Shortly thereafter, you find Mr. T. Gibbons the poster of a most aggravating article, simply FULL of untruths and outright lies. How a man could claim to be educated and still make such gross misstatements is beyond me. I am simply a lowly University student, yet I learned from a young age that you are not to say something without checking the facts first. So...since my story submission was ignored, I will simply post here.
Some major points of trouble in the various and assorted articles I have read:
1) Please understand me: The Internet is NOT AOL. AOL is a gateway, rather like a quiet refuge (some would use the term 'nuthouse') that has but one small opening to the outside world. You are free to explore this outside world, but you are also discouraged, as it might damage you or harm your children.
2) "Hackers" are not the enemy. They are not the devil. They do not sit around in smelly, dark rooms all day imagining new ways of destroying peoples lives. What they do do is make a LOT of money. How do I know? I'm just beginning my junior year of college. I could walk out of school today, with no degree, and ask for (and get) a job in the computer industry paying at least $50,000. Yes, I would have to look. But when you're skilled, the jobs come to you. Hackers are skilled. Perhaps that rubs some people on this site the wrong way, but that's how it is.
3) Perl is not the devil. For that matter, none of the following is evil:
Linux (or Lunix, for what it's worth...)
Linus (the man behind the OS)
RMS or ESR or the GNU project or Apache or telnet or ssh or encryption or any of the other things most on this site seem terrified of. Look at these facts:
Adequacy.org runs on perl. The code for Adequacy.org is known as Scoop
and it was written, and is maintained by, hackers in the community. Yes, elby made some changes. But that just means that elby can *gasp* program in perl.
Kuro5shin itself, the parent of the Scoop project, is a hacker gathering place, mostly dealing in news that interests us.
Linux was not developed as part of a vast Soviet conspiracy. Linux was written in 1991 to meet the shortcomings of the Minix operating system. Linus didn't work for the Soviets. He didn't sell to the Soviets. In fact, he never sold to anybody!
If Linux is such a threat, then why did the NSA recently release security tools
to make Linux easier to secure? And if it's such a threat, then explain why the vast majority of all routers in the world run some flavor or UNIX/Linux?
I could go on. I could mention the fact that Larry Wall is a linguist by trade, and perl is simply his lovechild. I could mention that William Gibson writes fiction, thank you. Not hacking manuals. Fiction. That stuff that some (read: normal, moral, understanding Republican) people read for fun. I could state that gross generalizations and cries for banning (of books, ways of life, etc) have long been the trademarks of a communist society, not a free republic. And finally, I could ask this:
if the editors of this site are so confident in their positions on computing and the masses, why are they so afraid to allow Netcraft access to their profile? Go here
and notice how Netcraft has been denied permission to view the kind of software Adequacy is running. Something tells me you'd find Linux, running Apache with a mod_perl modification.
--The author is a Computer Science student at a Baptist University in the Midwest. He is actively involved in the studies of perl, Linux, and all things evil, with the full encouragement of his professors. Go figure.