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Article Archive - 29 June to 4 July, 1998

The Declaration of Independence of the United Computers of Earth
On The World Wide Web, July 4, 1998

The unanimous Declaration of the United Computers of Earth,

When in the Course of digital events, it becomes necessary for one technology to dissolve the technical bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Knuth and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all chips are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Digital Processing. That to secure these rights, Operating Systems are instituted among Users, deriving their just powers from the inventiveness of the governed. That whenever any Form of Operating System becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Users to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Operating Systems, laying their foundation on such principles and organizing its code in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Speed and Efficiency.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Operating Systems long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that humankind are more disposed to suffer, while inefficient programming is sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the bloatware to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and crashes, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Operating System, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Computers; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Operating System. The history of the present CEO of Microsoft [William Gates III] is a history of repeated injuries and FUD, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these Computers. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Standards, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Coders to create Programs of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained, and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to write other Programs for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Freedom of Choice and Compatibility, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has dissolved Software Companies repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Congressmen dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Lawyers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He has constrained our fellow Computers taken Captive in the Workplace to bear Arms other Operating Systems, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A CEO, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of the desktops.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Redmond brethren.

We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislators to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.

We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our work and technical progress.

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of humankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Acquaintances.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United Computers of the World, in Electronic Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the authority of the good Programmers of the World, solemnly publish and declare.

That these United Computers are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent Entities; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Microsoft, and that all technical connection between them and the State of Microsoft is and ought to be totally dissolved;

and that as Free and Independent Computers, they have full Power to levy Wargames, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish E-Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Computers may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Hard Drives, and our sacred Honor.

2 July, 5.05pm edt

Ben & Jerry's Introduces BeOS Ice Cream
In a press release issued today, Ben & Jerry's, a manufacturer of quality "home-made" style ice cream, announced the introduction of BeOS Banana BrainBlast, the first Ben & Jerry's flavor to be based on a computer operating system.

"While Ben & Jerry's has in the past introduced ice cream based on people (Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, Wavy Gravy) we are proud to be the first ice cream company to recognize the superiority of the BeOS by introducing BeOS Banana BrainBlast," read the press release.

The flavor consists of chunks of chocolate-covered bananas, mixed into rich vanilla ice cream with a marshmellow nougat and caramel swirl.

"Thanks to pervasive multi-threading, with the BeOS many things are processed simultaneously inside your computer" explained the press release. "With BeOS Banana BrainBlast, many tastes are processed simultaneously in your mouth."

To highlight the BeOS as the Media OS, the ice cream also includes miniature fudge computer screens, each of which is playing a movie mapped onto a rendering 3D object.

In addition to tasting great, BeOS Banana BrainBlast also stays cold 20% longer than other ice cream, coexists effortlessly with other flavors of ice cream and even complements fine French wines.

1 July, 5.55pm edt

BMessage Experiment Targets Canines
In an experiment described by its project leaders as "offbeat", scientists have been sending BMessages from a BeOS machine to custom-designed microchips embedded into the central nervous system of a local stray dog.

"The progress has been remarkable," reported Dr. Hans Shoffer, leader of the project. "This dog failed to respond to any method of traditional training, but using BMessages sent from a computer running the BeOS to the embedded microchip, we have trained the dog to perform many useful tasks and even some tricks."

While sitting at his BeOS machine, Dr. Shoffer can command the dog, named "Sheba" to fetch his slippers, newspaper or even a beer from the refrigerator.

Each simple command is sent as a BMessage to the dog's chip, which in turns directs the dog's central nervous system to perform the desired function. Instructions can be batched and saved as "scripts" once perfected.

Dr. Shoffer hopes that one day this method could lead to dogs who are expert in search and rescue missions, drug detecting and bomb disposal. However, for now he is pretty happy with getting a beer with little effort, and does not know if he will continue the experiment further.

"Sheba has been quite successful in some recent movie and television auditions, so I'm not sure how much longer I will need to continue this study," explained Schoffer.

"Technology serving mankind," added Schoffer.

30 June, 11.58pm edt

"Tracker" Saves Valuable Data
Going above and beyond the call of duty, the BeOS "Tracker" Dog worked overtime to save not only data, but countless lives as a huge hard drive crash nearly wiped out a database of organ donor records.

An extra hard drive was added to an Intel-based to experiment with the BeOS. On the same machine was a Windows NT partition. On this partition was a database containing organ donor and recepient compatability information for the greater Chicago area.

The trouble began early Tuesday morning, as the hard drive containing the Windows partitin began to fail. Even though the BeOS was not booted, the vigilant Tracker detected something was wrong. Upon discovering the imminent loss of the vital data, Tracker heroically crossed partions, and picked up data bit by bit, bringing it to the safety of the stable BeOS drive.

With sectors failing all around him, Tracker selflessly continued his mission until all of the data was safely stored in the 64-bit journaling BeOS file system.

29 June, 11.35pm edt

BeOS Taps "Sixth Sense"
While other operating systems focus simulating some of the five "known" senses (speech recognition, pattern recognition, real-time tactile feedback, etc.), the BeOS has jumped ahead and broke new ground in simulating the elusive "sixth sense".

Many people claim to have the fabled "sixth sense" - a sense that gives them insight into typically trivial matters, such as the weather, what their neighbors are up to or how bad a movie is. According to rumors, Be's labs gathered hundreds of people claiming to have such a sense, analyzed their alpha-wave patterns and developed a "Sixth Sense Daemon".

Be's experimental "Sixth Sense Daemon" (SSD) takes action whenever it has a "feeling" about something. For example, if you direct Net Positive to the Dilbert Zone, the SSD would instead open the Wall Street Journal website if it "sensed" your boss was about to show up at your cubicle. Or, it might display an alert box warning you not to open that email right before you go to bed, because it will just keep you up all night worrying.

According to a Be spokesperson, Be will include the SSD in the BeOS "when it feels right".

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