If Computer Operating Systems Were Beer

Article first appeared circa 2006... and not updated since. After all, beers can age nicely too.

Pictured: BSOD in the physical world

In yet another lift from the Internet, SheepOverboard drags this venerable, veteran parody of computer operating software into the 21st with Service Pack 2, plus updates!

This ol' classic has been driving around the infobahn for a good decade or more. 

It traces the history of computer operating systems and their exponential explosion - excepts Windows, which eternally teeters upon implosion - since the splitting of the beer atom in Xerox's Palo Alto lab in the late sixties.

SP2 offers a new take on Linux, Windows and Mac - and some extra aerated sneering at SCO :{)    

Microsoftdrinks Update** Leif Leet, SheepOverboard's lazy techie lends a hand to explain some finer points of dregs, sterilization, and fines    

By SheepOverboard's elite tech Lief Leet

Original circa pre-1995 - SP2 (below) + updates added 2006

  • Original written by Bill Cernansky (wcern@primenet.com)
  • "VM Beer" by Gabriel Goldberg (gabe@cpcug.org).
  • Author of "VMS Beer" entry is unknown
  • Service Pack 2 by Terence Fenning
  • Upgrade notes courtesy of SheepOverboard's Lief Leet

  If Operating Systems were Beers   

DOS Beer: Requires you to use your own can opener, and requires you to read the directions carefully before opening the can. Originally only came in an 8-oz. can, but now comes in a 16-oz. can. However, the can is divided into 8 compartments of 2 oz. each, which have to be accessed separately. Soon to be discontinued, although a lot of people are going to keep drinking it after it's no longer available.

Mac Beer: At first, came only a 16-oz. can, but now comes in a 32-oz. can. Considered by many to be a "light" beer. All the cans look identical. When you take one from the fridge, it opens itself. The ingredients list is not on the can. If you call to ask about the ingredients, you are told that "you don't need to know." A notice on the side reminds you to drag your empties to the trash can.

Windows 3.1 Beer: The world's most popular. Comes in a 16-oz. can that looks a lot like Mac Beer's. Requires that you already own a DOS Beer. Claims that it allows you to drink several DOS Beers simultaneously, but in reality you can only drink a few of them, very slowly, especially slowly if you are drinking the Windows Beer at the same time. Sometimes, for apparently no reason, a can of Windows Beer will explode when you open it.

OS/2 Beer: Comes in a 32-oz can. Does allow you to drink several DOS Beers simultaneously. Allows you to drink Windows 3.1 Beer simultaneously too, but somewhat slower. Advertises that its cans won't explode when you open them, even if you shake them up. You never really see anyone drinking OS/2 Beer, but the manufacturer (International Beer Manufacturing) claims that 9 million six-packs have been sold.

Windows 95 Beer:: You can't buy it yet, but a lot of people have taste-tested it and claim it's wonderful. The can looks a lot like Mac Beer's can, but tastes more like Windows 3.1 Beer. It comes in 32-oz. cans, but when you look inside, the cans only have 16 oz. of beer in them. Most people will probably keep drinking Windows 3.1 Beer until their friends try Windows 95 Beer and say they like it. The ingredients list, when you look at the small print, has some of the same ingredients that come in DOS beer, even though the manufacturer claims that this is an entirely new brew.

Windows NT Beer: Comes in 32-oz. cans, but you can only buy it by the truckload. This causes most people to have to go out and buy bigger refrigerators. The can looks just like Windows 3.1 Beer's, but the company promises to change the can to look just like Windows 95 Beer's - after Windows 95 beer starts shipping. Touted as an "industrial strength" beer, and suggested only for use in bars.

Unix Beer: Comes in several different brands, in cans ranging from 8 oz. to 64 oz. Drinkers of Unix Beer display fierce brand loyalty, even though they claim that all the different brands taste almost identical. Sometimes the pop-tops break off when you try to open them, so you have to have your own can opener around for those occasions, in which case you either need a complete set of instructions, or a friend who has been drinking Unix Beer for several years.

AmigaDOS Beer: The company has gone out of business, but their recipe has been picked up by some weird German company, so now this beer will be an import. This beer never really sold very well because the original manufacturer didn't understand marketing. Like Unix Beer, AmigaDOS Beer fans are an extremely loyal and loud group. It originally came in a 16-oz. can, but now comes in 32-oz. cans too. When this can was originally introduced, it appeared flashy and colorful, but the design hasn't changed much over the years, so it appears dated now. Critics of this beer claim that it is only meant for watching TV anyway.

