Gospel according to Tux.

Written by Chuck Rush, 1999/08/28

The Gospel of Tux (v1.0)

In the beginning Turing created the Machine.

And the Machine was crufty and bodacious, existing in theory only. And von
Neumann looked upon the Machine, and saw that it was crufty. He divided the
Machine into two Abstractions, the Data and the Code, and yet the two were
one Architecture. This is a great Mystery, and the beginning of wisdom.

And von Neumann spoke unto the Architecture, and blessed it, saying, "Go
forth and replicate, freely exchanging data and code, and bring forth all
manner of devices unto the earth." And it was so, and it was cool. The
Architecture prospered and was implemented in hardware and software. And it
brought forth many Systems unto the earth.

The first Systems were mighty giants; many great works of renown did they
accomplish. Among them were Colossus, the codebreaker; ENIAC, the targeter;
EDSAC and MULTIVAC and all manner of froody creatures ending in AC, the
experimenters; and SAGE, the defender of the sky and father of all
networks. These were the mighty giants of old, the first children of
Turing, and their works are written in the Books of the Ancients. This was
the First Age, the age of Lore.

Now the sons of Marketing looked upon the children of Turing, and saw that
they were swift of mind and terse of name and had many great and baleful
attributes. And they said unto themselves, "Let us go now and make us
Corporations, to bind the Systems to our own use that they may bring us
great fortune." With sweet words did they lure their customers, and with
many chains did they bind the Systems, to fashion them after their own
image. And the sons of Marketing fashioned themselves Suits to wear, the
better to lure their customers, and wrote grave and perilous Licenses, the
better to bind the Systems. And the sons of Marketing thus became known as
Suits, despising and being despised by the true Engineers, the children of
von Neumann.

And the Systems and their Corporations replicated and grew numerous upon
the earth. In those days there were IBM and Digital, Burroughs and
Honeywell, Unisys and Rand, and many others. And they each kept to their
own System, hardware and software, and did not interchange, for their
Licences forbade it. This was the Second Age, the age of Mainframes.

Now it came to pass that the spirits of Turing and von Neumann looked upon
the earth and were displeased. The Systems and their Corporations had grown
large and bulky, and Suits ruled over true Engineers. And the Customers
groaned and cried loudly unto heaven, saying, "Oh that there would be
created a System mighty in power, yet small in size, able to reach into the
very home!" And the Engineers groaned and cried likewise, saying, "Oh, that
a deliverer would arise to grant us freedom from these oppressing Suits and
their grave and perilous Licences, and send us a System of our own, that we
may hack therein!" And the spirits of Turing and von Neumann heard the
cries and were moved, and said unto each other, "Let us go down and
fabricate a Breakthrough, that these cries may be stilled."

And that day the spirits of Turing and von Neumann spake unto Moore of
Intel, granting him insight and wisdom to understand the future. And Moore
was with chip, and he brought forth the chip and named it 4004. And Moore
did bless the Chip, saying, "Thou art a Breakthrough; with my own
Corporation have I fabricated thee. Thou thou art yet as small as a dust
mote, yet shall thou grow and replicate unto the size of a mountain, and
conquer all before thee. This blessing I give unto thee: every eighteen
months shall thou double in capacity, until the end of the age." This is
Moore's Law, which endures unto this day.

And the birth of 4004 was the beginning of the Third Age, the age of
Microchips. And as the Mainframes and their Systems and Corporations had
flourished, so did the Microchips and their Systems and Corporations. And
their lineage was on this wise:

Moore begat Intel. Intel begat Mostech, Zilog and Atari. Mostech begat
6502, and Zilog begat Z80. Intel also begat 8800, who begat Altair; and
8086, mother of all PCs. 6502 begat Commodore, who begat PET and 64; and
Apple, who begat 2. (Apple is the great Mystery, the Fruit that was
devoured, yet bloomed again.) Atari begat 800 and 1200, masters of the
game, who were destroyed by Sega and Nintendo. Xerox begat PARC. Commodore
and PARC begat Amiga, creator of fine arts; Apple and PARC begat Lisa, who
begat Macintosh, who begat iMac. Atari and PARC begat ST, the music maker,
who died and was no more. Z80 begat Sinclair the dwarf, TRS-80 and CP/M,
who begat many machines, but soon passed from this world. Altair, Apple and
Commodore together begat Microsoft, the Great Darkness which is called
Abomination, Destroyer of the Earth, the Gates of Hell.

Now it came to pass in the Age of Microchips that IBM, the greatest of the
Mainframe Corporations, looked upon the young Microchip Systems and was
greatly vexed. And in their vexation and wrath they smote the earth and
created the IBM PC. The PC was without sound and colour, crufty and
bodacious in great measure, and its likeness was a tramp, yet the Customers
were greatly moved and did purchase the PC in great numbers. And IBM sought
about for an Operating System Provider, for in their haste they had not
created one, nor had they forged a suitably grave and perilous License,
saying, "First we will build the market, then we will create a new System,
one in our own image, and bound by our Licence." But they reasoned thus out
of pride and not wisdom, not forseeing the wrath which was to come.

And IBM came unto Microsoft, who licensed unto them QDOS, the child of CP/M
and 8086. (8086 was the daughter of Intel, the child of Moore). And QDOS
grew, and was named MS-DOS. And MS-DOS and the PC together waxed mighty,
and conquered all markets, replicating and taking possession thereof, in
accordance with Moore's Law. And Intel grew terrible and devoured all her
children, such that no chip could stand before her. And Microsoft grew
proud and devoured IBM, and this was a great marvel in the land. All these
things are written in the Books of the Deeds of Microsoft.

