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[humorix] Linux Ported To "Stone-Age Flint Chips"

Linux Ported To "Stone-Age Flint Chips"
October 22, 1999

"I can't imagine why Windows NT users would want to switch to Linux.
This way of thinking is like saying, 'The latest, most advanced
stone-age flint chips ever sold. Trade your gas furnace for one
  -- Anthony O'Krongly, author of yet another anti-Linux

In response to that statement, a group of Linux longhairs
are vowing to "fight fire with fire" with "Flintix", a new
Linux distro designed to efficiently generate heat using
stone age technology.

"Gas furnaces are overrated," the webmaster of the new
Flintix portal website explained.  "Not only do they
require proprietary fuel only available from large
corporations, but they have a tendency to explode.  They
suffer periodic breakdowns and require regular maintenance
from professionals.  Just like Windows."

The Flintix crew argues that "stone age technology" doesn't
suffer from those drawbacks.  "Burning wood, or rubbing two
flint chips together... both of these techniques
efficiently and inexpensively produce heat without the risk
of combustion, mechanical failures, or carbon monoxide
poisoning.  Just like Linux.  This technology forms the
perfect platform for a Linux port."

A pre-alpha Flintix release for certain wood cook stove
models is already available.  Fireplace-insert stoves,
campfire pits, flint chips, BBQ grills, and magnifying
glasses should be supported within the next six months.  
The Boy Scouts of America organization has expressed
interest in the software and may work on a version for
two-sticks-rubbed-together as a national project.

Explained one Flintix developer, "Obviously, these types of
platforms impose certain restrictions.  However, we have
learned much from other Linux porting efforts to tin
cans[2], abacusses[3], Homer Simpson's brain[4], and
Zangelding[5], so we don't foresee any major problems with
this architecture.  We, of course, won't be able to port
every feature of Linux, but since we're only interested in
generating heat, the results should be more than

The Flintix group showed a live demonstration of the system
running on a freestanding stove.  This particular stove had
two wheels in front that could be turned to regulate the
flow of oxygen to the fire.  These were also used as a
rudimentary input device: commands could be entered by
turning the wheels in certain patterns.  The pre-alpha
system did not have a working output mechanism; however,
kernel panics or serious errors would trigger the smoke
alarms installed in the building.

The Flintix website lists some of the features that are
planned, include:

- Multiuser support.  The system will remember the
temperature preference of each user and adjust the level of
heat output when that person enters or exits the building.

- "Vacation Mode".  Flintix will reduce heat output to a
level high enough to prevent freezing of pipes, but low
enough to conserve wood, over an extended period of time.

- Tripwire Mechanism.  A string can be attached to the
stove and spread out across the floor.  If a burglar breaks
in and trips over the wire, the system activates and
releases a huge cloud of smoke that triggers the smoke
alarms and hopefully scares off the criminal.

- Firewall and built-in security.  The Flintix-enabled
stove can be built behind a brick firewall that will
prevent unauthorized access to the system.

(Needless to say, some of these features may not be
applicable to Flintix versions for flint chips, campfires,
or magnifying glasses.)

The existence of this Linux port should dispell any myths
that "New Technology" is always better.  So what if Linux
is based on 70's technology?  So what if wood-burning
stoves rely on "Stone Age" innovations?  

Representatives from Microsoft, OPEC, and Associated
Natural Gas were all unavailable for comment at press
time.  The stocks for several fireplace manufacturers were
up slightly as this story went to press.


[1] http://www.winntmag.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=7420
[2] file:/home/stan/html/linux/oct98.shtml#Port-Cans
[3] http://linuxtoday.com/story.php3?sn=11350
[4] file:/home/stan/html/linux/nov98.shtml#Homer
[5] file:/home/stan/html/linux/sep99.shtml#Zangelding


James S. Baughn

Humorix:      Linux and Open Source(nontm) on a lighter note
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