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The Linux by Dr. Seuss

At the far end of Redmond
where the Grickle-grass grows
and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows
and no birds ever sing excepting old crows...
is the Street of the Lifted Linux

And deep in the Grickle-grass, some people say,
if you look deep enough you can still see, today,
where the Linux once stood
just as long as it could
before somebody lifted the Linux away.

What was the Linux?
And why was it there?
And why was it lifted and taken somewhere
from the far end of town where the Grickle-grass grows?
The old Gates-ler still lives here.
Ask him. He knows.

You won't see the Gates-ler.
Don't knock at his door.
He stays in his Lerkim on top of his store.
He lurks in his Lerkim, cold under the roof,
where he makes his own software
out of vapourware poof.

And on special dank midnights in August,
he peeks
out of the shutters
and sometimes he speaks
and tells how the Linux was lifted away.

He'll tell you, perhaps...
if you're willing to pay.

On the end of a rope
he lets down a tin pail
and you have to toss in fifteen cents
and a nail
and the shell of the great-great-great-grandfather snail.

Then he pulls up the pail,
makes a most careful count
to see if you've paid him
the proper amount.

The he hides what you paid him
away in a musty compartment,
to keep it away
from the Justice Department.

Then he grunts, "I will call you by Whisper-ma-Phone,
for the secrets I tell are for your ears alone."


Down slupps the Whisper-ma-Phone to your ear
and the old Gates-ler's whispers are not very clear,
since they have to come down
throught a snergelly hose,
and he sounds as if he had
smallish bees up his nose.

" Now I'll tell you," he says, with charisma of grey,
"how the Linux got lifted and taken away...

It all started way back...
such a long, long time back...

Way back in the days when flying toasters were cool
and a floppy could hold
your entire system install,
and the Mir satellite was still up in space...
one morning, I came to this glorious place.

And I first saw the PCs!
The custom PCs!
The bright-coloured cases of the custom pCs!
mile after mile all lined up in THREEs.

And, sitting at keyboards, I saw the consumers
Growing in numbers with revenue rumours
The chances of riches all ripe like satsumas.

From the silicon valley
came the comfortable sound
of the dot com brigade
there was money around.

But those PCs! Those PCs!
Those custom PCs!
All my life I'd been searching
for PCs such as these.

The glow of their screens
was much brighter than flames.
And Lara brought 3d to all the new games.

I felt a great leaping
of joy in my heart.
I knew just what I'd do!
I unloaded my cart.

In no time at all, I had downed a machine.
Wiped off the old system, leaving it clean.
And with great speedy speed and with marketing jive.
I clicked on the mouse and installed 95!

The instant I'd finished, I heard a rustling thrash!
I looked.
I saw something pop out of the trash
of the PC I'd installed on. He was sort of a sanguine.
Describe him?...That's hard. He looked like a penguin.

He was shortish. and stylish.
not pixelly or lossy.
And he spoke with a voice
that was sharpish and bossy.

" Mister!" he said with a mouth full of soothers,
"I am the Linux. I speak for the users.
I speak for the users, for the awake and the snoozers.
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs"--
he was very upset as he shouted and wheezed--
"Whats that THING that you've put on that there PC?"

" Look, Linux," I said. "There's no cause for alarm.
I installed just one system. I am doing no harm.
I'm being quite useful. This thing is Win-dows.
There's no need for choice as it already knows!
It's a system. there's a helper. choose the dog or the cat.
But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that.
For surfing. For typing! undoing deletes!
Or adding up things in your excel spreadsheets!"

The Linux said,
"Sir! You are crazy with greed.
There is no one on earth
who, this system would need!"

But the very next minute I proved he was wrong.
For, just at that minute, a chap came along,
and he thought that the system I'd installed was great.
He happily bought it for three ninety-eight.

I laughed at the Linux, "You poor stupid guy!
You never can tell what some people will buy."

" I repeat," cried the Linux,
"I speak for the users!"
" I'm busy," I told him.
"Shut up, all you losers."

I rushed 'cross the room, and in no time at all,
had run through the MSN messenger install.
I texted all my brothers and uncles and aunts
and I said, "Listen here! Here's a wonderful chance
for the whole Gates-ler Family to get mighty rich!
Get over here fast! Take the road to North Nitch.
Turn left at Weehawken. Sharp right at South Stitch."

