OzLinux Project Announced

Fake News written by James Baughn on Tuesday, June 8, 1999

from the 50%-chance-this-article-will-be-censored dept.

As a reaction to the growing speculation that the pending Australia censorship bill could ban Linux, a group of Australian Linux hackers are drafting plans for a new distro called OzLinux. "Instead of yakking about the problem on Slashdot, we're taking action," said one OzLinux founder.

The primary goal of OzLinux is to modify anything that the Australian "censorship police" (as the developers call them) could find offensive. It will be a herculanean task to obfuscate, replace, or remove all cuss words, sexual references (no matter how oblique), or other material that could be misconstrued to be 'R' rated.

After a preliminary investigation, the OzLinux team has already uncovered some examples of censor-bait shipped with a typical Linux distro:

  • Of course, the kernel source code is chock full of profanities. The OzLinux folks plan to replace all of these "four-letter words" with a phrase such as "[Only an Australian politician would find offensive the expletive that this explanatory text replaces.]" The OzLinux developers have also contacted Linus Torvalds about plans to rework sections of the kernel source that contain another offensive four-letter word, goto.

  • The output of the ps command can contain porn: (we mean the word "porn", not any kind of ASCII art!)
       PID TTY STAT TIME COMMAND ...  485  p0 S    0:00 bash    491  p0 R N 79:07 ./setiathome 

  • Commands such as mount and finger could be viewed upon by the censorship police as "unsuitable for children". Possible substitute names may include read-disk-in-a-completely-unsexual-way and middle-finger. In addition, RMS might have a hard time explaining the name of the GNU Rope (grope) program.

  • A particularly oppressive censor might argue that the "X" in "X Window System" is a veiled reference to sexual activity and may (literally) call it X-rated. Such an [expletive deleted] act could render all X-based software as censor-able. (On the other hand, this would also have to apply to such Microsoft "solutions" such as ActiveX and DirectX.)

  • The ispell dictionary files (and likely those of other spell-checkers as well) contain several profanities.

In addition to making the distro "censor-proof", they also want to add features designed exclusively to annoy Australian politicians:

  • The xbill game that is included in many distros will be replaced with an xparliament game. Instead of shooting down the Bill Gateses who are attempting to install Windows on all the computers, in xparliament the objective is to shoot the encroaching Australian politicians who are attempting to install filtering software on all the computers.

  • Kernel error messages will be altered so that, when anything goes wrong, the system blames a random Australian representative who supported the censorship bill.

    Some examples:

    Segmentation fault (core dumped)
    This error brought to you by John Howard, Australian Prime Minister (Of Censorship).

    bash: /root: Permission denied
    Let's hope you weren't trying to access a cache of pornography, or else you'd be in jail courtesy of Senator Brian Herradine!

    Mozilla: Connection reset by peer.
    It's all Senator Richard Alston's fault! Vote for somebody else in the next election!

  • A modified Mozilla browser will warn users against visiting any websites within the .gov.au hierarchy. "Material in this website may not be appropriate for children or adults who value freedom," a pop-up message will say, "If you are absolutely sure you want to enter, please type 'CENSORSHIP SUCKS' on the line below." The Mozilla throbber will change to an animation of a Senator using a rubber stamp to mark "CENSORED" on a stack of computer printouts.

The OzLinux distro is slated for first public release sometime before the end of the year, when the censorship law is supposed take effect (assuming that it does become law).

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