Slashdot Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary
October 5, 2017 1:38 PM   Subscribe

20 years ago today Slashdot.org appeared on the internet for the first time. As it enters its third decade, the editors are celebrating their 162,000+ technology news stories with a special anniversary post looking back at their all-time most popular stories. Great moments include the time Slashdot readers leaked the launch of Google Maps and the 2002 posting where 25-year-old Slashdot founder Rob Malda proposed to his fiance. (Its headline? "Kathleen Fent Read This Story.")

Interestingly, 10 years ago Malda (also known as "CmdrTaco") answered the question, "What will Slashdot look like in 2017?" (saying he wanted to see the site become "a little more interactive and comprehensive. I hope that we're talking about the same types of things, but 10 years more advanced".) To celebrate this 20th anniversary, Slashdot is now encouraging their contributors to meet up in real life.

Over the years they've also run interviews with everyone from William Shatner and James Cameron to Perl creator Larry Wall and free software guru Richard Stallman -- and of course, Linux creator Linus Torvalds.
posted by destinyland (88 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
first
posted by thelonius at 1:46 PM on October 5 [80 favorites]


I just logged in - surprised I could remember my user ID or password. I have a 5 digit user ID - and my last comment there was 2010.
posted by COD at 1:47 PM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Great Moments in Slashdot: the verdict that the just announced iPod was lame because it didn't have wireless or as much space as a Nomad, from Malda himself as it turns out.
posted by Merus at 1:47 PM on October 5 [16 favorites]


Is this the thread where we can brag about having a 3 digit Slashdot user number? BECAUSE I AM READY!
posted by PenDevil at 1:50 PM on October 5 [19 favorites]


I have a low-ish 6 digit user id but apparently my Karma remains excellent after all these years.

Anyway, the site has no wifi and less space than a Nomad. Lame.
posted by GuyZero at 1:51 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


+5 Insightful
posted by BeeDo at 1:51 PM on October 5 [8 favorites]


Hadn't logged in for a long time, but my account is still around looks like. It got way too bro for me ages ago.
posted by tavella at 1:53 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


I still check out the headlines every now and then but the comments have become a cesspool worse than 99% of the non-porn subreddits. Which is a shame, I had some great conversations there and learning about what would become known as AJAX before it was big definitely helped my career. I used to take pride in being able to get +5 Informative/Insightful first comments.

Maybe a $5 for posting privileges could have saved it too. I suppose it's still making enough money to keep the lights on but at a certain point it feels better to just let bygone sites go with some dignity rather than be ruled by the trolls for years.
posted by Candleman at 1:53 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


Also, to get all the memes,

Netcraft now confirms: Slashdot dying.

Although according to Slashdot themselves, In Soviet Russia, dots slash you!
posted by GuyZero at 1:53 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


/. did a lot to spur my interest in technology and indirectly has meant a lot for my life.

In short, imagine a beowulf cluster of these.
posted by The Gaffer at 1:54 PM on October 5 [12 favorites]


And is there no way for me to see all my old comments? Geez, I've forgotten how to navigate Slashdot.
posted by GuyZero at 1:55 PM on October 5


I wonder where the Slashdot PT Cruiser is today.
posted by loganabbott at 1:55 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


I guess having both /. and mefi accounts cancel out?
posted by MikeWarot at 1:56 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]



I wonder where the Slashdot PT Cruiser is today.


now its in my nightmares you bastard
posted by lalochezia at 1:57 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


I remembered my ID but not my password. I also have a 5 digit ID, and also haven't commented since 2010. Must be something in the water. I think I had a high 4-digit ID on a previous account, but I was searching for my proper persona at the time, and went through a lot of names on a lot of sites.

There's a ton more ads than I remember. Not quite as bad as BoingBoing, which I will now no longer visit on mobile because I don't like getting kicked over the App Store.
posted by curiousgene at 1:59 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


I just logged in - surprised I could remember my user ID or password. I have a 5 digit user ID - and my last comment there was 2010.

