-appointed Interim Governing Council. Most ministries are now using DOS systems. But the ministries are largely able to purchase things like hardware and software completely independently of the US. The Iraqi government has a budget this year of something around $12 billion and they choose how it's spent. The US government has made the decision not to alter the ministries too much. It's too much work in the short time before the handover of power to a sovereign government at the end of June. And the CPA is so overworked and out-of-touch with day-to-day issues at the ministries that I don't think they could force a M$ deployment even if they wanted to.

I do assume, though, that without any counter-pressure, the new Iraqi government will use M$ by default.

4) Can we help you in some way? - by herrvinny

Can we help you in some way? Old computers, networking equipment, webspace, etc?

Adam:

The Iraqi LUG has received several generous offers of support. I'd say that old computer equipment is not helpful, because so much new stuff is available so cheaply. They also don't need any more distributions. several people have sent distros, and I've become a one-man distro download center, since I have pretty fast DSL (believe it or not) and have been downloading the major distros and giving them to the iLug.

What the iLug needs most is:
1. Money.
2. Information.
3. Technical help.

The amazing iLug has some ambitious and exciting plans. They are planning to open a Linux Users Center in May. A generous ex-pat Iraqi living in London will donate space and some money to set up a place that can have a dozen or more Linux machines. It will be in a prominent location and will offer free or very cheap internet access, to lure people in. There will be trainings, tech support, meetings, to build up the base of knowledgeable Linux users. The space is centrally located and will, I'm certain, be extremely popular. Before the center is opened, the iLug is distributing one-page fact sheets in Arabic along with a CD of MandrakeMove to introduce Iraqis to Linux. They're handing these out on college campuses and on Sana'a street. I'm also hoping the iLug gets enough money so that its two directors, Ashraf Tariq and Hasanen Nawfal, can go on staff. These two guys are so impressive, so smart, ambitious, eager. But, like all Iraqis, they need to make a living. So, if there could be, say $500 a month for each of them, they could devote themselves full-time to Linux advocacy. That would be so wonderful. In their off hours--handing out distros and evangelizing--they've brought the membership of the iLug up from two to 70 in a couple months; it would be thrilling to see what they could do if they worked at it full time. The iLug also wants to create packages of information, along with copies of distributions, to hand out to IT decision makers at the ministries and private companies. So, a few bucks can go along way towards creating a well-informed, vigorous, and free computer environment in Iraq.

To donate, just go to the paypal link on the www.linux-iraq.org site.

Information is also very important. Don Marti, of LinuxJournal, has very generously arranged to have a lot of books sent over to Iraq. But many more are needed. They still don't have any kind of basic intro to Linux. They want to create a strong library for the iLug members and for the soon-to-be created Linux Center.

Technical help is also important. Having people the iLug can turn to for help would be wonderful. Since pretty much every Linux user is a newbie, it's not that easy to find someone who can troubleshoot. Also, as you can see, their website is pretty primitive. It would be great to have someone offer to design and build and host a more exciting one.

5) Domestic vs. Foreign Talent - by Evil Schmoo

Is the recent growth in your user group due to an influx of homegrown Iraqi talent, or are there more foreign users (ie, contractors) coming incountry?

Adam:

The iLug is almost exclusively home-grown talent. These are Iraqis who have never been outside of Iraq. It started with Hasanen Nawfal, this amazing computer programmer who somehow found out about Linux during Saddam's regime and got a copy of Red Hat (he now prefers Mandrake). This alone shows how curious and capable he is. It was all but impossible to surf the web freely or download much of anything on the crappy pre-war connections. He got his friend Ashraf involved after the war, and together they've been teaching others--mostly college and graduate students--about Linux. I haven't met any returning Iraqi exiles who know Linux or have gotten involved. The foreign contractors are locked away in secure bases and don't interact with the Iraqi population.

Iraq has very well-educated computer science population. Technocrats at the ministries and university professors and students. There are tons of people who know C++ and other languages. But they've been hampered by the lack of new information during sanctions and by the fact that Iraq had no software industry. There are plenty of people who designed computer control systems for power plants or databases and maintained servers. They're smart and experienced, but they have 13 years or so of catching up to do.

6) Legislative issues - by temojen

Given Iraq's clean-slate status:

How can the international community promote the freedom to use information technology for fair and lawful purposes (ie no DRM, free use of strong cryptography)?

Adam:

I think this is a major issue. It won't be answerable until there is a new Iraqi government (currently scheduled for June 30th at a former rogue state near you) and we are able to assess who is in charge, who is writing the laws, and how much influence the US will have in the process. My guess is the US will have a lot of influence and that copyright protection and it's scary cousins will have a major push. But, judging by the messy process of government-creation (see: salon.com article [Editor's note: Subscription or annoying ad required to view complete story]) it is possible the US will have to negotiate away some controls. I actually have no idea how to influence this process. The people who are currently rewriting Iraqi laws are US folks, many military lawyers who have never dealt with commercial or IP laws before, and they're so locked away in hidden offices in the CPA palace (formerly Saddam's Presidential Palace) that I don't know who they are or who is talking to them. I would say in reality that these issues are far down the list of US concerns right now. But with a new government and this huge market open for the first time, it's hard to imagine the US happily allowing the completely free system in place (there were no copyright protections for foreign companies under Saddam) to stand. I guess the usual: write your congressmen or something.

