September 5, 2001

User Friendly's 'The Root of All Evil' released by O'Reilly

Author: JT Smith

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

For more information about the book, including author bio, and
sample comics, see:
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/rootofevil/

The User Friendly web site:
http://www.userfriendly.org

For a cover graphic in jpeg format, go to:
ftp://ftp.ora.com/pub/graphics/book_covers/hi-res/0596001932.jpg

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
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leading-edge computer technologies. We communicate the knowledge of
experts through our books, conferences, and web sites. Our books, known
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