Beware Of Red Hat's April Fool's Day Joke

Fake News written by James Baughn on Saturday, April 1, 2000

from the c:-dos-run-c:-me-fdisk dept.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE, NC -- We here at Humorix have been hearing reports all day long about an April Fool's Day joke embedded in Red Hat Linux 6.0 and above. The joke is a program called "640K" that simulates the MS-DOS 6.66 command line. The joke has fooled quite a large number of people, causing some of them to do foolish things, like fire up FDISK.

One member of our Vast Spy Network(tm) sent in a screenshot showing the April Fool's Day joke in action during bootup:

 Starting MS-DOS... Now booting the MSDOS.SYS kernel... Creating 640K RAM barrier... Loading CD-ROM driver... ERROR:    Competing operating system CD-ROM    found in drive D:.   Disabling CD-ROM interface... Loading mouse driver... ERROR:    Non-Mightgosoft mouse detected.   System will not function properly! Activating Visual Edlin and Visual    Batchfile interfaces... Done. Welcome to Mightgosoft DOS 6.66! (C) Mightgosoft Corporation,   1983-2000. All rights reserved.  Violators of the Mightgosoft Closed   Source License will be sold as slaves   pursuant to UCITA clause 6-1C(a). C:>QUIT Bad command or file name.  C:>EXIT Error: user is an idiot. C:>HELP Help files not found. Please install Mightgosoft DOS 6.66  Plus! Pack, available from your local Mightgosoft Outlet store. C:>CDLINUX Error: user invoked name of competing operating system. Illegal operation performed. User will be punished. C:>REBOOT Warning: this operation is not necessary since MS-DOS is not scheduled to crash for at least 15 more minutes. Proceed anyways (Y/N)? Y Access denied. You have insufficient privileges to perform this operation. Please consult your MS-DOS Operating Manual, page 2,412. C:>FDISK Error: User attempting to modify MS-DOS installation. Illegal operation performed. User will be punished. C:>SCREW YOU, BILL GATES!!!!!!!!!  [CTRL-ALT-DELETE] 

From what we can gather, the joke was slipped in by a bored Red Hat employee. However, some conspiracy nuts have already speculated that a Microsoft mole could be responsible.

Users are certainly not happy about the joke. "I thought that my son had replaced my Linux partition with a DOS partition! Not knowing any better, I fired up FDISK and deleted what I thought was a newly created DOS partition. Of course, it was really Red Hat (or should I say, Black Hat) masquerading as DOS. Now I've lost my Linux install and all of my hand crafted config files that took 3 years to get perfected!"

Indeed, reports of people panicking and using FDISK have been numerous. We here at Humorix would like to issue this public service announcement: Do not touch your FDISK program if your machine appears to be running MS-DOS. Stay calm. Adjust your system clock to April 2nd, and this April Fool's Day madness will be over. Everything will be alright. Do not do anything stupid!

We would ordinarily expect such a prank to generate a firestorm of controversy and cause an angry mob to descend on Red Hat's North Carolina offices. However, that angry mob is still in Holland, Michigan protesting Slashdot's April Fool's Day joke, as previously reported.

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