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Feature: Humor

Secret messages found in GNU Emacs

By Serge Wroclawski on April 01, 2004 (9:00:00 AM)

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Further fueling accusations that well known computer hacker Richard Stallman is a communist, researchers have discovered that his popular editing software, "GNU Emacs" contains communist propaganda which displays at startup and randomly during the program's use.
When the Emacs program begins, the words "Christianity is Stupid" are displayed in the center of the screen for just a fraction of a second. This anti-religion phrase is then followed up with "Communism is Good" as well as the subversive "Give Up!".

Randomly throughout the day, the program flashes one of these three key phrases onto the computer monitor. It does this so quickly as to be unperceivable to the naked eye, though the phrases are clearly visible with special high speed cameras.

The subversive messages have been found in the "play" folder, normally reserved for games. But it was no joke when computer programmer Chris Grigg began to question his own faith: "I'd always been a follower of Christ, but after a few years of using GNU Emacs, I'd started to wonder if I'd chosen the right path."

Though no formal studies have been conclusive on the issue of subliminal messages, doctor David Wills explains, "While short term studies of subliminal messages have yet to confirm a correlation between the messages and action, it's undeniable that after staring at a computer screen for seventeen hours a day, they [Emacs users] will begin to accept the messages as part of their own internal thought processes."

The admitted perpetrator of this attack on America's democracy is the creator of Emacs itself, Richard Stallman, commonly known on the Internet as "RMS".

"Free Software includes the freedom to express your opinion." retorts Stallman when confronted with the accusation in a press conference Wednesday, "We all know that until people cast aside the trappings of capitalism, there will never be the mass acceptance of Free Software. This is at the heart of the GNU project which I started twenty years ago."

Luckily, not all all Emacs users are as secular as Mr. Stallman. "I've been using Emacs and Linux for years" explains Columbia Law Professor and former Stallman friend Eben Moglen, "but I never thought it would come to this. It makes me question many of the decisions I've made over the years. Say what you will of Bill Gate's products, Microsoft has always promoted family values."

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on Secret messages found in GNU Emacs

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Disappointing

Posted by: ian Lewis on April 01, 2004 11:53 PM
This is a little disappointing coming from RMS who I've always considered to have a pretty good understanding of most things in general. However, this makes me question that as RMS obviously doesn't understand that a text editor is not the arena where to promote political and social ideas.

Come on RMS. What were you thinking?

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Re:Disappointing

Posted by: ian Lewis on April 01, 2004 11:56 PM
Man. I'm moronic. Maybe I should check the topics before I post. Especially on sites that have as many readers as Newsforge.

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Re:Disappointing

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 12:33 AM
And today is?

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Re:Disappointing

Posted by: AprilFish on April 02, 2004 12:43 AM
Can someone please specify the code location where the offending subliminal messages are stored, I have been grepping for hours with no match in the latest GNU Emacs (a good thing it is free software -- ako open source).
Anyway I have been using GNU Emacs for over 10 years, and I finally understand how I have become a follower of Christ love and supporter of free open source opportunities for all god creatures on earth. That must be the 2004 revised american dictionary definition for "unlawful cummunist hacker".

April Fools You... GNU Emacs Subliminal Messages from RMS!

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Re:Disappointing

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 02:58 AM
If you don't know it already, there are some hidden messages in Xemacs/Emacs.

Try this one:

ESC-X spook

Cool!

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Re:Disappointing

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 10:03 PM
I've allways admired Stallman.
Now I have one more reason to admire him.

 

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Re:Disappointing but not by too much!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 03, 2004 06:29 AM
freedom, enough said! If he really think 'communism' is the way to go, then, its fine by me. Thats him opinion not mine. Actually, I never even talked to a pro-communism person. How can I tell they are THAT 'evil' espacially when its comming from capitalism's voices? I'd like to say 'Democracy is great!' but unfortunalty this only happend once every four years!! Then, our leaders do as they please... heh.

Long life Diversity!
Long life Freedom of Speech!

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The one true path

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 12:28 AM
I suppose vim (a recursive acronym for "Vim Is the Messiah"), the one true text editor, is free of such propaganda? For goodness sake, even the author is explicit about how you should give up you capitalist ways and donate your worldy goods to charity if you use it.<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:wq!^H^H^H^X^Cdamn

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Yer Right

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 12:41 AM
Nice one. Anyone who falls for this - look at the date.

