genuine Linux


Q: Is this for real?
A: It's for real in the sense that the code actually makes your computer less useful. Although there is an actual license server, it doesn't do anything except return "FAIL", making any computers running Linux Genuine Advantage disable logins after the grace period expires. Incidentally, this is similar to what has happened with some other systems, such as Circuit City's DIVX system after they decided it was no longer profitable, even before they went out of business.

It's interesting to ponder what will happen to Windows XP or Vista when they reaches end of life. Do you think it will continue working normally, even though it's dependent on Windows Genuine Advantage to activate the operating system? How can you be sure? How happy will you be if, for example, your point of sale software that doesn't need to connect to the internet can't be reinstalled because the operating system can no longer be activated?

But yeah, basically this is a parody of some other systems that are actually out there. It's a joke. For God's sakes, don't install it on a computer you actually care about.

Q: Where do I send my licensing fees? I couldn't find any information on how to send them in.
A: There are no license fees. It's a joke. There is no mechanism to collect money on our end.

Q: I installed Linux Genuine Advantage, not realizing it was a joke. What do I do?
A: Oops! OK, here's how to disable it. For what it's worth, every system like this to date has also been possible to disable and/or work around.

To remove Linux Genuine Advantage from your computer:
  1. Remove the entry it created at the bottom of /etc/inittab
  2. kill -HUP 1
  3. rm -f /usr/local/sbin/linux-genuine-advantage
  4. rm -rf /etc/linux-genuine-advantage/
  5. rm -f /etc/nologin
If you somehow managed to install the program, forget about it, and got locked out of your computer 30 days later, you'll need to reboot the machine (possibly by resetting the power at the machine), boot into single user mode, and then follow the steps outlined above. And please be more careful installing dubious code from untrusted web sites in the future! On second thought, I may know of another operating system that's perfect for you...

Q: What is that bird in the photos, and why did you choose it?
A: The bird is an Albatross. It was chosen for the following reasons:

In modern usage, an albatross can be seen as a symbol of a gigantic, hopeless, long running project that is never going to work, similar to a boondoggle.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the origin of the "albatross around the neck" metaphor.

And of course, there's always the Monty Python take on it...

Q: Where did the photos actually come from? Who took them?
A: The images are all Creative Commons licensed (Attribution/Noncommercial/Share Alike version 2.0), and were taken by the following Flickr users: A big thanks to these three, and to all the users at Flickr for sharing their high quality albatross photos with the world!