I'm also a 5-digit, with excellent karma. Last comment a couple of weeks ago.
posted by mikelieman at 2:06 PM on October 5




Imagine a beowulf cluster of hot grits.
Slashdot user #4245 here. Even got to meet CmdrTaco at an early LinuxWorld 98? 99?). Fun times Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the local LUG I founded, and Slashdot played a role in proving the interest and providing a vehicle for hot news (almost said fresh meat;-) ).
posted by grimjeer at 2:17 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


To really pay tribute to Slashdot in the most Slashdot way possible, it should have been posted three days from now.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:18 PM on October 5 [8 favorites]


I guess I'll resist the temptation to repeat a HOT GRITS meme.

Slashdot user #4245

I had a < 10000 user # on there, but I deleted it on purpose, because Slashdot's obsession with low user #'s was one of the most infuriating things about the community there. Like you weren't someone worth listening to if you didn't sign up in the 90s or something.
posted by dis_integration at 2:21 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


20 years of /.? Natalie Portman must be petrified!
posted by higginba at 2:24 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


My UID was 31341. I was a little upset at the time because I was so close to having 31337. Which was a thing that mattered back then. I remember they exist once every couple of years but haven't actually clicked through to read the comments in probably the better part of a decade. Just tried to log in but I couldn't remember my password and my email address was probably tied to my (long dead) ISP at the time since it was the pre gmail days. Oh well, no big loss.

I remember going to one of the last Comdexes where Andover had a booth in the Linux pavilion and seeing CmdrTaco and company sitting on beanbags (iirc), using powerbooks. Powerbooks of all things! I never did say hi since I was a freshman or sophomore in college at the time and was in a little bit of awe.

I do remember it having a major impact in my formative years. Would I be doing doing what I'm doing now had they never existed? Probably. Would things have been a bit different? Probably.
posted by mikesch at 2:24 PM on October 5


I didn't remember my username, but my browser remembers it, plus the password. Go Netscape Communicator Mozilla Firefox!
posted by alex_skazat at 2:29 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


I have a six-digit user ID, which surprises me, I must've lurked for much longer than I thought. Only "Good" karma, though. My last comment was posted in 2011. That seems more recently than I remember. In conclusion, I can't remember anything anymore.
posted by wintermind at 2:34 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I got pointed to Metafilter from a thread in Slashdot and never looked back.
posted by dhruva at 2:34 PM on October 5 [12 favorites]


I always thought I'd sell my 4-digit user ID for a fortune but then I grew up with domain speculators and could never, never imagine Slashdot would be made irrelevant by sites that don't even work without client-side javascript enabled
posted by davemee at 2:35 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


I had an unreasonable number of bong rips at a party with CowboyNeal—and possibly Hemos? Details are sketchy for obvious reasons—in spring of 2002 I want to say? No idea why they were in Boston.

The Slashdot gimmick wore thin on me sort of quickly, but I do remember it with some measure of fondness.
posted by uncleozzy at 2:42 PM on October 5


well i've got a 2-digit ID and you all have small penises
posted by blue t-shirt at 2:43 PM on October 5 [9 favorites]


*sigh* OR VAGINAS
posted by blue t-shirt at 2:44 PM on October 5 [11 favorites]


An anonymous coward posts: Happy Birthday!
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:48 PM on October 5


I can't remember what order of magnitude my UID is, or what my username was; I'm pretty sure I tracked it down a few years back in a previous discussion (maybe their 15th?) and then was like, yep, that's what that is, and promptly forgot it again without writing it down anywhere.

I have a bevy of complicated feelings about Slashdot as both one of my early web homes for a while in college and as still-operating-but-differently living relic of the late 90s. There's all that goofy bullshit from being inside the culture of linux fandom and hot grits jokes that will never stop having a sort of special place in my heart, if a dumb sort of special. Jumping over to kuro5hin as well; setting up a doomed slashcode install with my friends in college; going to a linux expo in NYC (as literally my only experience to that point in my life with New York) and seeing Taco et all hanging out on beanbags like untouchable nerd celebs. It was a central thing to the culture of my college years, even if I was never much involved directly in the community. Magical is not right word, but there's some of those ineffable feels, that fading polaroid sense of it as a point in time, a part of my life.

