O’Reilly news

Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell Released User Friendly's Dust Puppy Chews on a Second Book

April 17, 2000

Sebastopol, CA--The just-released follow-up to the extraordinarily popular first collection of User Friendly comic strips from O'Reilly & Associates, ("User Friendly", $12.95), Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell tells the continuing tale of Columbia Internet, "the friendliest, hardest-working and most neurotic little Internet Service Provider n the world." Take three techs, two sales people, a designer, two executives, a couple of administrative staff, mix in a mischievous Artificial Intelligence and a "Dust Puppy" born from the innards of a mega server, put them all together in a crowded little office, and you have the makings of one of the most off-beat, original and funny comic strips to come along in years.

"If you ask 20 people what User Friendly is about, you'll get 20 subtly different answers," says the cartoon's creator, J.D. 'Illiad' Frazer. "Some say it's a cartoon about Open Source; some say it's about the rift between technical and non-technical staff; others say its about the pain that technical people suffer when dealing with the stubbornly unintelligent; some even say that User Friendly is a cartoon about Internet Workers. User Friendly addresses all those issues, but I don't think that's what it's about, strictly speaking. User Friendly's universe revolves around the simple idea that technology brings out both the best and the worst in people, no matter who they are."

"Dust Puppy is styled partly after Berke Breathed's kind-hearted Opus, and partially from what I thought I and many others had at one point, but don't anymore: innocence," explains Frazer. "It's also been observed by some, that the Dust Puppy can be seen as the distilled essence of a true hacker; innocence and a well-meaning nature coupled with unbridled curiosity and an intuitive sense of ethics." Dust Puppy, one of User Friendly's main characters, even made an appearance in the Top Ten on Time Magazine's Online "Man of the Year" Poll for 1998, says Lev Grossman of Time Magazine.

User Friendly reads like Dilbert for the Information Technology and Open Source communities. With a massive online following who call themselves UFies (U-fees), User Friendly provides outsiders with a light-hearted look at the world of the hard-core geek, and allows those who make their living dwelling in this world a chance to laugh at themselves.

About UserFriendly.org
Founded in November 1997 as an online daily episodic comic strip, Userfriendly.org has expanded rapidly into what is now arguably the largest online entertainment web site appealing to the IT technical community. UserFriendly.org is currently attracting more than 1.7 million visits, 537,000 unique visitors and 10 million page views per month from more than 140 countries to the User Friendly comic strip and such personal services as the "GeekFinder" international career posting board.

What readers and critics said about "User Friendly"

"Eric Raymond wrote essays about the Internet community. Illiad went one step further and captured the spirit of the ISP and the free software communities in cartoon form. If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your ISP or how free software users sometimes think, all can now be revealed."
-Alan Cox, Linux God and Kernel Hacker

"The only reason everyone in the world doesn't read User Friendly is that not everyone has fast access to the Web. Now you can get the book, so there's no excuse at all. The only problem with User Friendly as a book is you'll read it all at once, when you ought to ration yourself for a little joy every day."
-Jerry Pournelle, Senior Contributing Editor, BYTE.com

"The perfect book or gift for the computer professional. Good for more than a few good laughs! Buy it!"
-John C. Dvorak, Computer Columnist

"User Friendly is smart and sassy and just what I've been waiting for--a cartoon that computer geeks can relate to. A cutting-edge cartoon about cutting-edge technology, User Friendly is funny enough that even the non-geeks will get it. The recent Star Wars spoof was intelligent, timely, and funny. I'm proud to have User Friendly in Linux Journal."
-Marjorie L. Richardson, Editor in Chief, Linux Journal

"Illiad's understanding of the Linux and Open Source community is uncanny. You have to live it to know it as well as he does. User Friendly is more than a cartoon; it's brilliant social commentary for the computer culture of today. You really feel connected to him, because he seems to live in your mind. It's a must-click, the cartoon kicks ass!"
-Trae McCombs, Manager, Linux.com

