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Gentoo Founder on his way to Redmond 527

Rotworm writes "Recently former founder of Gentoo Linux, Daniel Robbins, has managed to procure employment with Microsoft. Robbins describes his position as "helping Microsoft to understand Open Source and community-based projects." Seemingly there's no scandals as Robbins managed to finalize the transfer of all Gentoo's IP to the Gentoo Foundation, Inc."
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Gentoo Founder on his way to Redmond

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  • hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rd4tech ( 711615 ) * on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:34PM (#12807777)
    Any idea what his employment contract may hold?
    • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:35PM (#12807790)
      He's probably going to kill younglings.
      • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:47PM (#12807922)
        > > Any idea what his employment contract may hold?
        > He's probably going to kill younglings.


        Do I reply with "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" or "It's a TRAP!". Decisions, decisions...

        Decisions, decisions, decisions, decisions, decisions [ ... ] decisions! Decisions! I! LOVE! THIS! DISTRO!

    • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by XpirateX ( 691224 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:39PM (#12807842)
      Microsoft has just released a press release highlighting the new additions being implemented into Windows Longhorn (c). Most notable of these additions is an innovative "package management system" called l-merge. More information soon.
    • by spagetti_code ( 773137 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:57PM (#12808030)
      Microsoft dont do anything out of the goodness of their hearts. They are a corporate entity with a fiscal responsibility to their shareholders.

      He will be brought on board to continue the MS strategy of embrace, extend (in a proprietary fashion) then replace. MS do not want to support linux in any way, they want to kill it. Dead. Every linux box sold represents money ripped from their pocket.

      My guess is that this could be something like:
      - get linux to run well on MS virtual machines, so linux can become just an app running under 2k3, and therefore slowely sink into oblivion.
      - work on their command line tools []. Looks like they have finally realised that the {Li,U}n{u,i}x way of providing powerful command line utilities is actually pretty useful (perhaps learned from the struggle [] when they first tried to convert hotmail to NT :-).

      Interesting times ahead.

      • - get linux to run well on MS virtual machines, so linux can become just an app running under 2k3, and therefore slowely sink into oblivion.

        I thought about that when they announced they'd support linux running in emulation. They could maybe supply a sort of buggy half crippled userspace linux with a view to discrediting linux.

        I can't see it working. It might win some points with the PHB brigade, but most linux users are more interested in freedom than cost. If that is the plan, I can see it reboundin

      • by UnrefinedLayman ( 185512 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @08:38PM (#12808410)
        Every linux box sold represents money ripped from their pocket.
        This is not correct. It's not necessarily true that Microsoft products would be purchased instead, nor is it true that any time a server or workstation running Linux is switched to Windows that a new license for Windows has to be purchased.

        Microsoft cares a lot about money, but they care much more about saturation. If the market is completely saturated by Windows, everyone will use Windows because everyone uses Windows. That's why Microsoft is letting Indonesia [] pick up Windows for a buck a pop. They don't just care about the money, they care about getting as many people to use Windows as they can. Once they're in a dominant position they leverage that to extort exorbitant fees for their software from certain customers.

        It's the ends and means for Microsoft. Imagine Steve Ballmer screaming "UNLIMITED POWWWWWERRR!!!" as he eletrocutes Linus Torvalds and throws him out a window with the Force. That's Microsoft's view of things.
    • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @08:12PM (#12808175) Journal
      Section 2A - Notwithstanding any other claimants and /or vicissitudes related to the Contractee's employment therein while at Microsoft Corporation (C)(TM), Contractee heretofore agrees in full to instruct Microsoft Corporation (C)(TM) on how to:
      • Develop an operating system that recompiles itself continuously, preventing the user from doing anything useful with their computers; and
      • Create, develop and nurture a community of obnoxious prepubescent teenagers that believe they are '1337' (see definition of '1337' in Appendix D) 'haxx0rz' (see definition of 'haxx0rz' in Appendix E) because they're 'squeezing' (see definition of 'squeezing' in Appendix M) every ounce of 'computing power' from their WalMart (TM) eMachines (TM) Celeron (TM) 'boxen' (see definition of 'boxen' in Appendix R)

      Section 2B - Contractee will also instruct Microsoft Corporation (C)(TM) on the use and operation of the computer program known as 'cvs'.

