Did Our Publisher Really Move to Costa Rica?

by Phil Hughes

Looks like I didn't. Here I am, back in Seattle. But, when I got back from vacation (yes, in Costa Rica), one of the first questions I was asked was whether I had bought a resort in Costa Rica. My disappointing answer was no.

Why am I talking about this? Because, at COMDEX, a rumor was being spread that I had abandoned Linux for Costa Rica. Let me assure you I am not about to abandon Linux. I have been a UNIX geek since 1980, and got into Linux in 1993 because I saw it as a "better UNIX", which I still do. I started Linux Journal in 1994 because I believed in Linux. I still do, and I think we can all see that my early belief in Linux is now justified.

As there seemed to be concern about my "physical location" last month, let's talk about that. Linus didn't live in the U.S. when he began developing Linux. Should Remy Card and Miguel de Icaza not be counted as Linux developers because they don't live in the U.S.?

The whole reason Linux was able to happen is because communication channels exist such that people don't all have to be in the same place in order to work together. Six years ago, I wrote a futuristic editorial pretending it was January, 2000 and that I was working from Yaak, Montana (population 26). Certainly, I could be. Or I could be in Costa Rica. That's the advantage of communications technology, and in my case, print media that can be mailed.

If you don't believe this, check out the Amazing Arts Art Gallery. While I was in Costa Rica, I stayed at a small hotel called El Mono Azul (The Blue Monkey). The daughter of the owner may be on her way to becoming another Linus Torvalds. Janine, age 10, and one other 10-year-old have started a project to save the rainforest. Thanks to e-mail and the Web, it isn't just local. They are raising money through sales of crafts, buying land and starting an education program about the rainforest targeted at schools in the U.S. and worldwide. Communication available to everyone is what makes this possible.

Also while I was in Costa Rica, I saw an issue of PC Magazine in Spanish in a grocery store. It had a copy of Corel Linux bundled with it. Just made me think, "way to go". Whereas in the U.S. it is generally irritating to buy Microsoft software, it is a much bigger burden for someone in Costa Rica or any other country where people have less disposable income. I'm ready to help all of Central America convert to Linux.

If you are looking for me physically, I'm around. I will be giving a tutorial on "Programming without Perl" in Monterey in July, essentially covering how the shell, some shell commands and awk are valid tools for certain problems. I'll be at Usenix's Atlanta Linux Showcase in October. Lots of other shows are coming up. And, even though I was in Costa Rica for over two weeks this year, I have been here in Seattle a lot more of the time. Stop by Burk's Restaurant and I'll buy you a beer. Otherwise, I guess we can get back to virtual beers.

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