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RMS's Bio | The GNU Project
Dharamsala, India, 1 April 2003 The Dalai Lama today announced the official release of Yellow Hat GNU/Linux. Produced by the Gelugpa or "Yellow Hat" sect of Tibetan Buddhism, this GNU/Linux distribution is designed to encourage benevolence and cooperation. The Dalai Lama said, "The experience of sharing free software will teach all human beings the principle of benevolence toward other beings. Software is formalized knowledge, and sharing knowledge in the GNU spirit is a human duty. The GNU/Linux system offers beings a way to follow the path of benevolence while using computers." Yellow Hat GNU/Linux not only supports the Tibetan language, it also comes with a full library of Buddhist texts in Tibetan, Chinese and English. The Tibetan and Chinese versions are in the public domain; the English translations are newly made and released under a free license. "Users will advance in programming skill and advance towards enlightenment at the same time," said the Dalai Lama. To encourage users to move toward nirvana, a chain of users groups known as GELUGPA (GNU-Enlightened-Linux User Groups for Passion Abatement) is being established. Programmers who have achieved enlightenment become capable of what is called "egoless programming", and can then use the Dbu debugging environment. As an integrated development environment, designed specifically for egoless programming, it also serves as a reminder of the essential unity of all things. Dbu is named after the Tibetan province of Dbu, whose name is pronounced "oo" as in "food". If you see a programmer look at a screen and say "oo!", he is probably using Dbu, or wishing he were. Source code for Yellow Hat GNU/Linux is available on CD-ROM; selected beautiful passages of code can also be ordered as hand-painted tankhas for display on your office wall. The Chinese authorities immediately banned the distribution, claiming that it includes a photo of the Dalai Lama; however, the Yellow Hat development group says it is really a photo of Phil Silvers, included so that DeCSS can display it before playing a film. Chinese spokesmen firmly insisted that "Yellow Hat GNU/Linux will never catch on in China." When confronted with reports that a prerelease version is already widely used in parts of Siquan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces, they said that "This means nothing--those areas are really part of Tibet." When asked what response they expect from Red Hat, the Dalai Lama's spokesmen said that "The Nyingma or Red Hat sect disagrees with us on various points, but all Tibetan sects regard the Dalai Lama as the leader of the Tibetan people. So we don't expect them to criticize the Gelugpa sect for venturing into the software field." The Dalai Lama's spokesmen refused to comment on rumors that the Yellow Hat sect plans to merge with the Church of Emacs. The association between the Dalai Lama and GNU/Linux is an April fool, but the background information about Tibet is accurate--even the fact that Dbu is pronounced "oo". Thanks to Mary Fischer for providing this information. Regarding Phil Silvers, see here. For more information about the Dalai Lama (and Phil Silvers).