Well, it’s April Fool’s Day once again, and that means it’s time to have some fun with recent news from the world of FOSS.
For example: Did you hear the SCO Group won its six-year case against Novell? Ha! That’s because it didn’t — thank goodness.
And what about Sony’s decision to make its PlayStation 3 platform all-Linux, all the time? Oof. We wish.
Sometimes the real headlines sound like they should be practical jokes — like that last one, in particular. Fortunately, the past few days have been awash with other genuinely good news.
Document Freedom Day
To wit: Lucid Lynx has entered beta!
Red Hat, meanwhile, reported another banner year!
And what about those first-ever Linux.com gurus, whose names were just announced?!
As if we needed more, Wednesday was Document Freedom Day!!
Yes, with special thanks to Novell and none to Sony, good times have been had by most in the Linux community of late.
Linuxy Easter Eggs
Then, of course, there’s the fact that the fun has just barely begun, because Easter is this Sunday!
It’s hard to imagine better Linuxy entertainment than looking for Easter Eggs, and that’s just what TechSource’s Jun Auza highlighted recently.
Auza began a few weeks ago by revealing some cool Easter Eggs in OpenOffice.org.
Wanda the Fish
On Wednesday, a follow-up uncovered what Auza called the “Top 50 Software Easter Eggs of All Time.”
Among Linux Girl’s favorites? Egg No. 9 on Auza’s list: Gnome’s Wanda the Fish.
Her recent look at software bloat notwithstanding, your trusty reporter thought it might be fun to explore the Linuxy Easter Eggs further. We’re all giddy with joy over the SCO resolution, after all — why not have a little more fun?
‘You’re Kidding, Right?’
“You’re kidding, right?” Slashdot blogger hairyfeet exclaimed. “Here we are just after you do an article on bloat and we are talking about adding code that 99.999% will never see.
“Doesn’t anyone remember history?” hairyfeet continued. “Easter Eggs were mainly popularized by Atari programmers because Atari refused to give them credit for their work.”
Now, in 2010, “everybody gets credit, so why on this green Earth would you want to waste time and code cooking up Easter Eggs when there is plenty of real work to be done?” he asked.
‘No Room for Extraneous Stuff’
Similarly: “AAAGGGGHHHHH!!! not the eggs!” was blogger Robert Pogson’s reaction. “Don’t we have enough bloated software with excess features? Now we have excess hidden features. Come on guys, concentrate on the product! Please!”
Easter Eggs in non-FOSS software used to be viewed as “rebellious expressions by oppressed workers,” Pogson told LinuxInsider. “I do not see that applying here.
“My first recollection of such eggs was in file dumps on PDP11s we used for data collection,” he recalled. “There were snide little comments in the garbage at the end of files or some such nonsense. I thought it was funny then.”
Now, of course, “we have malware,” Pogson pointed out. “There is no room for extraneous stuff in software. KISS applies.”
Slashdot blogger David Masover, on the other hand, got right into the spirit by suggesting a list of entertaining Unix commands.
They may not be Easter Eggs, but they’re still lots of fun!
So, too, is the classic Emacs ‘doctor’ command, which Masover also suggested.
Who needs the PS3 when there’s fun like this, just for the asking!
‘Easter Eggs Suck Eggs’
The mention of Easter eggs took Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson, who goes by “Tom” on the site, all the way back to the pre-PC days, “when holding down a key and pressing the reset button brought up a bitmap picture of the 3 guys who did basic for the Tandy Color Computer. Some nobody named Bill Gates…”
Nevertheless, “Easter eggs suck eggs,” in Hudson’s opinion, most notably for “bloat, bloat, bloat, bloat, bloat, bloat, bloat, bloat, bloat, bloat,” she said.
Then too there’s the taint of unprofessionalism and the increased number of potential bugs and security holes that go along with more code, Hudson noted.
An April Fool’s Easter Egg
“Sure, you can put Easter eggs in games, but now they’re in work applications and DVD menus,” she said.
For her part, Hudson prefers the April Fool’s Easter Egg: “Tell someone there’s an Easter egg in their favorite program and give them a complicated sequence of keystrokes and mouse clicks to activate it…. ‘you must have done it wrong — try again …'”
Looking for more ways to torment your fellow geeks on April Fool’s Day? Then you may want to check out some useful suggestions on The Geek Stuff, or on TuxMachines as well as a 2009 post on Linux Today.
Happy Fooling! 😉