But there's a lot of other stuff that comes up for me taking it as a thing today. Looking at it as a property that's been sold to outside corporate holders a couple times, from the vantage of having worked to maintain MetaFilter as a still independently owned community site of the same vintage, feels so disconnected from that early stuff in a way I don't feel disconnected from MeFi. This place became home and that sense of continuity, of the importance of a thing staying in its guts the thing it is even as time and circumstances change, feels very real and important to me. So I can't at all blame Taco for deciding it was time to get out, but it's also very weird (if resonant in some ways to my relationship with mathowie) to see him talk about the site with the detachment he does.
posted by cortex at 2:49 PM on October 5 [14 favorites]


I have a bevy of complicated feelings about Slashdot as both one of my early web homes for a while in college and as still-operating-but-differently living relic of the late 90s.

Personally, I've never recovered from the loss of suck.com
posted by mikelieman at 3:13 PM on October 5 [10 favorites]


> well i've got a 2-digit ID and you all have small penises

Yep, /. user
posted by theora55 at 3:14 PM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Slashdot is still semi-alive?
Then I can't give it a "."?
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:16 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Not quite as bad as BoingBoing, which I will now no longer visit on mobile because I don't like getting kicked over the App Store

I use a RSS reader (Reeder), which can import a stripped-down version of the page most of the time; it doesn't work sometimes (for videos and Ruben Bolling's comics ), though if I load up the actual page, Better seems to block most, if not all, of the crap.

Having said that, Boing Boing seems to have jumped the shark somewhat. For one, there's the awful Boing Boing's Store section, a Sharper Image catalogue of breathless puff pieces trying to flog some brand of VPN/vaping device/anti-virus software/teach-yourself-AI course you've never heard of, and of course not telling you anything remotely useful about it except that it's amazing and you should BUY IT NOW!.
posted by acb at 3:17 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


Just the URL https://slashdot.org/anniversary.pl is a throwback in and of itself.

I literally can't remember the last time I saw a perl script referenced in a URL, much less one about something current.
posted by schmod at 3:18 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Not quite as bad as BoingBoing, which I will now no longer visit on mobile because I don't like getting kicked over the App Store

It did have a smell of sad nerdery at times, with complaints that posters can't find a girlfriend who is into Linux and such. Though the fact that it didn't turn into a toxic Nazi garbage fire shows that it was a product of a more innocent, if not positively Edenic, time.
posted by acb at 3:19 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Just looked at my account and the last comment I posted was about six years ago and was:

"Cowardly, pissant, fragile ego white kids need to get over themselves. And now."

I won't bother linking to the article, but having that feeling was what made me leave it alone. I'm not sure they could lure me back short of hiring Zoe Quinn as chief editor.
posted by lumpenprole at 3:28 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Ah Slashdot. I was one of the first registered users after they introduced accounts. That was a weird time in my life; I was building PCs and ham radios in my bedroom (I was 15) and got paid $10 to make web site, which I did in Python CGIs with no CMS or stylesheets or database or anything like that and ran on servers I built myself. I was pretty depressed and spent a large chunk of each day browsing Slashdot, although I rarely commented. I hung out with other nerdy kids, but many of them got in serious trouble in high school and/or got kicked out, so they weren't exactly great role models. My school's "computer" classes were really trying to prepare students for the burgeoning field of manning IT help desks, which I didn't understand at the time -- I thought the teachers were just really dumb. We were in Seattle but I don't think I ever met a single adult who actually worked in the tech industry in any capacity. Someone gave me a "C++ for Dummies" book that I read cover to cover.

Then I did about 20 different non-computery things over the following 10 years including moving across the country to a town in the midwest, a brief stint of trying to be a journalist and a little bit in a plant genetics lab, and eventually got a job writing C++ code that paid me an ungodly sum to apply things I learned in high school, which somehow wasn't something that actually occurred to me before. If I had actually talked to a single successful person in tech instead of endlessly browsing troll-infested forums, I probably could have figured that all out a lot sooner and been further along now. On the other hand a lot of my nerdy friends didn't manage to turn that into a career either so who knows.
posted by miyabo at 3:31 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


I first learned about 9/11 when I logged into SlashDot that morning. Followed events as they unfolded, including the collapse of the towers. (Image tags!) I know that sounds terribly geeky, but I recall it was much like the "live coverage" we sometimes get here in the political threads. It was like watching the news with a whole community.
posted by SPrintF at 3:38 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I learned about 9/11 via that Slashdot story, too. I loaded my usual news tabs, and CNN and NYTimes weren't loading, but Slashdot came right up.