  • Woah (Score:5, Funny)

    by NilObject ( 522433 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:35PM (#12807787)
    "helping Microsoft to understand Open Source and community-based projects"

    Do they ship cluebats freight? I guess they do now.
    • Re:Woah (Score:2, Funny)

      by Qubit ( 100461 )
      "helping Microsoft to understand Open Source and community-based projects"

      Do they ship cluebats freight? I guess they do now.

      They're not even giving him a ticket in coach to get out to Redmond? Well, how about that for a warm welcome...

  • When in doubt (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WebHostingGuy ( 825421 ) * on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:36PM (#12807799) Homepage Journal
    Buy them out.

    Is this the beginning of a strategy for Microsoft? Can't beat them, just buy them or the lead developer?
    • Re:When in doubt (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:41PM (#12807852) Journal
      Yes... just like the OSDG bought Trovalds or Google bought Firefox Developer Ben Goodger ...

      Free Software is free as in freedom... but it is also free as in beer so these people *really* need to get their green paste from somewhere...

      Or, you really did think that those "donations" where enough to live?
    • He can still quit. Besides, he already gave his work to the world, didn't he? I say he deserves good compensation from it.
    • drobbins hasn't been involved in Gentoo development, much less the lead developer, for quite a while.
    • Re:When in doubt (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:56PM (#12808026)
      Microsoft has headhunted the competition before. This is not new for them or anyone else. The only difference here is that MS has a known, powerful, flexible enemy in Open Source. We're like a hydra; cut off one of our heads, two more will (eventually) grow in its place.

      Plus, the "change things from the inside" thing isn't new either. The MS Macintosh Business Unit, formerly MS Bay, consisted primarily of Mac shareware and commercial SW developers who had been hired to work on Mac Office and Mac IE. These were guys who thought, ate, drank, and slept "Different." They are the reason Mac Office tends to leapfrog Windows Office in features and overall quality with every release, and also why IE on the Mac didn't suck. Anyway, even these guys ended up chugging the Kool-Aid - when Apple started releasing competitive products (most recently Safari), these guys acted as if it was their God-given right to be the exclusive developers of these types of software, going on record in the Mac press, denouncing Apple for daring to create competing products. Somehow they'd gotten into the MS mindset of expecting that their (MS's) stuff was supposed to be the only stuff around to support the OS, or to be treated as first-class citizens. The difference was that Apple didn't have to support this same opinion.

      Back on-topic a bit, I think the gentards have nothing to worry or be ashamed about. Even though he'll probably turn with time, this isn't a pride thing. Maybe he just needs to eat, and wants to use his skills as a means towards that goal (shocking!). Who knows, maybe working for the bad guys really will change them for the better.
    • Re:When in doubt (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ubuntu ( 876029 )
      I don't see how this is being moderated Troll. If Microsoft were to hire Linus Torvalds and then make him sign an NDA and a 5-year non-compete contract, wouldn't people here get the idea that maybe, just maybe, MS wanted to cripple Linux development?

      People are so afraid of "conspiracy theories" that they sometimes miss the simple reality that is right in front of them. Remember, this is MICROSOFT. Just because our culture is becoming overly respectful of authority figures, politicians, and multinationals d
    • MS used to recruit all the best talent out of Borland, back when borland had a better compiler.

      Borland filed suit to stop them. They weren't successful (obviously), although MS admitting to recruiting 34 employees of Borland.

      article about it. [] net []
  • Good luck! (Score:5, Funny)

    by stevens ( 84346 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:36PM (#12807804) Homepage

    I hope he is successful! I'd sure like to see Windows users have to emerge msoffice2k3 and wait for six days.

