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July 30, 1998

Microsoft challenges Sun's new language
Overhaul of Windows seen as a response to rival's "Assyrian 2.0"

REDMOND, Wash. — Microsoft Corporation today announced plans to overhaul its upcoming Windows 2000 operating system and drastically alter its programming format. The move was seen as an attempt to close ground on rival Sun Microsystems, which has seen a runaway success with its revolutionary new programming framework based loosely on the language and religion of seventh-century Assyria. assyrian.jpg (7906 bytes)

It was in the fall of 1996 that Sun first began to experiment with the technologies underlying what is now their popular Assyrian 2.0 programming language. Increasingly frustrated with Microsoft’s monopolization of the consumer software market, Sun’s programmers abandoned their efforts to create a more efficient programming language and instead devised one that enlisted the help of Iron-Age sorcery and blood sacrifice. Lead programmer Robert Scrimshaw provided the key creative spark, rejecting the traditional binary system in favor of a new language based on reconstructions of ancient Assyrian magical texts, notably "the Oracles of Sharam" and an untitled book of fertility spells known simply as "The Codex."

Early progress was slow. The initial stages of development were plagued by a dearth of programmers familiar with first century B.C. Semitic languages. Also, the new software was quite time-consuming to code. For example, while a change of port command could be achieved in traditional code with the simple "c://aab - goto 80," the same process in the new language required the following lines:

"Ye did Lord Shalmanezer approach the stream and he spake: "When I came beyond the abyss he bade me fling away all that I had and all that I was; and he forsook me in that hour. But reborn within the womb of Babylon the abiding virgin Inana came to me in the night. GOTO 1876 @ eec."

The language was so difficult to master, in fact, that Sun C.E.O. Scott McNeely eventually fired his entire staff and retired to a converted temple near the company’s headquarters to conduct ritual sacrifices and write all the code himself.

Sun’s first new release — "The Ptah-Apophrasz-Ra manifests the dragon Nuith girt with the serpent talisman of Ashurbinaapal," a simple spreadsheet and accounting program, fared relatively poorly with consumers. Soon after its release, however, a spirit appeared from the sky of Microsoft’s headquarters and shook the sky and rended the heavens and blood seeped up from the ground and the citadel of evil was swept away by Marduk.

This gave Sun’s fortunes a tremendous boost. As Microsoft scrambled to relocate its main offices, Sun churned out release after release, including the word-processing program "The Adept reveals the Magick of Jechidah, Chiah, and Ruach in the perfection of successive complexities." Most of the new offerings were never received especially well by the public, but with each passing day more and more of Microsoft’s programmers and chief investors were found heaped up in pools of their own blood.

Other companies were quick to follow Sun’s lead. Rival Netscape enlisted the help of the Babylonian pantheon with its new Internet browser, "Tiamat Lord of the Night visits her almighty wrath on the Earth-Dwellers." The release not only reduced the "Type 3" crashes common to its older Navigator releases, but also resulted in the destruction of any computer, and usually any computer owner, that attempted to switch to a different brand.

Netscape ran into problems, however, when they moved away from their CD-ROM format and toward cuneiform tablets, which had to be deciphered by customers and then crushed into a fine powder mixed with lamb’s blood, which was then smeared over the computer screen. Chairman Ron Yarmouth even went so far as to include a secret "work provision" in the warranty cards of all Netscape products, which ,when signed, bound the new owner to seven years of unpaid labor at the company’s headquarters. Yarmouth put his new army of slaves to work building a 1200-foot ziggurat which he hopes will fulfill Netscape’s office space needs well into the 21st century.

But don’t count Microsoft out yet. Sources say Bill Gates has offered seven-figure sums to the departments of Ancient Languages of Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of Baghdad in an attempt to get out his own new software platform before Christmas. It’s rumored that Gates will rely heavily on Chaldean Astrology to fend off the divine wrath aroused against him by his competitors.

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