We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

We now return to our regular programming

Long time readers may have noticed that I vanish from time to time. A week or two here; three months there and with rarely an explanation. Perhaps I owe you one and in particular to those who have been tossing the occasional virtual egg because I’ve not updated a certain graph.

I make my living as a freelance consultant, mostly on Linux based systems with which I have worked for nearly a decade. I do security checking, networking, administration, systems programming in whatever language people want. I sometimes do user applications. I design, purchase, and build racks of servers from components for special projects. I write system documentation and specifications. I do engineering design and analysis for complex systems and products. I take on pretty much anything ‘high end’ that has enough money and a long enough time line to soak up the learning curve. I rarely do the same thing twice.

When times are really bad, I have been known to pull out the Martin guitar and ring the local bar-owners and booking agents.

Sometimes, like this last spring, I spend months on the road. Other times, like the last two weeks, I telework. In either case “Have Laptop, Will Travel” is an appropriate motto for me. Perhaps a few of you know the original version of that line… but I’m not allowed to have one of those in the UK!

When work comes I have bills paid and my head down; when there are bad times… tuna and spaghetti do become boring. The other side of that tuppence is that I have loads of time to blog when I have no money; and barely time to read what others have written on my own blog when I’ve a contract on.

The last two weeks I’ve had a job on. The booking came quite in the nick of time, but I’ll not go into the gory details of life on the edge. Consequently I’ve not been much heard from lately, and for the last week not at all.

What I do for a living is a very stark example of why borders are dead. These last two weeks I have been part of a subcontractor crew on a JP Morgan business conference in Boston. We did live webcasts of the financial reports of CEO’s and CFO’s of a large number of JP Morgan ‘associated’ companies – Google’s CEO was among them – to fulfill SEC public disclosure requirements.

I sat here in my flat in Newtonabbey, on the outskirts of Belfast and worked with a team in the US. On the days of the setup and run, the crew was spread out over three locations in Manhattan, the hotel in Boston… and my flat in Northern Ireland.

Physical location has little meaning when you meet and work in cyberspace. Borders are a joke: they have been erased by the scouring terrabytes of global connectivity. I can be and work anywhere I want on this planet, any time I wish and noone can stop or question me.

True… no one in advanced societies is trying at present but even if they did they would have a very low chance of success. An attempt to control such international working would be an economic disaster in any case. If some State tried and succeeded the result would be a brain drain of massive proportions: “Would the last computer scientist over the border please turn off the data pipe?”

That is the deadly threat people like me hold over the State. I have distributed employment. I live where I like, not where I must. I am mobile. Screw with ‘me’ and you lose ‘me’. I use scare quotes because I am just one data point, one representative of a rapidly growing class of people whose day to day life is in cyberspace.

We are the future and we are killing the entire concept on which the State is based.

35 comments to We now return to our regular programming

  • “We are the future and we are killing the entire concept on which the State is based.”

    And how many are you? And do you fix your own leaky water lines? Or patch your streets pot-holes?

    Yes, cyberspace exists. But two points might be made:

    1. The number of its inhabitants to the extent of your example are (I surmise) fairly few.

    2. It exists as an overlay upon, and simultaneously with, a very real world of Martin guitars and cans of tuna.

    The physical world has not be destroyed by the virtual one but at most merely gently creased. And there will be need for a State for a long time to come to manage a great deal of it.

  • Dale Amon

    If you mean ‘State’ as in something like an insurance company, yes.

    The State is a concept of mind, not of nature. It depends upon people seeing themselves as tied to a physical place rather than seeing physical places as interchangeable, something to be selected on merits rather than born to as in serfdom.

    I agree I am one of a small number. There are certainly no more than a few million of us at this time, but the numbers are growing rapidly.

  • Dale Amon

    PS: Musicians, have been mobile in just this way for thousands of years. This is perhaps why I find the two areas of my life fit together so comfortably. Neither is location dependant.

  • Matt

    The tax authorities don’t have a care in the world where you work, just so long as you pay them. Try playing silly buggers with any European or American tax agency with “I was in the US/UK/Europe” and we’ll see how mobile you can be.

  • Dale Amon

    Matt: So? Since work and home don’t have to be even on the same continent anymore, you just live where you find the combination of taxation and lifestyle that best suits your personal tastes. You render unto Caesar if you live in Rome, but you don’t have to live in Rome anymore.