I think the best thing that can be done here is to inform the future Iraqi government about the dangers of certain kinds of laws. It would be difficult to find Iraqi decision-makers who completely (or at all) support the US presence here. The vast majority are extremely wary of the corporate colonialization of Iraq. So, I think this could be a real fight and there are no clear winners yet.

7) Infrastructure - by Golias

If one believes western media, Iraq is a nation under constant siege, in which the plumbing and electricity is absent for large swathes of the nation, and order is just barely maintained by the massive presense of unwelcome US troops. Also, many in the west believed that Iraq under Saddam was a very backwards and un-developed place (apart from military development), and one was not likely to find many computers at all, let alone connected ones.

So, as somebody who's actually there and actually knows what life is like for a techno-geek in today's Iraq, perhaps you could give us a detailed account about current network infrastructure, how easy or difficult it is to buy computer parts, how much Iraqi people (and Iraqi computer geeks in particular) use Internet technologies to connect to one another (e-mail, blogs, instant messaging, the web, etc.), what cultural attitudes in Iraq concerning the Internet, the global community, and the West, etc.

Most people in the United States (which is where most of the readers of /. come from) know very little about day-to-day life in Iraq. A detailed account would probably be very educational and broadening.

Adam:

Since I have to spend a lot of time convincing my mom that I'm actually a lot safer than she thinks, I know that the US impression of Iraq is way off. The truth is life here is quite normal. The streets are crowded (way too crowded, traffic is a nightmare), shops are filled with new consumer goods. Restaurants are thriving. Schools are open. People go to work, school, hang out with friends. You see the occasional American humvee or tank roll down the street, but other than that, it's hard to tell you're in a country under occupation and a guerilla war. Much of Baghdad seems like a normal, if poor, third world capital. Not too different from what I've seen in Latin America, say. There are wealthy areas, poor areas, kids playing, all that. A few months ago, I would hear a few explosions every night and a lot of gunfire. It became so common that we'd just ignore it. But these days, those things are so rare that we actually pay attention when they happen.

Middle class folks (who would be desperately poor by US standards), have decent homes, cars, most likely a computer. The middle-class and wealthy areas (like Jadiriya, Karada, Arasat, and Mansour) of Baghdad are extremely lively. Poorer people are pretty badly off. Unemployment is huge and underemployment is horrible. In the Thaura or Seven Palaces neighborhoods, people are lucky to make a buck a day and wouldn't be able to live without the monthly government food ration. They are unlikely to eat much meat--since that's not included in the ration. And they are certainly incapable of buying a computer or even affording the dollar-an-hour internet cafe fees.

There is a lot of fear in Iraq, but much more of bandits than of terrorists. Nighttime Iraq is pretty quiet. Only a few neighborhoods stay open after dark and the highways are all but empty. There is a lot of crime, car-jacking, murder, rape. The nights are bad and most ex-pats, like me, stay in the house. Wealthier Iraqis and ex-pats have armed guards 24-hours and never travel alone. Almost all Iraqis have a Kalachnikov rifle in the house to ward off burglars.

I can say that I've been in Iraq for most of the time since the war and I have never once felt afraid. I'm always cautious, probably a lot more tense than I am back home in New York, but I've never had any reason to fear for my life or safety.

The infrastructure stuff is a major hassle. Power is out as often as it's on. We, like many wealthy Iraqis, have a big generator, so we're able to stay on. But most middle class people can't. There is phone service in about half of Baghdad. The government ISP, Uruklink, is still operating and if you have a phone line you can get on line (assuming you have power). Uruklink does offer DSL service to a few neigborhoods. I have a 256K line that goes down a few hours a week and a few days a month. Yesterday we were down for most of the day because some guerillas cut the fiber-optic line. Most businesses and internet cafes opt for satellite internet connections. These vary in prices, but most likely cost a grand or so a month and are also not terribly reliable, unless you buy a very expensive system. Most Internet cafes have terribly slow connections and are down for hours a week for one reason or another.

But when they're up, the Internet cafes are packed. Pretty much every Iraqi I meet has an email address, even if they don't have a computer, usually through Hotmail or Yahoo. Iraqis love chat rooms and on-line dating services and porn, like everyone else. Male/female relations are so restrictive in Iraqi society. It's pretty much impossible for most single guys to spend any time alone with a woman who is not a relative. So, I think the titillation of the 'net is all too exciting. There is also a huge explosion in networked gaming. Those places are always packed with people playing games with folks from around the world. Some Iraqis even ignore the porn and actually try to figure out what the 'net is all about or learn about advances in their profession or hobby or whatever. I've found that middle-aged and older people are more likely to find the web strange and troubling and less likely to use it. Even more than in other countries, Iraq will soon have a massive generational digital-divide.

In short, Iraqis have access to everything, but it can be a huge pain. Of the iLug founders, Hasanen has a phone line and internet connection, Ashraf doesn't. Because of work and other pressures, Ashraf is able to access his email or read web-based Linux stuff only once or twice a week. Hasanen can do it every day. Not because Hasanen is richer or anything, he's just lucky enough to live in a neigborhood with a phone line. No average Iraqi has a fast-enough connection to download a distribution or even a large program. My DSL line costs a base of more than $200 a month (a fortune for most Iraqis) for a 128k connection and more than $600 a month since I boost the speed to 256k.

8) State Of Intellectual Capital - by RenegadeTempest

After living under totalitarian rule, what is the state of the country's computing talent? What disciplines have the strongest computing talent?