I used to confuse MetaFilter and Slashdot. Now I can't even figure out how to find my Slashdot user ID. [Shrug.] I still visit, though, and it's still a better news site—in terms of featuring newsworthy content I don't see elsewhere—than many others, including MetaFilter.
posted by cribcage at 3:45 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


#137856
I crave my motd fortune cookies, believe very few meaningfully discriminate between Insightful and Informative, and am dismayed meta-moderation failed to be widely adopted.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 3:48 PM on October 5


I literally can't remember the last time I saw a perl script referenced in a URL, much less one about something current.

Mojolicious is great.
posted by mikelieman at 3:58 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I remember when I first got to metamoderate. I felt so cool and important (I was neither cool nor important). My bio is weirdly still relevant to who I am today but cringe in the way only one's teenage writing can be.
posted by Mouse Army at 4:05 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Ahh, Slashdot. My first real foray into internet computer geek culture, as a high schooler. Also the first introduction to the fact that if I planned to be a nerd on the internet, I’d best not admit to being female. It was sort of a proto-HN for me, in a way. I think I gave up reading it halfway through college after one too many threads full of sexism and misogyny.
posted by olinerd at 4:08 PM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Wow. Older than MetaFilter!
posted by brundlefly at 4:13 PM on October 5


My first Internet community was one iteration or another of the INTP mailing list. From there, Slashdot; from Slashdot, pretty much everything else, including Metafilter. (Plastic.com, fark.com, everything2.com, kuro5hin.org, slate.com, wikipedia.org... Slashdot was where you heard about everything.)

I'm sure that whatever I was mailing to the INTP list two decades ago would be more than cringeworthy now.
posted by clawsoon at 4:40 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Just logged in there, user number 50000+ and Excellent Karma, but it was my second account there - lost the first one somehow, but it was in the low four digits.

Slashdot was one of the first real internet user sites with the ability to post stories, comments, and rate both stories and comments. Lots of interesting tech things showed up there first and the user community was usually pretty knowledgeable. For the longest time it was one of my daily reads.

It got strange and far less relevant after a while, but it's in my rss feed and I scan the stories daily, though I don't read them as much as I once did.
posted by Death and Gravity at 4:55 PM on October 5


Apparently, I was a 5-digit lurker.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:11 PM on October 5


In which Metafilter founder (Mefi's own) interviews Slashdot founder.
posted by maupuia at 5:13 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


"It got way too bro for me ages ago."
It certainly did for a while, but it has gotten a little better since its absolute nadir at the time of The Great Slashdot Exodus.

At least, it's better than the garbage fire of sadfucks that most (all?) of the still-active spinoffs from that time have become.
posted by Pinback at 5:33 PM on October 5


I managed to get into my account just now... I have a low-ish 6-digit user number, excellent karma, and a great deal of fremdschämen for my know-it-all 20-something self.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 5:39 PM on October 5


I remember having two accounts, one explicitly for answering questions as a woman (frequently: "Women are more likely to consider having sex with you if they believe you will try to give them an orgasm too and not shame them for it afterwards. Different women like different things. Women talk to each other about their dates, if you're decent someone who's into your style will eventually hear." This was NOVEL. Hated and loved. ) and the main one for discussing tech issues. But my IDs are lost in the bitbucket.
posted by clew at 5:41 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


Oh, and one other little website that Slashdot introduced me to: google.com.
posted by clawsoon at 5:43 PM on October 5


Like you weren't someone worth listening to if you didn't sign up in the 90s or something.

It's like OffTopic if you didn't sign up before 2003.
posted by deezil at 5:45 PM on October 5


even if you didn't enjoy slashdot, there's no denying its contributions to popular culture. truly an american icon
posted by entropicamericana at 5:50 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Just logged in there, user number 50000+ and Excellent Karma, but it was my second account there - lost the first one somehow, but it was in the low four digits.

I had a high 4digit id. But, I was foolish and used an email from work and changed jobs and forgot about it. I got a new account in the 5 digits and I find it is registered to an email address I used 10 years ago...

But wow. Slashdot, Kuro5hin, Advogato, Fark.... Those were days. It all felt so new and wondrous and exciting.

