Warning Labels Applied To vi, emacs

Fake News written by William S. on Thursday, August 5, 2004

from the colon-zee-zee dept.

RALEIGH-DURHAM, NC -- It all started as an innocent prank. A Red Hat engineer and Emacs fanatic changed the RPM description for vi to include the warning, "WARNING: This program contains concentrated, obscure commands. The stress from prolonged usage of vi may result in uncontrollable pulling of hair, leading to permanent hair loss and high blood pressure."

Soon after, a co-worker shot back by applying this warning label to Emacs: "CAUTION: This product consumes ungodly amounts of memory and swap space. For best performance, do not run Emacs concurrently with any other programs more complicated than fortune(6)."

Now other Linux distributions, fearing that Red Hat was forced to apply the warnings to fend off potential lawsuits, have also attached warnings. "Obviously Red Hat knows something we don't," explained a developer for SuSE. "The SCO fiasco was a real eye-opener for the need to protect ourselves against litiguous bastardry. We don't want to take any chances... what if somebody has a heart attack because of frustration from trying to get something done in vi?"

As a result of their fear of lawyers, SuSE has created special "Installation Messages" for YaST that will display warning messages and confirmation prompts before certain "high-risk" programs are installed.

Mandrake has taken the extra step of augmenting text editors to detect certain "stressful" programming languages. For instance, when you attempt to write Perl code in any text editor, a warning dialog says, "WARNING: Perl is illegible no matter how hard you try to make it so."

A spokesdroid for Microsoft was quick to take advantage of the situation to slam Linux. "Windows does not require such 'warning labels'. The ease-of-use, quality, and security of Microsoft solutions are top-notch and will never form the grounds for a lawsuit. This is undeniable proof that Windows is superior to Linux.

RMS was not available for comment at press time.

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