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Your dad rushed in, all excited.

"Guess what, Simon! A Mate of mine at work gave me this, he says it's a new Operating System, and it's FREE!"

"Yeah, right dad," you reply, "A Free OS. Pull the other one, it's got bells on"

Your sister looks up, her eyes sparkle with mild interest. Walking over, she grabs the CD your dad is waving enthusiastically, and scrutinizes the cover.

"Debian Linux... never heard of it. Who's it by?"

Dad begins to prattle on about some guy named Linus Torvald, who apparently wrote a chunk of a Kernel and then got all these people from around the world to help him code. Sounds like a piece of Total Crap to you...

With a hungry look in his eyes, your dad and sister go over to the PC and then stop as you call out

"It doesn't work, remember? 1/2 the RAM is dead."

"That's OK... it only needs a 1/3 of the RAM we've got... it's all good!"

The CD is shoved into the drive, and you leave 20 minutes later, as the swearing, yelling, wailing, and the gnashing of teeth begins. You come home 7 hours later, and there's a picture of a penguin in the corner, with "Tux" written on his shirt, and your father and sister jumping up and down with glee. You roll your eyes and move on. They've got their new toy, and they'll loose interest next time it breaks. And it does break...

Whirrr.... click!
Whirrr.... click!
Whirrr.... click!
Whirrr.... BZZT!

"I think it's dead... it's not booting" You call. Despite their obsession, you were always the computer literate one of the family.

Their faces fall... then lift again when your mother enters the room, striding towards her Study, where her PC, mainly used as a Word Processor, lives its dusty life. "Darl," calls Dad, "Can we use your PC?"

After she asks what for, Dad launches into a Zealot's Speech about the greater efficency and speed of Linux, the charms and pleasures of The Penguin's Way. She concedes, looking interested. Your entire family vanishes into the office, and you go to your room, and listen to music alone.

Soon, table talk is reduced to acronyms like Sed, chmod, BASH, and umount. Greeting cards and family notes are populated with bizarre syntax and weird convolutions of punctuation: |, &&, ?* . Jokes begin to consist of tales about Grep and the marvelous things buried in the Kernel. You are derided for asking how to make it start Word Perfect, and instead informed that Vim has everything you ever need, if you can just perform the small task of remembering hundreds of commands. Penguins haunt your sleep and populate your house, laughing at you, stealing your brain cycles and tightning the firewall keeping your family in and you out.

You leave home when they get 4 extra machines, a web / mail server and a Beowulf cluster, and the network cables span the rooms and turn the entire place into a spiders web of blue plastic and shiny connectors, marked with bright flashing lights to attract unwary flies and family members deep into the Penguin Spiders den. As you leave they give you a limp goodbye, and turn back to the VDU... afterall, they wouldn't want to miss a single thing of the enthralling new Kernel compilation.

This has been a Nodeshell Rescue. Max Props go to McCart42 for pointing out spelling and gramattical errors.

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