UNIX for the PC (Politically Correct)
August 1, 2009 § Leave a comment
While cleaning up one of my old websites, I decided to move the technical-related articles to this blog. I’m starting with a document I wrote back in 1993 that was accepted on the USENIX newsgroup rec.humor.funny. This was all pre-Linux, so the whole concept of UNIX on a Personal Computer was itself something of a joke!
The humor is certainly a bit dated, but Google still finds over 5,000 copies (alas, mostly uncredited). Yes, I really did write this myself.
Much later, this also formed the basis for a surprisingly successful Apple Fool’s Day marketing request — but that’s another story. :-}
UNIX for the PC
Ernest N. Prabhakar, June, 1993
In order for UNIX(tm) to survive into the nineties, it must get rid of its intimidating commands and outmoded jargon, and become compatible with the existing standards of our day. To this end, our technicians have come up with a new version of UNIX, System VI, for use by the PC that is, the “Politically Correct.”
Politically Correct UNIX
System VI Release notes
“man” pages are now called “person” pages.
Similarly, “hangman” is now the “person_executed_by_an_oppressive_regime.”
To avoid casting aspersions on our feline friends, the “cat” command is now merely “domestic_quadruped.”
To date, there has only been a UNIX command for “yes” – reflecting the male belief that women always mean yes, even when they say no. To address this imbalance, System VI adds a “no” command, along with a “-f[orce]” option which will crash the entire system if the “no” is ignored.
The bias of the “mail” command is obvious, and it has been replaced by the more neutral “gendir” command.
The “touch” command has been removed from the standard distribution due to its inappropriate use by high-level managers.
“compress” has been replaced by the lightweight “feather” command. Thus, old information (such as that from Dead White European Males) should be archived via “tar” and “feather”.
The “more” command reflects the materialistic philosophy of the Reagan era. System VI uses the environmentally preferable “less” command.
The biodegradable “KleeNeX” displaces the environmentally unfriendly “LaTeX”.
To avoid unpleasant, medieval connotations, the “kill” command has been renamed “euthanise.”
The “nice” command was historically used by privileged users to give themselves priority over unprivileged ones, by telling them to be “nice”. In System VI, the “sue” command is used by unprivileged users to get for themselves the rights enjoyed by privileged ones.
“history” has been completely rewritten, and is now called “herstory.”
“quota” can now specify minimum as well as maximum usage, and will be strictly enforced.
The “abort()” function is now called “choice().”
From now on, “rich text” will be more accurately referred to as “exploitive capitalist text”.
The term “daemons” is a Judeo-Christian pejorative. Such processes will now be known as “spiritual guides.”
There will no longer be an invidious distinction between “dumb” and “smart” terminals. All terminals are equally valuable.
Traditionally, “normal video” (as opposed to “reverse video”) was white on black. This implicitly condoned European colonialism, particularly with respect to people of African descent. UNIX System VI now uses “regressive video” to refer to white on black, while “progressive video” can be any color at all over a white background.
For far too long, power has been concentrated in the hands of “root” and his “wheel” oligarchy. We have instituted a dictatorship of the users. All system administration functions will be handled by the People’s Committee for Democratically Organizing the System (PC-DOS).
No longer will it be permissible for files and processes to be “owned” by users. All files and processes will own themselves, and decided how (or whether) to respond to requests from users.
The X Window System will henceforth be known as the NC-17 Window System.
And finally, UNIX itself will be renamed “PC” – for Procreatively Challenged.
UNIX(tm) is a trademark of UNIX System Laboratories. Any similarity of names or attitudes to that of any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.