BSOD Simulator

Fake News written by James Baughn on Tuesday, May 4, 1999

from the putting-the-sysrq-key-to-use dept.

Users of Red Hat 6.0 are discovering a new feature that hasn't been widely advertised: a Blue Screen of Death simulator. By default, the bsodsim program activates when the user hits the virtually unused SysRq key (this is customizable), causing the system to switch to a character cell console to display a ficticious Blue Screen.

Red Hat hails the bsodsim program as the "boss key" for the Linux world. "Many old DOS games had a boss key, which caused the program to switch to a DOS shell or a benign looking screenshot when the boss walked by," a Red Hat engineer explained. "This allowed unscrupulous workers to play games without the knowledge of the PHB. With multitasking, this isn't necessary anymore."

He continued, "However, a new 'boss problem' has emerged. Workers are smuggling Linux boxes into companies that exclusively use Windows. This is all good and well until the PHB walks by and comments, 'That doesn't look like Windows...' With bsodsim, that problem is solved. The worker can hit the emergency SysRq key, and the system will behave just like Windows..."

The bsodsim program doesn't stop at just showing a simulated error message. If the boss doesn't walk away, the worker can continue the illusion by hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL, which causes a simulated reboot. After showing the usual boot messages, bsodsim will run a simulated SCANDISK program indefinitely. The boss won't be able to tell the difference. If the boss continues to hang around, the worker can say, "SCANDISK is really taking a long time... maybe we should upgrade our computers. And don't you have something better to do than watch this computer reboot for the tenth time today?"

Red Hat 6.0 also includes a 'Flying Windows' screensaver for use with X Windows. If the boss happens to walk by your computer when you're away, he still won't be able to tell that it's not running Windows.

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