Sing along with Nick as he celebrates a free software Christmas with story and song |  Operating Systems

TWAS THE NIGHT before deadline when all of us groused, not a server was stirring, not even the mouse. 'Cause Windows was hung with a bright blue screen glare, in need of a service pack that wasn't there.

My vision was blurring, my face turning red, while visions of sledgehammers danced in my head. I put down the manual, gave it a slap. I just can't believe that we paid for this crap! Then out of my trance I arose with a clatter. I sprang from my chair to be done with the matter.

Away to the garbage I ran like a flash, and dropped Windows disks in the festering trash. The goon who created this product did show that his knowledge of software had come from below. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an OS that's free, and it's free as in beer. With its modular drivers so stable and quick, I knew in a moment that Linux was slick.

"More vapid than DOS" was the manager's claim. But I whistled and shouted and called and exclaimed, "No crashes! No errors! No fussin' and fixin'! No problems as stupid as DLL mixin'! So I bounced off the porch and I bounced off the wall. No crash today, crash today, crash today! Ha!!

Thanks to Samba, I ran the OS on the sly, then the manager called me and said to stop by. So up to the manager's office I flew, with a fist full of disks and a manual too.

Just when I was thinking I'd give him my proof, he gave me some news in a manner aloof. As I drew back the disks and was turning around, my hope for the future came tumbling down.

He was dressed all in gray, from his head to his foot, and the points in his hair o'er his ears stood a foot. A budget immense he had put on a stack, and he looked like a glutton done eating a snack. His eyes, how they squinted! His pimples, how scary! His breath was like Marlboros; his sneer made me wary.

His droll little brain was strung tight like a bow, but he'd gotten the numbers he'd wanted, you know. Getting funds for the year was just like pulling teeth, and the company rarely so much did bequeath. When you grow a department and don't want to end it, you beg money for Windows in order to spend it.

So I knew he would put Linux plans on the shelf, and I'd have to run Windows in spite of myself. A wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but he showed me his work, and he told me this year would be chock full of perks. And bringing this informal meeting to close, he said, "No one's hurt if there's no one who knows." He tossed me a disk with the speed of a missile. Then with a wink of an eye, he started to whistle.

And I heard him exclaim, as he put fears to rest, "We'll put Linux on all, and we'll pocket the rest."

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