Follow-Up: Open Source Action Figures

Fake News written by Tony Smolar on Monday, May 3, 1999

from the collect-all-four! dept.

In March, Humorix reported that Apple had filed a lawsuit against McDonalds, claiming that the new McLinux distribution was bound to cause confusion with Apple's MkLinux project. Earlier today both companies announced that the lawsuit has been settled out of court. According to the terms of the settlement, McDonalds will include a Steve Jobs action figure in some of the McLinux Happy Meals.

A high-ranking McDonalds official contacted Humorix about this situation; what follows is a brief interview:

Humorix: So it's true that you are going to be giving away a Steve Jobs action figure with McLinux?

Grimace: Only with the happy meals, but yes, Steve Jobs is one of four action figures, the others are Tux Penguin, Linus Torvalds, and Richard Stallman.

H: But isn't the Jobs figure out of place there?

G: No, not at all, in fact the Jobs figure came along at the right time. Our original plans called for Eric S. Raymond, dressed in an Obi-wan Kenobi outfit, to be the fourth figure. However, we got a nasty letter from the lawyers at Lucasfilm, so we dropped ESR and desperately seached for something to take his place. In a sense, this is an interim action figure.

Besides, the Steve Jobs figure will hopefully give us leverage when we are negotiating rights to the next Pixar flick. Burger King won't get this one! (sneer)

H: Lucasfilm threatened to sue you?

G: Well, not exactly. The letter they sent only contained the word "ahem", but we thought the message was clear.

H: Back to the Jobs figure, don't you think there is something wrong with the way Steve Jobs forced his way into a figure?

G: He's not the only one. When we were planning this distribution, Richard Stallman showed up at our offices and demanded that we call it McGNU/Linux. So we began to test market it under that name. It did very poorly as McGNU/Linux, and through customer feedback, we discovered that the customers thought that GNU was referring to the meat used in McGNU/Linux. We told RMS that we had to drop the name, but he persisted in his demands. We finally offered him an action figure in lieu of McGNU/Linux, and he accepted. Actually the RMS figure has become my favorite. If you push a button on the back, it sings a song known as "the free software song".

H: Do any of the other action figures do anything special?

G: The Linus figure holds his security blankey and sucks his thumb. The Tux one sits there and does nothing, just like the logo. Steve Jobs is in the studio recording his own free software song for his figure as we speak. It will be called "The APSL song."

H: Thank you very much!

[Editor's Note: Just as this article went to press, we received word that McDonalds had considered (and rejected) a fifth action figure, Al Gore. According to our anonymous source, the Al Gore figure was to sing "a gospel song". We're not entirely sure what that means, but it may have some connection to the new Al Gore Open Source Public License (AGOSPL) that recently appeared on his website.]

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