GPL killed the MPAA star

December 6th, 2007

“Nothing of value is free. It is very easy, Mr. Chairman, to convince people that it is in their best interest to give away somebody else’s property for nothing, but even the most guileless among us know that this is a cave of illusion where commonsense is lured and then quietly strangled.”

- Jack Valenti, MPAA

“If you design your own machine, you can’t fuss at people, because you’re one of just a few. How many Linux users are there?”

- Jack Valenti, MPAA

Thanks to Gianni and Tig for help with script development.

Bruce Schneier with guns for some reason

Bruce Schneier Facts

A few things you probably didn't know about Bruce Schneier. The Bruce Schneier Facts Database.

Knuth is my Homeboy t-shirts

Knuth is my homeboy T-shirts

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  1. W00t, does this mean ELER is back???

    This strip is hilarious!

  2. My god I’ve…. I’ve waited so long… it’s here… it’s *really* here!

  3. Wow! I almost fell off my chair at work when i rolled over the RSS feed and there was a new one!

  4. “No, I had the supreme court extend my lifetime”

    That is just priceless.

  5. Time for an mjg59 based t-shirt?

  6. Haha! That would be really, relly funny if I just didn’t hate these greedy bastards pictured.

    Good job!

  7. “Nothing of value is free. Except Ubuntu”


  8. Yay, eler is back! :)

  9. Yay! It’s back, at least for today. :)

    Great quotables in this one!

  10. Alan: would it say “WORSE THAN PAEDOPHILES” or something stronger?

  11. Alan, already exists, featuring t-shirts with delightful slogans such as “I AM WORSE THAN PAEDOPHILES” and “The Matrix Sequels were GREEN MASTURBATORY WANK”.

  12. I thought would say ‘yes’ before ELER would update. Yay.

  13. The comment thread following the first Matthew Garret post is an epic comitragedy of retards reveling in being deprived of their rights.

  14. Finally! I want to cry and laugh at the same time

  15. Thanks for writing a new comic! Unfortunately, this one is crap.

    “Nothing of value is free. Except Ubuntu.”
    Except that line. That’s funny.

  16. Haha everyone is giving you hell about not posting for so long but that is just because they are broken and forgotten and alone, and resent you for not being the thing that rescues their pointless existence from complete irrelevance. Oh wait, that’s me. Nevermind.

  17. ELER is back! Well, a new post anyway. :)

    Great comic! As always…

  18. Oh man, we missed it. Happy 50th birthday, ESR. (04/12/57)



    Very funny. Maybe we should all just write strips and send them in to ease the load or something. This one was pretty great!

  20. Tom… There’s a wiki set up for that.

  21. How has not been mentioned in these comments yet?

  22. because we have ESR facts:

  23. It’s amazing how ELER missed RMS – de Raat shoot out ( It’s been for 3 days out already.

  24. I’d pay money to see Theo lampooned here.

  25. vr is too easily amazed, then. ELER misses a lot of stuff since it jumped the shark.

    It had a good run, had a few funny moments, but one thing these sorts of online comics are not about is longevity.

  26. ELER doesn’t miss a lot because it jumped the shark; ELER misses a lot because it’s rarely updated. By the time a comic is made and released, those “perfect” opportunities are mostly forgotten.

    Also, I’d pay money to see any one of the ELER “characters” actually jumping a shark in the next comic.

  27. Like Fonzie…

    ESR: Jumped the Shark (long ago, (VA shares incident, anyone?)
    RMS: Jumped the Shark when he decided he was in politics, not programming
    Theo: drown in a river of bile
    Reiser: standing trial for murder
    Linus: still going

  28. I second Jim’s comment on lots of once-important software leaders having jumped the shark.

    So has ELER jumped yet???

    And Linus _is_ still going.


  29. Tivo, anyone?

  30. RMS is hoping to superman a ho tonight, cause he’s freeky like that

  31. So has ELER jumped yet???

    No, ELER is the shark. It attacks without warning or provocation. Often its target(s) are simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing something stupid.

    Sharks normally make one swift attack, and then retreat and wait for the victim to die, or exhaust itself, before they come back to feed.

    This explains the weeks-at-a-time wait between episodes of the strip.