I thought the /. moderation system was interesting. It works OK well, but has real flaws - and is, ultimately, only as good as the userbase.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:18 PM on October 5


I'm not going to praise the quality of the comments in Slashdot even in the golden age of the site. It was often a stagnant pond. But the editors were actively wading in that pond and using the comment process to fact check posts.

Pretty often I'd log on, and there would be a story on the front page ending with [UPDATE: we goofed badly] and you could click to the comments to see what happened.

To be the right age, at the right place and time, and reading Slashdot, really was a reason to think we were heading towards a better world just for that reason.
posted by ocschwar at 6:22 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


HELLO JoNKATZ, many congrats from Junis in Afghanistan on the smuggled Amiga!
posted by dr_dank at 6:26 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I haven't visited Slashdot in years. And yes, the comments are littered with bro-gressives.

But I have found handy Alterslash an unofficial digest of a few top Slashdot posts and the top five comments. Thanks to Jonathan Hedley. Get your daily Slashdot in 5 minutes without the garbage.
posted by JackFlash at 7:13 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Four digits, but apparently I haven't commented since 2003. And that comment was about karaoke.
posted by asperity at 7:26 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Five digits and it was the first place that I used the id of 'octothorpe'. I don't remember if I found out about Metafilter there but I do remember this site being described as a "non-techie slashdot".
posted by octothorpe at 7:40 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


let's not forget our old nemesis plastic.com originally ran on slashcode
posted by entropicamericana at 7:52 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


Jon Fucking Katz. There's a name I haven't thought about in a while.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:08 PM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Gee low 7 digits, apparently I never made an account until 5 years ago. But my MeFi ID is waaay older ... didn’t stumble upon /. until well after I’d randomly walked into THIS joint.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:36 PM on October 5


My days of regular Slashdot reading ended sometime in the early 2000s. When I visited recently to read about the Equifax breech the top comments were about the CTO / CSO and that she was female and did she earn her role or did she ...

And that was enough.
posted by zippy at 8:41 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


I think I might have had an account there, but I definitely didn't have a low user ID, and I only commented once or twice, but after they failed to elicit any real response or recognition, I didn't try again (I know, that's not how engaging in a community works, but I was young and more focused on the shiny "rewards" than general participation).

But /. did help inform me, as a tech-interested youth who built super basic websites by hand in the mid-1990s with high school friends (we spent more time working on our company name, WebSmithy, and the logo of an anvil with a spider and a web, or something, than we did actually marketing ourselves -- and we made one website for a rug company for $300 as a flat fee, and then spent the summer hanging out and scanning photos of rugs, but I digress). Following news stories and discussions there helped me learn the language of computers generally, as I didn't really have an interest in coding or developing hardware, but I could talk tech well enough that my parents were sure we could make some money in The Computer Industries, though the farthest I got with that (besides the lesson in billing for time) is that I'm the resident basic-level trouble-shooter at my current and prior job. Also, I can parse more technical details that actually relate to my current job, so I get tasked with anything where tricky data (or data that is not explained well, so the casual reader only sees tech jargon), which I do enjoy.

And /. is also the source of my MetaFilter handle. I was trying to think of something witty, when faced with the plethora of fascinating and intelligent user names here, I vaguely recalled a comment about photographers being "filthy light thieves" or something for not paying someone for the chance to take photos. I actually tried to track down the comment, but gave up and dubbed myself flt. Then six months (to the day!) after I had finally joined MetaFilter, when I had made a dozen or so posts, out of the blue ErWenn MeMailed me a link to the actual comment that had inspired my MeFi name. I still am unsure what inspired him to dig around for that, and it made me feel welcome here in a very unique way.

So, thanks /., I wouldn't be the geek I am today without you, in various ways. I haven't visited it in years.

(Random question: is /film in any way related to /.? Did it start with the same site structure? Or am I making connections that aren't there?)
posted by filthy light thief at 9:05 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


.
> I got pointed to Metafilter from a thread in Slashdot and never looked back.
I first learned about MetaFilter from a thoughtful American slashdotter who identified as Republican. But at that time I couldn't afford the $5 and didn't have the means of payment.
posted by runcifex at 12:05 AM on October 6


You guys this whole thread is making me feel extremely old and extremely nostalgic.
posted by potrzebie at 12:22 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]



To really pay tribute to Slashdot in the most Slashdot way possible, it should have been posted three days from now.


