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[humorix] The Great Portal War

The Great Portal War
September 17, 1999

In its IPO prospectus, Andover.Net warns:

"Some members of the Open Source community have criticized
the commercialization of the Open Source movement. This
type of negative reaction, if widely shared by our
visitors, developers or the rest of the Open Source
community, could harm our reputation and diminish the
Andover.Net brand. Our business, results of operations and
financial condition could suffer."

This is no longer an idle threat.  For some people, the
announced Initial Public Offering of Andover stock is the
last straw.  The Great Portal War of 1999 has begun.

Eric Rembrandt, a Linux kernel hacker, is the leader of a
growing anti-Andover, anti-Slashdot, anti-commercialization
faction.  "It's time we return to our non-profit roots and
not be subverted by evil Wall Street," he said.  His
faction has created a Free Portal Foundation and launched 
the so-called GAS Project (GAS Ain't Slashdot).  

The goal of the FPF and GAS is to maintain a network of
portal websites similar in content to Andover.Net offerings
but different in ideology.  "All GAS  portals will be
licensed under the GAS General Portal License," Rembrandt
explained.  "This license will prohibit anybody from making
any profit on GAS content under any conditions whatsoever."

Work is already underway on "Dot Org Slash", a Slashdot
alternative focusing on "Gossip for Geeks" but without any
advertisements, user accounts, moderation, Star Wars hype,
Jon Katz editorials, or dumb spelling or grammatical

Another GAS initiative is "Colonel Panic", a non-profit
Linux humor site allowing Bazaar-style user submission of
articles.  Obviously this is a direct competitor to
Humorix.  Said one GAS Project member, "Humorix sucks.  The
site never was very good, but it really went downhill after
they sold-out to Wall Street and Madison Avenue suits with
their much-hyped IPO.  We plan on having real, non-profit
Linux humor, not excessive Microsoft bashing designed to
attract more eyeballs."

Other portals the GAS Project has its targets locked on 
include several "dot coms" (or as one radical GAS militant
says, "dot cons"): linux.com, redhat.com, linuxworld.com,
and linuxtoday.com.  "Doesn't it seem ironic that these
sites provide proprietary content about a non-proprietary
operating system?" a FPF charter member asks.  "It would be
like Microsoft releasing the full API specs to Windows 2000
online under the OpenContent License.

The backers of the Free Portal Foundation aren't the only
people upset over the Andover.Net IPO.  Richard M. Stallman
wrote in a recent Usenet post, "I'm rather irritated... I
just checked their IPO prospectus.  The terms 'Open Source'
and 'Linux' are used 93 and 128 times, respectively. 
Meanwhile, the terms 'Free Software' and 'GNU/Linux' are
used zero times.  This is intolerable..."

We've heard rumors that a group of disgruntled Anonymous
Cowards plan to initiate a FPDOSA (First Post Denial of
Service Attack) in the weeks leading up to the IPO.  One AC
said, "We've had it.  We're fighting back against The Man
(Rob Malda) and his legion of AC oppressors.  Right before
the IPO we're going to bombard Slashdot with thousands of
First Posts on each story, bringing the Slashdot servers to
their knees.  The technical unreliability will make
investors think twice about investing in Andover.Net, and
hopefully the stock will collapse.  Wall Street hasn't yet
faced the raw power of the Anonymous Coward!" 

Due to SEC regulations, Rob Malda, Patrick Lentz, and Bruce
A. Twickler were all unavailable for comment at press
time.  Humorix's stock (Nasdaq: FAUX) fell sharply from 2
1/4 to 1 1/32 when the GAS Project announced the competing
Colonel Panic website, prompting several firms to downgrade
THIS" status.


James S. Baughn
Humorix:      Linux and Open Source(nontm) on a lighter note
Archive:      http://humbolt.nl.linux.org/lists/
Web site:     http://www.i-want-a-website.com/about-linux/