  32. You can watch the video Jim posted and keep your freedom. Use Gnash, a free Flash player replacement. The most recent release (0.8.1 as of today) supports streaming video.

  33. I am the psychotherapist. Please, describe your problems. Each time you are
    finished talking, type RET twice.

    When will there be a new ELER strip?

    What do you think?

    I don’t know. It seems like it might be a long time coming.

    Why do you say that?

    Well, let’s look at how the strip has been slowing down generally. It’s kind
    of a shame.

    Is it because the strip has been slowing down generally it’s kind of a shame
    that you came to me?

    Yeah, there aren’t any other credible sources of information. Might as well
    go with you.

    Earlier you said the strip has been slowing down generally it’s kind of a

    It’s a funny strip! It would be nice if it came out more frequently.

    Maybe your plans have something to do with this.

    I… can’t think of any plans that hinge on ELER.

    Does it bother you that hinge on eler?

    Yeah, I think it does.

  34. Great… even Eliza can’t tell us when the next strip will be out.

  35. Am I the only one thinking it’s mighty weird that the video that was posted on youtube had the identifier which from `l33t spik’ translates as:
    `Pubes Analysis’??

  36. Not quite ELER, but I draw my own webcomic too, ‘Geeky and Meeky’ on my website. Would love some feedback on that from the cartoon lovers

  37. On behalf of the dedicated fans of this never-updated comic, I would like to thank Jim Thompson for providing the above two links to FSJ humor related to RMS. It may not be ELER, but it’s better than nothing!


  38. Regarding Fake Steve Jobs’ blog… The pics were cool, but the posts themselves were like “meh”.

    I mean, the concept of “it’s funny because person X is doing something completely outrageous that we all know s/he would never do” is kinda lame. What next? Jessica Tandy snowboarding? (Well, she probably is doing something way cooler, like flying and stuff with her angel-wing things)

    Now, rms visiting “ – hot seedling action!” IS funny, because the joke actually embraces the character in all his quirky, unsettling glory. And the idea of rms doing anything porn-related, is, well… ewwwwwwwwww.

    But probably I’m biased, since I’m a rabid rms fanboy/GNU zealot.

  39. RMS stopped being the GNU Emacs maintainer (for the third time) last Friday.

    Consider this as fodder for the joke(s).

  40. RMS steps down as Emacs maintainer. Fidel Castro steps down as Cuban president. Coincidence? What are they planning?

    Now all we need is an appropriately amusing ELER episode!

  41. Well, the wikipedia entry is now gone :-(

    Perhaps an incredibly funny new ELER comic could reverse the tide! Hint hint.

  42. Proposed.. “Gilligan’s Island” (series of) strip(s).

    Skipper: ESR
    Gilligan: Linus (Russ Nelson would be better)
    Professor: RMS
    Thurson Howell: Mark Shuttleworth
    “Lovey” Howell: ???
    Mary Ann: ???
    Ginger: ???

  43. Ah man! DENIS! Heh! Oh, man! Alright lads, I think this is about time that there was a new comic up.

  44. Too bad about the slowdown. This was my favorite comic when it was alive. My theory is that RMS is tinkering with gcc again. Or maybe ESR is mourning Ron Paul.

  45. RMS considers himself a politician (actually ‘activist’) now, its unlikely that he is tinkering with gcc again.

  46. I think “Published every blue moon” is starting to look like an appropriate subheading.

  47. It’s more often than that. Note that “once a blue moon” is actually a determinable time measurement:

  48. I think “It had a good run” is a better subheading, before becoming a footnote in Internet history.

  49. I honestly wish I had the time to devote to creating ELER fan-comics, because there’s so much great IT to make fun of every day!

    I urge anyone capable of doing so to go for it and post the link here while people will still be checking.

    Thanks in advance!

  50. Pretty please, I need an update. After someone posted this:

    I started reading it, mainly because of curiosity, like “Oh, what’s this?”

    Now, the lack of updates here has led me to !look forward to xkcd strips! It’s pathetic. Please, help me here.

    PS: I also look forward to updates in icanhascheezburger. Do you understand now how desperate I am?

