Coming Soon To A Fridge Near You: Unix

Fake News written by Justin Morgan on Wednesday, January 5, 2005

from the well-unix-is-better-than-eunuchs dept.

NEW JERSEY -- Much to the surprise of SCO and everybody else, AT&T Bell Laboratories, the original creators of the Unix operating system, announced today that they would be returning to the scene of Unix innovation.

"In the past, we laughed at all of the commotion on the sidelines," said an anonymous official at the Labs. "But now we think there's still life left in our creation, and we want to try our hands at world domination too, you know."

But what about trying their feet? A recently patented design sketch reveals just what they've been up to: Unix ported to footwear.

"We thought to ourselves: 'What is the biggest advantage that Unix holds over Windows?'" explained a Bell Labs spokesperson. "Everyone 'round the table said 'portability' simultaneously. So we started off with a port to one of our design engineer's shoes, and the test worked perfectly -- with no code rewrites."

Bell Labs may be celebrating their innovation, but some legal observers are crying foul. Said one lawyer who happened to be available for comment, "What part of anti-trust settlement do these people not understand?"

But the institution doesn't seem to care. "Unix will once again be a household name," the spokesperson cheered. "We plan to port it to everything. You'll find Unix in your tables and your chairs, your socks, your pencils and pens, your coffee machine -- everywhere. All thanks to its famous architecture-independent design."

The port-Unix-to-everything craze was started by the NetBSD project in 1993. Porting it to more and more computer architectures was progressively tedious, however, with only a tiny subset of Slashdot posters having tested the Playstation 2 version of NetBSD. Project leaders hope that ports of Unix to more commonly-used domestic items will be far more popular.

"I just can't wait to point at my fridge and say to someone, 'Of course it runs NetBSD'," said an anonymous user on an Internet forum last year.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has already started to port Unix to digital wristwatches.

"We've finally found the answer to the age-old question, 'What's the best thing since sliced bread?'," said a beaming MIT technician. "It's Unix on a watch."

The technician offered Humorix reporters an exclusive preview of the technology in their specially-built lawsuit-proof laboratory, but an initial logistics calculation showed that signing all the necessary paperwork would take longer than the mass-market distribution process for the new product.

"You only need a digital watch with two buttons as a minimum," the technician told us. "That's one for vi and one for Emacs, of course."

A voice-recognition interface is planned for domestic items running Unix, and researchers feel that one day everybody's home will be Unix-enabled, and linked by a wireless network.

"You'll soon be able to walk into your living room, Telnet into your remote control, and pass commands to your television," the technician continued. "I'm looking forward to being able to pipe the QVC channel to /dev/null."

Of course, it wasn't long before Slashdot got wind of the whole idea, and posters were demanding Linux ports. They pointed to the kitchen sink version of Linux, developed in June 2004. A flame war quickly erupted over which window manager would be the standard for Linux/Unix-enabled domestic items running X11.

"We think it depends on the architecture you port to," said the MIT technician when we mentioned the flame war. "Twm might look great on some items of furniture, FVWM would probably be a good choice when we port to cats, Enlightenment would go well with Gothic architectures, and so on."

In response to the news, Microsoft resorted to typical FUD tactics. "I shudder to think about all of the horrible disasters that could occur if this technology is widely adopted," ranted a Microsoft spokesdroid. "What if you lose the root password to the fridge, or if somebody chmod's your bed? What if a hacker pipes the output of your shredder to the input of your sink, or the output of the stereo to the input of the washing machine? Oh the humanity!"

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