Actually to really pay tribute to slashdot it should be posted AGAIN three days from now and again after 3 months.
posted by koolkat at 12:55 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


I started reading in 1997 or 98 and read every single post. That is, until Jon Katz broke me and I went and created an account to filter out his articles.

5-digit UID, excellent karma, last comment in 2010.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:39 AM on October 6


Five digits, excellent karma, last post four years ago. I actually remembered my login, too. Score.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:19 AM on October 6


I used to read it a lot maybe 10 years ago but the incessant, blinkered *nix worldview of most of the commenters got tired. Maybe it's changed since.

In a similar vein it's great fun reading NTK.net posts from 1997.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:22 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


At its peak, the amount of traffic that /. could drive was insane. It was a functional DDoS factory.

The online tech news site I worked at had a special procedure; as soon as one of our stories got Slashdotted, we had to alert ops so they could manually set up a cached version of the story to stop the servers dying, and getting such a story was a cause for celebration. Bear in mind that, at the time, you could sign your site up to official traffic audits from a third party, and the figures were used as a proxy for paper magazine circulation figures when selling stuff to advertisers, and a Slashdotted story could do in a couple of hours what ten normal stories together did in a month.

It was also used by our tech teams in recruiting interviews - if a candidate didn't know how to use /. to find answers to problems, they probably weren't what we were looking for.

Ah, such innocent days.
posted by Devonian at 5:01 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


Who here hasn't changed their /. password since joining?
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:27 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


/. was basically the through-line of my college career. As a CS freshman in the fall of '98, it was an exciting new land of information and opportunities, along with other now-gone/decrepit sites like freshmeat, k5, etc (as well as broader usenet access via my school). Graduating in '02, it was ... still OK, but not really as central (though the equivalent of my senior project was named a ridiculous backronym as a joke reference from /.).

Years passed, and I kept reading, but basically stopped bothering with the comments. I've long since lost the email attached to my 4-digit UID, and I don't think it's even worth considering getting it back.

Still, a non-trivial chunk of my brain will never be free of stupid jokes and proto-memes from that time.
posted by tocts at 6:46 AM on October 6


Know Your Meme references Slashdot in some memes, but it's missing "obligatory Simpsons reference" and In Soviet Russia ... identifies Yakov Smirnoff as the key originator of "the Russian Reversal," and claims "Yakov’s popularity waned through the 90’s, as did his jokes," then jumps ahead to 2001 with a King of the Hill episode reference.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:58 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


A few hours ago, I learned that I am now (at least in theory) absurdly rich.

Does anybody know how much actual cash money Eric Raymond took in from this theoretical absurd riches in VALinux stock?
posted by bukvich at 8:59 AM on October 6


Who here hasn't changed their /. password since joining?

There was a hack or data breech at some point and all passwords were changed. You'd have to have joined after that to be able to say yes to this. Well, I guess you could have changed your password back after that hack. but I'd like to think /. readers were security conscious enough to not do that.
posted by COD at 9:35 AM on October 6


Does anybody know how much actual cash money Eric Raymond took in from this theoretical absurd riches in VALinux stock?

No, but we can guess.

From that same article: "In the next two hours, VA dropped from $274 a share to close at $239, leaving me with a stake of only thirty-six million dollars. Which is still a preposterously large amount of money."

36M/239 is 150627 so let's say he has a nice round 150k shares. And let's say he has a 6-month lock-up on selling them.

VA Linux stock price basically plummeted post-IPO. Eyeballing that chart puts it around $50 at the time he'd be able to sell it. So at most he grossed $7.5M, then you have to take off tax etc. So let's say $6M since the top federal rate on capital gains was ~21% (20% for easy calculation). He may have got more or less depending on exactly when he sold.

Still a tidy nest egg and he doesn't strike me as a guy who spends a lot of money - he's a nut job, but not the self-destructive kind. So I expect it was enough for him to live on comfortably for the rest of his life. If he gets a conservative 4% yield that's $240K annually in dividends where he only has to pay at most 15% federal tax, so it's a lot better than actually having a job.
posted by GuyZero at 10:18 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


I'm suddenly filled with the urge to argue with someone about *nix window managers.