Adam:

Networking is probably most advanced. It's easy to find Iraqis who can build and maintain a complex network. There are plenty of people who know the basics of desktop computing. And more than a handful of decent programmers. But the coders don't have much experience, since they were limited to small custom projects. Also, the knowledge isn't too broad. Tons of people know C++, even more know visual basic, but few know any other languages.

9) IT jobs in Iraq - by Koyaanisqatsi

Out of curiosity, might as well ask someone who's in the field and there: what are the typical IT positions in Iraq? What skills are most sought after?

Adam:

Same as above. Networking is the main job here. there are lots and lots of new networks going up--all the ministries and private companies. There are a lot of computer salespeople with their own small shops. Unlike at say, CompUSA, the guy selling you your laser printer probably has a PhD in computer science. With all the money that's about to spent in Iraq (tens of billions this year), I'm sure there will be a lot more demand for network building and maintenance. It'll be a while before there's much of a home-grown programming industry, although there is and will be lots of demand for database and website creation. I can't imagine there will be anyone actually making computer parts any time soon.

10) Intellectual Property legislation - by Elektroschock

I read in other news that Iraq as under US occupation will get a copyright legislation written by a RIAA official. But nobody talks about software patents in Iraq. Will the United States pressure for a US style patent legislation in Iraq? I heard that patents are incompatible with islamic law. Some Muslims in my neighborhood were much in favour of free software because of religious reasons. Do the Iraqis LUG guys also believe that the GPL unlike proprietary software is according to Shariah law?

Adam:

There is certainly no problem between GPL and Shariah law. Ashraf, the co-founder of iLug, is from a very distinguished Shiite Muslim family. He's a sayed, a direct-descendant of the prophet Mohammed, and takes his religion very seriously. Actually, contrary to what I'd heard before the war and despite decades of secular dictatorial socialism, Iraq is an extremely religious place. Most people don't drink, no Muslim eats pork. As I wrote earlier, I think that it's way too early to tell what Iraqi property rights and patent laws will look like. I think it is best to assume the worst, but to support the iLug, which is the only group I know of in Iraq who advocates for free software. Things are so up in the air right now, all of this is so new (no Iraqi has had to think about intellectual property issues for one minute of their lives), that the decision-makers will be extremely sensitive to influence. It is an open book, but it will be closed soon, within months. Now is the time to support the iLug so they can be powerful advocates for good Iraqi laws.

Ashraf and Hasanen and I believe that good, open laws that avoid the hazards of absurd patents and DMCA style restriction would not only be good for Iraqi Linux geeks, but would be good for the country. This place is so poor, so behind recent advances in technology, but has such a base of strong, eager, excited computing talent. Only with the free and open ability to innovate and collaborate will Iraqi computer professionals and advocates be able to help make this place prosperous.

So, once again, go to www.linux-iraq.org and click on that Paypal button.

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318 comments

MOD POINTS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159657)

...for deserving trolls. you know what to do

Why bother? (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159689)

Why bother helping these ungrateful raghead bastards? We should be lining them up in their hundreds and shooting them all.

There is no such thing as an honest muslim. Remember that.

Re:Why bother? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159761)

So, how do you find out if someone is Muslim? If you ask them if they're muslim, they'd lie and say no right? But if they're not muslim, they'd say the same thing.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159865)

Remember, Muslims always lie. So the following question will suffice:

"What colour is the sky?"

No Ninnle Questions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159976)

He didn't answer my question about the prevalence of Ninnle Linux! I'm pissed!

Crazy (1, Funny)

kahless720 (730535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159658)

And i thought that nothing good would come from the war in iraq

You were so wrong Liberal Asswipe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159766)

apologize to the President you jerkwad

I SWEAR I WILL EMPTY MY TESTES INTO YOUR MANGINA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159786)

Re:Crazy (5, Insightful)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159884)

I also disagreed with the war ... but while I disagreed, I always knew that there were huge benefits for Iraqis if the war went well. While I don't like the preemptive strategy, and think the assertions of nuclear capabilities and al Quaeda ties were way off target, Iraq could end up doing quite well sans-Saddam.

I found the tone of this interview really fascinating. It's good to hear from someone on the inside, not just about Linux and technology issues, but about the general mood and state of society there. It's especially interesting to hear that as long as the sun is out, this guy's not afraid to be outdoors. That contradicts a lot of what you might think about Iraq these days.

Turns out (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159668)

Being a linux user in Iraq gets you the same number of chicks as in the USA. That is to say... none.

Establishing the market (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159669)

I know the guy who is Microsoft's sole agent in Iraq. He's actually a nice guy, lives down the block from me. He's having a very hard time. They are not as powerful here as you'd expect. First of all, since all software--including M$--costs a buck a CD, it's pretty much impossible to convince anyone that they should pay thousands of dollars for systems. Also, there is a general suspicion of large foreign corporations coming in and gobbling up Iraqi assets. So, people in the know are more excited about Linux. That being said, few Iraqis even know that there are operating systems other than M$. I've found exactly one Iraqi who has heard of Apple, and maybe a few dozen who've heard of Linux. So, just letting people know there is an alternative is a big issue.

Microsoft could take a page from Apple, here. Give away -- yes, give away software and training. Once Iraqis are dependent upon it then the can turn the screws.

How do Linux advocates combat this? Well, Linux and lots of the software that runs on it is also free, so training more critical. Got nothing to do over the summer and don't mind risking your life to put your money where your mouth is? Go to Iraq and teach people how to implement and use Linux.

I'm curious how long before this Microsoft guy figures the game out.