  51. Since we may never get another ELER, here’s a link to a new geek comic that shows promise:


  52. Some of these are so well … researched, for want of a better word. When they’re bad, they’re pretty bad… But when they’re good, they’re the best!

    Would be nice to see another…

  53. Can we get some more Reiser jokes, please?

  54. Being an ESR website, I guess it’s gone the way of his blog…

  55. RIP: ELER

  56. :(

  57. This sucks. ELER was awesome.

    Maybe if we all hope and pray and chant it might be resurrected some day.

    *searches for copy of Necronomicon*


  58. :(((



  60. “If he did kill his wife, which is nowhere near certain, and then subsequently chopped up the body, I bet the pieces are of manageable size and spread evenly throughout a wooded area for easy, order-N retrieval… ”

    MORE REISER JOKES NOW???????????????

  61. :(((((((((

  62. must…




  63. ubuntu is already releasing more often then this comic.

    who wanna bet when it will loose to debian too?

  64. Lose to Debian? At this rate it’s going to lose to Windows!

  65. why did reiser crossed the street?

  66. I don’t know, why DID Reiser cross the street?


  67. To get rid of John Leach once and for all.

  68. I run reiserfs. Is it still being maintained, or should I seriously be shopping around?

  69. I’m not real happy with this new version of reiserfs, anyway. The last time I deleted something, I couldn’t find the passenger seat from my car!

  70. So, what about a Skype gives way on the GPL suit comic?

  71. What about a 25-year-old bug in BSD comic???


  72. >>

    Does anyone here know how to use the Gimp and have a keen sense of IT humor?

    We need someone to take over the comic before it’s too late! Seriously!!

    I’d be willing to donate at least $20 for a well-made and hilarious ELER resurrection comic, and I daresay I may not be the only one.

    Any takers?


  73. Does anyone here know how to use the Gimp and have a keen sense of IT humor?

    Clearly, no.

  74. Reiser was convicted recently. That alone should provoke an update.

  75. Уныние == Despondency

    I 2nd the sentiment…


  76. What is “Skukotischa”???


  77. I don’t see any link to a website in any of your messages.

    I don’t think you can post /any/ URL’s through this comment system.

    Can you instead try splitting it up like:



  78. Looks like the AC who keeps posting the super-long frowny face overflowed the comment system and *somebody* had to erase the last few posts.

    Maybe he’s still alive and reading this now!

    (pretty please?)


  79. The Internet begs and John Leach deems himself too superior to answer.


  80. Woohoo! It’s now exactly 6 months since the last update! Yay!

    …wait, that’s not good at all. How about one last strip with the words “the end” and be done with it?

    - Res

  81. I concur with Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR).

    The ambiguity of ELER’s status is the really annoying part.

    John: either bring it back or officially kill it. You owe us that much.



    “Hans Reiser Offers To Lead Cops to Nina’s Body”

    Say it ain’t so, Hans!

    My favorite quote:
    “The sad thing is that more people have worked on ReiserFS than just Hans; the ReiserFS file system is now being discredited solely by the actions of Hans, even though this, of course, in a professional way has no influence on the code or the possible technical excellence of the file system itself. I find that to be a very sad state of affairs, since art (which code pretty much is) should never be discredited on the basis of its maker.”

    ZFS ftw!

  83. Hans is attempting to cut a deal for a reduced sentence.

    In effect, he’s forking the conviction.


  84. Jim,

    It looks more like the DA is offering Hans a deal – I don’t think he’s actually decided to accept anything yet.


  85. what does Hans have o loose?

  86. If Hans is actually innocent then there’s no way for him to produce a body.


  87. That could be true if he’s guilty, too.

    Say, if he put her in a wood chipper, or acid.

    I’m just sayin’ that “no body” doesn’t prove his innocence.

    Now, having her walk back into the daylight, *that* would prove it.

    Time to fire-up the cloning machine.

  88. “Very bizarre. I can’t imagine how you’ll get enough yuks out of
    the premise to sustain an entire strip.” Sometimes ESR is right.

  89. > Sometimes ESR is right.

    … but not that often.