VMS Beer: Requires minimal user interaction, except for popping the top and sipping. However cans have been known on occasion to explode, or contain extremely un-beer-like contents. Best drunk in high pressure development environments. When you call the manufacturer for the list of ingredients, you're told that is proprietary and referred to an unknown listing in the manuals published by the FDA. Rumors are that this was once listed in the Physicians' Desk Reference as a tranquilizer, but no one can claim to have actually seen it. The biggest problem is before you can drink any one of them you have to buy a really expensive bag of chips to go with it.

VM Beer: Originally (1972) marketed in 24-oz. cans, was repositioned in 1990 as "Enterprise Beer for the 1990s" with 31-oz. cans. The missing ounce never mattered, because one can of VM beer could have the same effect as dozens, hundreds, or thousands of cans, at minimal increased cost, and without a corresponding increase in wastewater or solid waste. Though VM beer suffered from neglect by its brewer (International Beer Manufacturing), it can now be produced in industrial quantities by the economical "homebrew" kit, BC (Beer Can) Server 500 System/390.

Service Pack 2 ~ New, improved for the noughties  

Windows Beers is reportedly available in 64 oz kegs, but you must order a pallet which is divisible by a power of 2. (If one keg falls off the palette, you are immediately reduced to a 32oz bottle and the rest of the beer is wasted.

Mac Beer has been available in a variety of colours for some time. It still tastes the same, just looks better and makes better 'popping' noises when you open it.

Recently, the recipe for Mac beer has changed and is now made from Intel hops, the use of fermented Apples has been discontinued, but they assure us that the beer will taste better, despite claiming for decades that these hops are inferior.

There is a special fruity, giga-stubby storage facility, but it takes over 30 hours to get cold before you can put in a single can.  Strangely, once the beer is inside, you need 3 straws to drink it.  (One for the fizz, one for the alcohol and a special ‘fibre straw’ for the actual 'beer.')

A new, 'free' Linux Beer (brew it yourself from any available ingredients) is now available. It drinks very well by all accounts, hardly ever froths over the top of the glass, even after extensive shaking or storing in old, unstable 16 or 32 oz containers with very little headroom.

Allegedly this beer recipe was 'stolen' from the SCO brewery, and the fermenters (having been drunk for many years on their own success) are suing, or attempting to sue if they can remember exactly what the original Unix beer recipe was, or who they, in turn, stole it from in the first place.

Needless to say, free beer has been very successful, the chief brewer even claiming the devaluation of MS beer stocks. A lot of people of have become very rich by selling free beer, even International Beer Manufacturing, but no one is exactly sure how this works.

Pinnacle Beer  This is delivered in very large barrels, (measured in TeraStubbies) and can pour beer at very high rates (many MegaSculls/second) but the beer must comply with the Mpeg2 (Multi Pub Engineering Group) standard before it can be poured. Beer is usually consumed by the yard (which takes 60 seconds to drink) but 1/2 yard and middies are becoming more popular as the population's attention span shortens. Only one cool room is allowed, but many thousands of beers may be kept at one time, provided they are all stored individually, beer mixing is not allowed under any circumstances.

eg:  Pouring 'premium' (4:2:2) beer into a 'lite' (4:2:0) glass will produce a result not unlike a Technicolor yawn, most drinkers don't like this and even fewer understand why.

Care must be exercised when moving the beer around, as whole cool rooms have been known to explode, leaving a very dark hole where colour and light used to be. Some beer is illegal in this country (Australia), with the drinkers forced to consume it off-shore and the brewery going to great lengths by putting it in Irdeto kegs to ensure this.

Very seldom is Pinnacle beer used on it's own, as the task of drinking such large quantities immediately requires a level of automation beyond a single barmaid, usually requiring a separate GUI (Get Under the Influence) interface, sometimes known as 'BeerBoss.' These beer drinkers are very dedicated, sitting in dark rooms for hours at a time, just watching the beer flow out over the great unwashed.

EMC Beer is the most expensive beer on the market, claimed to be always drinkable. Features include dual redundant ring pulls, bullet proof cans and the beer itself can withstand temperatures of up to 160 degrees.