Re:Establishing the market (4, Interesting)

God Takeru (409424) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159784)

That's one way to guarantee your job security in a shaky market-- be the guy who volunteers to go to Iraq! Hell, most of the US soldiers I know aren't exactly volunteering for that position.

Of course, make sure you don't teach the Iraqis -too- well, or they might start outsourcing jobs there, too ;)

if jobs then stay else brain-drain (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159955)

Of course, make sure you don't teach the Iraqis -too- well, or they might start outsourcing jobs there, too ;)

I see the wink emoticon, but have you considered the alternative? A brain-drain for Iraq? If you read the article you'd see that Iraq has a lot of pretty intelligent C++ and vb programmers, plus lots of Unix experience. Consider that these very people may elect to leave Iraq for India, or other parts, to make more money than they can in Iraq. A brain-drain would be disasterous for Iraq, to say nothing of what it would mean for iLug.

Re:if jobs then stay else brain-drain (4, Insightful)

God Takeru (409424) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160076)

To be honest, I don't think that's too likely. For one, India is already overrun with people who have skills in areas like C++ and Visual Basic (see the cover article in this month's issue of Wired if you don't believe me)-- and according to the above interview, these are the only prevalent languages among Iraqi programmers.

If you've been following the issues going on with Indian tech jobs taken from American IT workers, you'd see that both the Indian firms hiring these folks and the government of India are trying to keep these Americans from coming over to India and reclaiming positions. If they're keeping out the people who used to have these jobs, what's the likelihood they're going to accept in a bunch of Iraqis to do it?

The balance of disaster for the US IT industry (which makes up a large part of the now failing American economy) vs. disaster for the new Iraqi nation may be a delicate one in the future, it's true, but I don't expect a mass exodus from Iraq by the intellectual population if they don't get a bunch of outsourcing contracts.

Re:Establishing the market (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159840)

Same thought occurred to me. Anybody who has paid attention to my other posts knows that I'm a bitter grad student in CS who despises the American job market. If there was just a tiny bit of organization over there saying, "Pay for your plane ticket, we've got a room you can stay in, we'll feed you, you just volunteer to work 50 hours a week promoting linux," I would be there by the second week of May (when this semester is over.)

I'm not making any significant money here in the states and I'd leap at the opportunity to participate in such a project. What I can't handle is the uncertainty of arriving somewhere and not having a clue where to begin. I'll volunteer, but I'm not a leader on day 1.

Re:Establishing the market (3, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159996)

Why not check out the Peace Corps? Maybe they can foot the bill for you.

Re:Establishing the market (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160026)

Not a bad idea - I had been seriously considered the US Armed Forces as a career move since you have to resurrect the dead in IBM Assembly to get a job here in the states, but have some reservations about that plan. The Peace Corps was suggested to me long ago but I had completely forgotten about it. Thanks.

Re:Establishing the market (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8160033)

So in other words, you think you should be garuanteed a job or someone should set you up with an opportunity elsewhere.

No wonder you're a loser.

satisfied now you Liberal bastards? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159675)

...that liberating Iraq was the correct thing to do and that those people are on the path to Freedom. Left wing Linux Liberal pansies...apologize to the Presidentright now and admit you were wrong!

We apologize for being wrong about Bush and Iraq! (-1, Flamebait)

Linux Thought Leader (747952) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159793)

Oh, please! Forgive us! We were wrong. You are so much more powerful than us. Your dick is bigger and your girlfriend is hotter. You have a better operating system to use. Honest, we really believe that! Even though every reason for killing 10000 Iraqi civiliansn and 519 Americans killed, 12000 more wounded has proven false, you were right! Now let's all make them good Christian Windows Users!

Thank You Apology accepted liberal scumbag (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159826)

loser

Re:We apologize for being wrong about Bush and Ira (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159924)

You are a pathetic and ignorant fool.

Re:We apologize for being wrong about Bush and Ira (0, Flamebait)

esaloch (733370) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160065)

I, for one, appreciate at least one other slashdot reader not just assuming that the US did the right thing. Being able to use Linux does not justify war. Just like lieing about WMDs didn't really justify it.

Yes, we are truly sorry! (0)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160118)

Sorry for not realizing the massive benefits that potential Linux using Iraqis would have out of this war! All that resistance in Iraq - those must all be Windows users!

Who cares (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159677)

if a small bunch of sand niggers are using Linux? There are millions of Linux users right here.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159746)

Give them Windows and they will be future terrorists, give them Linux, and they will free the world.

Re:Who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159922)

Give them Windows and they will be instantly productive. Give them Linux and they'll deal with endless kernel panics, library dependency issues, recompiling to change a single option, end of support after 2 years(e.g. Red Hat), and a lack of games.

Iraq? You're thoughts? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159678)

Whats it all about?

In you're opinion do you think its good or it's not so good?

He should set up a vast file sharing system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159688)

I doubt the RIAA is willing to go into Iraq and attempt to stop people. I saw on MTV that they sell pirated CD's and movies on the street in plain view.

Re:He should set up a vast file sharing system (1)

kahless720 (730535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159702)

would the riaa have juristicion over iraq?

Re:He should set up a vast file sharing system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159724)

Yeah, it's presently occupied by the US, so, sure. RIAA is always willing to expand the law to its fullest.

Re:He should set up a vast file sharing system (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160069)

"I saw on MTV that they sell pirated CD's and movies on the street in plain view."
  • You don't have to cross the ocean to see that ... just swing by Canal Street in NYC.

Cheap Computer hardware in Iraq? (3, Insightful)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159709)

Are their prices listed on pricewatch?

