Saturday, July 12, 2008

Goodbye, Warthawg

Image credit: Triple 3 Ranch. columnist and long-time free open source software (FOSS) evangelist Joe Barr died yesterday. While I never knew him personally, I've read his work, both at and elsewhere.

Barr, who went by the appellation "Warthawg" for some reason, was a geek from the early days of personal computers. Anyone who writes a book entitled CLI For Newbies has all the geek credentials he needs. (For those who aren't all that computer-savvy, CLI is an acronym for Command Line Interface.) As someone who has worked with computers in one capacity or another for most of my career, I've encountered his writings over the years. I knew that he was a geek. What I didn't know until I looked at his website is that he was also something of a progressive. I'm not too surprised, though. Here's a sample:

I did something I never do any more last week, as I was driving into town. I tuned into the Mush Limbo — aka Rush Limbaugh — hatecast on WOAI AM in San Antonio.

I admit I used to listen to Mush irregularly in the early 90s, just for the shock of hearing opening racist, neo-con ispired hate speech advocating greed as the highest “family value” and worshipping Reagan for all the wrong reasons. It was sort of like poking a snake with a stick, and I got tired of it, and stopped listening.

Does the Limbaugh meltdown mean the end of hate radio?

He was also an animal lover. He and his wife Susan raised miniature donkeys and rescued puppies. In an article about the pregnancy of one of them, Joe wrote:

And here’s [a photo] of me, reading the book explaining the gestation period to Anna, when she refused to produce her foal on our schedule. It didn’t work. She took her time and gave birth when she was good and ready.

About The Triple 3 Ranch

He clearly had both the instincts and the sense of humor of a geek. I know I'll be missing him, and I'm sorry that our paths never crossed.

UPDATE (July 18): Here's another tribute to Joe by someone who met him a time or two.


HopeSpringsATurtle said...

I was associated with one of the oganizations Joe advocated for when I when i was in SA. I'm sorry for his passing, thanks for posting it. The animals will miss him too.

Cujo359 said...

I bet they will. I think they take as long as we do to stop missing their friends.

Anonymous said...

Hello all. I am Joe's widow, Susan. As far as the warthawg moniker goes, he always felt that he was as ugly as a warthog!

Thank you all for your kind words.

P.S. BTW, Joe and I have a very sweet dog named Cujo :)

Cujo359 said...

Hello, Susan. Thanks for stopping by, and my condolences on your loss. Joe went far too soon. Best wishes for you and the critters.

I'm sure with that name, your dog has a wonderful disposition...

BTW, here's a link to another tribute to Joe. I ran across it a few days ago, and keep forgetting to add it.

Unknown said...

With his widows permission Linux folks near Austin, Texas are holding a wake for Joe.

The wake is today, Saturday July 19. I know this is short notice, I just thought of contacting you this morning.

The wake is all day at Bob Pendleton's home at 2410 Sparrow Drive, 78681, Round Rock, Texas. Bring what ever you want so long as it is legal :-) (I live in Williamson County, not Travis County).

I have the first two cases of beer on ice.

Please pass this on to anyone you think will want to come.

Bob Pendleton

Cujo359 said...

Thanks, Bob, I've passed that on to GeekAustin via the comments. I must say that Texas has the most confusing liquor laws. Dry counties right next to "Ahh, go ahead" counties. I still have my Unicard from the Killeen area.