Who is Jeremy S. Anderson?

The web.morons.org web page at http://web.morons.org/feature/rants/bsdlsd.jsp (now gone) ranted

It never ceases to amaze me how something stupid can proliferate. Take, for example, the following quote, which you'll find in people's signatures everywhere:

"There are two major products that came from Berkeley: LSD and Unix. We don't believe this to be a coincidence."
Even the quote itself is not consistant and is sometimes written:
"Two things came out of Berkeley: BSD and LSD. We don't believe this to be a coincidence."
The quote is usually attributed to "J.S. Anderson" or "Jeremy S. Anderson".

The problem here is that both quotes are incorrect. First, LSD did not come from Berkeley. LSD was developed in Sandoz labs in Basel, Switzerland. Second, BSD did come from Berkeley, but it is not "Unix". "Unix" was until recently a trademark of AT&T. I believe the Open Group is the most recent holder of the trademark. BSD is a UNIX flavour but is not Unix.

This is probably a case of false authority syndrome. Did anyone think to question this "J.S. Anderson" or his credentials? Does anyone know who he is now? Do people question the validity of his statement before putting it in their signature files? Who is J.S. Anderson anyway? If you search for the name "Jeremy S. Anderson" on the web, all you will find are quote pages containing the aforementioned misinformed quote. For all we know, Jeremy S. Anderson might not even be a real person.

Knowing all of this, then, what would possess people to put a false statement from someone they don't know at the bottom of all their email or usenet posts without questioning it at all?

It's interesting that one has to have credentials to make a humorous remark, but is Jeremy S. Anderson a real person? I took a look through the archives of Usenet found at Google Groups.

Clue 1: This Usenet post from 1992 (Google Groups link) offers a possible clue:

Who is this Jeremy Anderson person anyways? (this is being remotely posted because the author is unable to receive this topic in his current location.)

Jeremy Anderson is a 23 year-old computer programmer currently living in the hills around Taipei, Taiwan. .... He has very little to do these days with either LSD or Unix (not that he is predjudiced against either of these) ....

OK. We'll give credit where credit is due here. The quote is indeed mine, and was made several years back at an informal gathering of some friends of mine. I didn't think much of it at the time (nor do I now for that matter) Steve Aukstakalnis ... was largely responsible for spreading it to the net. ....

I realize, of course, both LSD and UNIX originated a long ways from Berkeley. It was a wry, off-the-cuff remark, not a polished logically bombproof statement of fact. I will naturally accept nominations and awards for any "meme of the year" contests. ....

                Jeremy Anderson 
                Hsin Tien, Taipei Hsien 
                12 Oct 1992 

Since this was posted in the days prior to the coming of the World Wide Web, "the net" here probably refers to Usenet. However, no Usenet posts by Steve Aukstakalnis could be found on Google Groups.

Clue 2: This Usenet post from 1989 contains a quote from Jeremy S. Anderson, apparently quoting himself:

        There are two major products of Berkley, CA -- LSD and UNIX.  We don't 
belive this to be strictly by coincidence. 
Jeremy S. Anderson  jeremy@rpp386.cactus.org   LostIn, TX 
This then appears again in the next post by Jeremy, correctly spelt:
       There are two major products of Berkeley, CA -- LSD and UNIX.  We don't 
believe this to be strictly by coincidence. 
Jeremy S. Anderson  jeremy@rpp386.cactus.org   LostIn, TX 
This is Jeremy S. Anderson's profile on Google Groups. The "coincidence" quote only appears in two of them.

So unless this is all an elaborate fake, it looks like Jeremy S. Anderson is a real person, and he did make the quote.

Update (Oct 20 2011): LeMoDa.net received an email from Jeremy Anderson. He informs us that he had contacted morons.org to point out that the original quote was a joke, and also gave some more details about Steve Aukstakalnis.


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