In all seriousness though, it's nice to have a little bit different viewpoint of life in Baghdad. I really thought that everyone must be staying home all day long, afraid to leave their homes, given the way the US media reports the conditions there.

Re:Cheap Computer hardware in Iraq? (3, Interesting)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159972)

In all seriousness though, it's nice to have a little bit different viewpoint of life in Baghdad. I really thought that everyone must be staying home all day long, afraid to leave their homes, given the way the US media reports the conditions there.

...Iraq may not be the a smouldering pit of of doom and gloom, but it sure as heck ain't a fun place to be, either. Below is an excerpt from Baghdad Burning, an Iraqi blog:

Sometimes, sleep just seems like a waste of time and electricity. For example, the day before yesterday, our area had no electricity almost the whole day. Friday is our 'laundry day' so it was doubly frustrating. We stood around looking at the pile of clothes that needed washing. My mother deliberated washing them by hand but I convinced her it would be a bad idea- the water was cold, the weather was miserable and the clothes wouldn't even feel clean. We waited all day for the electricity and once or twice, it flashed on for all of 20 minutes. Finally, at 12 p.m., my mother stated, "Tomorrow, if there's no electricity, we'll wash them by hand. That's that." [blogspot.com]

...it's dated January 26, 2004.

This individual has both a computer -and- an internet connection, yet their daily life is still at the mercy of the highly unreliable power grid. It may not be hell on earth, but it's a far cry from anything even remotely pleasant...

Re:Cheap Computer hardware in Iraq? (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160040)

Are their prices listed on pricewatch?

In all seriousness though, it's nice to have a little bit different viewpoint of life in Baghdad. I really thought that everyone must be staying home all day long, afraid to leave their homes, given the way the US media reports the conditions there.

Doubtfully they're exporting, yet, as most of this stuff is coming from Taiwan, through Dubai. If you wanted to actually order from some shop on Sana'a Street you'd probably pay a ton in postage, get nailed with import duties, and it may never arrive.

Even needing to go so far as printing handbills advitising prices for local consumption is probably overkill. I would love to see some digital photos *hint* *hint* of this street and some shops.

As far as the media goes, Mr. Bremmer needs to get some people on the ground from CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, etc and show the people back home how it's going. Though it might be counter-productive as media may still be a terror magnet.

Iraqi Linux Users Group (4, Funny)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159711)

He called the Iraqi Linux Users Group "iLug." Don't tell Apple.

Re:Iraqi Linux Users Group (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159745)

That's pretty iGay.

Slashdot wrong about Iraq Liberation (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159713)

sounds like the American liberation has been extrmrly sucessful..despite the lie you get from Kerry, Dean and the Liberal Democrats. Slashdot and its clueless followers sure look stupid now don't they

Since I have to spend a lot of time convincing my mom that I'm actually a lot safer than she thinks, I know that the US impression of Iraq is way off. The truth is life here is quite normal. The streets are crowded (way too crowded, traffic is a nightmare), shops are filled with new consumer goods. Restaurants are thriving. Schools are open. People go to work, school, hang out with friends. You see the occasional American humvee or tank roll down the street, but other than that, it's hard to tell you're in a country under occupation and a guerilla war. Much of Baghdad seems like a normal, if poor, third world capital. Not too different from what I've seen in Latin America, say. There are wealthy areas, poor areas, kids playing, all that. A few months ago, I would hear a few explosions every night and a lot of gunfire. It became so common that we'd just ignore it. But these days, those things are so rare that we actually pay attention when they happen.

Middle class folks (who would be desperately poor by US standards), have decent homes, cars, most likely a computer. The middle-class and wealthy areas (like Jadiriya, Karada, Arasat, and Mansour) of Baghdad are extremely lively. Poorer people are pretty badly off. Unemployment is huge and underemployment is horrible. In the Thaura or Seven Palaces neighborhoods, people are lucky to make a buck a day and wouldn't be able to live without the monthly government food ration. They are unlikely to eat much meat--since that's not included in the ration. And they are certainly incapable of buying a computer or even affording the dollar-an-hour internet cafe fees.

There is a lot of fear in Iraq, but much more of bandits than of terrorists. Nighttime Iraq is pretty quiet. Only a few neighborhoods stay open after dark and the highways are all but empty. There is a lot of crime, car-jacking, murder, rape. The nights are bad and most ex-pats, like me, stay in the house. Wealthier Iraqis and ex-pats have armed guards 24-hours and never travel alone. Almost all Iraqis have a Kalachnikov rifle in the house to ward off burglars.

I can say that I've been in Iraq for most of the time since the war and I have never once felt afraid. I'm always cautious, probably a lot more tense than I am back home in New York, but I've never had any reason to fear for my life or safety.

The infrastructure stuff is a major hassle. Power is out as often as it's on. We, like many wealthy Iraqis, have a big generator, so we're able to stay on. But most middle class people can't. There is phone service in about half of Baghdad. The government ISP, Uruklink, is still operating and if you have a phone line you can get on line (assuming you have power). Uruklink does offer DSL service to a few neigborhoods. I have a 256K line that goes down a few hours a week and a few days a month. Yesterday we were down for most of the day because some guerillas cut the fiber-optic line. Most businesses and internet cafes opt for satellite internet connections. These vary in prices, but most likely cost a grand or so a month and are also not terribly reliable, unless you buy a very expensive system. Most Internet cafes have terribly slow connections and are down for hours a week for one reason or another.

