The Demise of Linux

Fake News written by Jim Lemon on Thursday, March 11, 1999

from the press-ctrl-alt-backspace-tab-shift-to-continue dept.

Humorix has been informed that droves of long time Linux users and promoters are deserting the OS. We bring you an exclusive interview with some of the figures that were closely associated with the phenomenal rise of Linux -- but have now decided to abandon ship.

Humorix: We're talking first to Dick Fallguy, founder of the Worthless Software Foundation and guiding light of URK. Dick, could you briefly tell us why you've decided that Linux is no longer the way to go in worthless software?

DF: No. If you want the story, you have to listen to the story. I have to tell it my own way, that's freedom, You understand? Now, first I'd like to explain why software should be worthless. Value is a corrupting influence. As long as people have ideas about value, they're going to use those ideas to figure out which things have the most value to them, and of course then they're going to choose those things that they think have the most value. This immediately leads to the concept of how much something is worth, and before you know it, people are buying and selling things, and deciding how much something is worth by how valuable it is to them. This is antithetical to the URK model of life, the universe and everything.

Humorix: Could you explain URK to our...

DF: Hang on, I'm the one whose being interviewed. Keep the comments until after I'm finished. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, URK stands for "URK Requires Knowledge". You get that? When you expand it into the sentence, you still have the URK and you have to expand that, and so on. You see, I've created infinity in a single acronym. They didn't give me a PhD for nothing, you know.

Now Linux has just fallen into the trap of value. It used to be kind of pure and worthless, you know. Like people would download it and go to all sorts of trouble to get it configured, and then they could join discussion groups of other people who'd done more or less the same thing and talk about how long they could keep it up. I think that kind of summarizes the philosophy of the Worthless Software Foundation, that people go to a great deal of effort to have something to talk about to their colleagues. And that's a really important part of society, you know?

What's Linux nowadays? You buy a CD, for crying out loud, you get them for free with commercial magazines, which is a real sellout if you know what I mean. You stick the CD into the PC, hit the ENTER key a few times, and you start word processing or something like that. Now this has got to be the steep slide from the clear air of the mountaintop to the cesspit of the marketplace. Look, people are making money on this! They're making a living, buying cars, houses. I've done my best, I even demanded that the name be changed to URK/Linux, or at the very least LinURKs, but they've gone too far. Just another toy for the masses. I can tell you...

Humorix: Yeah, well, thanks, Dick we've got to move right along to our next discussant here, Kurt Turk. Now what's your viewpoint, Kurt?

KT: Well, I think that Dick has as usual hit the nail on the head. I mean take the ENTER key that Dick mentioned. I see the introduction of superfluous keys as a central issue in the whole sordid mess. What's wrong with Ctrl-M? What are we, a bunch of wimps that we have to have a special key just to get a newline? Just have a peek at some of the things that are running on Linux. I mean the DELETE key deletes the character to the right. This is going way too far.

Humorix: I can kind of see your point, Kurt, but our readers would probably like to know about the new directions you're taking.

KT: Yeah. Of course I've been a UNIX fan for over 25 years now, and I can tell you, I still have my VT-100 and I get a lot of use out of it. It's sad to see a real man's operating system degenerate, but you've got to cope with these things. What we've been doing is pretty revolutionary in my opinion. We've completely reprogrammed Windows CE to run on dumb terminals within 'vi'. We're calling the new system 'vice'. Of course, we had to ditch all that graphic crap, but that cut the executable size right down and we've got a pretty slick little number here. Now, instead of all those annoying little pictures on the screen, you just have a column of tildes, and you can concentrate on programming.

Humorix: Sounds like a clean system, Kurt, but how do you start up your applications?

KT: Simple. Get into Configure Mode by pressing Ctrl-Shift-F7, swap to Activate Mode by prepending your command line with #$, enter the name of the executable file in braces followed by the command line terminator --!. You can extend your command lines beyond 80 characters with --+, of course, and you have the standard 'vice' bailout of Ctrl-Backspace, Ctrl-F, %...

Humorix: Radical, Kurt. Now we'd like to have a few words with our last discussant, Dolphin P. Gaia. So what's your gripe about Linux, Dolph?

DG: I'd like to say first that my adopted middle name is Peace. A lot of people don't ask me about that, and I have to explain it to them, you see? I started using Linux because it looked like a real alternative. First off, it was recycled. I'm a real believer in recycling ideas, because there are just too many around, and like there's got to be a finite amount of ideas, and what is going to happen when the supply is exhausted? It's going to be like the Year 2000 crisis, you know, people's minds are going to crash, and society will disintegrate, and I'd like to see all these smug people with new ideas then.

Humorix: Right, Dolph, but where are you going from here computing-wise?

DG: Oh, Kurt here is going to fix me up with a spare terminal so that I can download a copy of 'vice', and I figure with a month or so of retraining, I can get back to text editing and like that sort of thing.

Humorix: As you can see, folks, this is serious stuff. We tried to get a telephone interview with Linus himself, but unfortunately we must have had a bad connection. All we could hear was raucous laughter and then he must have dropped the phone or something. All we can say for now is stay tuned to Humorix for all the late-breaking news on the demise of Linux.

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