The eternal five-years

Some freetard-in-the-making in the blessed halls of The Times discovered Ubuntu:


Now this article was already reviewed on the tmrepository:

But the tm repo poster had overlooked the essential part: The five years phenomenon! What is the five-years phenomenon? Let’s quote from the times article:


I first tried Linux about five years ago, and it was a disaster, for all the reasons that Ubuntu is wonderful. The way it used to work, you see, was that you’d spend hours downloading the thing, and burning it in the right sort of image, and then you’d stick it in your CD drive and the screen would go all doolally, like the stuff Keanu sees in The Matrix. And then, if you were lucky, it would just go “KERNEL PANIC!!!” and do nothing. If you weren’t, it would wipe XP off your actually perfectly respectable PC and sit there having ropey graphics at you and not letting the wi-fi work. It didn’t take me long to realise why Windows was the market leader, and switch back.

— “Tech Journalist” from The Times in 2010

This piece of text shows the core of the five-years phenomenon. You see, in Linux, everything was really fucked up five years ago, but now it’s fixed! The reason why I call it a “phenomenon” is because the “five-years” are ALWAYS five-years, no matter in which year we are living!

So, Linux sucked five-years ago, but “nowitsgreat“™ in 2000 as it does in 2010. It’s timeless, but constant. The phenomenon can be compared to the time travel phenomenas in Star Trek episodes:

“There is the theory of the moebius, a twist in the fabric of space,
where time becomes a loop.” [and] “When we reach that point, whatever
happened will happen again”


Here is it in action:

When I first tried it [Linux] about 5 years ago, I
came-away so frustrated that it turned me into a Wintroll for a while.
It’s waaayyyy better now. It still has some problems you don’t
often see on Windows (e.g. Mandrake 9 won’t work with my digital
camera (for some reason it thinks it’s a scanner), and I’m not sure
it’s worth the effort to actually get my Radeon 9500 Pro’s 3D
acceleration working), but it’s quite usable, and obviously far better
than Windows in many respects.…ba5c3c897?hl=en

November 2003

“Four or five years ago, Linux and the other open platforms were on the
fringe, the domain of technologists,” Molosiwa says. “Now it’s
shifted, and become a credible option.”…3a702abf6?hl=en

From 2003


New Year’s prediction: Longhorn will never ship, but Microsoft Linux will. Even if I’m wrong, it’s clear that software development is headed for a new place, and the end game that most observers saw even five years ago — that MS would win it all — doesn’t seem as likely on the eve of 2004…abe719c29?hl=en

From January 2004

They didn’t have KDE or GNOME five years ago either. You don’t think these
represent advances in usability ? How about added support for true type
fonts, 3d hardware acceleration, automatic detection of sound and video cards,
configuration tools such as linuxconf and YAST, GUI based installs and
easy default installs ? How about font anti-aliasing (still very new, works
with XFree 4.02) I think there have been a bunch of substantial improvements…b5cd4f1de?hl=en

December 2000

If somebody came to me 5 years ago and said, “I’m gonna bet
the farm on this new company I’m starting, what kind of computer
system should I use?” I would probably have said, go with Microsoft
and intel style PCs, anything else is too risky if you’re betting the
farm, much as I would have hated mouthing those words. But isn’t that
a manifestation of this discredited path dependence eonomic theory?
Now, (Oh Joy!) I might, with a clear conscience, convince the person to go
with linux.…af18fa368a5?hl=

From February 1998

Oh please. Same old tired, washed up FUD. Maybe these statements applied
5 years ago
, but now they just sound like some uninformed idiot speaking
about that which he knows nothing of.

Linux is more stable, secure, powerful and flexible than Windows could
ever be in its current form.