Re:Slashdot wrong about Iraq Liberation (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159928)

"sounds like the American liberation has been extrmrly sucessful..despite the lie you get from Kerry, Dean and the Liberal Democrats. "

Okay lets get this straight this is their opinon! In case you did not know it but the news really is entertainment. People watch shows about people getting killed and explosions. Pictures of Solders building shools are boring.
As far as Kerry and Dean. Just like Bush they get there informaiton from somewhere. I have to give them the benifit of the doubt and say that they believe what they say. I do not agree with them but isn't it good that we can hear both sides?

"Slashdot and its clueless followers sure look stupid now don't they"

Ummm. Slashdot is a comunity of many people with different opinons. The only thing that the people on slashdot agree on is computers are cool.

what about the iraqis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159725)

(wont somebody please think of the iraqis?)

Censorship? (5, Interesting)

aynrandfan (687181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159726)

I am wondering how controlled their access is to the web after Saddam's fall.

What sort of censorship still goes on there, if any?

Re:Censorship? (2, Insightful)

WildBeast (189336) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159870)

I don't think they had time yet to put any internet law. It's not as if that's the priority.

Re:Censorship? (1, Offtopic)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159906)

I am wondering how controlled their access is to the web after Saddam's fall.

I suspect some people are seeing what a caucasian female looks like naked for the very first time.

Re:Censorship? (3, Informative)

lecca (84194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160060)

If you read his answers, its pretty clear they have free access to the internet right now.

M$ (5, Insightful)

Stingr (701739) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159740)

"That being said, few Iraqis even know that there are operating systems other than M$."

Maybe they're not as far behind the times as we thought. I mean if the users I speak to are any indication, then about two thirds of the American public think that their operating system is Office 98.

Re:M$ (1)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159841)

then about two thirds of the American public think that their operating system is Office 98

2/3 of the US uses Macs?

Try Office 97 or 2000.

No. No. (1)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159979)

Seriously, a lot of users think that there was a Windows 97 release or a Windows Express or some other conflation of many different distribution names. If you ever have to ask someone, while doing tech support, what OS they use, you will get wild variations. It can be really fscking hard to keep it straight.

Re:M$ (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160004)

I believe he was making a joke where your average computer user has Office 97 or 2000 and some version of Windows 98, which then leads them to confuse the two and claim that their operating system is Office 98. Get it?

It's fun to make jokes sometimes.

You are wrong (1)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160147)

People actually beleive that there are non-existent releases of Microsoft OSes. That in and of it self is funny. Interesting how we liberals can sort these things out, huh?

Re:M$ (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160124)

Actually, you'd be surprised. I know at leat one guy that had Office 97 running on Windows 98 who used to say that his OS was Office 98.

Of course, two thirds of America can't be that stupid, but still...

Re:M$ (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160122)

My favorite is when a user tells me they are running windows 2000....when I get the pc, it is of course windows me.

On the issue of LUGs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159752)

Is it true that homosexuality runs rampant at these Iraqi LUG meetings? Mods, don't mod me down! I speak from experience. I was at the Michigan LUG meeting and CmdrTaco was freely offering blowjobs. If you mod me down, you're a Loonix faggit just as well.

Asinine... (2, Insightful)

nphinit (36616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159753)

It's questions like these that make me ashamed to be a "geek".

So, you are living in a war-torn country struggling to piece together a primitive demacracy of sorts--tell me, how much are the inkjet cartridges there? Do you, as a techno-geek, get picked on like you do back here?

By the way, he isn't an "expat" just because he's an American reporter in Bagdad.

Iraq has a long way to go (-1, Redundant)

Srividya (746733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159755)

Before they can compete in the global software market. They need to invest in infrastructure such as universities with computer programs. Also I am afraid that even their economy (with it's oil/dollar driven prices) might make the wages for a computer expert too high. In India $5,000 a year is a fortune fit for kings, and in Iraq I am not sure this is enough.

The question is (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159757)

Linux group in Iraq? Are you insane? What did the Indian company [redhat.com] ever do to deserve access to the markets? Did India supply troops to fight? No. Did RedHat send out a bunch of people from Bangalore to rebuild the post-war country? No.

Until then, I think US software businesses [microsoft.com] should be granted access to the markets.

Donation of old books? (5, Interesting)

bc90021 (43730) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159767)

The article mentions that the iLug needs books... however, it does not mention where we can send them (or even if we can!). I have a ton of old Linux books that I would happily send (at my expense, though probably only one or two a month), but how do we go about doing that?

State of network infrastructure? (5, Interesting)

fnord123 (748158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159776)

I wonder what the country-wide network infrastructure is like? Having guerillas cut the fiber line (as mentioned in the article) in Baghdad doesn't sound promising.

Given that many middle class families have generators but land lines are flaky (and DSL coverage sounds pretty low), maybe the iLUG should look into setting up an 802.11b community network?

Pringles cans can be used for directional attenae, generator power to support the nodes, Linux is a good OS to build it on, seems like it would be a nice fit to me!

Re:State of network infrastructure? (1)

droid_rage (535157) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159860)

What would this community network connect to? DSL lines cost a fortune for relatively low bandwidth, and are only available in limited areas.

Re:State of network infrastructure? (2, Informative)

fnord123 (748158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160038)

The community network connects to each other in a mesh, with those few people who have the DSL lines serving as the uplink to the Internet - or perhaps even the ISP might consider offering wireless Internet access.