  • And how many are you? And do you fix your own leaky water lines? Or patch your streets pot-holes?

    Why on earth would either of those functions be impossible unless carried out by a state?

  • Don

    Perry,
    I think the point is while Dale and his ilk can work from anywhere, plumbers and street-patchers are more limited. They tend to work where they live and the state does have control over them.
    I also think that while the situation is fine for Dale, I don’t think the percentage of location-independent workers will increase to the point where the state will wither away, or become all that irrelevent. It’d take a Vingian Singularity to do that, IMO.

  • Rob Read

    I think you also have to worry about the problem that if “borders are irrelevant why not just have one country called the UN?” crowd.

    Celebrate borders, they are a natural break against trouble! Just as cancer can only kill an individual, state tyranny tends to only kill the state.

    If the world only has one state we have put cancer in charge, so “be careful what you wish for!”

  • I too am a telecommuting linux/unix consultant, isn’t the feast/famine cycle a bitch sometimes? :-)

    But even if I were to leave the US, the IRS claims the right to tax my wages for up to 10 years after that, even if I were to renounce American citizenship (if said renunciation is in there opinion ‘primarily for purposes of evading taxation’).

    As a programmer, I would really like to not have to deal with the DMCA and the insane patent regime here, but things elsewhere seem worse on other scales.

    There is no where sufficiently free for my taste left on this wonderful ball of dirt and water, faster please with the L5 colonies and space ships!

  • Dale Amon

    Don: Perhaps not everyone can manage the escape, but that no more stops me than people who are for socialized medicine because “the poor can’t get good health care”, or are against anti-missile defense because “they’ll just smuggle them in”.
    And in any case, we are talking about fairly valuable individuals whose absence from a given country can be an absolute disaster to an economy. Look at what a basket case socialism made of the UK in the sixties and seventies… and note the huge number of 50-60 year old top American scientists with British accents. Or look at the huge number of French expats in London.

    So yes, not everyone can vote with their feet… but those of us who can are capable of demolishing an economy by our absence.

    Rob: You missed the point. I’m not saying it is one big place; I’m saying that regulatory arbitrage is a brake on the State. In an info-society wealth creation comes from the creativity of scientists and engineers. For many fields, it is now possible to do your work absolutely anywhere. All many of us need to stay in the forefront of our fields is a good thick data pipe. I could shift from Belfast to a Caribbean Island tomorrow and it would not disrupt my customer, personal and business networks for any longer than it would take for me to pack and unpack. There would effectively be zero change in my cyberspace presence.

    David: Nowhere is truly sufficiently free. The best you can do is trade off the regulatory environment with the lifestyle of the place, the climiate, the environment around you, the people and perhaps what you get for the tax money taken from you.

    I might add that since there is a tax treaty, Americans in the UK pay no taxes to the US until $70k/year. Up to that point
    you are paying only UK taxes. Not that they are great mind you. But by the time you add up Federal + State + County + City + FICA + State Sales Tax + ad nauseum, I’m not actually convinced total direct taxes are that much higher here. I do know they are close to equivalent in the south (that’s the Republic of Ireland).

    That’s why I said we undermine the whole meaning of the State. What we leave behind is something like an insurance company that covers a given territory. You shop around for the one with the best cost/benefit and live in their territory.

  • ralph

    The “State” provides the rulebook. Go try playing this game in Liberia.

  • Dale Amon

    Why would I want to do that? They come out very poorly on value for money. Pretty close to the bottom of the heap on arbitrage.

    Interestingly enough, I do have a libertarian friend who moved to Somalia quite a few years ago. While it doesn’t come out high on my particular selection matrix, the lack of a central government made it a very highly rated one for him.

    I happen to enjoy Ireland and I can live there and have my customers any where in the world. I needn’t worry any more about whether there is employment for people of my skills here or not. It’s where I live, not where I earn my living. That’s “any where on the planet” for now and perhaps off it in a few decades.

    For that matter, I could be living in a lunar settlement and working with Earth based customers. The extra latency would hardly even matter. I often deal with signal delays of more than that already.

  • eric

    Ok Dale,

    What do you make of Lawrence Lessig’s “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace”?

    His main point is that cyberspace is controlled; controlled by the code that runs the operating systems and applications and so and so forth.

    That code can be written in any number of ways.

