306: Orphaned Projects

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Orphaned Projects
His date works for Red Hat, who hired a coach for her, too. She advised her to 'rent lots of movies like Hitch. Guys love those.'
Title text: His date works for Red Hat, who hired a coach for her, too. She advised her to 'rent lots of movies like Hitch. Guys love those.'


Debian is a GNU/Linux distribution (but also ships GNU Hurd and BSD versions). Red Hat is the company behind Fedora Linux and RHEL.

The comic is about orphaned Linux projects, because volunteer FOSS developers will often leave their projects aside whenever something of greater importance to them requires more time (like dating, relationships, tiredness, sickness, boredom, natural disasters, wild boar attacks, zombie apocalypses, robot uprisings, desire for snacks, etc.). Some companies/foundations, while not needing these developers, can greatly benefit from community-maintained projects. The Debian Team uses a phrase that is, intentionally or otherwise, similar to the famous Yoda quote from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in the first panel "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering," by replacing it with dating and orphaned projects.

Hitch is a romantic comedy in which Will Smith plays a "dating coach," who helps men to have successful dates with women. To avoid losing their developers (in this case, Cueball), the people at the "Debian HQ" have opted to hire Black Hat to give the developer intentionally bad dating advice, thus sabotaging his relationship before it could become distracting. Cueball is advised to "constructively criticize" his date in an attempt to appear more intelligent. This technique is very unlikely to work,[citation needed] but is nonetheless attempted by some men. It is unclear whether this is "negging" (See 1027: Pickup Artist) or simply a demonstration of hubris, neither of which would be an attractive attribute in a potential long-term partner or mate.[citation needed]

In the title text, the woman is being similarly advised by a representative hired by Red Hat. She is advised to rent lots of romantic comedies, presumably to watch with her date. The prevailing stereotype is that young men strongly dislike films in that genre.


[Voices are coming from behind a door with a sign that reads "Debian Linux HQ."]
First voice: Problem: One of the volunteer developers has a date this weekend. Dates lead to romance. Romance leads to orphaned projects.
Second voice: What's the plan?
First voice: We're hiring him a relationship coach. He's like Will Smith in "Hitch," but he only gives bad advice.
[Black Hat is talking to Cueball, who is standing in front of a mirror.]
Black Hat: Okay, remember: The key to conversation is constructive criticism.
Black Hat: You need to show you're smart enough to solve her problems.
Cueball: Makes sense.

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The initial panel seems reminiscent of "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

This kind of sentence is too rare to not be an obvious reference I believe. Editing the explanation accordingly Meneldal (talk) 02:26, 10 March 2015 (UTC)meneldal

Oh, apophenia, you have claimed another stupid victim. No, the sentence in the first panel is not a definite reference to that quote. —Kazvorpal (talk) 06:25, 5 November 2019 (UTC)

I have to disagree, it could just as easilly be the author employing the rhetorical device of Anadiplosis. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Who is the mentioned "Red Hat"? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Red Hat isn't a person in this context, it's a Linux development company. -Pennpenn 04:54, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
Remember that names on this wiki such as "Cueball" and "Black Hat" are all unofficial, except for Megan (and even then only sometimes). 12:37, 22 January 2018 (UTC)

Somewhat prophetically, 5 months after this comic was posted, Deb and Ian of Debian had a divorce. 13:47, 13 March 2022 (UTC)

wait, so "debian" comes from "deb" and "ian"? An user who has no account yet (talk) 17:02, 8 September 2023 (UTC)

yeah 13:47, 3 January 2024 (UTC)
Reading something like "then girlfriend (now ex-wife)" always makes me think there's missing history in there... No, not that there was clearly a phase where onetime girlfriend became sometime wife then became nowtime no-longer-wife, but that somehow it skipped the middle phase altogether (e.g. girlfriend became ex-girlfriend, but then got converted through an official 'non-marriage'-marriage that effectively blessed as a retrospective ex-marriage that had never been).
It also hides a lot of nuance of (say) the serial monogamistic people (or not-exactly-monogamistic, but certainly only married to one partner at a time), like Taylor/Burton, when an ex-marriage is followed (almost immediately, or with other marriage(s) between) with a remarriage by the same couple, making her an ex-ex-wife (and possibly being current-girlfriend for various stretches of time before then and after the first stint at being 'qualificationless wife').
Not to say that any of this relates to Debian's founder (and, obviously, the same ought to be possible for "previously boyfriend, now ex-husband", or even mix'n'match circumstances that make for even more intriguing phrasings), as I don't actually know anything about Deb/Ian and their (apparently ultimately temporary) marriage. Just thought I'd mention what this particular phrasing always tends to make me think. (Without actually sending me down the rabbithole of getting answers the internal queries it brings up... I'm not actually so ghoulish as to want to know all the gory details...) 23:46, 3 January 2024 (UTC)