    • Wait until it's time to do an XP -> Longhorn upgrade. It's not that Longhorn will be released in 12-18 months, it'll just take that long to get the upgrade going.
    • by joe_bruin ( 266648 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:51PM (#12807979) Homepage Journal
      They'll have it, but instead of emerge, the command is going to be called "pirate", and it won't get the source, it will download a binary via eDonkey. The only hard part is bootstrapping it. You have to boot into a DOS disk, set up your network and type "pirate winxp-pro".
      • Re:Good luck! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by at_slashdot ( 674436 )
        This reminds me of this joke:

        Q: Is it true that in Sovie Russia every peasant will get a tractor from the State?

        A: Yes, it's true, but it's not a tractor it's a bike and they don't give them, they take them away.

        Same with Microsoft:
        Q: Is is true that the Microsoft will give freedom and choice to users for free?

        A: Yes it's true, but it's not for gratis and they don't give it, they take it away.

    • While the humor was to deride both microsoft and gentoo I do wish him good luck. I am far more interested in microsoft "playing nice" then I am hoping for their destruction. If Robbins can get microsoft to see that developers are interested in monkeying with all levels of their systems and get them to open up some of them for the hobbyist crowd then I will be the first to applaud his successes. Heck, if he can get them to create a decent CLI tool chain I would be pleased as punch.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:37PM (#12807809)
    all your open source visionaries are belong to ms.
  • Sweet Job! (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheSolomon ( 247633 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:37PM (#12807810) Homepage
    Man I wish I had his job. "OpenSource projects: Opposite in every way from Microsoft. Now where's my paycheck?!" =)
  • Dr Who (Score:5, Funny)

    by lkcl ( 517947 ) <> on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:37PM (#12807812) Homepage
    is anyone here concerned about the parallels with the latest episode of Dr Who?

    the game-shows where losers are beamed up to the Dalek Mothership?


  • Looks like someone got assimilated into the Collective. Hmmm... Where do I sign up? :P
  • Linuxsoft (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rotworm ( 649729 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:38PM (#12807830) Homepage Journal
    And thusly we see the beginning of taking over Microsoft by getting on the inside, one at a time.
  • by craXORjack ( 726120 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:39PM (#12807839)
    I RTFA but it was redundant!

    Seriously, I hope he didn't accept low pay with the promise of stock options like a lot of Microsoft employees have in the past. The day of the Microsoft made millionnaires is over.
    • The day of the Microsoft made millionnaires is over.

      Not really. Now you just work there for 40 years, 25K a year. Voila! Millionaire.
      • just work there for 40 years, 25K a year. Voila! Millionaire!

        Wow, you must work in the dept where the govt decides how much you qualify for in student loans. If you make $25k for a year before quitting and going back to college, you should have $24k in the bank at enrollment.
  • Kamikaze (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bifurcati ( 699683 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:41PM (#12807860) Homepage
    "helping Microsoft to understand Open Source and community-based projects."

    I think Microsoft already understand Open Source projects - and, quite obviously and unsurprisingly, they don't like them. Justifiable from a business perspective, crap from (almost) everyone else's perspective, and I have trouble seeing what change he could bring in Microsoft.

    Unless of course he's got several kilograms of TNT strapped to his chest when he has his first meeting with Bill :)

  • Former Founder? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Iffy Bonzoolie ( 1621 ) <(gro.elbrax) (ta) (yffi)> on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:41PM (#12807862) Journal
    "Recently former founder of Gentoo Linux[...]"

    How can someone be a former founder? Once you found something, that's it, you always will have been the founder, right? I mean the Founding Fathers of America aren't the Former Founding Fathers - they are still the Founding Fathers even though they are all dead, and don't take much of an active interest in the affairs of the country anymore.