    Given that people want the ‘State’ to intervene on the subject of spam, I’m not seeing the ‘State’ go away anytime soon.

    You are an information worker. Your available choices are not those of a farmer, (probably an extreme example), or those who are tied to a particular locality for any number of reasons.

    Also, I’ll infer from your post that you are not married with a family. (Correct me if I’m wrong). I often see people’s attitudes change once they get vested in a particular community. What will stop that happening to you or others like you?

    I also note that instances of what you worked on (a business conference) happened before there was a cyberspace. I’m really not seeing any sort of revolutionary in what you did. It appears to be a good use of modern telecommunications.

    I also note that subject of the conference was a state mandated requirement.

    It could be said the state just created a job for you.

    Borders are not going to go away. Their permiability is just going to change somewhat. And if the code is written in a certain way, there will be a log of what everybody does online. I’ve seen people get dismissed from their jobs in the US for emails that were three years old. The trend will continue.

  • Dale Amon

    But I write code. I have the source for the OS I use. I have strong encryption at my fingertips. I have a thousand different ways to bypass the State’s desires and the will to use them. One has to respect the State in order to feel bound by it.

    This is where I differ with Lawrence. The code may be ‘law’, but if true then everyone can chose their own laws and vanish into a rabbit hole insofar as the State snoops are concerned. Law becomes as infinitely malleable, replicateable and modifiable as an application program under the GNU Public License. If you don’t like the way it is written, then fork the version and do it your own way.

    Although I do not have a family, I don’t think that matters as much as it used to. People have shifted thousands of miles between jobs in the US for decades. With the ability to telework you can now be secure in shifting to anywere you chose. Why would it be harder for someone to move to Grand Caymen from Manhattan than to Los Angeles? Entire families do that all the time. It just keeps getting easier to do. The big change now is you can make the move and not even change your job. You simply change where you reside.

    Well, so what if the particular job I did last week was associated with a state mandated requirement? Money is money and if you are in business you take what is there. There is also the point that if the costs of that conference become significant, companies will also utilize regulatory arbitrage and make money by shifting to places where these requirements don’t exist. Or they cut costs by using people like me living elsewhere. Everyone is out to minimize costs and maximize benefits. It used to be only multinationals could do it. Now it is fully feasible for individuals to go ‘multinational’.

    I’m a one person evil multinational global capitalist.

  • Been there, done that.

    Between 1991 and 1995, I spent half of every year in Australia, telecommuting to Germany, the other half actually in Germany. Not everything can be solved by telepresence, though I think a 10 month Oz 2 month Europe mix would have been OK.

    Still recovering from a 240-hour fortnight… a full-time job, a hard and important deadline, and a hefty assignment for my Master’s all coincident…

  • Fred Boness

    Yet another “end of history” rant.

    Have gun – will travel, wire Paladin, San Francisco.

    Who are you to assert that you are “not allowed” to have a gun?

  • I am in the same business as you, except I work mostly on Microsoft servers. I am also a professional writer.

    But I agree with you. I have long dreamed of the day when the world is my oyster, and in a weird way, the internet fufills some of that.

  • Dave O'Neill

    I was rather shocked to find out about the US “non resident” tax rules. It certainly affected my decision on my visa application last time I lived in the US as I was wondering whether or not to aim for a fast track green card.

    I’m currently looking at another move to the US for a few years and the tax issues will be a part of the calculation. While a green card would be convenient, I can live without it. I’ve a few associates who ultimately threw theirs back.

    In that respect the Inland Revenue are practically benign.

  • Dave O'Neill

    BTW. In the interest of balance and virtual egg hurling, will you be updating the graph.

    I know the results of course, but it will be interesting to explore what has happened over the last few months and the impact it seems to have had.

    I’m getting really concerned that people will start to lose their nerve.

  • Dale Amon

    Alan: Yep, spent about a third of my time in Manhattan for 3 years while I was doing projects for a company there pre-dotBust.

    James: You’ve actually got a bit ‘stabler’ market than I at present. But mine is recovering with the economy.

    Dave: Yes, Inland Rev is far easier to deal with than Internal Rev. The guys across the border are even easier to deal with, or so saith the accountant who keepeth me legal for next to nothing.

    Fred: No end of history. Just the beginning of a new historical trend. History is change. I am talking of change. And yes, handguns are across the board illegal in the UK. That’s why there are so many criminals with them and shootings are increasing now.

