COMPUTERWORLD 1 April CREATORS ADMIT UNIX, C HOAX In An Announcement That Has Stunned The Computer Industry

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In an announcement that has stunned the computer industry, Ken
Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan admitted that the Unix
operating system and C programming language created by them is an
elaborate April Fools prank kept alive for over 20 years. Speaking at
the recent UnixWorld Software Development Forum, Thompson revealed the

"In 1969, AT&T had just terminated their work with the
GE/Honeywell/AT&T Multics project. Brian and I had just started working
with an early release of Pascal from Professor Nichlaus Wirth's ETH labs
in Switzerland and we were impressed with its elegant simplicity and
power. Denis had just finished reading 'Bored of the Rings', a
hilarious National Lampoon parody of the great Tolkien 'Lord of the
Rings' trilogy. As a lark, we decided to do parodies of the Multics
environment and Pascal. Dennis and I were responsible for the operating
environment. We looked at Multics and designed the new system to be as
complex and cryptic as possible to maximize casual users' frustration
levels, calling it Unix as a parody of Multics, as well as other more
risque allusions. Then Dennis and Brian worked on a truly warped
version of Pascal, called 'A'. When we found others were actually
trying to create real programs with A, we quickly added additional
cryptic features and evolved into B, BCPL and finally C. We stopped when
we got a clean compile on the following syntax:

for(;P("\n"),R=;P("|"))for(e=C;e=;P("_"+(*u++/8)%2))P("| "+(*u/4)%2);

To think that modern programmers would try to use a language that
allowed such a statement was beyond our comprehension! We actually
thought of selling this to the Soviets to set their computer science
progress back 20 or more years. Imagine our surprise when AT&T and
other US corporations actually began trying to use Unix and C! It has
taken them 20 years to develop enough expertise to generate even
marginally useful applications using this 1960's technological parody,
but we are impressed with the tenacity (if not common sense) of the
general Unix and C programmer. In any event, Brian, Dennis and I have
been working exclusively in Pascal on the Apple Macintosh for the past
few years and feel really guilty about the chaos, confusion and truly
bad programming that has resulted from our silly prank so long ago."

Major Unix and C vendors and customers, including AT&T, Microsoft,
Hewlett-Packard, GTE, NCR, and DEC have refused comment at this time.
Borland International, a leading vendor of Pascal and C tools, including
the popular Turbo Pascal, Turbo C and Turbo C++, stated they had
suspected this for a number of years and would continue to enhance their
Pascal products and halt further efforts to develop C. An IBM spokesman
broke into uncontrolled laughter and had to postpone a hastely convened
news conference concerning the fate of the RS-6000, merely stating 'VM
will be available Real Soon Now'. In a cryptic statement, Professor
Wirth of the ETH institute and father of the Pascal, Modula 2 and Oberon
structured languages, merely stated that P. T. Barnum was correct.

In a related late-breaking story, usually reliable sources are
stating that a similar confession may be forthcoming from William Gates
concerning the MS-DOS and Windows operating environments. And IBM
spokesmen have begun denying that the Virtual Machine (VM) product is an
internal prank gone awry.

John P. Connolly | I'll have the squid platter, extra tentacles..
University of Maryland |
College Park, MD | -- Bart Simpson, | at the Rusty Barnacle Restaurant