"...comical, irreverent, and hilarious.... A whimsical snapshot of the Linux and Open Source problems and practices, its characters portray the Open Source community at its best and worst, with and without caffeine... (after I picked myself up from laughing several times, I found myself rereading the selections and finding nuances I hadn't previously noticed.) Illiad's ability to target and distill everyday routines make User Friendly THE Open Source comic strip. This collection is the perfect gift and stress reliever. Buy this book and read it often!" -Elizabeth Zinkann, Sys Admin, January 2000

"Top Ten Open Source Book Choice of 1999- This collection of strips from Frazer's daily syndicated comic makes for a hilarious read. Clueless customers, caffeine-addled coders, and bubble-headed marketing types populate the world of J. D. Frazer aka Illiad. Ground zero is Columbia Internet, a small ISP that keeps getting bought and sold, a place where sysadmins would rather spend time playing Quake than helping the CEO who says, 'I think the Internet is broken.' Often compared to the Windows workplace of Dilbert, User Friendly targets the Linux coder's funny bone. In the finale's parable, Eric Raymond makes a special guest appearance as Obi-Wan Kenobi."
-Wideopen.com, December 1999

"Funny, offbeat and original comic strips that will tickle the funny bone of all computer users, and Illiad is a supporter of Linux, too. Get your copy today."
-Linux Journal, January 2000

"One of the characteristics of healthy cultures is that they can poke fun at themselves. I guess the hacker culture is in good health, because User Friendly is hilarious. Its irreverence, sophisticated in-jokes and surrealistic edge are a rocket straight out of the Internet's collective unconscious."
-Eric S. Raymond, Ubergeek

"User Friendly has something that no other cartoon has: the ability to not only be funny, but be exactly like events at your own work. In fact, sometimes you think life would be better if you worked for Columbia Internet." -Scott James Remnant, Editor, segfault.org

"User Friendly taps the Open Source movement's collective funny bone- a smart and quirky cartoon born of the Open Source movement and championed by geeks across the Net."
-Janelle Brown, Salon Magazine, October 1999

"Funny Stuff for the Techno-Nerd: Have no idea what to get the computer geek on your Christmas list? Skip the latest cutting-edge hardware or the newest game, and go low-tech. As in a book. Specifically a hilarious new title called 'User Friendly', a collection of offbeat comic strips about all things digital. Think Dilbert for the semi-conductor set- any self-respecting mouse jockey will see himself or herself in these panels. It's as though you're sharing an inside joke."
-Dan Geiser, The Gazette, November 15, 1999

"One of the most gimme books of the year: O'Reilly's User Friendly. The whole gang is gathered together in a dead tree version, which means you can finally take UF where ever you want to be- User Friendly, the greatest Open Source-savvy comic strip- The naive might compare User Friendly to Dilbert, since they're both set in technology industry offices, but it's really more like Doonesbury- The strip is very, very funny- and by reading it, you will always feel like a member of the Open Source club."
-Stern, slashdot.org, November 1999

"User Friendly is to the Open Source world what Dilbert is to swarming hives of Windows cubicles. Set in an ISP company that keeps getting bought and sold, the constant remains a team of cynical, hilarious techies- User Friendly is the ultimate in-joke."
-Amazon Top Ten Cyberculture Picks of 1999

More information about the book, including Table of Contents, index, author bio, and sample chapter

Sample Strips

Cover graphic in jpeg format

Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell
by Illiad
1st Edition April 2000
1-56592-861-X, 132 pages, $12.95

About O’Reilly

O’Reilly, the premier learning platform for technology professionals, offers the industry’s most extensive catalog of high-quality technical and professional skills development courses. From AI, programming, and cloud technologies to essential business skills such as leadership training and critical thinking, O’Reilly delivers highly trusted content from its network of renowned experts that meets a diverse array of learning needs, with over 5,000 role-based on-demand courses, nearly 200 live events each month, access to interactive sandboxes and labs, and more. For more information, visit www.oreilly.com.

Email a link to this press release