Straight out of George Orwell's novel, 1984, an email hit the OpenBSD announce mailing list attributed to the Minister of Propaganda. It "announced" Microsoft's decision to drop the NT kernel in favor of a new secure effort based on OpenBSD, called Windows BSD. The full gag email follows.
From: Minister of Propaganda
To: announce AT openbsd.org
Subject: Microsoft to base next generation OS on OpenBSD
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 20:38:53 -0700 (MST)
April 1, 2002
"Microsoft to base next generation OS on OpenBSD"
In a surprising development Microsoft stated today that it would
not be using the eight year old NT kernel in its next generation
operating system. The new system, to be called Windows BSD, will
be based around the freely available OpenBSD operating system.
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer had the following to say: "As part of our
new commitment to security, we are developing the next Windows
product based upon OpenBSD. We feel that OpenBSD's security record
fits well with our new proactive security model. Furthermore, we
fully approve of the BSD license and encourage developers continue
to write similarly-licensed code and avoid the infernal GNU GPL."
When asked whether the decision to base the new Windows operating
system on OpenBSD had anything to do with the success of Apple's
BSD-based OS X, Ballmer exclaimed "There's nothing those Mac people
can do that we can't do better. Microsoft has a long history with
Unix-like systems, dating back from our original development of
Xenix. We are dedicated to providing the Windows experience to
Unix on the desktop."
And it is not just the desktop that is the target of the new OS.
As servers have traditionally been Unix's strong point, Microsoft
sees a bright future for Windows BSD, Server Edition. One of the
first tests of Windows BSD Server will be running on Microsoft's
Hotmail servers, a trial by fire that always left Windows NT a bit
scorched. Said de Raadt "We are confident that Windows BSD can
more than hold its own in the server arena. Indeed, we expect
it to become the benchmark against which all others are judged."
OpenBSD founder and project lead The de Raadt will be relocating
from Calgary, Canada to Redmond, Washington to oversee the new
endeavor. When asked if he felt he was selling out, de Raadt replied
with characterist aplomb "I've dedicated my life to free software,
it's about time I got something in return." Other OpenBSD developers
will likely be moving to Microsoft's Redmond campus soon. Joining
de Raadt in Redmond is OpenBSD packet filter designer Daniel
Hartmeier. Hartmeier has already started work on a new firewall
codenamed "Microsoft Ward." Said Hartmeier, "I had some trouble
getting to the states, what with the airline problems we've been
having in Switzerland, but I'm looking forward to working with my
development team on the new firewall."
When confronted with the apparent inconsistency of developing a
Unix-based system while at the same time sponsoring a wave of
anti-Unix marketing, Chairman Bill Gates replied "That campaign is
targeted towards those other, incompatible versions of Unix. It
has no bearing whatsoever on Windows BSD."
One potential problem with Microsoft's plans were the revelation
that the BSD trademark is currently owned by embedded operating
systems specialist WindRiver systems. According to Microsoft
chairman Bill Gates, "WindRiver will surrender the BSD trademark
to us or we will bury them!"
During the announcement of Windows BSD at a PR blitzkrieg, Ballmer,
Gates and de Raadt jumped around shouting "Whoo! Whoo! Whoo! Come
on, get up, get up... Give it up for BSD!". A beta version of
Windows BSD, codenamed `Brobdingnag', will be available to MSDN
subscribers in 6 month's time.
However, not everyone was happy with the news of OpenBSD's commercial
success. A group of disgruntled OpenBSD developers who were not
offered jobs at Microsoft have created a competitor to OpenBSD.
Unlike OpenBSD, this operating system will be available under the
GNU GPL, effectively preventing Microsoft from using their code.
The new project, called GNU/BSD, is headed by French former OpenBSD
developers Dr. Marc Espie and Miod Vallat. In a joint statement,
Espie and Vallat stated "We feel it is grossly unfair to the European
developers of OpenBSD that all the attention should be centered
around North America. We will not stand for this wanton disregard
of the contributions of OpenBSD developers from around the world.
Therefore, we have started the GNU/BSD project to take the place
of OpenBSD, utilizing the skills of developers in the European Union
and beyond." When it was pointed out that Swiss developer Daniel
Hartmeier was part of the new Windows BSD project, Espie declared
that "Switzerland is hardly a part of Europe. They have only just
joined the United Nations for goodness sake."
Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman had the following
to say about the split. "I'm gratified that these people have
finally seen the light and have released their code until the GPL.
One of the GPL's goals is to prevent this kind of software theft
by large corporations. You can't have free software without Freedom.
By including GNU in the name they show the proper respect for the
GNU project's contributions to all free software projects, including
BSD." When asked to comment on Stallman's statement, de Raadt
simply said "In Windows BSD we've replaced gcc with Microsoft Visual
C Studio. We've no need for RMS, his software, or his silly song.
After all, we have Gloria Estefan."