Linux Ported To Kitchen Sinks

Fake News written by James Baughn on Wednesday, June 2, 2004

from the here-come-the-coredumping-toilets dept.

Arguing that "kitchen sinks and Emacs were meant for each other," one Linux hacker has released a Linux distribution specifically designed for household plumbing. Named Pipemacs, the new system provides a complete Linux environment (including Emacs) for pipes, sinks, toilets, septic tanks, hot water heaters, and even ice makers.

"We've all joked that Emacs includes everything except the kitchen sink," said Eric Fretime, the brainchild behind Pipemacs. "But despite all of the talk, nobody has actually tried to put the two together... Until now."

Unfortunately, Pipemacs has fairly stringent system requirements and will not work on all plumbing hardware. "I had to upgrade the thermostat in my hot water heater to include an embedded microprocessor which can act as the central server for my plumbing network. Each node in the system communicates through the pipe hardware using the IP-over-PVC protocol. The ice machine in my refrigerator acts as the router, connecting the plumbing network to the larger Internet."

While at first glance the Pipemacs platform seems rather useless, Fretime has developed several practical applications:

  • Security system. When the system detects a break-in, a garden hose activates and sprays the intruder with a high-pressure jet of water, knocking him down until the police arrive.

  • Septic system monitor. The 'methaned' daemon, running on the toilet, constantly monitors the level of methane in the system and can automatically contact a plumber if the septic tank backs up.

  • Personalized showers. A voice-activated shower head allows the user to set the desired water temperature and pressure. "This feature has really helped me conserve water," Fretime said. "Not only can I take faster showers without fumbling with the knobs to get the right temperature, but I can write a program in Lisp to automatically shut the hot water off after five minutes when my teenager takes a shower, preventing him from wasting water."

In the future, Fretime hopes to release Pipemacs 2.0, which will include support for Mozilla and Perl. "This Linux distro isn't going to be finished until I can run the world's most bloated browser and programming language on the world's most bloated plumbing system. I want to be able to surf the Web using my outdoor sprinkler system and run regexes on my washing machine..."

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