  • This is bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 653730 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:41PM (#12807865)
    I wouldn't mind this if Microsoft used this help to "understand opensource better and collaborate with it"

    Microsoft is not going to do that. They want to know everything about open source because the want to compete with it, ie: beat us. It'd be nicer if Microsoft used this help to collaborate with opensource better, opensource things, etc etc.
    • They want to know everything about open source because the want to compete with it

      Oh, come on man, you do not need to hire anyone to "know everything about Open Source"... it is WHY it is open source, it is FREE for EVERYONE (yes, even for Microsoft), you just have to go to, read some wikis etc... it is all there...

      If Microsoft wanted to know Everything about OSS they just have to put a bunch of their monkeys^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hengineers to make deep research into open source...
    • Bad moderation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @08:25PM (#12808297)
      As I write this, the post I am responding to is modded "Troll". Seems it is more "Insightful" than anything else.

      BillG is a smart guy who surrounds himself with smart guys. MS started out of a motel room in New Mexico and didn't become a near monopoly solely out of luck any more than it did out of sheer creativity. MS is huge for a few important reasons:

      1. They recognise opportunities and make maximum use of their resources and connections. MS became the "king of programming languages" for micros inthe 70s and 80s because BillG immediately saw the potential of the Altair and the desperate need for a friendlier method of programming the system. They also used their connections and networking skills to arrange a meeting with IBM re. DOS as well as to locate and purchase QDOS.

      2. They are a bit sneaky--they will sell something they don't even have yet (DOS) and create demoware/vapourware to stall and kill competition in a field where they are lacking (GO/pen computing/etc--"they might have it now, but big ol' MS is gonna have it REAL SOON NOW"--yeah right).

      3. THEY RESEARCH THEIR COMPETITON--MS has historically been very paranoid. Even with their position today they view EVERY competitior as one who could destroy them. When MS plays in a market they research EVERY LITTLE THING about that market and EVERY COMPETITOR. BillG himself operates that way. If he meets someone who has something interesting to talk about but BillG knows nothing about it, BillG will spend every waking moment for a couple days learning about the subject. The next time he meets that person he can talk with that person like he is a seasoned expert.

      It is for that third reason why MS has a whole department of Open Source Specialists in its employ and has had for years. It is also how the Halloween Memos came to be. It doesn't matter how badly MS slags Linux or how much it scoffs at Free software--it has ALWAYS apporached it as competition with the potential to destroy Microsoft. I'm willing to bet it's been on BillG's personal radar for a decade already (when MS was just starting to realise the Internet was a game they had to play).

      So the parent to this post is exactly right: MS is essentially "stockpiling ammunition" for the battle with Free software. How they will use the knowledge and people they acquire could go many ways:

      1. They could use it to make their FUD sound more credible--for example, some weakness in Linux to exploit in the "get the facts" campaign or items to avoid or downplay where Linux has the advantage.

      2. MS operates by acquisition, not innovation. They might have to avoid GPL code to keep its code secret, but it can at least steal IDEAS from GNU apps. It is also already well known they've lifted BSD code many times. This is OK though--at least MS software gets better as a result.

      3. If they CAN'T beat Free software, they'll be prepared to "join" it. It may be a cold day in hell before MS Office is open, but if Linux meets or beats Apple's market share and all indications are that it won't go away, MS will be prepared to form a "Linux business unit" to port Office and other apps to the platform. It won't be "Free/Libre", but if MS dominates application software for Linux it can steer the platform and continue to be the industry's biggest player. This is what they have done with Apple--Microsoft is the biggest vendor of MacOS applications, and stunning industrial design aside, Macs are becoming more and more PC-like.

