by Leonard Richardson
Published on segfault.org 11/24/2000
A team of journalists has set out to make Linux incompatible with itself. Rebuffed throughout the ages by countless failed predictions of kernel forks, these mavericks have decided to take the code into their own hands. Called "Windix" for maximum brand confusion, the pundit-approved kernel will be subtly but definitively incompatible with the current Linux kernel.
"It's time to stop talking about whether Linux will fork and what will happen if it does," said one ZDNet reporter. "It's time for action. And Windix is that. Thing."
"We're sick of eating crow," said an anonymous industry veteran. "I've been predicting a Linux fork for the past six years, and my editor is starting to get suspicious whenever I turn in another what-if fragmentation scenario. I think he's starting to suspect that I'm using a Perl script to write them."
The Windix kernel will feature an incompatible ext3-like filesystem, "extended ELF" binary support, and a broken TCP/IP implementation which will allow Windix systems to communicate only with each other. Some of the source code for the new kernel will be made publically avaliable, some will be made avaliable under NDA, and some will remain proprietary, under the freakish interpretation of the GPL under which the trade press operates.
Since all existing programs will have to be recompiled to work under Windix, a binary distribution sharing the Windix name is planned, avaliable only for the PowerMac. A text-only, shell-script-driven install will be the only installation option, allowing journalists to dust off their "Installation Nightmare Story" Perl scripts. Neither GNOME, KDE, or X will be included in the distribution, since "Linux has no GUI, dammit."
If the Windix project succeeds, members of the trade press also plan a wholesale combination of StarOffice and Mozilla, a BeOS-Linux hybrid, and other boneheaded moves that the general coding public selfishly refuses to undertake for the benefit of the pundits.
The success of the project seems in doubt, however, as serious obstacles loom ahead. Major resellers like VA Linux and Penguin Computing have already pledged to completely ignore the Windix kernel. The possibility also exists that the Windix project itself could fork into mutually compatible kernels, each competing for mindshare and greater standards compliance. If this happens, the ultimate failure could occur—the folding of Windix code into the mainline Linux kernel.
The Windix project, however, feels confident that this will never happen. "This code is going to be so bad that no one will want to use it, much less incoporate it into the Linux kernel," said one industry analyst turned software analyst. "We will be vindicated."
A spokesman for the FreeBSD project was quoted as jumping up and down and saying "Hey, look at us! The BSD tree forks all the time! How about some press coverage, bucko!"
This document (source) is part of Crummy, the webspace of Leonard Richardson (contact information). It was last modified on Wednesday, January 24 2007, 04:55:56 Nowhere Standard Time and last built on Tuesday, September 23 2014, 06:00:03 Nowhere Standard Time.