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 HOWTO: Relax and Enjoy Linux Again

I know that every day the ongoing litigation and propoganda campaign from the SCO Group and their financiers has been a focal point for conflict for some time. Add to that the stress of the political vitriol being spewed daily and job-related stress and you might begin to induce extreme levels of disharmony into your daily life at work, home and play. That is never a good thing, and there really isn't a HOWTO that has been written on the title subject. Well, at least until now. ;)

 (Submitted by Chuck Talk Fri Sep 3, 2004 )

  First, I would strongly recommend that you realize that the SCO Group's case is in the hands of the courts at this point. Whether this gets to trial or not will not be decided by the community at large, though the community may well decide who it works with as a result of this cause. We are free to discuss the case ad nauseum, but should take care to remember that there are people who enjoy adding stress to the lives of others, many of whom babble all day simply seeking to cause such stress.

Second, I would recommend that you relaize that any FUD campaign is really just that. It is a campaign to try to raise life stressors and ruin your health and well-being. As for me, I happen to have some genetic assistance such that if I do take care of myself, I can enjoy a long, full and healthy life, definitely out-living those who intend to cause the most stress in my life. That is some comfort to me, but will not help you.

What I can offer is simply a prescription to overcome these life-stressors. That prescription starts by making the logical conclusion that the attacks and hate-speech are meant to cause you physical and emotional harm in the form of stress. You don't have to accept it - you can reject it, you can take it on and fight it or you can deal with it in much more harmonious ways that help relieve the stress.

Once your realize their purpose is to cause you and anyone who might use or even be considering the use of Linux long-term stress, then you need to come up with an effective strategy to deal with their efforts. Perhaps the healthiest reaction to any of the stressors being released as a poisonous campaign of hate is to use humor. "Laughter is the best medicine" and the title of the old Reader's Digest humor section certainly applies in the face of this smear campaign (as well as any other being run today, whether political, economic, advertising, marketing or a simple FUD campaign).

For some of us, comedy is a second nature. We enjoy the good laugh as much as anyone else and aren't driven to hate our fellow human being. That doesn't mean we want to spend a lot of time with people that engage in such stress-inducing campaigns (far from it) trying to change their ways. It does however, mean we can seek to find new ways to create something good out of the negative energy being expended through the media by various shrill voices that would say that we are "terrorists, liberals, commies, dirty hippies, pinkos" or whatever other convenient label they can hope to apply at the moment.

My current prescription for reading any of the commentary by the stress kings and queens is to simply point their words to the The Universal Translator and selecting my favorite appropriate language to "translate" the speech in question into an uproariously funny article that can oft-times leave you with several grins instead of raising your blood pressure, temper or other life and health-stressing events.

Consider this passage (slightly cleaned up for the delicate among my readers who might become offended at colourful language) from a well-known stress-inducer (who seems to revel in doing that for some reason, maybe he should try this HOWTO's advice BTW):

"Dear Joe: Tanks fo da letter n' sh*t. Ah do appreciate dat yo' ass realized dat Ah wuz speakin' from da heart in da keynote Ah gave at da SCO conference 'n Ah appreciate yo' tanks, man. But there be some misconceptions dat Ah think we should clear up."

The full source for such a translation can be found here, but there are other ways to look at this article, as can be seen in this passage:

"Dear Joe: Thanks fuh thar dang letter, Leroy! Ah do appreciate thut thar y'all re-alized thut thar Ah wuz speakin' ferm thar dang heart 'n thar dang keynote Ah gave at thar dang SCO conference 'n Ah appreciate y'alls thanks, pardner. But there are some misconcepshuns thut thar Ah think we'all should clear up."

The full source for such a view can be found here.

The Universal Translator works fairly well in allowing the reader to translate what is certainly probably going to be content that will give rise to your blood pressure, offend or generally be known to be a nuisance a better outlook. Heck, for grins, I even use it on my own writing just to ensure that I can laugh at myself. My tag line comes out as a good laugh in what many assume to be my native tongue (Redneck):

"Thut thar am maw opinion, 'n thut thar thar am free speech, hot damn! As thut thar thar am free speech, thut thar thar am protected speech unduh thar dang First Amendment tuh thar dang Constitushun uv thar dang United States uv America, Leroy! Now, just how am thut thar un-American, bubba?"