WindowMaker 4 Lyfe!
posted by octothorpe at 12:44 PM on October 6 [7 favorites]


Joe's Window Manager is the only one I use now. It has just the right amount of almost-nothing. (9wm, on the other hand, had way too much of almost-nothing.)
posted by clawsoon at 3:54 PM on October 6


Holy cow Joe made a computer out of individual transistors. If that isn't peak Slashdot I don't know what is.
posted by miyabo at 9:36 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


Look, fush you meng, this slashdot thing.

I managed to hack my way into my own account which is at an interesting 2003-era abandonment. I think i carry some of that here: the space in usernames is nice. So much better here. Took me an eternity to get my UID, no history of any comments/posts? I can see the latter but not the former.

Comment-space always blew up so by the time I saw it there seemed to be thousands of conversations mostly consisting of one-shot hot-takes on some rising thread. I went in there today and An Anonymous Coward's response to what-the-fuck-ever in that anniversary thread was like "larlar Obama cuck." So much is downvoted into oblivion it seems one needs to dig in and its all crap. Worse than casual Redditing.

I like the conversations here, the thinking. Its a good place. I left slashdot I think after much reflection because I didn't give a shit about the new Radeon benchmarks. There were and are so many more interesting places. Kottke, here, Plastic, Suck, JWZ, Hacked Gadgets, Hack-A-Day, Instructables, Make magaine. I was a nerd but only partially that kind of nerd.

Fuck that place: 32K and good karma.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:57 AM on October 7


PS -- ESR is a pig and needs to fall of a cliff. I'm glad his fifteen minutes are long past, ill-deserved as they seemed to be. He awkwardly championed ideas many others subscribed to; I' have no idea why anyone other than greybeards listened to his claptrap. Kernel politics maybe, writ-like D+D. I'm not sure why anyone listened to that guy. One of his messages for a time was great but nothing about him seem as great as the shakes he seems to get.

A dude who writes obscure tools, seems to glory-hoard and has immense personality deficiencies becomes hero?? We should have stopped the timeline there.

I'LL NEVER FORGET THAT SANDWICH IN SAN JOSE, ERIC...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:45 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


  At its peak, the amount of traffic that /. could drive was insane. It was a functional DDoS factory

Amen to that. The normally staid financial place I worked at ~2003 got /.ed. We just held it together, and we didn't have many tools to handle that kind of load. All hand-rolled Perl with a DB2 backend on dual-processor Solaris boxes, too: roughly the processing power of a Raspberry Pi …
posted by scruss at 9:15 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that's an interesting reality of the historical enormity of the Slashdot Effect. It wasn't just that slash had a bunch of traffic, though it sure did; it's that hosting was so much more fragile back then. It cost a lot more to do a lot less, worse, DIY; nowadays you can spin up an AWS setup that is comparatively beefy as fuck for relative pennies or roll something up on dreamhost and major traffic attention will just mean a bit of sluggishness.

MetaFilter and other smaller but still solidly trafficked sites could Slashdot stuff for a while there in the mid-2000s too, when hosting was getting a bit better but there was still a lot of porousness in it especially where folks were sticking with home-rolled stuff. I remember having more than one discussion about the ethics of posting about a cool site that looked too DIY to stand up to the attention; we used to have to deal with Schroedinger's Uptime for posts a lot where deleting the post was the only way to make the link workable again which means it's workable to have a post so we can bring it back up which then kills the link again and around and around.

But Slashdot was there throwing a lot of traffic around in the late 90s when hosting was just construction paper and glue on somebody's Pentium II linux box, so it was that much more of a thing.
posted by cortex at 10:47 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Ogre Lawless: ESR is a pig and needs to fall of a cliff. I'm glad his fifteen minutes are long past, ill-deserved as they seemed to be. He awkwardly championed ideas many others subscribed to; I' have no idea why anyone other than greybeards listened to his claptrap.

Surely his fame, such as it was, rested solely on The Cathedral and the Bazaar essay. You don't get that kind of respect from fetchmail.
posted by clawsoon at 5:04 PM on October 7


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