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Lawyers: they tend to seem like reasonable and smart people when taken individually.

And yet they try to argue whether you remember the specific date of a newsgroup posting you wrote. Never mind that the posting has the date clearly stated on it, and is a reply to (and is itself replied to) by other newsgroup postings that also have that date.


I think there's a reason why so many people despise the profession.
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Ming Er
Doubt = more billable hours.
they say 90% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
So, other than the obvious date stamps, what makes you think you wrote it on that date? In fact, Linus, are you sure you wrote it at all? ;)
Yes, I have been grilled by lawyers about the dates on my Usenet posts as well. A lot of patent trolls find it really inconvenient when they find Usenet posts announcing their patented IP years before they filed their patent. The next step is to question the integrity of the Google servers where this is stored now.
...and was this before, or after, you installed the date falsification kernel module...?
Linus Torvalds
I think the logic literally is:
Person: "Yes, I wrote that usenet post"
Lawyer: "But do you remember what you had for breakfast that day almost twenty years ago?"
Person: "Uhh, no, I don't recall, it's a long time ago"
Lawyer: "So you're saying that maybe you don't recall writing that message at all?"
Person: "You must be right, I don't really recall anything at all from that particular day. So clearly I can't be sure that I actually wrote that post".

IOW, they seem to want to equate lack of personal memory of a particular date with some deeper existential doubt.

Lawyer: "Your honor, the witness clearly doesn't even remember the particular day they were born, so they clearly cannot exist"
Person: poof
Maybe we should start monitoring ourselves with cameras while posting IP on the internet...
How does the conversation end? Do the lawyers eventually accept the veracity of the date stamps? Or do they move on to questioning whether someone might have had access to the posting account?
I don't find much value in disparaging the profession. In particular, it seems silly to phrase your complaint in such a way that, supposedly, individual attorneys are fine and yet the whole complaint is based on the behavior of specific individuals... It also seems short sighted to blame attorneys for the desires of there clients. That is not far from the reasoning of blaming programmers for misuse of their applications. 
Ming Er
How far back do the earliest USENET archives go?
It apparently ends when you get pissy and mention that you verified the posting in another archive, and just ask them to get on with it and stop being stupid.

But IANAL, and I cannot vouch for the general applicability of that particular approach.
Linus, did you verify that all servers involved were using NIST sanctioned time synchronization techniques?
In my case they just kept harping on it in order to fill the deposition transcript with what might seem like doubt about the date. Once they moved beyond the date question they spent 45 minutes on physical data storage. Like "has the server where these CVS commit messages came from been in your physical possession the entire time?" Followed by ignorant chatter about access security in data centers.

+Ming Er for me the posting that gets the most interest is from June 1995 when I announced the first PHP release, but there are plenty of posts going back to the mid to late 80's in the Usenet archives.
A lawyer may ask you if you REMEMBER the date as a rhetorical trick to DISCREDIT your testimony in court, implying to the jury and judge that if you cannot remember the date of the post then perhaps you are being dishonest or perhaps you are incompetent. I watch the TV legal dramas and when they ask someone what they were doing at dinner time last March... well I cant remember dinner time last night and something i cant remember breakfast this morning.
It is so phony how they have you swear an oath to tell THE WHOLE TRUTH and then they limit you to yes or no answers which obscure the subjective contextual nature of truth --- like Does your mother know you beat your wife (answer yes or no)
You are never really limited though...A lot of ignorance in this thread.
technically, most people do not have access to the truth of what seem like obvious things.... EXAMPLE: if I put anyone on the witness stand and ask them "how much is two plus two" they will answer FOUR but ... this is HEARSAY.... only a mathematician of the caliber of Alfred North Whitehead, Bertrand Russell or Kurt Godel could stand at a blackboard and perform the 250 step proof that 2 + 2 = 4 and unless you can prove it, you do not have access to the truth but are repeating hearsay from the second grade.
Lawyers personify the callous bureaucratic nature of the modern world that we all despise so much. I can't help but get the impression that they enjoy it... truly disgusting.
In order to sue their own interests, to protect property rights, it seems very reasonable thing. The question is, if all this could lead to even if hindered the progress of mankind, I do not think this is a good thing. Lawyers in the maintenance of their employers while, can have such a vision to detect the impact of the event? Although the lawyers have received advanced education, but read the books of sages Why? How many law students, had to justice with the axiom, not bare just money?
It seems to me that we need more tech-savvy lawyers in the world. Like people who got degrees in a computer field (be it IT, CS, CE, what have you), and then decided that what they REALLY wanted to do was law. This way when you sit down and have a conversation with them they'll actually understand you.
I'm probably comparing apples and oranges. But in my opinion, lawyers never really contribute to the society. Unlike engineers, where they build things and improve lives as we go along, lawyers are just the opposite. Look at software patent for example. I'm sure there are good lawyers around but the nature of their job is just.... dirty
+Benson Lim I think lawyers are just people, like hackers. Some of them do good in the world and some of them choose to go the other way.

I had a lawyer friend in New Haven in the 1980s who was sensitive to the several lawyer jokes I related. But in all fairness to the profession he said to me "IF the day ever comes that you or anyone gets in deep, serious trouble with a civil or criminal lawsuit then you will be very glad to have a good lawyer on your side." And he is perfectly right. Lawyers are not an evil but rather a necessary good PRECISELY because "we the People" are a vicious, greedy, ruthless litigious society. I once saw someone slip slightly on a subway platform and the first words out of his mouth were "I will sue the City!"
Ouch I am a lawyer :'(

But I am not like any other layer :)
I am a technological lawyer, and I love gnu/linux
+1 for those who love gnu/linux!
So proper and ironic that today is "lawyer's day" in Mexico and we all celebrate it by making fun of them. :)
It's one of the few self propagating professions. They make the laws the defend and the holes in them too.
Actually, on a federal level, Congress writes the laws and the Senate passes them and the President signs or vetoes ... something like that.... I dont know how it works on the state and local level... interesting question ... but it is certainly not as simple as some people would believe...
Sure but those that write the laws are lawyers first and politicians second. Then lawyers who are judges interpret the laws. It's A flawed system. Plain and simple. By design. 
+William Buell Some people would argue that that's what the lawyers are all about. Making it not simple.
I am convinced the word lawyer is really a euphemism for a rhetorician with fallacious intent
If I am not mistaken our legal system was created to provide justice and seek truth. Not manipulate the truth, avoid justice and perpetuate the legal profession. 
Getting you to appear to lose your cool by asking stupid questions that have clear, unambiguous answers it is part of the game lawyers have to play. It's not the response to the question, but the way in which your reponse is perceived by others that matters. Not as science-y as many of us would like, but that's the way things work, unfortunately. Unless you can get someone to write a patch for that...maybe in 3.1?
Levy S.
I love Brazil because here we don't need lawyers as long as you don't kill anybody. :-P
+L ., in purely legal terms, I think you mean, "... as long as you don't kill anybody" ;-)
@L. I'm actually disagree with that. Unfortunately we have more lawyers than engineers. And a lot of bureaucracy to deal with.
I spent a solid year in IRC Undernet #philosophy and one fellow COMPULSIVELY ended each and every long long post (most of which was in postmodernist style) ENDING EACH AND EVERY POST WITH :) :) :)

... AND I could not understand why any grown adult with some sort of education would write as if they were some five year old moron... but now, I see it more and more and more and people, INTELLIGENT people who are saying meaningful things will end the sentence with :p

... so does that mean if you were addressing a senate investigation committee or giving an address at a college graduation that at the end you would stick out your tongue and make a farting raspberry sound???

What the hell does it MEAN when you use those emoticons with every other sentence.... when you use something constantly, it loses meaning.

It is like some kind of mental illness which is slowly taking over even the most intelligent and educated parts of society.

What would you think if you read an address from the president and at the end you say :-P ....

Good Lord! Take a look in the mirror and get a hold on yourselves.. what sort if idiocy will come next....

I ACTUALLY had a 60 year old woman PRONOUNCE LOL to me as in (Loll rhymes with Doll) .. it is an ABBREVIATION for Laugh Out Loud... it should not become a word LOLL in conversation.

And a boy on a skate board said to his friends some textspeak SPELLED OUT L-M-F-A-O but at least I give him credit for spelling it out and not saying LemFO ... but wait a year and people will be saying LEMFO, and AFEK (away from keyboard)
Among the first of the clay tablets discovered and deciphered by modern scholars was one which recorded the agonized complaints of a Sumerian teacher about the sudden drop-off in students' writing ability.
Can you call a lawyer incompetent, if he doesn't (want to) understand your logical explanation?
+Mika Heinonen A lawyer is incompetent when he can't twist and turn your words to use it against you.
I have lived in America all my life, 62 years and I find much that is pathetic.
"Never argue with an idiot, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience"^^
Sadly, there are people try to make big money or hit enemy (if not kill) by law sue ... :-(
Very difficult to prevent in this "highly civilized" World ! Law, made to protect intelligent property, being used as a tool to hinder or kill enemies on biz ....
I struggle to remember the current day much so even the date is a hard one to remember. Therefore the legal crowd have no chance of me remembering when I wrote anything in any internet forum
Thanks you!
Yep, agreed. This old one sprang to mind:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient as alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.
Law is a lot like mathematics except that truth is not the goal.
are you true?
Linus, Now Google's hiring a lot of them for bidding patents..:)
Never could understand sales and marketing people either.
Trust me - there's more than one reason.

Q. What's the difference between a catfish and a lawyer?
A. One's a scum-sucking, bottom-feeder, and the other is a fish.

"A lawyer moved into a small town, and business was slow ... until a second lawyer moved into town, and now business is booming!"
Linus, I need connect with you to bring out to the public, a game that i invented. Can we talk in private about the details?
Whats the difference between a Lawyer and a Carp?
Ones a dirty, scum sucking, bottom dweller, and the other is a fish.
Reminds me of the Casey Anthony trial.
Asking about dates of phone calls and things while holding the logs in their hands.
I guess it is so that it is put into the courts records.
It prevents lawyers from editorializing and going off on tangents which they're only allowed to do in opening / closing statements.
Things need to be question / answer based in the middle.
Who knows..... IANAL
I think a calendar or a log file will be helpfull in these times :)
As Nietzsche said: "Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups it's the rule."
@Ryan Hayes I heard that Nietzsche's philosophical theary does not adapt to reality. Like Kant's, Heggel's, Marx's, or Mill's one
As much as I'd love to explain this to you, I don't think I have time for you to grow a brain. Also, you might learn how to spell the word 'theory'... Total. Idiot.
I say what I heard If you wat to explain to me I have no prob. I have recently hate taken some lessons about Harx Heggel and other Modern philosophers and make me thirsty about philosophy! And I have a tendency to write misspeled words when I type them.
This isn't the place for it really. I suggest you read more.
Any Good Books for Nieche you have to suggest because I can suggest you Read "Crack Capitalism" of Holloway
Hi Linus, I need a partner for the next big game. I invented the game already, need to patent it. Just a little hint:This game in the right hands will be able to generate millions of dollars per week... I will share % on the patented game for the one that will help me patent it. How can we talk about the details?
Just look at that murdering cold hearted bitch Casey Anythony being acquitted - there is no justice!!!
Really? You have evidence that puts it beyond doubt? Or do you mean the partial and fully weighted evidence that you got from media outlets
"And WHAT time, Mr Torvalds, did you first tie your shoes this morning?"
certainly bad profession, but the legal system is worse and causing everybody to behave like this
There is only one decent lawyer on Earth, my sister :)
I think the point is that the date of the post is already pretty clearly established.
Sounds Like someone is trying to argue what was said, typical $$ wasted by and for lawyers.

Overall rating
I suspect they are frustrated novelists - spiking their need for expression with dramatic courtroom details ;-) ...
I've got a JD (but have taken no bar, and am nobody's lawyer), and Yep, yep, yep. "Zealous representation" (which lawyers endeavor to provide their clients) is often taken to mean license to lose touch with reality in order to look like you're doing something. Also, well, billable hours.
The blame is on the lawyers only if they don't explain the weakness of their case to their clients. Otherwise, it's their clients' fault for pressing forward when it's obvious that they'll lose.
I have a further reason, too - My ex wife's a lawyer.
As Shakespeare put it: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyer"
Lawyers aren't the only ones, we have the bureaucrats to worry about too.
He wants to supplement the written evidence with the testimonial.

It IS a bit silly and he probably knows it. He's also fully aware that you can't remember the date of a newsgroup post. But the legal profession is encumbered by long standing traditions and formalities that he has to look out for. Think of it as maintaining old code.
Ah the art of legal jig...
"No, while I am likely to remember generally, like most people, I do not remember the exact date. I can't commit everything to memory. That is why the date is on the message.
It could have been fabricated...with vi :-)
try reading "Life Without Lawyers", great book. Deals with how the justice system should incorporate common sense into itself.
+William Buell : Proof 2 + 2 = 4 is easy. Much more complicated is what does 2, 4 and + means (optionally =). If we take Peano arithmetic it's S(S(Z)) + S(S(Z)) = S(S(S(Z))) + S(Z) = S(S(S(S(Z)))) + Z = S(S(S(S(Z)))) from the definition of + and assuming 2 is just notation for S(S(Z)) and 4 for S(S(S(S(Z)))).
IF one considers that in a criminal case the touchstone is "BEYOND any shadow of a doubt" then it is certainly NOT the assertion that the jury has access to TRUTH (whatever truth might mean) but rather they approach the verdict much as calculus has nascent and evanescent approaches "as close as one pleases" to some limiting value.
"Reasonable doubt" is by no means the same as "BEYOND any shadow of a doubt."
Despise the witness instead. I gave a deposition in an accident case, and referred to my notes. Lawyer asked how long after the fact the notes were taken, was told 30 seconds. Asked why I did that, I told him I was on jury duty several times and was sick of people who didn't know what they saw, where they saw it, or what day it was. And because I'm the type of person who carries blank 3x5 cards and a pen in case I need to make notes.

Settled out of court.
I am a law student, and not every lawyer, or even law system, is like that. I resent the generalization.
what do you call one lawyer at the bottom of the sea...... a good start.
Cmon...: "That post is with date on it and post is hosted in server and server staff can edit that date. So date on post is not prof. Post author of course do not remember exact day when it made that post. So my dear customer do not simply copied IP from that post and patented it and now wants money. He made important invention!"
It is so simple job.
you are great Linus.....we love you! keep up the good work!
Logic is based on older technology. It used to be taken as a matter of course that everyone fills out a lab book and carefully dates every page and has a supervisor sign the page if there is something important on it. This is the model that patent lawyers and legal system are working with.

Software engineers don't do this though, it's just not a part of our normal work habit and we typically aren't trained to do it. There's a disconnect between the idea of having software patents and the reality that software people don't do the legal rituals that the patent system assumes. Especially in the open source world where few worry about future patent headaches.
+paulderol surname Protected from Lawyers, you mean?
gr8 bt I am still Linux localhost #1 SMP Thu Jun 17 19:54:13 UTC 2010 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux...
Q: Now, Mrs. Deering, were you the daughter of W.T. "Hooker" Vandergriff, [deceased] as we all knew him?
A: Yes, I was.
Q: In what capacity?
A: Well, he sired me.
Q: I'm not sure I got the answer.
Judge: I'm not sure I understood your question. In what other capacity could she be his daughter?
Atty: We'll try it all over again.
S Hodge
I'm a little late to the party, but perhaps the cynical lawyer thought he was channeling Orwell...

"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed-if all records told the same tale-then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"

- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 3
Lawyers are despised due to a natural phenomenon. Just like distilled water becomes solid only at 0 C, they put their hands in their own pockets only at -72.
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