  90. Procrastination killed the ELER star.

  91. I vote for calling it a series, the Reiser comic is still the only thing on this site worth reading.

  92. I think we’re setting a record for the most active discussion thread on an expired website.

    Yay, we refuse to let it die!


  93. Most active? No.

    ESR’s old blog continues to get comment posts in the last posting.

  94. The worst is that, probably, when we least expect it, a new comic will be published. You’ll see.

  95. Everybody loves Eric Raymond goes all quiet, and so does ESR (thank God). Is there a connection?

  96. If there is, I think I’m fine with ELER being silent.

  97. Once I tried to get ESR as a guest speaker for the CS dept at my university. The school wouldn’t give the $$$ unless ESR would talk w/ them and provide some personal info to prove who he was. He ended up telling me off over the phone and said I could “go to hell”. What a nice guy!

    All the more reason ELER was hilarious to me. Damned Leach is just like every other flake on the Internet – he won’t even let us know when the comic is officially dead!

    *smacks Leach with a big, smelly trout*


  98. Correlation does not prove causation. Just because ELER is silent doesn’t mean that ESR will stay silent, though I assume that ESR STFU because he was being hounded in-earnest on many fronts.

    ELER will return, bet on it… just don’t bet on when, and don’t bet on ELER providing nearly the same amount of ‘poke’ at ESR’s expense, since most of the funny/embarrassing activity on ESR’s part has stopped. The material has to come from somewhere.

    And yes, ESR is goatse personified. The remain question becomes, “who is ‘the giver’ for ESR?” Leach is one answer, though I am sure there are others less metaphoric.

  99. Oh god… I didn’t know… really.

    he’s back

  100. Wow, I didn’t realize either.

    I hope this is an omen for Leach to get his arse in gear!


  101. he’s back and he’s not all bad — he “doubts” that Obama is muslim!

  102. He doubts Obama is a Muslim, but he recently fell just short of breaking Godwin’s Law.

  103. Reiser led the cops to the body. I hearby declare ELER needs a damn update.

  104. Hey! I “doubt” Obama is a Muslim too! Does that make me a core linux developer alpha male too? I’m not congenitally handicapped though: maybe that blows my chances there?

  105. reiser update.
    reiser update!
    Reiser update!
    Reiser Update!
    REISER Update!

    Please please please give us a Reiser update comic!

    -The Internet

  106. I concur!

    Reiser update! also, needs to be moar frequent :/

  107. Hey, ESR’s blog says he was gone this whole time due to some top secret lawsuit… and ELER was gone that whole time too….

    Maybe ESR brought a libel lawsuit against ELER!


  109. Oh HAI!



    But Walrus NOT WANT.


  110. “Published when Published”. Ha. Should say:

    “Published…? Ha ha, ha ha, FOOLS.”

  111. Hey did you realise that ESR’s blog is active again? Go forth and satire!

  112. You know, it’s quite possible that, since ESR is now so totally irrelevant and obscure (I mean, have you *read* that blog lately?), the best thing would be to leave him to rot in exile.

  113. I think ESR says it best: “If anything, my neurological bent resembles subclinical Tourette’s Syndrome. But here I come out as a neurotypical with a balance of intellectual and physical talents, which seems about right.” (see the full discourse on his blog).

  114. Actually, even though it is obscure and irrelevant, I still can’t stop reading ESR’s blog.

    If I knew a raving nazi gun nut in real life, but who was totally harmless (in a wheelchair, say) and who thought so highly of himself…I’d probably want to listen to his hilarious rantings. It’s either pure comedic dynamite, or pisses me off and reminds me of why I hate nazi gun nuts. A killer combination.

  115. I dunno, I mean raving nazi gun nuts can be hilarious, I suppose. It’s just I sort O.D.ed on this species of buffoon in college.

    But yeah, his blog is part guilty pleasure, part fodder for, you know, that great novel I’m going to write some day. (haha)

  116. ESR might be very flawed, but calling him a nazi is ridiculous.

  117. > ESR might be very flawed, but calling him a nazi is ridiculous.

    shut up, jew.