      Yep it would be nice if MS was more cooperative, but it is just too far from their business model. MS NEEDS software to be closed or else it would have to completely re-invent itself. It is simply easier for it to try and make the competition work to its advantage or simply go away.
  • In other words

    helping Microsoft to understand Open Source and community-based projects

  • Anakin (Score:5, Funny)

    by srobert ( 4099 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:43PM (#12807880)
    In a related story, Anakin Skywalker is serving as an aid to Senator Palpatine to help him understand the Jedi council.
  • Alternate pathway (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Adrilla ( 830520 ) * on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:43PM (#12807887) Homepage
    If Microsoft truly wants to get in touch with the Open Source community, why remove Robbins from it completely. I think they would do better to make him a paid freelance consultant. I believe that once he's gone to "the dark side" in the community's eyes, he'll never be able to look at the movement from an insider's point of view again. But now, MS will have taken a big player away, and as I see it, they're simply killing of bit of competition and will use this knowledge to kill more. But then again, I see MS as not wanting OSS to exist at all. I believe a more faith based relationship will have been developed between MS and the OS community if they had gone the consultant route, allowing Robbins to continue to develop there, but keep MS abreast of what's going on and how they could coexist more peacefully or even intermingle.
    • But now, MS will have taken a big player away, and as I see it, they're simply killing of bit of competition

      Yeah, all* those production-level business-use Gentoo boxes will soon** switch to Windows Server 2003.

      * By 'all', I mean 'both'
      ** By 'soon', I mean 'not'.
  • Isn't this... (Score:2, Interesting)

    Isn't this the guy who said that all the profits from the Gentoo Store were going to the Foundation when it actually went to him?
  • They say there's some new python runtime-doodad Microsoft has that's incredibly fast. Besides the organizational things this guy managed to bring ports to Linux via a Python program.

    MSPortage maybe?

    Imagine future versions of Visual Studio (that's their compiler, right? never compiled anything on Windows since i'm poor) coming with a version of portage that yanks down all the OSS that'll compile on Windows.

    Wouldn't *that* be interesting?
  • Recently former founder of Gentoo Linux, Daniel Robbins... so he traveled back in time and had someone else found it instead?
  • by Tsugumi ( 553059 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:46PM (#12807914)
    The scene, drobbins standing in front of a bunch of expectant microsoft execs, all with their own pc.

    "Today, class, we're going to learn about kde..."

    ...Two days and several thousand lines of gcc output later...

    "Err, Mr Robbins sir, is this going to take much longer? I gotta go pee"

  • NOOOOOOOOO! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Klync ( 152475 )
    Daniel! You were supposed to be the chosen one!
  • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:48PM (#12807950) Journal
    It's official, we've crossed over into the Bizarro World.
  • When I took a job a few years back, I used to say that the bad news was that I had sold my soul for money.

    The good news was that I got paid more than it was worth!

    I hope it is not applicable here.

    (As it turned out, it wasn't so bad to be a consultant doing Windows. I didn't even have to lie. The main problem was my health... which I'm certain was a totally unrelated problem. Very certain. I think.)

  • "helping Microsoft to understand Open Source and community-based projects."

    Translation: MSFT is paying me more money than g-d to jump up and down "Balmer Style" yelling Open-Source Open-Source...
  • The Microsoft Memo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chx1975 ( 625070 ) .html [] remember? OK, not Linus himself, but...
  • I wish him well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @07:57PM (#12808037)
    Dude put some good work into a fine distro, sorry he couldn't make a living at it. I'll never knock anyone for keeping the family fed.

    Anyone else notice that this isn't the first ABQ->Redmond migration for a "distribution" founder?

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @08:05PM (#12808112) Homepage Journal
    We'll cut the armed convoy off at SR-520 when they cross the floating bridge across Lake Washington and free him! I'll go rent a canoe down next to Husky Stadium and we'll rendevous at the traffic jam near the wind sculptures and set him free, then we'll transport him to the Arboretum and escape via the Museum of History and Industry parking lot in a small biodiesel VW car a friend of mine has.

    Who's with me?

    A small daring group is all it will take to rescue the founder of Gentoo - with luck on our side, skill, daring, and the element of surprise, we should be able to pull this off before the Empire gets him into Darth Gates compound!