    Dave: I will get to the graph. Perhaps today or tomorrow if things are quiet. Someone else has done one too and you can find their link in the discussion on the old one I did.

  • Dale, I’ve made the kind of jurisdictional lifestyle calculation you mention a number of times. For me it still comes up “stay in Arizona” (were it not for a certain legal impediment, it might very well be different).

    It might change, India and Ireland have both crossed my mind for totally different reasons, as have Mexico and Brazil. If the wife and I ever bug out of the US, Common Law nations are sure to top the list.

    Strong property rights, good bandwidth, sensible drug laws, free speech and the right to self defense are all desirable to me, but I still find no single extant combination ideal.

    As a citizen of the United States, I find my government’s assertions in law and in fact that it can and will:

    -Tax me where ever I reside, regardless of where the work is performed and it’s proceeds spent

    -Claim jurisdiction on space launch activities I may be involved with, regardless of where performed and where said companies are based

    -Arrest and/or execute persons anywhere on Earth for certain offenses, including killing an American

    …to add up to a de facto declaration by the US govt. of universalist, Imperial control over the whole planet. Of course it DOES have the military might to currently make all of that hold water.

    Is that always bad? No, things like clear shipping lanes and predictable financial instuments are good, but it’s not entirely to my liking either.

    A bit more pre-New Deal style jurisdictional arbitrage within the US would do a world of good for liberty.

    Ack, how I’ve rambled…

  • Frank Borger

    The first time I telecommuted was in 1979.
    I was using a portable printing terminal that screamed at 300 baud, (with a suction-cup handset interface in the back.)

    I was in Chicago, the client was in Kansas, the computer in Missouri.

    While the program compiled and ran I was watching the Cubs lose on TV. It don’t get no better than that.

    And then the better half griped that I was tying up the phone. She was expecting a phone call from her Sister.

    Nowdays it’s “Dad, can you get off the internet? I’ve got to call my girlfriend!”

  • Andrew Duffin

    Frank, you are lucky. In my house it’s “Sam, can you please get off the Internet, Mum wants to use the phone.”

    As for Dale’s freedom, I fear it may be somewhat like the low price of LPG fuel for road vehicles – if it ever becomes the norm, the State will not be long in stepping in and controlling it.

    In the meantime, as there are only a few people who work and live like that, it is not enough of an irritant to attract the attention of the Powers that Be.

  • I certainly welcome any practical and pecuniary debilitation that Dale and his fellow Linux workers can inflict upon the more grasping aspects of the state. If his vision of the future is limited to that I have no problem with it. But there is something else about it , some cyberspace-backpacking mentality, that is fatally lightweight and born of the moment and with which I take full issue.

    For me, there is a gravititational pull in life – it’s blood and soil, of course – that certain, perhaps most libertarians are altogether too quick to renounce. The richness and complexity of identity and belonging, respect for the past and for forebears, love of people, love of land might not translate well to the little, silvered space where Dale works. But outside in the broad daylight they are nearer at hand. In an interpellative sense – and God knows I’m not an Althuesser fan – they call out, even if libertarians try hard not to listen.

    Without these things we could never be free because we could never be entirely whole. We would live with a sense of exile. We might not quite be able to put our finger on it. But it would haunt us all the same.

  • Dale Amon

    But they do call out to me. It’s just that ‘my people’ are physically spread over the planet. They people I work and deal with and talk to and exchange ideas with every day of my life are in the USA and Canada from New York to Los Angeles and Toronto and Washington; in Dublin and Belfast, and London; in New Zealand and Australia and Germany. The people of the net are my people.

    I do not denigrate some aspects of the State in defense of a way of life, and will rally ’round the flag just as much as anyone else in time of threat to the values I believe it. Of course in times when those values are not at threat, I tell the state to take its’ flag and cram it. Thus the difference in my attitudes towards Vietnam and the current World War.

    Like it or not, in a world with constant high bandwidth communications, people will form their social bonds with those they most often deal with. For me, the bonds are pretty much Anglosphere wide.

    You tell me what the impact this on 21st century kids will be. I personally can’t imagine it will not drastically change their own concepts of who and what they are. ‘Place’ just isn’t very important to those of us who have grown up with the net.

    I’m just a generation ahead of the curve because I’ve had the net available to me for thirty years.

