Translation(s): English - Italiano

The Fable of the Channel of #debian

Once upon a time, there was an IRC network called OPN (which is now called FN, freenode), which had a nice, little Channel called #debian. And all the people of Debianland would gather there and talk. Some of these people were the type that breathed, ate, slept, and (allegedly) thought. Others were the type that lived in computers and followed precise instructions to the letter. They all lived happily together - for the most part - and talked and talked all the night and day.

Debian began to prosper and to spread its ideas far and wide, and the population of Debianland grew (as populations of the breathing-and-eating kinds of people are wont to do). When new people suddenly come into existence, they are often quite ignorant, because they lack the rich heritage and experience of the people who have been around for a while. The new people demanded care and attention, and they had neither manners nor respect for rules. They did not read the instructions that the elders laid before them, nor did they put thought or time into their questions. They were incapable of caring for themselves, and had to be diapered, fed, and burped. Those that could not grow beyond the infant stage were cast out of the Channel. Even the people who lived inside the computers and followed instructions were similarly rude and insensitive, spewing their creators' advertisements to everyone near and far.

This once merry Channel had become crowded, chaotic, and tumultuous. People had to be turned away when they committed increasingly minor offenses. The elders no longer had the time to put diapers on all of the newborn people, burp them, and read them bedtime stories. The elders only had time to stack up the diapers in neat little rows, the books in other rows, and say unto the babies, "Here, do thou read this fine manual, and put upon thyself this diaper; for thou dost pollute the very air." And some of the newborn babies diapered themselves, read the books that the elders had written, and grew into children and even to adults. Others of the newborn babies threw tantrums, demanding that someone else read the books for them - those were scolded, spanked, and sent away.

Some of the babies throwing tantrums were not even members of Debianland! They were changelings that had wandered in from foreign lands - such as the neighboring dukedom of Knoppixton, or the Island of Ubuntubia. They harassed the elders of the Channel of #debian, demanding that the elders fix the problems that they had on their strange Island - all the while pretending that the problems were actually occurring within Debianland. The elders would waste great amounts of time scratching their heads, wondering how such a problem could be occurring within Debianland (for the problem made no sense). Then, when the elder finally learned that the problem was one of Knoppixton or Ubuntubia, the elder would wax wroth and hurl the changeling out of the Channel which would be followed by a stream of invective and curses.

Some of these unchanged babies complained to the King of Debianland; saying unto him, "The elders of #debian are mean and rude. :'( They do not answer our questions!" The King and his Court came unto the Channel of #debian, and saw the elders scolding, spanking babies who needed to be disciplined, and hurling away the changelings. The King and his Court said unto the elders, "You are rude, and We like it not. You will be rude no more, for you bear Our name, and your rudeness in Our name will not be tolerated."

And so the elders faced a dilemma. The King and his Court did not know the ways of the Channel of #debian, nor of the people who demanded to be babied, nor how to deal with them. The Court had other responsibilities, and if they were to spend their time changing diapers and reading bedtime stories to whining infants, the land of Debian would fall into disrepair; for who would maintain the buildings and the fields? Most of the elders of the Channel of #debian were not of the Court, and most of the Court were not familiar with the Channel of #debian. Neither the elders nor the Court could do the job of the other; and yet the Court had been incited by the King to come and investigate "The Problem Of The Channel." A few days went by, and during that time, a handful of the Courtiers would come into the Channel, attempt to change a few diapers, and leave. The elders, sadly shaking their heads, watched - knowing that the situation was not healthy, yet not knowing how to bring back the times of joy and conviviality that the Channel had once known.