It is even funny in other langauges such as hacker:

"That 1Z my 0p1n10n, and 1t 1Z fr33 Zp33ch, HaKk3rZ R3wL! AZ 1t 1Z fr33 Zp33ch, 1t 1Z pr0t3ct3d Zp33ch und3r th3 F1rZt Am3ndm3nt t0 th3 C0nZt1tut10n 0f th3 Un1t3d $tat3Z 0f Am3r1ca, HaKk3rZ R3wL! N0w, juZt h0w 1Z that un-Am3r1can, bubba?"

And the equally silly pimp (pimp-daddy?) langauge:

"Dat be ma opinion, 'n dat sh*t be free speech, know what I'm sayin'? As dat sh*t be free speech, dat sh*t be protected speech unda da First Amendment to da Constitution of da United States of America, know what I'm sayin'? Now, just how be dat un-American, bubba?"

All of the above represent a great way to relieve the effects of taking all of the written garbage way too seriously (even my own words). There is one other variation on the stress-lowering method of translation that I should mention as well, and that is the Snoop Dogg's Tha' Shizzolator.

It owes its heritage to the Universal Translator, and as such is a little more limited in that it only provides a single language interface for creating whacked-out interpretations of works, and sometimes it cannot handle some web pages (probably having something to do with frames I suspect).

Now that I have given you a prescription for being able to laugh at the FUD, I need to give you one more method to deal with the stress. That method is exercise. I know, most of us don't get enough exercise because we are working way too many hours or days or weeks or months without stop as the drive to obtain ever more work for lower rewards is being forced upon us.

I now have built into my daily routine a bike ride, so that I can get my blood circulating, my heart pumping, my body burning calories and raising my metabolism so that I feel better and my cholesterol is lowered. At 135, it's not that bad, but it could always be better. The funny part about that is that it is a factor of genetics that has kept my cholesterol low. My blood pressure is normally 110 over 70, and when I exercise is does come up to about 120 over 80.

One of the benefits of all that exercise is that I can get the stressors out of my mind, and begin to work more productively. I can also go back to enjoying my work, and my use of GNU/Linux, all without the gnat-cloud of naysayers giving me another moment's stress.

The third method is something that I highly recommend to everyone as well. That method is to spend time with your family and loved ones. They can help you realize that when it is all said and done, the purchased pundits are left with only their twenty pieces of silver, while there are other rewards in this life that hold much greater and longer-lasting appeal. I spend time with my family when I can, though not as much as I would like. These last few years have been particularly stressful, and most often, unnecessarily so.

I urge all of my fellow GNU/Linux users out there to consider trying some of these techniques (especially the last two from this HOWTO), as it will increase your longevity and make you happier and healthier. In the long run, outliving those whose hatred is aimed at you is the simplest answer. Let them carry that anger and hate around like the chip on their shoulder that it is. Learn to let go of your own, or it can consume you.

That doesn't mean that you simply let them walk all over you, it just means that you don't have to make their hate-war a lifelong pursuit. Better to let them foam at the mouth in the public eye than to allow them to rule your life with stress.

As I have said before:

"Thut thar am maw opinion, 'n thut thar thar am free speech, hot damn! As thut thar thar am free speech, thut thar thar am protected speech unduh thar dang First Amendment tuh thar dang Constitushun uv thar dang United States uv America, Leroy! Now, just how am thut thar un-American, bubba?"

Till next time, folks. I hope you take something positive away from this. There is a whole world awaiting our innovation and inventiveness. No amount of protectionism is going to stop the advancement of mankind just to protect the wealth of the few. There are far more of the rest of us than there are of them, and our needs outweigh the need to keep society under the thumb of injustice. Have a laugh, exercise and spend some time with loved ones. It will make you a much stronger opponent in the long run. :)

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