There is a university project on the east coast of the USA (can't remember which U :( )that has used omnidirectional antennae + 802.11b nics to create a mesh that works precisely in this fashion, forwarding packets across each node until they hit a node connected to the Internet.

Re:State of network infrastructure? (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159895)

"Pringles cans can be used for directional attenae, generator power to support the nodes, Linux is a good OS to build it on, seems like it would be a nice fit to me!"

Right now I think most families over there would rather have the Pringles then the can.

Re:State of network infrastructure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159936)

Thats a pretty big misconception perpetuated by the us media to make it seem like we need to be over there

Uruklink? (5, Funny)

TomatoMan (93630) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159788)

Uruklink does offer DSL service to a few neigborhoods. I have a 256K line that goes down a few hours a week and a few days a month

Does this mean you have an Uruk-Hai-speed connection?

Sorry, truly sorry. Don't know what came over me. Move along.

Re:Uruklink? (4, Informative)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159950)

Just in case you didn't know, Uruk was a major city in ancient Mesopotamia - it was continuously inhabited (i.e., at least a small village) from about 4000 BC to AD 500 or so. That might well be where Tolkien got his name for the orcs.

Re:Uruklink? (3, Funny)

daeley (126313) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159985)

You forgot the obligatory Tolkien Ring joke!

You really must keep an *eye* on these things.

I'm sorry, too. Whatever you had is apparently catching.

Linux not in Iraq (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159830)

I can tell you about Linux not in Iraq and how Microsoft sucks. I was in Mosul for 6 months attached to the 101st. AO Glory had a mini-mall where they brought in locals to provide various foods and services for us. The Haji internet cost $2/hr but service was terrible. Mostly it was due to their running a Microsoft WinProxy. The haji didn't know about Linux and we couldn't communicate well enough for me to get him to set it up. So we put up with him having to restart the MS server every couple of hours for the two dozen computers proxied through it.

Coming home next month... whee!

I'm going to make a fortune... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159849)

...selling kaffiyehs with "Star Trek" logos on them.

Unfortunatly, Iraqi homes don't have basements. Where are the Unix geeks going to LIVE?!

(and I realise that "kaffiyeh" is probably the wrong word, but I thought it sounded better than "them robes those guys wear")

Activate Tinfoil Hat! (5, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159866)

What the iLug needs most is:
1. Money.
2. Information.
3. Technical help.

Free software, hackers, and Iraq, all wrapped up into the same organization? Danger! Danger! Potential terrorist organization detected!

Seems only a few weeks ago we would have run the risk of getting our asses detained for violationg the Patriot Act [slashdot.org]. Now that this part of the Patriot Act has been ruled unconstitutional, though, we're safe to help these guys out.

<voiceover style="announcer:campy-1950's-sci-fi;"> or are we? </voiceover>

Immaturity of Interviewee (3, Insightful)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159867)

"That being said, few Iraqis even know that there are operating systems other than M$."

Am I the only one here who thinks the not-so-clever-anymore substitution of "S" for "$" is the kind of thing one would expect from a know-it-all teenager, and not someone with relatively strong associations with the rebuilding of a nation's IT infrastructure?

Re:Immaturity of Interviewee (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159932)

whats wrong with M$?

it implies that microsoft is in it just for the money. is that untrue?

Re:Immaturity of Interviewee (4, Funny)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159991)

...as opposed to the immaturity of a guy calling himself "TrollBridge" and expecting to be taken seriously on slashdot? :-)

Re:Immaturity of Interviewee (4, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160019)

Am I the only one here who thinks the not-so-clever-anymore substitution of "S" for "$" is the kind of thing one would expect from a know-it-all teenager, and not someone with relatively strong associations with the rebuilding of a nation's IT infrastructure?

No, you're not alone. Based upon what I know and have seen of the "new Western pioneers" in Iraq I had a certain picture of the interviewee in my mind, and then when I read the "M$" quote I immediately shaved off about 20 years from my mental profile.

Does Adam's mom know he's out of the country?

Re:Immaturity of Interviewee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8160106)

Shut up! This is slashdot! You're supposed to conform to the M$-typing Linux geek stereotype like everyone else does. Conform or be laughed off the site.

s/w costs $1 and no software industry? (5, Interesting)

Mozz Alimoz (245834) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159907)

These two quotes from Adam Davidson struck me:
First of all, since all software--including M$--costs a buck a CD, it's pretty much impossible to convince anyone that they should pay thousands of dollars for systems.
And later in question 5
Iraq has very well-educated computer science population. Technocrats at the ministries and university professors and students. There are tons of people who know C++ and other languages. But they've been hampered by the lack of new information during sanctions and by the fact that Iraq had no software industry. There are plenty of people who designed computer control systems for power plants or databases and maintained servers. They're smart and experienced, but they have 13 years or so of catching up to do.
It's a bit hard to establish a software industry when you don't pay the programmers. But I guess now they're hoping to sell the software to nations that do respect intellectual property? BTW, I'm not accusing individual Iraqis of doing anything that I wouldn't do in their situation. This is just an observation.

Wireless (5, Interesting)

sleepingsquirrel (587025) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159913)

Now we need to do a follow-up question and answer session. Here's my question: Since hardware is apparently cheap and the wired infrastructure is so bad, are Iraqi's using 802.11 for their networking? Seems like VoIP over wireless might also be a popular option.

Really (1)

savagedome (742194) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159919)

Some Iraqis even ignore the porn and actually try to figure out what the 'net is all about

Oh you ignoramus!