  • Well guessedworker, I for one understand that.
    Yes I most certainly do.

    Yet to be honest, ‘blood and soil’ is such a dismal, choking thing when taken in too strong a dose compared to the attractions of globalised cosmopolitanism. The wonderful thing about modern ‘identity’ is that you can make it for yourself and rather than having it forced upon you by the people around you. No, be a cosmopolitan is not to be less than whole, it is to be British (or American or French or Chinese)…. but not just British (or American or French or Chinese) if that is what you want. It allows you to be you and to wrap yourself up in the bits of ‘your’ culture which work for you and to say ‘screw it’ to the rest. That is irresistible.

    Freedom is not belonging… you can get that at a football match. Freedom is… well, freedom.

  • Interesting. I used to fly about 50+ times a year, and even when I started my own consultancy, about 20 times a year.

    Since 9/11, I’ve flown twice — and one had been planned prior to 9/11.

    With bandwidth both expanding and becoming cheaper, I see the growth of IM and teleconferencing replacing all those horrible dawn flights.

    American Express has outsourced many of its phone bank / help desk functions to other countries outside the U.S. — the last call I made to them, it sounded like India (I spoke to three people, all Indian, so it probably wasn’t a New York operation).

    As face-to-face meeting diminishes in importance, online jobs like Dale’s will become supranational, as he indicated.

    Our clients have been in New York, Michigan, Massachusetts, Chicago, New Jersey and Nebraska — and we’ve been to their offices a total of about twice each, in the past five years.

    Before the Internet, a colleague used to fly from Chicago to Singapore once a month, for a two-hour meeting, then turn around and fly back. To do that today would be regarded as completely unproductive.

    A pox on the airlines, anyway — they deserve all the trouble they get from this trend.

  • R. C. Dean

    Perry, I know you didn’t mean it that way, but “Yet to be honest, ‘blood and soil’ is such a dismal, choking thing when taken in too strong a dose compared to the attractions of globalised cosmopolitanism” sounds like the concentrated essence of transnational progressivism.

    I tend to agree with Guessedworker on this one – it is easy for people who work in a digital environment to grossly overestimate the degree to which it is scalable and will engulf other approaches to life and interaction. “Blood and soil” exerts a deeply primal pull on us that goes way deeper than the fizzing digital frontal lobes, and tends to be badly underestimated by those of us hypnotized by flickering screens.

    Millions have fought and killed and died for blood and soil. Very few, if any, have or will do so for unlimited internet access.

  • Dave O'Neill

    The simple fact of life for me is you can’t close the kind of deals we are trying to do with US companies without being seen at site and in meetings. So, I’ve flown around 90,000 miles last year and will probably break the 100K mark in the next 12 months.

    Given how much I am growing to detest jet lag and airlines I wish there was a practical alternative, but frankly in our business there isn’t.

  • Millions have fought and killed and died for blood and soil. Very few, if any, have or will do so for unlimited internet access.

    They might if it means the result will be interacting with their fellow man on their own terms and avoiding being a slave to mafias.

  • RC Dean: I did indeed mean it. I am concentrated essence of Transnational Individualism. There are societies I feel an affinity to and places that ‘move’ me, but I care nothing for nation-states.

    I intent to buy some property in New Hampshire when the times is right for me, not because I give a damn about the United States one way or the other, because I don’t. The only American flag that gets my pulse racing is the Gadsden Flag, not the stars and stripes. No, I will go there because I have many friends on that side of the Atlantic and I feel considerable affinity with a group of people in that part of the world.

    And I agree completely with Johnathan Wilde.

  • Perry,

    Thanks for the perfectly clear response. We have some perhaps predictable distance between us but also some (tenuous) linkages. My mother’s forebears fought, like your’s, with William at Battle. They were rewarded and remained among the English Gentry until the Civil War, when they fell upon hard times. My father’s surname is old English for “path” so Harold was his forebears’ king. It happens that my Dad’s greatest desire in pilot training at Hatfield in 1940 was, some day, to fly operationally a certain wooden aircraft being tested there at the time by the famous Geoffrey de Havilland. In the event he never got to do so, Lancasters being his lot.

    The state does not much fear war. But the ordinary man must, of course, if he is neither madman, fool nor hero. Notwithstanding this, service in wartime so distills that quality of identity and belonging that entirely unexceptional men find in themselves something unique and enabling even in extremis. (I enjoyed your description of its peacetime equivalent engendered by the eleven-a-side conflict between England and Argentina. Thanks for the link.)