  118. Calling him “Nazi” is silly in the literal sense, sure; but he’s the American equivalent. I think it was Orwell who pointed out that when or if fascism came to England, it wouldn’t be doing the goose-step in jackboots and waving the Swastika flag. Likewise, native American fascism doesn’t bear much resemblance to the German breed; but as shorthand, “Nazi” will do as a summary of Mr. Raymond’s opinions. Try this experiment: do a global substitution of “Judeo-Bolshevik” for “Islamo-Fascist” throughout his blog. What political ideology do you come up with?

  119. Thank you Cassandra, you put it perfectly. Check the comments of esr’s most recent blog post. He’s subtly racist, because he knows the world is anti-racist right now, but it comes through between the lines.

  120. As a recent commenter on esr’s blog put it:

    “In other words, it’s easy to be balanced when you’re massless.”

    which might explain why esr is so off-balance.

  121. c`mon.. you people really read his blog?!

    geez, go masturbate or something.

  122. I’ll be glad to stop, just as soon as Leech posts a new strip.

  123. Yeah, c’mon Leach, post a new strip already – I’m going blind here!

  124. Reading esr’s blog is soo much better than masturbation. In fact, combining the two activities is something everyone should try — once — before he/she dies.

  125. Hans gets 15-to-life:

    Surely there’s a good comic in there. Too bad Ars already spoiled the “chroot jail” joke.

  126. Aleandro: El autor (John Leach) utiliza una combinación de dos software de edición gráfica libres: Inkscape, dibujo vectorial (para diagramar las tiras y hacer los globos de diálogo) y GIMP, edición de imágenes (para editar las fotografías en sí y armar las escenas que ocurren adentro de cada cuadrito).

  127. Damn it, ESR’s site gets hacked, and Sarah Palin exists. Two reason why there should be a new ELER, and we still don’t even have a new one as a result of Hans Reiser news.

  128. Another day goes by without ELER

  129. Any bets on whether we reach the one year mark before the next update?

  130. If we do get to the year mark before any updates I’m removing this from my bookmarks. I suppose I should have done this about 6 months ago but I just keep hoping it’ll come back.

  131. ELER isn’t getting any updates any more. Well, that sucks.

    So I’m going to create my own spinoff version of this comic. If this one won’t go any more, I’ll do it myself. That’s the nature of OPEN SOURCE and the GPL, after all.

  132. Denis,

    I, for one, hope you do fork the comic.

    I’ll be a loyal reader if it’s an appropriate fork.


  133. Do the fork on 7th of December as an anniversary gesture.

  134. yes, please link us

  135. Whens the next ELER going to come out? Its been almost a year now.


  137. EVAN: get a mixed case keyboard and an attitude adjustment?


  139. ESR is in the news again:

    This needs to be a comic…

  140. closing in on 1 year…

  141. 3 days left! I bet Leach will update this on December 5th just to piss off all of us who are waiting for the anniversary.

  142. Published as and when

  143. Published when you least expect it

  144. Damn, its Dec 6 in the UK, and no update.

  145. It’s now been one year. Please do the fork!

  146. Hell, I missed it. I wasn’t near a computer this past December 6th. So, here it comes, with a delay…

    Happy anniversary ELER!!!

  147. Oh man, talk about comic being published weekly…

  148. ESR = *E*ntertaining *S*word camp *R*ants !

  149. Merry Christmas, ELER! Here’s hoping for a surprise update before the new year!


    VIVA ELER!!!

  151. Nobody expects ELER — uhh — the Spanish Inquistion.

  152. Fuck you John Leach! I am starting to think about possibilities of making a new site humoring you for such a long delay for any new content.

    UPDATE THIS BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  153. Alright, for real this time. One year, and no update.

    I’m going to make a spin off for real. It will be done in a few days, and finally, I will post the link here!!!!!!!!

  154. To be honest, I think the strip died at a good time. I know it was never EXCLUSIVELY about E. “S”. R, but he was the main focus, and he’s now got nothing to do with free software, or even “open source”, and hasn’t in a good long while. What would be the point of a comic-strip devoted to a man who is now nought but an unpaid Rush Limbaugh-wannabe? (Imagine volunteering to be a Rush Limbaugh for free! I mean, Rush gets paid to be a cunt!)


  155. [...] ELER highlights 2008 January 2nd, 2009 « GPL killed the MPAA star [...]

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