Plus it looks better!…61ddd610a?hl=en

From March 2003

Linux is a good OS and its usage is growing. Something tells me that
support will come soon. Think about it, 5 years ago where was Linux? Where
is it now… Have patience.…bc334b1a?hl=en&

From: September 1998

Posted Image

Why is it always 5 years? Maybe there is a deep mystical connection here, but maybe it’s the hint how to break the time loop! I mentioned Star Trek time travel episodes before, and in one episode, the number 3 is the key to break out from the loop:


The Enterprise-D is shown to be stuck in a time loop, with events culminating in the destruction of the ship as a result of a collision with another Starfleet vessel that emerges from a space-time distortion. […]

On the next iteration, the crew still experiences déjà vu, but actions performed by Data often reveal the number three, going against their previous conceptions. They make the same conclusions from the previous iteration, and Data realizes the number three must have some as-yet-unknown significance to break the loop. The Enterprise again arrives at the anomaly, and as the other ship emerges, both Data and Riker suggest alternate plans to avoid being hit. Though Captain Jean-Luc Picard opts for Data’s plan, Data comes to recognize that the “three” message was in reference to the insignia pips worn by Riker, and initiates his plan instead. The Enterprise is able to avoid being hit, and the time loop is broken


Maybe the “5” points to Stallman’s toes – when the time comes, when he will be able to pull the foot cheese from all 5 toes at once, will the Freetards break out of the Penguin Day-loop, too?

But seriously now: What really astounds me, is that the pattern is so consistent in Linuxia. Every prediction that is put forth by Linux advocates today was predicted before, with exactly the same arguments, exactly the same phrases and even with exactly the same time frame! It’s scary. Linux predictions and reviews of distributions are like mathematical axioms.

It’s like all these people are from exactly the same town, and visited all the same school. Reading today’s Ubuntu reviews is an unsettling experience. I’ve read them all years and years ago, everything is exactly the same, except the distro name.


11 responses to “The eternal five-years

  1. As the original TM Repository poster, I’m intrigued by your analysis. I’ve never done an actual “study” of such things, but when I think about it, 5 years is a fairly common number. Upon pondering, I think it may stem from the fact that more than 5 years ago, things like HAL, PulseAudio, and 3D drivers didn’t exist or where in their infancy. While they still don’t work, they are enough to fool people under cursory inspection. I feel like 5 or 6 years ago, you couldn’t even mount USB drives without adding entries into /etc/fstab. So, while its inferior, its not quite the abysmal mess it once was.

  2. This blog is dead. All hail linux

  3. dotNet Zombie

    @Adam King

    The blog isn’t dead, it’s just in a coma at the moment.

    All hail everything but Linux.

  4. Best.Blog.Entry.Ever

    Keep it up.

  5. The WHAM Burglar

    Here is a funny example:

    Microsoft will die in 2010! Meanwhile in reality (year 2011)…

  6. Pingback: Evilness | Penguin Day

  7. Pingback: The eternal five-years | Brainkiller's Blog

  8. You can find those kind of numbers everywhere. There’s also a “20 years from now”-phenomenon. Remember 20 years ago “they” (whoever “they” may be) promised us, that we would have cars that would run on electricity and they would more or less drive themselves on the streets. All we would have to do is to steer it to the next highway and from there on the car could drive all by itself.
    And now? “They” they” (whoever “they” may be) promise us, that in 20 years we have cars that will run on electricity and they will more or less drive themselves on the streets. All we then have to do is to steer it to the next highway and from there on the car can drive all by itself.

    I guess this promise will be repeated in 20 years.

    Oh and btw. it was 5 years ago when I first tried Linux, but I was so frustrated that I switched back to Windows. But now? It’s WAAAY better and I hardly use Windows anymore!
    Ok, the last part is a lie, because in reality I still use Windows (Win7) way more than Ubunutu. But Ubuntu is WAAAY better now than it was 5 years ago!

  9. James Anselment

    I agree that linux has come a long way. 5 years ago it was very hard to use and install. Ubuntu 10. was a breeze and works well, in fact if you just want to web browse and such great, but…… windows has also came a long way and W7 is very nice. I hope linux keeps it up, but I like to game so it is a no go for me.

  10. “This blog is dead. All hail linux”

    Adam King – The next in Linux zealotry

  11. Penguin Day count your fingers on one hand. You have 5 right. Human nature of time is in 5 year frames. Computer hardware lasts about 5 years.

    You find windows being also compared over 5 year frame windows. The 5 year window of compare is human nature to anyone who uses a base 5 or 10 number system. Like windows 98 being compared to windows xp. They are released 5 years apart. Windows 98 compared to windows 3.11 guess what 5 years. Yes every 5 years the IT world repeats it self everywhere.

    Basically you have looked at Linux in isolation and not considered that is human nature of the IT world. Linux not having define version names make them directly quote years so making the effect displayed.

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