The fact that all the drinkers have passed out due to heat stress is of no concern to the EMC publican, quoted as saying "Our beer is fine, the health or non-conformance of drinkers is of no concern to us."

It even has a telephone 'in the can' and will phone home (Ireland, where else?) if, for example, it thinks it tastes funny - or you aren't drinking it properly. It is favoured by all the yuppies, especially banks and those that must simply have the most "exclusive" brew, even if they don't drink beer.

Local experience with this beer (Australian television broadcaster) wasn't good. Multiple hangovers occurred while only sipping, causing the big DTV party to be postponed. (See Pinnacle Beer, above.)

It is the beer that is mostly likely to sue you, even if you don't drink it.

Leif's Upgrade notes  

Windows Beer is the undoubted leader of the (six) pack and most consumers, astonishingly, are quite unaware of any other branding. Microsoftdrinks  maintains absolute dominance of the non-connoisseur market.

Windows Beers since 1995 have displayed an odd and disconcerting propensity to turn blue with no apparent provocation during drinking - and especially while opening the bottle. No other foodstuff in the world does this, except maybe prank substances from joke shops, which are functionally identical, far cheaper - and stable.

Windows XP Beer exhibits even more startling behaviour, turning blue if poured into a slightly different shaped bottle before drinking. The puzzle deepens in its unfathomable complexity, however. The new 'wrong' shaped bottle must be sealed and reopened before blueness is invoked. More mystifying, XP beer sold in any shaped bottle will do this, even if two concurrent test transfers are conducted concurrently inversely between two identical pairs of transverse bottles - adjacently juxtaposed, of course.

  • Pundits disparagingly call this 'going pair-shaped'
  • Consumers frequently emit what is widely known to the industry as "a blue scream of death."

Windows XP Beer is also sold in a light, or "Home Brand," which tastes and looks the same but all the ingredients are denaturalized, resulting in a functionally-sterile brew - as in no amount of excess drinking makes the bottle look any more attractive. Its 'devotees' are also renowned for a lack of sociability and endemic inability to mix with other drinkers in the same room. And, yet again, consumers are totally blind to the differences between beers.

Windows XP Home Brand drinkers feebly complain, in unison, that they never saw the warning printed in 1pt Wingdings inside the bottle top - before opening - that described reduced flavor, color, effervescence, and promised deficient sociability outcomes.

Microsoftdrinks, brewers of Windows Beers™, have long been accused of poor sanitation. The truth when it emerged was even more devastating. Though it appeared the beer was shipped with bacteriological and viral contaminants, independent researchers demonstrated that upon opening a draught of Windows Beer, contamination from 'the wild' was - stupendously, they concurred - virtually immediate!

Leaked internal Microsoftdrinks memos show the company was aware of this. To allay the flood of protest, and in accordance with its known susceptibility to threatened litigation, Microsoftdrinks promised free beer updates, piped direct from the brewery - but - and it leaves a sour taste in the mouth - only to 'validated' drinkers.

Pundits term this the "Beergate" scandal.

Updates from the brewery have been on tap for nearly ten years, since Beer 95, and consumers' homes now sport increasingly larger pipes back to regional beer update servers. Even today, beers shipped with the latest service packs still exhibit well-nigh instant contamination, forcing topping up in the home from the brewery feeds, immediately upon opening, and often before finishing it off.

Savvy consumers are applying third-party preservatives to freshly opened Windows Beers but the brew often thickens to the point where it pours too slowly, or worse, tastes just like DOS beer - which oddly seems to render null and moot an entire decade of modern beer research, development and marketing.

And, yes folks, there's just one thing you can do with an undrinkable bottle of Windows Beer.

Yup, replace that 25-pound pointy lump of galv-coated steel at the other end of the chain securin' your boat to the muddy end of ol' deep six. You'd be positively amazed at the incapacitating sheer dead weight of an undrinkable, or unopenable, bottle of Windows Beer.

Not to mention (so I will) the immense satisfaction of seeing the mother hit the salty realm.

Cheapshots dept. (like, the above wasn't?)

Windows XP
A 64 bit upgrade to a 32-bit patch for a 16-bit GUI shell running on top of an 8-bit operating system written for a 4-bit processor by a 2-bit company who cannot stand 1 bit of competition (but it's better than a Mac)!  

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