Official Humorix 1999 Predictions

Feature written by James Baughn on Saturday, January 2, 1999

from the wild-guessing-at-its-finest dept.

With each New Year it seems almost every publication, from the Ernie County Gossip-Observer to the New York Times, is filled with predictions for the coming year. Not wanting to pass up on journalistic tradition and an easy opportunity to write comedy with little mental effort, Humorix is proud to present its predictions for the last year of the millennium. If these predictions don't turn out, this article will be silently deleted at the end of the year and nobody will be the wiser. But, if some of these predictions do become reality, rest assured that we here at Humorix World Headquarters won't brag. Much. Okay, maybe a little.

Prediction #1: Several hundred (or even thousand) sites will crash as a direct result of the Slashdot Effect. The exclamation "May your site be hit with the Rob-Malda-Link-of-Death(tm)!" will become the ultimate curse. Webmasters everywhere will quake at the slightest mention of those two ominous words, "Slashdot Effect". Website hosting services that offer "unlimited bandwidth" will append their service policies to add the stipulation, "Unlimited bandwidth does not apply to hits from; in the event of a Slashdot Effect, your site will be taken offline for at least 24 hours without opportunity for legal recourse."

Prediction #2: Some webmasters of major Linux-related websites will succumb to the omnipresent itch to redesign their entire website on a whim. The need to tinker with the design of their site will force some webmasters to spend weeks on end hacking HTML and Perl while living off stale coffee and cold pizza. In some cases, the hard-working webmaster will be rewarded with thousands of flames from angry visitors demanding to know why the heck the layout has been altered. "The new layout sucks! And you suck!" the angry horde of flamers will rant. A massive flame war will erupt between the angry horde and those that actually like the new design. At the height of the maelstrom, the webmaster will get unbelievably angry and shut down his site, replacing it with a "all flamers should rot in hell" message. Finally, cooler heads will prevail and the situation will blow over, only to be repeated a few weeks later at another site.

[Oops. It seems this already happened yesterday at Freshmeat. I suppose this would have been funnier if we wouldn't have procrastinated until January 2nd to run it... - The Editor]

Prediction #3: Ziff-Davis will continue to be a source of much contempt by the Linux community. Jesse Berst will continue his waffling position with respect to Linux, writing "Linux will threaten Windows" one day and then "Linux doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding" the next. Meanwhile, ad revenue at ZD will soar from all the flames being posted in the various Talk Back forums in response to all the bonehead commentary. In addition, ABCNew's Fred Moody will continue to incite the Linux community with his obnoxious rantings so he can later write about all the flames he received from the "adolescent Linux zealots".

Prediction #4: Microsoft's never-ending stream of acquisitions will continue into 1999 at such an intense rate that many newspapers will have a special "Today's Microsoft Acquisitions" sidebar in their Financial sections. Meanwhile, "Microsoft Acquires..." jokes will continue to spread via email across the Internet at an unbelievable pace. Some Microsoft jokes to enter the public domain this year will include "Microsoft Acquires Yahoo", "Janet Reno Named New Microsoft Vice President", and "Microsoft Acquires Redmond City Government; Has Targets Set on Seattle".

Prediction #5: With the proliferation of Java compilers and environments, Starbucks, Inc. will get into the act with its own proprietary Starbucks Java VM(tm). The Starbucks JVM will be available on CD-ROM for free with any coffee purchase over US$10 at any of Starbuck's 25,000+ locations (50,000 by the end of the year). The Starbucks JVM will be part of Starbuck's master plan to dominate everything even remotely related to coffee.

Prediction #6: IDG Publishing will crank out a record number of those insulting and annoying "...For Dummies" Books that dominate bookstore shelves. IDG will launch a nationwide chain of "Books for Dummies" bookstores across the US (perhaps spreading into Canada and Europe by 2001). The latest revision of "Linux for Dummies" will be released, which will put a damper on the old saying, "'Windows for Dummies' is much more than a book title, it's a Microsoft way of life!" Some other Dummies books to be published will include "Writing Dummies Books for Dummies", "Buying Dummies Books for Dummies", "Windows Solitaire for Dummies", and "Windows 98 for Extreme Dummies".

Prediction #7: What 1999 set of predictions would be complete without a Y2K prognostication? During the year, two groups of "experts" will bicker about what will happen come January 1, 2000. One group, who will spend billions of dollars building extensive bomb shelters in remote Arizona, will think the world will come to an abrupt end. The other group will predict that Y2K will be an annoyance of the same magnitude as Office 97's Dancing Paper Clip. As is often the case, all of the "experts" will be wrong. While Y2K will be a bigger annoyance than the typical Microsoft product, it won't come anywhere close to being the Apocolypse. In the end, all of the "experts" who had spent their life savings building bomb shelters will live the rest of their lives in poverty and shame, while everyone else will start worrying about the Y10K problem.

Prediction #8: A large group of Linux developers will pool finances to hire a security detail for Linus Torvalds while Transmeta will install an extensive security system for its corporate offices. These precautions will be taken, in the words of one of Linus' bodyguards, "just in case Godfather Gates takes an interest in Linus' health". In addition, the same group of Linux developers will mount a campaign for Linus to run for US President in 2000, but the campaign will come to an abrupt end when it is realized that Linus isn't eligible because he isn't a native born US citizen.

Prediction #9: The US government will continue to pass bonehead pieces of legislation (at least in the opinion of most Slashdot posters) concerning encryption, indecent Net material, antitrust enforcement, upgrading governent computer systems to Windows NT, telco monopolies, copyright law, phone tapping by the FBI, etc. Eventually, one particularly stifling piece of anti-cryptography legislation will be the last straw for many Slashdot regulars, resulting in a massive "e-riot" (a term which will be coined by Jon Katz). Thousands of angry nerds will pummel the US government's computer systems with unbelievable amounts of flame email, denial of service attacks, and spam (a high amount of spam advertising X-rated websites will be sent to A few hardy souls will even (gasp!) step outside into the Real World and travel to Washington, D.C. to attend a rally. In the end, the President will veto the legislation, but only after enough nerds threaten to stop fixing Y2K-related problems in protest.

Prediction #10: The fight over the term Open Source(tm) between OSI and SPI will intensify. In outrage, Eric S. Raymond will publish his long-anticipated sequel to "Homesteading the Noosphere", which he will title "Eric vs. a Board of Idiots". In the flame war that will erupt as a result, a growing number of Linux hackers will abandon the term Open Source and stick with "Free Software", much to the delight of Richard M. Stallman. A few hackers will instead standardize on the term "Nude Source", which will gain widespread acceptance. Ziff-Davis will put a negative spin on this whole brouhaha with a series of articles titled "Open Source, Open Insults". It will not be a good period for the Linux community, but just like the Linux Standards Assocation debacle of 1998, the community will eventually move on, more resolved than ever to bring an end to proprietary, monopolistic software and Dancing Paper Clips.

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