What Do Al Gore And Linus Torvalds Have In Common?

Fake News written by James Baughn on Monday, September 27, 1999

from the when-lawyers-attack dept.

...They are both the target of lawsuits filed last Friday. Al Gore, the self-proclaimed "inventor" of the Internet, is now a defendant in a lawsuit claiming that he is liable for the Internet gambling addiction the plaintiffs have suffered. Linus Torvalds, the Linux Head Honcho, is embroiled in another lawsuit over mental problems caused by severe Linux addiction.

A representative for the law firm of Dewey, Cheetam, & Howe, which is pursuing the Al Gore case, said, "Mr. Gore made it quite clear in an interview that, while serving in the US Congress, he 'took the initiative in creating the Internet.' Moreover, our clients have suffered from day-trading addiction made possible by Mr. Gore's invention. This gambling addiction has led to broken families, bankruptcies, and immeasurable mental anguish. Al Gore must be held responsible."

One legal observer Humorix interviewed says that the case has strong backing. "If the State builds a highway that contains dangerous potholes, and somebody is hurt when their car is swallowed by one, the State is liable. Likewise, if a private citizen like Mr. Gore builds an Information Superhighway containing dangerous elements, and a group of people are hurt as a result, then Gore is liable. It's just that simple..."

He added, "Heck, if somebody can sue over Pokemon addiction, then Internet addiction should be a piece of cake."

Dewey, Cheetam, & Howe is also pursuing the Linus Torvalds lawsuit. Said Mr. Dewey, head attorney for the law firm, "Our clients have a severe addiction to the Linux operating system that Mr. (or should I say Dr.?) Linus Torvalds created. He must be held liable."

Court documents filed by Mr. Dewer enumerate the ways that his five clients, aged 16 to 43, have become addicted to Linux:

  • Each has spent, on average, $7,542 per year on upgraded hardware and Internet access (one installed a fractional T1 to run a Linux FTP server) to satisfy their addiction.

  • All spend at least 2 hours per day (including weekends) surfing Slashdot alone. LinuxToday and other Linux portals account for 1.5 hours.

  • All have purchased several hundred shares of Red Hat and Corel stock. Said one plaintiff, "I have an overwhelming urge to invest in Andover, LinuxOne, and VA Linux when they come available, but I'm almost broke. I'll have to eat less or something to afford it."

  • They obsessively download the latest kernel versions (including all Alan Cox ac-patches) and compile them. "The only new kernel I haven't downloaded in the past year is 2.0.38," one litigant said.

  • The youngest client, a high school student, got in trouble at school for installing Linux on a Windows 98 box in the lab.

  • None of them can take a vacation for any extended period of time because they suffer Linux withdrawl victims. "I had a nervous breakdown in Cancun," said one client. "Thankfully somebody in our tour group had a laptop with wireless Net access and I was able to get my fix."

  • The most addicted client, Mr. Linn Icks, was given the Linux Advocate Of The Year Award last month by Humorix.

  • One client is divorced as a direct result of his addiction. His wife said, "It's either me or your [expletive] operating system", to which he responded, "That's easy. I'll take Linux." None of the others have dated in the last three years.

  • Two of the addicts were fired at work from obsessively browsing Slashdot and LinuxToday during office hours. Both are employed in "food services" (read: McDonalds), although they hope to land a Linux-related job when some company that's actually heard of Linux moves into their regions.

In addition to pursuing monetary damages, the plaintiffs want the court to issue an injunction against Mr. Torvalds from releasing any more kernel patches until he incorporates anti-addiction features into the operating system. According to court documents, they want the Linux kernel to, among other things, "periodically halt, displaying a 'go outside' message that will force the user to step away from their machine and go outside and get some fresh air."

Al Gore and Linus Torvalds were unavailable for comment at press time. As a result of the impending lawsuits, Red Hat stock dropped 5 1/2 points today, and Al Gore's approval rating slid 1.25% according to a poll conducted by the "Bureaucracy Blurb", a DC-based newspaper.

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