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O'Reilly Releases "The Root of All Evil"--Latest Exploits of User Friendly's Dust Puppy & Gang

September 4, 2001

Sebastopol, CA--The third compilation of the online hit comic, User Friendly, takes readers back to Columbia Internet for the continuing story of the "friendliest, hardest-working and most neurotic little Internet Service Provider in the world". In The Root of All Evil (O'Reilly, US $12.95), author J.D. "Illiad" Frazer probes the worldviews of sales staff, execs, and caffeine-fueled techies whose universe includes the Dust Puppy--offspring of a combination of dust, lint, and quantum events inside a network server--and Erwin, the Artificial Intelligence. Considered one of the most off-beat, original, and funny comic strips to come along in years, User Friendly has captured the attention of the worldwide audience of IT professionals and computer hobbyists alike.

Proving that humor is often most successful when it approaches its subject matter with unflinching honesty, Frazer has managed to poke fun at the world of hard-core geeks and their issues, drawing a massive following of readers who call themselves "UFies." Frazer claims The Root of All Evil was published "for the same reason that I publish the comic strip on a daily basis--to share the pain and anguish experienced in the IT world." Whether or not this is true, UFies regularly laugh at themselves through the antics of Greg, Jeff, Miranda, and the other members of Columbia Internet.

"It's unverified," Frazer adds, "but I hear that the number of user-homicides committed by frustrated IT people drop dramatically after they've had their morning UF fix."

The cast of The Root of All Evil is Quake-obsessed techies, self-absorbed sales staff, well-meaning execs, and assorted almost-humans. The background: too little office space, warring operating systems, and eternally clueless customers. In this third collection of comics, geeks go camping, Mike finds a new use for silly putty, and Stef decides to beef up his Quake skills with the "Acme Forced-Feedback Enemy-Denial Smackdown Ergonomic Game Chair."

The User Friendly community is truly global: the comic's one-million-plus readers log on from Israel, Brazil, Iceland, New Zealand, and Greece, among other far-flung locations. Frazer's cartooning style shares a sense of broader cultural identity in a sometimes cutthroat and humorless business where the ability to laugh at oneself is often a survival skill. Since this is true of most work environments, chances are readers won't have to know Unix or be able to log in as "root" in order to get the jokes.

What readers and critics said about User Friendly and Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell:

"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

"...the cartoon is so insightful and captures the essence of today's web industry so brilliantly that it's definitely going to be big."
--Nina Furu, columnist, digi.no

"User Friendly has my sides splitting daily. Illiad has taken a step that no one else has done by doing a strip for the Un*x/Geek community thats funny and cute."
--Trae McCombs, manager, themes.org

"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 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

"It is a funny, sophisticated series of plots and subplots involving a 'dust puppy' who was born inside a mega-server, and is involved with a neurotic Internet Service Provider staff. Simply put, Evil Geniuses illustrates the conflict of interest between upper management and marketing, and those who truly know what they are doing. It is a great find for computer geeks, who may see themselves in the characters."
--Lake Computing, September 1, 2000

"Let's stand up and cheer O'Reilly for publishing J.D. 'Illiad' Frazer's collection of User Friendly comic strips. It's a badly needed break from the medium of all those serious technical books. This geekly guide to World Domination will rattle your brain cells and clear the air around your monitor. Toss aside your keyboard and guffaw for the hell of it. Have a chuckle break and some inspired digital giggles. Besides, man can't live by Dilbert alone."
--Derek Pell, www.dingbatmag.com, September 2000

"Looking for a collection of high-tech humor like nothing else you've seen before? Pick up a copy of Evil Geniuses In A Nutshell."
--Mike Madson, Computer Bits, June 2000

"More laughter provoking episodes provided by Illiad. The assortment of comic strips includes something for everyone: tech support, programmers, system administrators, and gaming enthusiasts. Illiad's witty approach to topical subjects creates a reflection of the Open Source community which is unique, insightful, and side-splitting."
--Elizabeth Zinkann, Sys Admin, July 2000

Online Resources:

The Root of All Evil
By Iliad
August 2001
ISBN 0-596-00193-2, 136 pages, $12.95 (US)

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 community. Userfriendly.org now attracts over 1 million visitors, resulting in excess of 10 million page views per month.

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.

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