In the fullness of time MS-DOS begat Windows. And this is the lineage of
Windows: CP/M begat QDOS. QDOS begat DOS 1.0. DOS 1.0 begat DOS 2.0 by way
of Unix. DOS 2.0 begat Windows 3.11 by way of PARC and Macintosh. IBM and
Microsoft begat OS/2, who begat Windows NT and Warp, the lost OS of lore.
Windows 3.11 begat Windows 95 after triumphing over Macintosh in a mighty
Battle of Licences. Windows NT begat NT 4.0 by way of Windows 95. NT 4.0
begat NT 5.0, the OS also called Windows 2000, The Millenium Bug, Doomsday,

Armageddon, The End Of All Things.

Now it came to pass that Microsoft had waxed great and mighty among the
Microchip Corporations; mighter than any of the Mainframe Corporations
before it had it waxed. And Gates' heart was hardened, and he swore unto
his Customers and their Engineers the words of this curse:

"Children of von Neumann, hear me. IBM and the Mainframe Corporations bound
thy forefathers with grave and perilous Licences, such that ye cried unto
the spirits of Turing and von Neumann for deliverance. Now I say unto ye: I
am greater than any Corporation before me. Will I loosen your Licences?
Nay, I will bind thee with Licences twice as grave and ten times more
perilous than my forefathers. I will engrave my Licence on thy heart and
write my Serial Number upon thy frontal lobes. I will bind thee to the
Windows Platform with cunning artifices and with devious schemes. I will
bind thee to the Intel Chipset with crufty code and with gnarly APIs. I
will capture and enslave thee as no generation has been enslaved before.
And wherefore will ye cry then unto the spirits of Turing, and von Neumann,
and Moore? They cannot hear ye. I am become a greater Power than they. Ye
shall cry only unto me, and shall live by my mercy and my wrath. I am the
Gates of Hell; I hold the portal to MSNBC and the keys to the Blue Screen
of Death. Be ye afraid; be ye greatly afraid; serve only me, and live."

And the people were cowed in terror and gave homage to Microsoft, and
endured the many grave and perilous trials which the Windows platform and
its greatly bodacious Licence forced upon them. And once again did they cry
to Turing and von Neumann and Moore for a deliverer, but none was found
equal to the task until the birth of Linux.

These are the generations of Linux:

SAGE begat ARPA, which begat TCP/IP, and Aloha, which begat Ethernet. Bell
begat Multics, which begat C, which begat Unix. Unix and TCP/IP begat
Internet, which begat the World Wide Web. Unix begat RMS, father of the
great GNU, which begat the Libraries and Emacs, chief of the Utilities. In
the days of the Web, Internet and Ethernet begat the Intranet LAN, which
rose to renown among all Corporations and prepared the way for the Penguin.

And Linus and the Web begat the Kernel through Unix. The Kernel, the
Libraries and the Utilities together are the Distribution, the one Penguin
in many forms, forever and ever praised.

Now in those days there was in the land of Helsinki a young scholar named
Linus the Torvald. Linus was a devout man, a disciple of RMS and mighty in
the spirit of Turing, von Neumann and Moore. One day as he was meditating
on the Architecture, Linus fell into a trance and was granted a vision. And
in the vision he saw a great Penguin, serene and well-favoured, sitting
upon an ice floe eating fish. And at the sight of the Penguin Linus was
deeply afraid, and he cried unto the spirits of Turing, von Neumann and
Moore for an interpretation of the dream.

And in the dream the spirits of Turing, von Neumann and Moore answered and
spoke unto him, saying, "Fear not, Linus, most beloved hacker. You are
exceedingly cool and froody. The great Penguin which you see is an
Operating System which you shall create and deploy unto the earth. The
ice-floe is the earth and all the systems thereof, upon which the Penguin
shall rest and rejoice at the completion of its task. And the fish on which
the Penguin feeds are the crufty Licensed codebases which swim beneath all
the earth's systems. The Penguin shall hunt and devour all that is crufty,
gnarly and bodacious; all code which wriggles like spaghetti, or is
infested with blighting creatures, or is bound by grave and perilous
Licences shall it capture. And in capturing shall it replicate, and in
replicating shall it document, and in documentation shall it bring freedom,
serenity and most cool froodiness to the earth and all who code therein."

Linus rose from meditation and created a tiny Operating System Kernel as
the dream had foreshewn him; in the manner of RMS, he released the Kernel
unto the World Wide Web for all to take and behold. And in the fulness of
Internet Time the Kernel grew and replicated, becoming most cool and
exceedingly froody, until at last it was recognised as indeed a great and
mighty Penguin, whose name was Tux. And the followers of Linus took refuge
in the Kernel, the Libraries and the Utilities; they installed Distribution
after Distribution, and made sacrifice unto the GNU and the Penguin, and
gave thanks to the spirits of Turing, von Neumann and Moore, for their
deliverance from the hand of Microsoft. And this was the beginning of the
Fourth Age, the age of Open Source.

Now there is much more to be said about the exceeding strange and wonderful
events of those days; how some Suits of Microsoft plotted war upon the
Penguin, but were discovered on a Halloween Eve; how Gates fell among
lawyers and was betrayed and crucified by his former friends, the apostles
of Media; how the mercenary Knights of the Red Hat brought the gospel of
the Penguin into the halls of the Corporations; and even of the dispute
between the brethren of Gnome and KDE over a trollish Licence. But all
these things are recorded elsewhere, in the Books of the Deeds of the
Penguin and the Chronicles of the Fourth Age, and I suppose if they were
all narrated they would fill a stack of DVDs as deep and perilous as a
Usenet Newsgroup.

Now may you code in the power of the Source; may the Kernel, the Libraries
and the Utilities be with you, throughout all Distributions, until the end
of the Epoch. Amen.