The Operating System Holy War Erupts Again
Written by James Baughn on June 27, 2000
YAKIMA, WA -- A new front has opened up in the ongoing Software War between two
computer stores in downtown Yakima. Mom & Pop's Olde Time Computer Shoppe fired
the opening salvo by moving all of their Linux merchandise to the
"Entertainment" section in a hidden corner at the back of the store. Soon after,
Colonel Panic's Software Bazaar instituted a new policy requiring customers to
undergo a five-day waiting period before purchasing any Microsoft products. The
town's Freedom To Innovate Association and the Yakima Linux Yakkers User Group
have declared war on each other, with no end in sight.
The whole thing started last Wednesday, when Mom & Pop decided to reorganize
their store. They shuffled Linux stuff to the back, while Microsoft boxes
remained in the "Productivity" section at the front of the store. Soon
thereafter, Advo Casey, the Benevolent Dictator of the Linux Yakkers Group,
discovered the switch. He went on record as saying, "This is an outrage! To
relegate Red Hat Linux to the back of the store next to the dusty bin of
third-rate shareware games is beyond ludicrous! This means war!"
Store co-owners Momar "Mom" Jones and Popeye "Pop" Moyer defended their store's
move. Said Momar, "As far as I'm concerned, Linux is nothing but a game. The
process of repartitioning your hard drive, installing it, configuring it, and
editing lots of incomprehensible text files is a challenge that even the best
computer game couldn't match. That's why we moved it to the 'Entertainment'
Popeye chipped in, "There's nothing productive about Linux. Millions of geeks
and geek wannabees are wasting countless man-hours toiling away in their
basements tinkering and klutzing with Linux to get it to work the way they want.
Heck, we'd discontinue all Linux distros from our inventory if wasn't for those
annoying Linux zealots who swagger in here every day demanding to know why we're
the only store in Washington that doesn't carry Black Hat... or Burned Hat or
Communist Helmet or whatever it's called."
Needless to say, the Linux users in town weren't about to let this go
unchallenged. Kurn L. Hacker, the proprietor of the competing Colonel Panic's
Software Bazaar, immediately took action. He explained, "The Court has ruled
that Microsoft violated Federal anti-trust laws. Ergo, Microsoft is a convicted
felon. My store therefore requires all customers to enter into a five-day
'cooling off period' before purchasing Windows, so they can consider the
ramifications of giving money to a felonious organization. Plus, Microsoft
products have been shown to increase stress -- and therefore heart attacks -- so
this policy is for the health and safety of my customers."
Once the opening shots were fired, the Freedom To Innovate Association sent a
formal Declaration of War to the Linux Yakkers -- in Word .doc format, of
course. The Linux zealots responded with a ping storm aimed at the Mom & Pop
website. Although the situation remained non-violent, a tense confrontation did
occur on Saturday at Franklin City Park, when representatives of both sides got
into a shouting match.
The next day, Mom & Pop dumped all of their remaining Linux inventory into the
river, saying, "What's ten boxes of Red Hat at the bottom of the Yakima River? A
darned good start!" Colonel Panic responded by slapping a "Handling Fee" of
1000% on all Microsoft purchases to cover his "mental anguish and fatigue at
dealing with Microsoft products."
Other than those two incidents, however, the Yakima Linux War has so far been
quiet. Nevertheless, observers expect that intense fighting could erupt at any
time. "This same thing happened last year in Raleigh-Durham," explained one geek
culture expert. "A group of Microsoft lovers started to make a fuss, and the
Linux users all got mad. That was quite a mess."
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