SlackToast Linux vs. Windows TNT

Fake News written by Adam Hay on Sunday, October 25, 1998

from the yet-another-exotic-linux-port dept.

DALLAS, TX -- Last week ports of both Windows and Linux were released for toasters. Yesterday, the two were tested and demonstrated at the Annual Mid-America Bread Products Association Conference. Reactions were mixed as SlackToast Linux and Windows Toasting New Technology (TNT) went head-to-head.

Windows TNT

The first product of its new Microsoft Kitchen(tm) brand, Windows TNT is designed to make bread toasting more user-friendly. A Microsoft press release stated, "The complications and hassle associated with the production of grilled bread products that made them inaccessable to the end user have been removed with the release of Windows TNT. Just plug in a slice and play."

Windows TNT 1.0 only contains drivers for toasters that are based on heat-generating Pentium II processors. Other toasters are not supported (except with a buggy generic driver), but the upcoming Toasting Plus! pack will contain more support for competing toasters. Microsoft recommends that TNT 1.0 only be used with MS SlicedBread(tm). A Microsoft spokesman said, "TNT still contains a few issues that make it incompatible with other brands. We should have a service pack to resolve these problems within six months."

The TNT demonstrations faced several setbacks. One of the toasters actually exploded, causing the fire alarms to go off. In addition, several toasters produced bread that was burned on one side but cold on the other. Finally, several times TNT crashed while toasting and had to be rebooted.

SlackToast Linux

SlackToast is completely different than TNT. Whereas TNT comes pre-installed on Pentium toasters, SlackToast must be downloaded from the Net or purchased on CD-ROM and then installed on the toaster. Installation, however, is fairly easy, and SlackToast works on a variety of machines and configurations. A few proprietary toasters are not supported (such as the I2O-Toast-a-Matic) because the specifications are not available.

The greatest feature of SlackToast is its multi-user format. Each user can customize what kind of toast they want, and SlackToast will retain the settings for future sessions. This, however, requires each user to log in. On the plus side, SlackToast can produce toast for several users at once.

Onlookers were impressed with the SlackToast demonstrations. The toasters didn't crash, didn't explode, and always produced perfectly toasted bread. However, some were concerned about the ease-of-use of the Linux command line. Their concerns were eliminated, though, once the XToast GUI System was shown.

Reactions

While SlackToast Linux was more popular, many people expressed a preference for Windows TNT. "TNT is backed by Microsoft, what is SlackToast backed by? What if something goes wrong with SlackToast? Who do I get support from?" an executive for a bread company asked. A columnist who had just flown in from the Atlanta Pundit Showcase said, "Windows TNT is yet another innovative Microsoft product. Microsoft will revolutionize the kitchen appliance industry and bring computerized appliances to the masses."

Nevertheless, SlackToast had a clear edge on TNT. One attendee clutching a SlackToast CD-ROM said, "Not only is SlackToast free, but it's also more stable and powerful. I know what I'm going to be using at home." Another person said, "Did you see how that one Windows toaster exploded? Wow! I can see where they got the name TNT." Finally, after taste testing the bread from Windows TNT, a college student gagged and said, "Yuck! This is awful. Windows 'Plug-and-Play' technology should be called 'Plug-and-Burn'."

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