Free MP3's (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8159933)

great interview, i just can't get over how we finally have a chance to hear from someone 'one the ground' in Iraq and one of the /. communities biggest issues is if you can legally obtain mp3's and other media and circumvent local (american) copyright laws .....

I speak arabic, I have a passport and over 10 years expirence. Where where the questions about what companies where hiring that didn't require a clearence of some sort? How is the money for ex-pat professionals there, etc ... but no, we HAVE to know if we can 'pirate' are damn MP3's God forbid we give an Iraqi music groups rights to the distrubution of their music. Chances are the iraqi isn't a some superstar with millions of dollars and being able to control his distrubution would actually make a diffrence in his life ...

Surprise, Surprise (-1, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159960)


When you actually _ASK_ someone who is IN Iraq right now, you get a different picture of what it's like than the picture Bush News wants you to have.

Re:Surprise, Surprise (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160013)

Like you've uncovered some conspiracy?

Hell man, ask me what Shanghai is like. I was there. I saw the sights. I was an American in China and I can tell you exactly what it was like for me. That doesn't even imply that I'm truly representing the situation in Shanghai.

Ask me what Pittsburgh is like. I'll tell you my story, but it probably won't mesh with that from a life-long resident of Pittsburgh. Uh oh, my role as a neocon secret operative has been revealed!

Re:Surprise, Surprise (1)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160080)


I wouldn't say I uncovered anything. Just comparing the difference between what this guy (who we assume actually is in Iraq, and has no financial incentive to lie) describes, and what our state-run propaganda distribution networks describe.

Re:Surprise, Surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8160073)


When you actually _ASK_ someone who is IN Iraq right now, you get a different picture of what it's like than the picture Bush News wants you to have.

You mean all that footage of Iraqi citizens frolicking in meadows of daisies, bathing in champaign, and wheelbarrowing their cash around the block is fake? You mean Iraq is not the hottest vacation spot in the world right now? CNN and Fox News have been lying to us?!

For shit's sake, leave your off-topic, heavily-biased political agenda out of the picture and try to participate in this discussion like an adult.

Uruklink? (-1, Redundant)

S. Baldrick (565691) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159966)

Putting Orcs on the internet? Maybe now the anti-war crowd will realize just how evil Saddam really was.

Political Tin Ear (1, Insightful)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159970)

they're so locked away in hidden offices in the CPA palace (formerly Saddam's Presidential Palace)

Does this come across as a smart PR move? I am sure the office space is really nice and all, but political tone deaf.

I thought Chalabi was a pretty smart fellow (Dishonest but smart) he snookered the Bush administration to go to war.

Where do you think the Info spouted by Rumsfeld " We know precisely where the WMD's are hidden" came from?

M$ (1, Insightful)

dave420-2 (748377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159981)

The instant someone starts slinging round terms like "micro$oft" just highlights their lack of objectivity. I agree with the sentiment, but it's so childish!

Re:M$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8160049)

Looks like they removed a bunch of files where they were making claims that Saddam was behind 9/11. One could be lead to suspect that now that Bush got his war his doesn't need that lie anymore, and wants to erase all history of it since it undermines his authority.

How to send books (5, Informative)

ajd (199697) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159987)

You can send books a few ways. It's best just to email me at adavidson@marketplace.org and I'll send you the address. Please let me know what books you'd like to send.

consume.net (3, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8159994)

...sounds perfect for them.

They've got the skills, they've got cheap consumer hardware, they've got bugger all infrastructure. Like a lot of developing countries, if you want decent wide-area networking it could well be easier to skip the copper stage completely and move on to radio.

(consume.net [consume.net], if you don't know, is a project to create ad-hoc WANs using 802.11 hardware on cheap PCs. Each node acts as a router for all the other nodes; packets get passed from one node to the next, with automatic route discovery and all that. It's very cool.)

What's more, given the state of their government and regulatory authorities, it'd probably be quite easy to grandfather in some nice high signal strength limits. At the moment, noone cares how strong your transmitter is. But it'll be regulated eventually, and once there's a decent amount of infrastructure running at 5W a node, it'll be politically infeasible to order it all to be torn down.

Re:consume.net (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8160072)

The headline should be "groklaw Whips Out Penis and Proceeds to Beat Darl McBride With It." My favorites:
If you can identify any infringing source code, please do so, prove it is infringing, and let us remove it, because we surely do not want it.

We do not need or want your legacy UNIX source code

which reveals that your call for indemnification is, to put it bluntly, FUD

We would think, however, that a capable information technology company that sells web services software would have the technical know-how to handle a DDoS attack, if that is really what happened. Most such companies do handle them without being brought to their knees for a week. We are glad that you say you have since learned technical steps you can take to protect yourself in the future.

Your inability to make your Linux business a success, while unfortunate for you, parallels your company's failure to make your UNIX business a success

If you're looking for a successful business model, you might consider the tried and true model of satisfied customers.

Man, that was a fun read!

WTF??!! (0, Troll)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160042)

Founder of LUG calls MS Agent a nice guy!!

What's the world coming to??!!

Its a joke, relax :-)

Impressive (1)

gosand (234100) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160099)

Nice turnaround time, especially considering where he's located. One week to receive and answer the questions is pretty nice. I wonder if we'll ever get to see the answers to the Bruce Perens interview [slashdot.org] from July 28?

Access to Guns (1)

aynrandfan (687181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8160132)

Almost all Iraqis have a Kalachnikov rifle in the house to ward off burglars.

Gee, all I have is my Maglite and a few bottles of Bawls . . :*(

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