Linux Ported To "Stone-Age Flint Chips"

Fake News written by James Baughn on Friday, October 22, 1999

from the think-free-heat-not-free-beer dept.

"I can't imagine why Windows NT users would want to switch to Linux. This way of thinking is like saying, 'The latest, most advanced stone-age flint chips ever sold. Trade your gas furnace for one today!'"
   -- Anthony O'Krongly, author of yet another anti-Linux diatribe

In response to that statement, a group of Linux longhairs are vowing to "fight fire with fire" with "Flintix", a new Linux distro designed to efficiently generate heat using stone age technology.

"Gas furnaces are overrated," the webmaster of the new Flintix portal website explained. "Not only do they require proprietary fuel only available from large corporations, but they have a tendency to explode. They suffer periodic breakdowns and require regular maintenance from professionals. Just like Windows."

The Flintix crew argues that "stone age technology" doesn't suffer from those drawbacks. "Burning wood, or rubbing two flint chips together... both of these techniques efficiently and inexpensively produce heat without the risk of combustion, mechanical failures, or carbon monoxide poisoning. Just like Linux. This technology forms the perfect platform for a Linux port."

A pre-alpha Flintix release for certain wood cook stove models is already available. Fireplace-insert stoves, campfire pits, flint chips, BBQ grills, and magnifying glasses should be supported within the next six months. The Boy Scouts of America organization has expressed interest in the software and may work on a version for two-sticks-rubbed-together as a national project.

Explained one Flintix developer, "Obviously, these types of platforms impose certain restrictions. However, we have learned much from other Linux porting efforts to tin cans, abacusses, Homer Simpson's brain, and Zangelding, so we don't foresee any major problems with this architecture. We, of course, won't be able to port every feature of Linux, but since we're only interested in generating heat, the results should be more than acceptable."

The Flintix group showed a live demonstration of the system running on a freestanding stove. This particular stove had two wheels in front that could be turned to regulate the flow of oxygen to the fire. These were also used as a rudimentary input device: commands could be entered by turning the wheels in certain patterns. The pre-alpha system did not have a working output mechanism; however, kernel panics or serious errors would trigger the smoke alarms installed in the building.

The Flintix website lists some of the features that are planned, include:

  • Multiuser support. The system will remember the temperature preference of each user and adjust the level of heat output when that person enters or exits the building.

  • "Vacation Mode". Flintix will reduce heat output to a level high enough to prevent freezing of pipes, but low enough to conserve wood, over an extended period of time.

  • Tripwire Mechanism. A string can be attached to the stove and spread out across the floor. If a burglar breaks in and trips over the wire, the system activates and releases a huge cloud of smoke that triggers the smoke alarms and hopefully scares off the criminal.

  • Firewall and built-in security. The Flintix-enabled stove can be built behind a brick firewall that will prevent unauthorized access to the system.

(Needless to say, some of these features may not be applicable to Flintix versions for flint chips, campfires, or magnifying glasses.)

The existence of this Linux port should dispell any myths that "New Technology" is always better. So what if Linux is based on 70's technology? So what if wood-burning stoves rely on "Stone Age" innovations?

Representatives from Microsoft, OPEC, and Associated Natural Gas were all unavailable for comment at press time. The stocks for several fireplace manufacturers were up slightly as this story went to press.

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