And, in no time at all,
in the campus I built,
the whole Gates-ler Family
was working full tilt.
We were all writing software
just as busy as bees,
to the sound of the whirring
of those lovely PCs.

Oh! Baby! Oh!
How my business did grow!
Now, installing one system
at a time
was too slow.

So I quickly invented my bloated downloader
(Though a few dual boot systems just fizzled like soda).
We were making PCs
four times as slow as before!
And that Linux?...
He didn't show up any more.

But the next week
he knocked
on my new office door.

He snapped, "I'm the Linux who speaks for the users
which you seem to be loading with software abuses.
But I'm also a friend of the hip young designers
who drank lots of coffee all sat in recliners
and worked on their iBooks while out at the diners.

" NOW...thanks to your hacking they've nothing to do,
you've placed this great 'Office' right into their view.
it's blocking their vision, they can't see the scene
no room for manoeuvre with Word on machine!

" They loved living here. But I can't let them stay.
They'll have to find flare. And I hope that they may.
Good luck, boys," he cried. And he sent them away.

I, the Gates-ler, felt sad
as I watched them all go.
business is business!
And business must grow
regardless of designers in recliners, you know.

I meant no harm. I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got.
I biggered my output, and with a few hacks.
I biggered my downloads - huge great service packs
on the PCs that shipped out, I had a great channel deal
they'd all install windows or my wrath's what they'd feel
I went right on biggering...selling more CDs.
And I biggered my money, which does always please.

Then again he came back! .NET had me slogging
when that old-nuisance Linux came in and called me a noggin.

" I am the Linux," his laptop unfolded.
He yapped and he whined. He snarggled. He scolded.
"Gates-ler!" he cried, now sounding defiant.
You're making most websites just IE compliant!
My poor PC users...the ones who like Netscape!
For them, webpage loading is becoming a sweepstake.

" And so," said the Linux,
"--please pardon my homepage--
they cannot surf here.
With your monopolised outrage.

" Where will they want to go to today?...
I don't hopefully know, if they don't want to pay.

They may have to surf for a month...or a year...
To escape from the honey-pot trap around here.

" What's more," snapped the Linux. (His arms in the air.)
"Let me say a few words on useless bloatware.
Your machinery chugs on, updating, installing.
the disk space it leaves is downright apalling.
And how do you use this leftover space?...
I'll show you. a paperclip? Oh What a waste!

" You're stressing the workers, they're PCs are crash scenes!
They're systems have hung, all frozen on splash screens.
So I'm sending them off. Oh, their future is dreary.
They'll leave their dot coms and get woefully weary
in search of some software, innovative, not stale.
I hear all the clicks as they log out of hotmail."

And then I got mad.
I got terribly mad.
I yelled at the Linux, "Now listen here, Tux!
All you do is yap on about users, that's sucks!
I'll soon have them all on .NET and XP
I intend to go on basing things around me
And, for your information, oh Linux, I'm figgering
on biggering
turning MORE PCs to running on windows
Our support page will be where EVERYONE, EVERYONE goes!"

And at that very moment, we heard a deep breath!
From outside, a user, with blue screen of death
then a hand on a plug. Then we heard the plug pull.
The very last windows PC of them all!

No more PCs. No more leads. No installs to be done.
So, in no time, my uncles and aunts, every one,
all waved me good-bye. they jumped into my cars
and drove away from the shimmering screensaver stars.

Now all that was left 'neath the dark Redmond sky
was my big empty factory
the Linux...
and I.

The Linux said nothing. Just gave me a glance...
just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance...
as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants.
And I'll never forget the grim look on his face
when he heisted himself and took leave of this place,
through a hole in the security, without leaving a trace.

And all that the Linux left here in my hall
was a small pile of disks, with the one word...
Whatever that meant, well, I couldn't fathom at all.

That was long, long ago.
But each day since that day
I've sat here and worried
and worried away.

Through the years, while my buildings
have fallen apart,
I've worried about it
with all of my heart.

" But now," says the Gates-ler,
"Now that you're here,
the word of the Linux seems perfectly clear.
Windows, the whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not.

" SO...
Catch!" calls the Gates-ler.
He lets something fall.
"It's a Linux CD.
It's the last one of all!
You're in charge of the last of the custom PCs.
And custom PCs are what everyone needs.
Install a new system. Treat it with care.
A nice funny mousemat and shiny hardware.
Grow a small network, use Unix! use Mac!
Then the Linux
and all of his friends
may come back."