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Audio Download: Linux Kernel to be on Radio 161

cyber_rigger writes: "The Linux Kernel is to have a (spoken) reading on Radio Free Linux and some other regular radio station throughout the world. I guess this makes Linux offically 'free as in speech.' 'The Linux kernel contains 4,141,432 lines of code. Reading the entire kernel will take an estimated 14253.43 hours, or 593.89 days. Free Radio Linux begins transmission on February 3, 2002, the fourth anniversary of the term "Open Source."'" If only the mysterious numbers stations would open their source as well.
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Audio Download: Linux Kernel to be on Radio

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  • This is done via computer generated speach.
    Will there be anyone listening?
    Or will someone go and have a computer listen to the transmission and turn it back into code :-)

  • bahaha (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Blymie ( 231220 )
    Oh yeah, this is really useful :PPP

    Even art, if to be appreciated, has to be observed. If you can call this art.

    How lame ;P
  • Try r+stations for more info on number stations...

    I'm not a karma whore I'm a karma whores mate and I'm only whoring karma cos tha karma whore is late
    • Of course that should be r+stations

      or: tm l

      I'll preview it this time ;)

      Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes.
      - Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS

    • No sites matching your query were found in the Open Directory.

      Try your search on one of these search engines that incorporate Open Directory data in their results:

  • Excellent! now those little green men out there in other planetary systems will receive something useful in the radio transmissions from earth instead of endless daytime TV re-runs... but how many thousands of years will it take to get there?
  • Can they even generate speech fast enough to keep up with the huge patches?
  • Is it going to try to read it off like words or will it spell everything out? And what about code comments?
  • by mESSDan ( 302670 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @07:36AM (#2945651) Homepage
    Also, can we submit bug reports to the radio station now? Heh.
  • The Linux kernel contains 4,141,432 lines of code. Reading the entire kernel will take an estimated 14253.43 hours, or 593.89 days.
    After 593.89 days it's going to be quite out of date...

    Will they also read patches while they arrive?

  • Why ??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JohnHegarty ( 453016 )
    Can anyone think of any reason for this?

    And does anyone plan to listen for more than 30 seconds?
    • Only in the USA... (Score:1, Insightful)

      by iangoldby ( 552781 )

      (I know I'll get mod'ed down for this, but please don't just write this off as an anti-american troll before reading it. Some of my best friends are american.)

      Only in the United States of America could anyone think that this is a good idea. How is it that anyone can think that a symbolic action like this could change the reality of whether the kernal is actually 'Free Speech' or not?

      It strikes me as in some ways similar to those people who secretly walk along an overgrown and disused public right-of-way once every 20 years just to make sure it can't be closed down. It doesn't actually achieve anything - it's just fiddling about with legal technicalities.

      Why only the United States? Well, similar things might happen here in the UK, but we have not yet become quite such a litigation- and legally-obsessed nation as the USA. Also, the US preoccupation with 'free speech' is something most Brits just don't get.

      Ok, now watch all that hard-earned karma evaporate...

      • by Howie ( 4244 )
        As far is I know, speech isn't legally protected in the UK. The 'preoccupation' is that the constitution of the US is one of very few constitutions that works by restricting the government rather than the people, as I understand it (I'm neither an American or a political scientist) - this make it interesting, and worth following.

        Similar things do happen in the UK, and what happens is everyone grumbles about it for a while but not enough for things to change. Witness the handful of privacy/freedom restricting ("criminal justice/public order") laws of the last 10 years or so.
      • sorry to pop your bubble but we live in the UK


        eset(r a d i o q u a l i a)
  • WTF? (Score:1, Troll)

    by $uperjay ( 263648 )
    I dare someone to give me an explanation of why this isn't a total waste of time and effort. Shouldn't you geeks be jamming these spare cycles into some distributed whatchama-fuck, like SETI@home, protein research, or at least crypto?
  • And we thought Torvalds took a while to get the new kernals out!
  • by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter&tedata,net,eg> on Sunday February 03, 2002 @07:42AM (#2945662) Journal
    ...the PI channel, a channel dedicated to dictating the sequencial numbers of pi, went off the air today. Apparently, their Neilson ratings dropped to zero five seconds after they went on the air. No later had the digits "1415926" been read before the plug was pulled.

    "I don't understand," says Ira Tional, promotional manager of the PI channel. "I thought everyone loved pi, and they could now get it 24-7!" Tional thought that perhaps if they had started the channel with guest stars doing the reading, such as Drew Carey or Britany Spears, the PI channel wouldn't have come to such an abbrupt halt. "But for some reason, they told me I was being too irrational."
  • It reminds me the good ol' days when I was recording ZX Spectrum games played on radio.