    War-will is a very terrible thing, for sure. But it is also the most intense and sincere proof of committment. Robert C-D hits the knub of the issue, I think, when he asks who will lay down their life for internet access. I would extend that question to all these voluntary associations that free-willed libertarians are apparently set fair to choose in the coming, globally electronic age. The power to distill, to produce in the individual a singular war-will is not a gift of anything so feeble as association (Anglospheric or not, Dale).

    So what, by my reading of the human heart, is the meaning of all this? Well, first that love is the ruling influence, and the deepest and most ineradicable love lies in the common understanding of who we are. This is not an issue of shared language or shared values. These are only rather inefficient markers of kinship. In any case the Anglosphere is only half an argument. The bit that counts brings us straight back to these isles and the genius of their peoples.

    Second, well, the apprehension of “life ideas” may demand more of us than we have to give just presently. Brahms, for example, wrote music of peculiar maturity whilst Mendelssohn never progressed far beyond his wunderkind years. This is pure arrogance on my part, and I won’t put it plainer than that (perhaps as a lover of Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto Brian Micklethwaite will know what I mean!).

  • Dale Amon

    When you mentioned Mosquitos you are very close to what I’d consider a very good pre-internet example of just that sort of network identity. Exactly who defended Britain’s shores against the evil ideology of the mainland.

    The Few. And who were they?

    Brits. Canadians. Americans. Poles. South Africans. Australians. Some Czech’s and French and others. Perry can certainly back me up on this. Many forget what a large part of the Hurricane and Spitfire pilots were not of kith and kin and blood and land of Britain. They were soul mates to what it stood for.

    Likewise today, you find many of us supporting the war because it is a battle of ideas. The US is in the forefront this time and bearing the brunt of it, but you see bloggers in England, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Finland and many, many other places coming to the support of America. You see young people from Rumania and Mexico joining the US military to support the US.

    It is ultimately ideas that have power, not land. Land is simply the patch of blood soaked ground where the battle of ideas is won or lost in deadly climax.

  • Hi Dale,

    I agree that the interpretation that you give to the Few is tempting and, accordingly, rather commonplace. The airwar is right in my intellectual heartland and I can get VERY boring. So I will only mention that the RAF was a wholly voluntary service arm and about as glamorous as Humphrey Bogarde and David Beckham rolled into one. Not only denizens of the white empire and escapees from mainland Europe wanted a piece of the action. Texans, Dubliners and Maoris and even one American negro alike fought for the same thing. And fight they had to. At the de Havilland’s airfield in 1940 the Elementary Flying Training School gave successful volunteers just 10 hours to make it solo. They took the best and only the best of the best made it into a single-engined fighter. That, and not ideas, is the explanation for the RAF’s otherwise curious mix of flyers. By comparison the relatively unglamorous Royal Navy and British Army were, of course, largely homogenous.

    One other serious point that I don’t think you have taken on board in any way:-

    Positing or arguing for a dilution of the bonds of blood and land, to use an incendiary but true phrase, is cultural marxism. Many blog habitues think me an unutterably racist b—— because I argue against the left’s sickeningly “moral” prostitution of immigration for anti-white aims. I have been impressed and heartened by Sean Gabb’s two prodigious and brave Free Life Commentaries on this, the greatest of all modern-day issues.

    In this hundred-year war for the future of Europe and America one side is conducting its campaign free of all restraint while the other, blind to events, is suffering from guilt or complacency. As in all wars one must eventually choose sides, before it’s too late. It seems to me that your prescription for the future stands, albeit by default, with the marxisant left. I recommend a long hard look at the last and the next fifty years.

  • >Perhaps a few of you know the original version of that line… >but I’m not allowed to have one of those in the UK!

    You’re not allowed to use Linux in the U.K.????

    The *original* version of that line was “Have Tux, Will Travel”. I’ve heard that it was an old vaudeville line,
    but it is certain that it was used by Bob Hope in his
    1954 autobiography of that title — though, of course, he wasn’t referring to our favorite penguin.

    “Have Gun, Will Travel”, which premiered in 1957,
    got stuck with that name as a working title as a pun
    on Hope’s recently-published autobiography, and the producer liked it enough to stay with it.