    • A small daring group is all it will take to rescue the founder of Gentoo - with luck on our side, skill, daring, and the element of surprise, we should be able to pull this off before the Empire gets him into Darth Gates compound!

      You underestimate the Power of the Gates side of the Source, my young apprentice! All your plans have been foreseen and even now this fully operational hovercraft is approaching the traffic jam to intercept your foolhardy rebels in their vain attempt to resist the Empire!
    • Fear not! (Score:3, Funny)

      by Henk Poley ( 308046 )
      Not to downplay your plans, but thousands of new apprentices are joining the Open Force movement every day. Not many of them are fully awoken, yet. Many of those will even never become a true master of the Force, still they help us in our fight against the empire by pointing the Way. Loosing a master may feel painful now, but the Force is already attracting replacement troops. Yes, troops, the power of the Force lies in it's multitude.

      Besides this, we haven't had communications with Daniel Robbins recently
  • "Seemingly there's no scandals as Robbins managed to finalize the transfer of all Gentoo's IP to the Gentoo Foundation, Inc."

    This isn't true. He has agreed to, if his lawyer approves the deal, but we are still waiting for him to transfer all IP and the domain name

    Here is the Gentoo Not-for-profit mailing list archive and you'll see there is no mention of it yet. []
  • But Mr. Drobbins we have your digital signature here on a pdf document that says you came here to help us undermine Open Source and community-based projects.

  • can't wait! (Score:4, Funny)

    by namekuseijin ( 604504 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @08:16PM (#12808217)
    to wait 12 months while Longhorn stage1 compile and boot!
  • by hansreiser ( 6963 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @08:21PM (#12808266) Homepage
    I think everyone should understand that he had large credit card debts, that he tried everything he could to make it work fiscally, and that the community failed to provide the finances that would make it work.

    His approach was technically superior to the other distros in its fundamental approach, and funding could have cured any detail problems. It was the right approach. He went broke, and we should all be sad at this.

    The nice thing would have been if some government had funded him. None did.

    Thus he works for Microsoft. I imagine he is sadly bitter about it all.

    Namesys is also having payroll problems, though our problem is more due to my divorce than anything else.

    (Author of Reiser4)
  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @08:51PM (#12808528)
    So, lemme see...

    - Apple goes x86,
    - Debian releases new stable,
    - Deep Throat reveals himself,
    - Robbins works for Microsoft.

    Seriously, what's next? Stallman stating "Meh, GCC takes forever; i'll just buy some software at Walmart"? Duke Nukem Forever going gold? The Bitboys compiting with nVidia? Microsoft releasing the source for Internet Explorer?

    Cut this shit already. Please. It's not funny anymore!
  • skunk works (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zogger ( 617870 ) on Monday June 13, 2005 @09:28PM (#12808802) Homepage Journal
    MS is a big company. Lotsa money. I would be surprised if they didn't have a variety of black project operating systems in development simultaneously. Of course Longhorn is their next premier *public* effort, but that doesn't mean they might not be "exploring" other avenues for contingecies sake. It costs them little when it's a business deduction after all.

    Just like apple maintaining an x86 OSX branch for years, "just in case" is a reality that sometimes proves to be useful when you least suspect it.

    So then MS therefore needs d00ds who have a proven track record of original thought as opposed to drudge work. A company needs both kinds, but it has to start with original thinkers before the hard working drudgework drones take over.
  • by flacco ( 324089 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:55AM (#12811150)
    when the nazi's took over poland, they took thousands of their intellectuals into the woods and shot them. the idea is to demoralize the target population, and depopulate it of intelligent resistance.

    you can't *quite* get away with that in corporate america just yet, but the next best thing, when you have X*10 billion dollars in the bank getting moldy, is just to hire them away.

    sorry to interrupt all the guffawin' and shuckin' and jivin'. carry on with the lame star wars references and other assorted jokery.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong