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  1. #1

    Another Way - A short story, by ME... again.

    [edit: removed link]

    The story is an allegory on F/OSS vs. proprietary SW. Some have already liked it, so I hope some of you might as well. I'd appreciate feedback, because I'd like to evolve and perfect the story so that it may someday be publishable, and I myself am not a very good writer.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    arch linux
    Instead of asking everyone to download a file from someone they don't know, why can't you just copy/paste your so-called "story" here to the forums?

  3. #3
    OK, good idea, but it's a lot of text. Don't have to be so offensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by me
    Is there another way?

    . . .

    No, there canít be. Just stories. It must be just stories. How could there be ... ? What else would you do Ė Fly?
    That is ridiculous and completely unnecessary. I like walking around. I use the Trails. They cost you, but theyíre fairly safe. The Headquarters says so. It is not allowed to walk through the woods, you must use the Trails.

    This is how I was before. That has now changed. Iíll try to explain.

    I woke up the other day Ė the day my life was to change, and in fact I naively thought it was just a day like any other. As I later walked down the Trail I usually do in the mornings, I heard noises in the forest. At first, I thought it was the Predators and started to speed up, but I could soon let out a sigh of relief, because they were people. A group of Those-who-donít-pay. They donít pay, so they have to walk through the wild. And they always hide from the Headquarters. Bad, but not dangerous, as far as I know. The Headquarters will eventually take care of them.
    I thought I was lucky that one time. But before five oíclock the same day, I ventured onto a rather unsafe part of the Wilderness, and ran into a real Predator. I had no way of defending myself. It was way too strong. It attacked me, and knocked me out cold. When I woke up, I was staring into the sky. I know, Iíve heard: We must not look up. The sun can blind us. But it didnít. Maybe the clouds saved my eyes, perhaps it was the trees, I thought.
    I didnít give it much thought at that time. It was the little fluttering dots in the sky that caught my attention. Was I imagining them? Were they there? That couldnít be! It looked like little people. People Flying around, some of them flicking from one point to another at astonishing speeds.
    I would have dismissed the thought soon enough, if it werenít for what happened next.

    "Hey you, are you OK?"

    I was a little startled, but when I realised that it was me who was being addressed, I stuttered:

    "M Ė me?"

    "Yes, you! That was a pretty bad hit I saw there! Are you alright?" a person sitting on a large flat boulder a few steps up the path asked.

    "Yes, yes, I think so." I responded, for it seemed indeed that this time I got away with very little damage.

    He then helped me up and introduced himself. His name was Xerxes. We chatted for some time, and I reckon we got to know each other quite well. At one point, when I was describing my day, and how I got into all this, he started smiling. I didnít understand, but he spoke up.

    "You know, you donít have to put up with all this."

    "Uh... What do you mean?" I asked puzzled by the sudden comment.

    "Well, I mean the Trail Fees. The Predators. The Trails themselves, of course. Boundaries. Restrictions." said Xerxes.

    "I Ė I know that, I know about Those-who-donít-pay. And Iíve heard of the Swimmers. But I wonít join them! Itís illegal to walk outside of the Trails Ė and Swimming is no good, and itís way too much of a change, a whole new world with barely any common land. And you still have Predators and you have to pay Fees."

    "Indeed. I agree, walking outside of the Trails doesnít give you Freedom. You are a little Freer in a sense, but on the other hand, you spend your life in the shadows with no possibility of peeking out Ė other than coughing up the Fee. No matter whether avoid the Fees or not, you still have to suffer from the boundaries and restrictions.
    "And as for Swimming, you donít gain much either. Your fees are usually higher, you are restricted to the aquatic world and cut off from the world of the Walkers just like you are now cut off from theirs."

    That was the first time I actually heard someone refer to us as Walkers. Up till now, I actually never heard anyone to refer to us as a particular group Ė we were always everyone, the majority, the population; Itís the Swimmers who are a minority Ė they need a name to be called, not us. And then, it seemed as if Xerxes pronounced the word with a certain disrespect. Disgust, even. Walking? Thatís what we all do, isnít it?
    I realised I said the last two sentences out loud.

    "The short answer, my friend, is ĎNo!í."

    I didnít find anything to say.

    "I havenít made a single step in a few years now. And I donít intend to anytime soon."

    I had to ask, "How did you get up on that stone, then?"

    "Well, if I told you straight away, you would probably think Iím crazy. So letís take this step by step. Have you ever looked up at the sky?"

    "Well, yes, just a minute ago. Iím lucky to still have my eyesight. The Headquarters..."

    Xerxes interrupted me, "Of course, of course... the Headquarters tells you you should never ever look up at the sky. Watch me. And take a look as well. It wonít hurt you."
    He then took a long, searching look into the sky, following something quickly with his eyes. I slowly lifted my own to see. And there they were. At first little dots and spots, moving around. But as my eyes grew adjusted, I recognised first the shape of a human body, and then individual limbs, Wings and faces. They all looked quite normal, like anyone I might meet down here on the ground.

    "You see?" he asked after a momentís observation of my expression, "They Fly. They all Fly, and me too, I also Fly."

    "How Ė how is that possible? How come some people can Fly and some cannot?"

    "Thatís where you are wrong. Did you ever have a look at your own back? Because you have Wings, just like I do. Just like we all do, and everyone down here does."

    I soon got his point. I did have Wings, and those Wings were meant to carry me. I sort of knew they were there, but I never gave it any thought. There, on my back, was a large, strong pair of Wings. I never saw anything Fly before. I never looked up at the sky before. How was I to know they were supposed to be used for Flying?
    I slowly stretched my newly found Wings, Xerxes did the same Ė just before taking of with a mighty flap, making a few gentle loops and returning to the ground.

    "You see, you can do it. Have one more look up there," he pointed to the sky, "see them? They are Free. They donít have to worry about Fees, Trails, Predators or the Headquarters Ė not even Swimming, when youíre up there.
    "Most of them used to walk everywhere they went, but they found their way back up there. You see, we all started up there, at a time when there were no paths, some of us have never even landed. Some people chose to land in the water and adapt to the life there Ė they wanted to find an alternative to Flying, trying to avoid all the learning you have to do to be able to Fly. Anyone can float on the water, or stand on the ground, which is the purpose the Trails serve. Soon after they appeared to allow weaker Flyers rest their Wings on the ground. They were created by the now dreaded HQ taking the Swimmers idea of landing and turning it eventually into a very lucrative business.
    "It started as a nice thing, but some people enjoyed the simple monotony of ground life so much that they stayed, entrusting their lives to the Headquarters. The problem came with the new generation. The earthbound. They were born on the ground and they had no one to teach them how to Fly. They did not want to Fly, nor in some cases even know what it was. At those times, Flying was difficult. There werenít many people around, so you could hardly get any help if you had trouble. Walking, on the other hand, seemed to be a very simple way to get around.
    "Soon enough, the Headquarters started gaining power, because most young souls rather avoided Flying lessons altogether, trusting the HQís promise of easy, carefree lives.
    "That was all until the appearance of Predators came. They started rampaging the earthbound population. Were everything as it ought, we would simply abandon the ground and leave it to the predators. Unfortunately, it was too late. People did not know how to Fly. They gave up Freedom for simplicity, and lost their safety, even lives, in the process.
    "The Headquarters started abusing this dependance, and started jacking up the Fees, while only increasing the number of paths, not the quality, and barely the number of destinations.
    "That said, you have to make your own decision. Will you rather stick with the majority and fall for the lure of simplicity, or shall you attempt to shift the majority back where it belongs in return for Freedom, safety and possibly even speed?"

    This speech left me dumbfounded. It seemed to make sense. I found out that i agree with most of what this revelation has to show, but still Ė no matter what i do with my Wings, I canít seem to lift my weight. Xerxes has Flown away with a mighty flap of his own Wings and a smile of satisfaction on his face.
    In the following days, I tried to learn how to Fly better. By now, I spend most of my time in the air. The best thing is that even though there are so few Flyers compared to the number of Walkers, but there still seems to be more of them out there who are willing to talk about Flying, Walking and Swimming than there ever was of the Walkers. They are always willing to help. And they usually can.

    I owe my new Freedom to Xerxes, although he never claimed it.

    He forgot to mention one thing, though:

    Flying is not difficult.

    What is difficult is learning to Fly, and it is a neverending quest Ė you choose your own pace, and your own destination.

    Jan Vancura
    Praha, Czech Republic
    Although the first version was written in Fredercton, Canada
    Always at jendavancura at gmail dot com.
    Follow the penguin!

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Wow , that was pretty good.I loved the symbolism.Just a couple of points
    pronounced the word with a certain respite
    I don't know which word you meant to use but "respite" is not it.
    Respite means rest.
    Most of them used to walk everywhere they went, some have never even landed
    Don't you mean "most of them used to fly everywhere..." ? Because
    as it is it doesn't make sense.

    Anyway , I really enjoyed it , thanks for posting it.By the way
    have you seen "Brazil" by Terry Gilliam ?

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ozar
    Instead of asking everyone to download a file from someone they don't know, why can't you just copy/paste your so-called "story" here to the forums?
    Chill man , downloading a file won't hurt you.Just not run
    something you don't trust.Opening it with less or vi is safe.
    I downloaded the original and apart from having several
    ASCII 13 characters it was fine.Not that 13 would hurt you.
    Unless you're superstitious I guess

  7. #6
    Wow , that was pretty good.I loved the symbolism.Just a couple of points

    pronounced the word with a certain respite

    I don't know which word you meant to use but "respite" is not it.
    Respite means rest.

    Most of them used to walk everywhere they went, some have never even landed

    Don't you mean "most of them used to fly everywhere..." ? Because
    as it is it doesn't make sense.

    Anyway , I really enjoyed it , thanks for posting it.By the way
    have you seen "Brazil" by Terry Gilliam ?
    Thanks for the suggestions. Changed both.
    Haven't seen Brazil, but Terry Gilliam definitely rings abell - a loud one! Monty Python!
    What is Brazil about?

  8. #7
    I couldn't hope to describe Brazil in a few words.Check here.
    In the movie some guy is living an oppressive reality so in the
    nights he dreams that he has wings and he can fly.That's why
    it reminded me of your story.

    Check this:

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    allegorically it was very interesting, I really enjoyed it...sitting at work now, so it provided alot of relief. One suggestion, maybe if you would like to use historical and/or mythological names, e.g. Xerxes, you should consider more symbolic and meaningful ones, i.e. Prometheus.

    Just a suggestion.
    Operating System: GNU Emacs

  10. #9
    I agree with you. Xerxes was the first name that came to my mind - I originally intended to change it. Prometheus... was he the one who stole fire from the gods on Mt.Olympos?

    [EDIT: Yes, he was. Wikipedia...
    How about Helios or even better, Daedalos/us?]

  11. #10
    Yes he was.

    Personally I like the sound of Xerxes.I don't think Prometheus has
    the right kind of symbolism.Actually I can't think of anything in the
    Greek mythology (or history) which has the right kind of symbolism.
    The notion that you can sit back and the government (or something
    similar) will take care of things for you did not exist at the time.If you
    want a symbolic name you'll have to search elsewhere.

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