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Harry stretched his legs at his workstation under the stairs. He had been there for the entire night debugging the latest iteration of Ubuntu Owl mail. It was vital that he delivered a message to the old wizard Stallmandore. The forces of...

Harry stretched his legs at his workstation under the stairs. He had been there for the entire night debugging the latest iteration of Ubuntu Owl mail.

It was vital that he delivered a message to the old wizard Stallmandore. The forces of darkness felt closer than ever and Harry's scar throbbed as it always did when proprietary software vendors were close by.

Now it throbbed so much that Harry was sure it was not the thirteen cups of coffee he'd drank that night nor the utter brokenness of Owl_mail2.3. No this meant only one thing, Ballmermort must be abroad again. Harry must warn everyone! But first he needed a wee.

Harry was forbidden to do Open Source wizardry outside of the office. He was too young, but he had no choice, he had to risk it. Returning from the bathroom with a look of grim determination on his face he sat down and, as soon as he had stopped that cube spinning round out of control, he pressed SEND.

At once he was blinded by a green light bursting from the 22" LCD panel. The noise was like a thousand horsemen charging through the heavens... and then it was over, silence. Blinking Harry looked up. On the screen was a message: 'terminated at Line 2004, no such dependency or module owl.2.3_mod'. "Bugger," said Harry under his breath, "I'll have to risk G-mail."

Stallmandore sat in his study surrounded by magical creatures of antiquity. He was deep in thought contemplating the arcane and dark mysteries of GPL 3, a tome of such complexity that only Aurors of the First Order could understand. He was frowning deeply as his Phoenix announced dreamily "You Have Mail Master".

Wading through the three thousand or so spam-mails from trolls selling pills to increase the potency of his spells he saw Harry's message: "Ballmermort is abroad he has regained human form and is heading for the World Open Source Conference".

Stallmandore's eyes widened a fraction. "The Conference," he mused, "How bold he has become. There will be all of the great FOSS wizards there."

Later ....

The Conference was in happy mood. All of the speeches had been clapped with vigour and an orange-robed python code-monkey had whizzed around the hall on in his sky-skates shedding colourful stars over everyone and randomly reprogramming the wireless interface so that it rarely worked. But no-one really minded.

Suddenly all went silent and a sinister soul-sucking chill filled the air. On stage was a new speaker. He was dressed like a wizard and was talking of the virtues of Open Spells and Open Standards but no-one was fooled. It was Ballmermort!