    But it was in a machine readable form, so a little bit more advanced technology...

  • Why is the link for the 'numbers station' pointing to

    • Because the URL for the link is actually (href= ""). Most browsers asume that you just want to stay where you are in that situation. It isn't *actually* pointing to Slashdot. Even still though I imagine it was not intentional.
  • Minimalist Art. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by minus23 ( 250338 )
    Personally I think this is great. In a minimalist sort of way I really dig these sorts of things. I dig monitors in my room that show the airplanes in the skies. ... I dig 4 measure beat clips playing on a speaker in the corner in the bathroom really softly. ... I dig old laptops playing Sim City (black and white) with the time slowed down to real-time... or on normal and let people check on the village when they come over and visit. I could see myself setting up a little speaker somewhere just to play back the linux kernal. I am actually excited. :)
    • I dig old laptops playing Sim City (black and white) with the time slowed down to real-time... or on normal and let people check on the village when they come over and visit.

      Whoa! That is a really cool idea. Just get an old Mac Classic or a nice looking ultra-old PC laptop, run up SimCity, and keep it running as a form of artificial life. Nice talking point for the living room ;-)
  • by XPulga ( 1242 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @07:49AM (#2945678) Homepage
    turns radio on

    slash kernel slash sched dot c slash asterisk line break asterisk (...) 1998-12-28 Implemented better SMP scheduling by Ingo Molnar

    Dang! It's the vanilla kernel where are user mode Linux and Alan's cool toys ?

    switches station

    ...Then Iluvatar arose, and the Ainur perceived that he smiled; and he lifted up his left hand, and a new theme began amid the storm...

    Silmarillion. Spoken. Again.

    switches station again

    eight dot three four six minus a dash greather than c zero wb zero yn dot eat...

    Yay, they've got Reiser in this one, but they're still reciteing the console driver, it'll be 3 days before we get to the filesystem

    switches stations frantically

    hash include less-than linux slash config dot h NO NO GET OUT OF HERE WHAT ARE YOU DOING ?

    Hello, I am Richard M. Stallman and you are being deceived, for it takes much more than a kernel to get a computer going. Here are 3 billion lines of GNU code that this radio hasn't read aloud yet. [DOOR SLAMS] Tee hee, and how do you think you get those tiny little icons on the screen ? Here's the XFree86 source to be read.

    turns off radio, goes to slashdot, picks cowboyneal option on poll

    • Re:what kernel ? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 )
      I haven't tuned in as of yet (just woke up at work and cannot find the power supply for my speakers), but it seems to me that they would be reading the algorithym, not the code.

      Reading the code symbol for symbol would seem to me to be slightly, well, geeky. But not in that good way.

      On a side note, has anyone thought about calling Guiness ( the records guys, not the beer guys) for a note in The Book? This has to be the longest online reading ever.

      On second thought, call the beer guys too. It might be harder to understand, but it would be a hellava lot more fun. And I can always get the written transcripts later:)
      • Re:what kernel ? (Score:2, Informative)

        by pizen ( 178182 )
        On a side note, has anyone thought about calling Guiness ( the records guys, not the beer guys) for a note in The Book? This has to be the longest online reading ever.

        Just a little OT history lesson. The Guinness book guys are the Guinness beer guys. The idea came about when Sir Hugh Beaver, managing directory for the Guinness Brewery, went to a shooting party where he became involved in a discussion as to what was the fastest game bird in England. He had the idea for a book, Published by Guinness, that would provide the answers to these sorts of questions would be perfect. The first edition was published in 1955.

        "Wherever people congregate to talk, they will argue, and sometimes the joy lies in the arguing and would be lost if there were any definite answer. But more often the argument takes place on a dispute of fact, and it can be very exasperating if there is no immediate means of settling the argument. Who was the first to swim the Channel? Where is England's deepest well, or Scotland's highest tree, or Ireland's oldest church? How many died in history's worst rail crash? Who gained the biggest majority in Parliament? What is the highest point in our country? What is the greatest weight a man has ever lifted? And so on. How much heat these innocent questions can raise! Guinness in producing this book hopes that it may assist in resolving many such disputes, and may, we hope, turn heat into light."
        - Rt. Hon. the Earl of Iveagh, Chairman of Guinness.
    • mind if we quote yr comment on the free radio linux site?
  • How on Earth did they persuade regular radio stations to go along with this?
  • Whaaaat? (Score:4, Funny)

    by damas ( 469487 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @07:54AM (#2945693) is down again?
  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @07:55AM (#2945695) Homepage Journal
    You know what I'M gonna be listening to for the next year and a half.

