01/29/97 03:47 PM
Subject: FWD: Alice in UNIXland
______________________________ Forward Header _____________________________
Alice was reading the message on her monitor and beginning to suspect
that everything was not as it should be. "Program too big to fit in
memory," it read.
"Curiouser and curiouser," she said, "All I did was load fourteen TSRs
before starting my word processor. With four megabytes, I wish I could
use more than 640K."
"At that moment, a small white consultant ( a very white consultant)
ran across the room. "Oh my coat and necktie," he said, "I'm going to
be late for my appointment. And at one fifty an hour, too." Before
Alice could say anything, he leaped into her monitor and disappeared
her operating system.
Alice thought that she had never seen anyone leap into a monitor
before; and certainly not go clean through the operating system. But
then, she had been told that DOS was very shallow. Without hesitating
a moment, she leaped in after him.
She found herself in a shiny corridor. Not knowing what else to do, she
began walking. Turning a corner, she found herself facing two fat
little men, each with an arm round the other's neck. One had "POS"
on his collar, and the other "NEG".
"I know," said Alice, "you two are a transistor."
"Yes," said Positive.
"Can you help me? asked Alice.
"No," said Negative.
"I'm looking for a white consultant." Alice pointed in the direction
she had been walking. "Did he go this way?" she asked.
"No," said Negative.
She pointed the other way.
"Yes," said Positive.
Soon Alice came upon a large brown table. The Consultant was there, as
was an apparently Mad Hacker, and several creatures that Alice did not
recognize. In one corner sat a Dormouse fast asleep. Over the table was
a large sign that read "UNIX Conference."
Everyone except the Dormouse was holding a paper cup, from which they
were sampling what appeared to be custard. "Wrong flavor," they all
declared as they passed the cup to the creature on their right
and graciously took the one being offered on their left. Alice watched
them repeat this ritual three or four times before she approached and
Immediately, a large toad leaped into her lap and looked at her as if
it wanted to be loved.
"Grep," it exclaimed.
"Don't mind him," explained the Mad Hacker. "He's just looking for some
"Nroff?" asked the Frog.
The Mad Hacker handed Alice a cup of custard-like substance and a
spoon. "Here," he said, "what do you think of this?"
"It looks lovely," said Alice, "very sweet." She tried a spoonful.
"Yuck!" she cried. "It's awful. What is it?"
"Oh just another graphic interface for UNIX," answered the Hacker.
Alice pointed to the sleeping Dormouse. "Who's he?" she asked.
"That's OS Too," explained the Hacker. "We've pretty much given up on
Just then, a large, Blue Elephant sitting next to the Dormouse stood
up. "Ladies and gentlemen," he trumpeted pompously, "as the largest
I feel impelled to state that we must take an Open Look at..."
A young Job Sparrow on the other side of the table stood up angrily.
The Elephant noticed and changed his speech accordingly. "...what our
"Half the creatures bowed in respect while the other half snickered
quietly to themselves. Just then, OS Too fell over in his sleep,
crashing into the Elephant and taking him down with him. No one seemed
a bit surprised.
"What we need," declared a Sun Bear as he lapped up custard with his
long tongue," is a flavor that goes down like the Macintosh.
"Suddenly, the White Consultant began jumping up and down as his face
got red. "No, no, no! he screamed. "No one pays one fifty an hour to
"Awk," said the Frog.
"Users," explained the Sun Bear, "want an easy interface that they will
not have to learn."
"Users?" cried the Consultant in disbelief. "Users?! You mean
secretaries, accountants, architects. Manual laborers!"
"Well," responded the Sun Bear, "we've got to do something to make them
want to switch to UNIX."
"Do you think," said a Woodpecker who had been busy making a hole in
the table, "that there might be a problem with the name `UNIX?' I mean,
it does sort of suggest being less than a man."
"Maybe we should try another name, " suggested the Job Sparrow, "like
Brut, or Rambo."
"Penix," suggested a Penguin.
"Mount," said the Frog, "spawn."
Alice slapped him. "Nice?" he asked.
"But then again," suggested the Woodpecker, "what about the shrinkwrap
Suddenly, everyone leaped up and started dashing about, waving their
hands in the air and screaming. Just as suddenly, they all sat down
"Now that that's settled," said the Woodpecker, "let's go back to
Everyone at the table sampled a new cup of custard. "Wrong flavor,"
they all declared as they passed the cup to the creature on their right
the one being offered on their left.
Totally confused, Alice got up and left. After she had been walking
away, she heard a familiar voice behind her.
"Rem," it said, "edlin."
Alice turned and saw the Frog. She smiled. "Those are queer sounding
words," she said, "but at least I know what they mean."
"Chkdsk," said the Frog.