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Oh, I can see the whinning now...

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 12:43 AM
Pure genius, I wonder how long it's been sitting there

Anyways, MS will probably catch up to this and start flashing BUY OFFICE!, Slaughtering lambs is fun! and STOP TERRORISM in its Afghan version of Longhorn

Here's a thought a survey with Emacs users about evil deeds they've done since using the software
and how many rallies they've participated to, since...

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lol

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 12:46 AM
that's what I call humor...thanks for making me smile after a rough day.

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Re:lol

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 03:20 AM
10:46am And your day is over? WHo are you kidding you poseted this from work!

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Re:lol

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 07:47 AM
Timezones are definitely a nice excercise in 4-dimensional thinking<nobr> <wbr></nobr>:-)

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No qualifier

Posted by: SarsSmarz on April 02, 2004 01:10 AM
Editingwiz didn't put on his usual qualifier for fools-dense people. Should be fired!

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Stang!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 01:20 AM
Serge, so far no one seems to be a Negativland fan or a SubGenius minister. If they were they would have commented on the quotes already. But then how many people know the origin of the name "Slackware"? From five o'clock in the morning 'till ten o'clock at night! Give up!

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Re:Stang!

Posted by: Serge Wroclawski on April 02, 2004 04:59 AM
Seventeen hours a day!

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Re:Stang!

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 03, 2004 01:07 AM
How many time zones in the Soviet Union? Eleven.

I'll never miss that question again...

Yellow, Black, and Rectangular. Hm. Yes. Uh...

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Cool

Posted by: pitr256 on April 02, 2004 02:07 AM
Nice Negative Land reference

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Hey! You missed one!

Posted by: Ken Barber on April 02, 2004 02:20 AM

You forgot to mention the most sinister hidden message of them all: the Call of Cthulhu!


I'm not at liberty to disclose just WHERE this is in the code, but beware of using Emacs on any night when "the stars are just right" -- such as tonight....

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NEdit

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 04:45 AM
NEdit too has secret messages. They are excerpts from the Upanishads which after a period of time, depending on the user's karma, will trigger an unexpected and simultaneous experience of Unity with the Source, otherwise known as Nirvanna.

As faras other editors will bring, I can't help but wonder about the SeX text editor. http://www.iki.fi/liw/SeX/

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Re:NEdit

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 07:29 AM
April Fools, fools.

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It's true

Posted by: Jesper Harder on April 02, 2004 10:31 AM
It is in fact true that a certain Emacs extension does flash "subversive" messages randomly. It would spoil the fun to reveal exactly where, but I'll just hint that JWZ is the evil genius not RMS.



For another Emacs easter egg try <tt>M-x animate-birthday-present</tt>


--

Don't suspect your neighbor: report him!

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Messages in your article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 10:45 AM
I realize this is April Fools day but the author has included some of his own messages in this article that unfortunately may misguide some people. For one thing he fails to mention this being open source means the code can be grepped for phrases. I know this was part of the joke but how many people don't realize this and believe his unsubstantiated claims? The fact he uses Microsoft's re-coined term "folder" instead of "directory" tells me he is more of a Windows user which falls into the mentality of spreading FUD.

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Re:Messages in your article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 12:24 PM
Bad guess. He's hard core Linux. How well I know.

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Re:Messages in your article

Posted by: Serge Wroclawski on April 02, 2004 10:49 PM
The term "folder" for directories is older than Windows by years. It's a term that applied to mail and possibly used before that.

I've been using GNU/Linux since 1997, actually, and *exclusivly* GNU/Linux since 1999, meaning I don't have any Windows boxes, don't even use it at work.

I think you're missing the point of trying to write in voice.

Oh well.

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Re:Messages in your article

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 03, 2004 06:32 AM
About "grepping the code", all phrases could be encoded in hex:

#include

int main()
{

                char c[] = { 0x56, 0x69, 0x6D, 0x20, 0x21, 0x00 };

                printf("%s\n", c);

                return 1;
}

prints:

Vim !

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No surprise

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 02, 2004 02:53 PM
This is the first time I'm seeing something from Serge on Newsforge. And this is what we get. Once again, no surprise.

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Communism and Anti-Christanity

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on April 03, 2004 12:24 PM
What more could you expect from a Jew?

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