Editor’s Note: Penguins Found at North Pole

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Coping Editor

True story:

I was volunteering at a local hospital one night and an elderly
gentleman walked up to me as I was staring intently at my computer
screen. I greeted him, and without preamble, he said:

“What do you call someone who sits in front of a TV all

Having dealt with SCO, I am used to non-sequitor statements just
popping up out of nowhere, so I thought fast and answered, “Er… a
couch potato?”

He smiled and patted my arm in the way older folks can get away
with without people wanting to sue them for violation of personal

“Very good,” he said. “Now, what do you call someone that sits
in front of a computer all day?”

Several neurons mis-fired when I tried to reply. Finally, I
laughed and surrendered to the joke, “I give up. What do you call
someone that sits in front of a computer all day?”

“A potato chip.” And he laughed at my eyes rolling into my skull
and tottered away.

Groan if you will (I did), but this conversation was the spark
that led to what I hope will be an annual April Fool’s tradition on
Linux Today: Tell ‘Em If You Got ‘Em.

Linux Today has asked several prominent members of the free
software and open source community to send in the jokes that they
have found amusing. It will be an enlightening (and possibly scary)
look into the senses of humor of some of the community’s most
interesting people. Thanks to all who participated this year!

If you want to join in, by all means, add your own humorous
tale/joke/anecdote in the Talkbacks. (Just keep it rated PG-13,

And now, without further ado, we present the First Ever Tell ‘Em
If You’ve Got ‘Em!

Richard Stallman, President, Free Software Foundation

I doubt this will win a contest, but I am pleased with it.

Someone found a way to generate audio output from the data that
GCC is handling. Using this to listen to the events leading up to
an GNAT failure, he thought it reminded him of insects.

So he asked a GNAT developer, “Is this the sound of a swarm of
gnats?” The developer told him, “No, that’s the song of the sick

(These events are fictional.)

Eric S. Raymond, President, Open Source Institute

Here are two of my favorite riddles:

Q: How many Surrealists does it take to change
a lightbulb?
A: Two. One to hold the giraffe, and the other to
fill the bathtub with brightly colared machine parts.

Q: Do you know why the Buddha couldn’t vacuum
under the couch?
A: Because he had no attachments.

Gaël Duval, Founder Mandrakelinux

Q: How many Microsoft engineers does it take to
change a light bulb?
A: None. Bill Gates will just redefine
Darkness(TM) as the new ndustry standard.

Pamela Jones, Editor, Groklaw

A guy is taking a walk and sees a frog on the side of the road.
As he comes closer, the frog starts to talk. “Kiss me and I will
turn into a princess.” The guy picks the frog up and puts it in his
pocket. The frog starts shouting, “Hey! Didn’t you hear me? I’m a
Princess. Just kiss me and I will be yours.” The guy takes the frog
out of his pocket and smiles at it and puts it back. The frog is
really frustrated. “I don’t get it. Why won’t you kiss me? I will
turn into a beautiful princess and do anything you ask.” The guy
says, “Look, I’m a computer geek. I don’t have time for girls. But
a talking frog is cool.”

If IBM made toasters…
They would want one big toaster where people bring bread to be
submitted for overnight toasting. IBM would claim a worldwide
market for five, maybe six toasters.

If Xerox made toasters…
You could toast one-sided or double-sided. Successive slices would
get lighter and lighter. The toaster would jam your bread for

If Radio Shack made toasters…
The staff would sell you a toaster, but not know anything about it.
Or you could buy all the parts to build your own toaster.

If University of Waterloo made toasters…
They would immediately spin off a company called WatToast.

If ParcPlace made toasters…
Their OO building block system would be called EGGO.

If Oracle made toasters…
They’d claim their toaster was compatible with all brands and
styles of bread, but when you got it home you’d discover the Bagel
Engine was still in development, the Croissant Extension was three
years away, and that indeed the whole appliance was just blowing

If Sun made toasters…
The toast would burn often, but you could get a really good cuppa

Does DEC still make toasters?…
They made good toasters in the ’80s, didn’t they?

If Tandem made toasters…
You could make toast 24 hours a day, and if a piece got burned the
toaster would automatically toast you a new one.

If Thinking Machines made toasters…
You would be able to toast 64,000 pieces of bread at the same

If Cray made toasters…
They would cost $16 million but would be faster than any other
single-slice toaster in the world.

If The Rand Corporation made toasters…
It would be a large, perfectly smooth and seamless black cube.
Every morning there would be a piece of toast on top of it. Their
service department would have an unlisted phone number, and the
blueprints for the box would be highly classified government
documents. The X-Files would have an episode about it.

If the NSA made toasters…
Your toaster would have a secret trap door that only the NSA could
access in case they needed to get at your toast for reasons of
national security.

If Sony made toasters…
The ToastMan, which would be barely larger than the single piece of
bread it is meant to toast, can be conveniently attached to your

If Timex made toasters…
They would be cheap and small quartz-crystal wrist toasters that
take a licking and keep on toasting.

If Fisher Price made toasters…
“Baby’s First Toaster” would have a hand-crank that you turn to
toast the bread that pops up like a Jack-in-the-box.

If the Franklin Mint made toasters…
Every month, you would receive another lovely hand-crafted piece of
your authentic hand-crafted Civil War pewter toaster.

If CostCo made toasters…
They’d be really cheap, as long as you bought a six-pack of

And, of course:
If Microsoft made toasters…
Every time you bought a loaf of bread, you would have to buy a
toaster. You wouldn’t have to take the toaster, but you’d still
have to pay for it anyway. Toaster’95 would weigh 15000 pounds
(hence requiring a reinforced steel countertop), draw enough
electricity to power a small city, take up 95% of the space in your
kitchen, would claim to be the first toaster that lets you control
how light or dark you want your toast to be, and would secretly
interrogate your other appliances to find out who made them.
Everyone would hate Microsoft toasters, but nonetheless would buy
them since most of the good bread only works with their

If Apple made toasters…
It would do everything the Microsoft toaster does, but 5 years

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