    Before this, it was test patterns. I consider this a lateral move.

    - A.P.
  • I wonder... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Briareos ( 21163 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @08:04AM (#2945709)

    Just how many people will be listening to this all day long, waiting to hear "fsck me gently with a chainsaw" (arch/sparc/kernel/ptrace.c) on public radio for the first time? ^_^

    Also, how long will it then take before "concerned parents" get the project off the air? >_<

    np: Phonem - Decay (Arovane/Phonem - Aer (Valid))

  • Not that good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by komet ( 36303 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @08:09AM (#2945716) Homepage
    I listened in for a bit and it was very confusing. The punctuation marks especially have very confusing names and not enough pause between them. =( came out as: equals..... signpar-en-the-sis ... very confusing. And why "traditional hyphen"?

    It also mispronounced "Linus Torvalds". How hard would it have been to sample Linus' name properly?

    Of course, these are all things that can be improved as time goes on and I do hope they will actually do so.
    • They don't even need to sample it: s/

      But anyway, this is a complete waste of time. My god, can't people find something more usefull to do with their lives...
    • Eeeeek.....I was not expecting it to be a
      computer-generated voice! That was creepy!

      On the other hand, it would sound pretty interesting as background to industrial/techno songs or maybe some Pink Floyd (which I'm sure it will be used for in not too long a while).

  • Is that radio station going to read the f*** word in the code or just bleep it out?

  • Doesn't using non-`free as in speech' software to encode the stream kind of defeat the whole point of this..?

    ``For encoding we are using the free Oddsock DSP plugin for Winamp. This encoder converts the live audio input from the into a streaming Ogg Vorbis file. This file is then sent as a 'continuous stream' to the server.''
  • I had a listen, and it's a bit bland. Hard to listen to.

    It needs a bit of spice - a drum loop, some samples, and a bit of scratching. Give it a bit of 'old school' Hip-Hop.


    LEFT paren


    s-s-s-semicolon !
    • I had a listen, and it's a bit bland. Hard to listen to.

      It needs a bit of spice - a drum loop, some samples, and a bit of scratching. Give it a bit of 'old school' Hip-Hop.

      [boom blat]
      f-f-f-for [blat]
      LEFT paren [blat]
      i-i-i-i [blat]
      equals [blat]
      s-s-s-semicolon !
  • General public (Score:1, Redundant)

    by jsse ( 254124 )
    would have thought this is a x-rate channel when they hear this:

    arch/sparc/kernel/process.c: /* fuck me plenty */
  • 593.89 days?!? I sure hope they have commercial/toilet breaks!
  • ...should be a radio station that reads Windows binary hexcode.

    That way they could prove that there are situations when there's no real difference between open source and closed source. It's both gibberish (as a radio show, that is).
  • i've decided that the kernel just doesn;t do what I want so I'm forking the broadcast [].

  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @08:43AM (#2945767) Journal
    This seems a horrible waste of resources. And what do they hope to gain or prove by this?

    I'd be more impressed if they steered the bot so it began reading out loud the DeCSS code and other forbidden code over and over. Then it really would be about free speech...

  • gzip'ed or bzip2'ed? (that's a joke BTW, for the dork who is going to no doubt take me seriously and reply at length.)

    Perhaps if someone piped their radio through their speech recognition software, to get this transmission back into some compilable form, we might be able to finally get back to legendary Microsoft stability. (now this, is sarcasm.)
  • i don't know what the "numbers stations" link was supposed to be, but i'm pretty sure it's referencing the shortwave stations that are the subject of the conet project []. If anyone knows of some online recordings of these, I'd love to hear them, but I'm not going to shell out $$ to listen to people read numbers.
  • Why not Gutenberg? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by heyetv ( 248750 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @09:05AM (#2945802)

    Why the linux kernel???

    Why not start reading from the Project Gutenberg [] files instead, something that would support 'open' and 'free' concepts, but at the same time be useful and improving...
    • Using radio to actually broadcast something intelligible? Are you insane? Without every station pumping out mind numbingly bad music every second of every day the world would descend into chaos. I wouldn't want that on my conscience, would you?
  • It sounds like the new Radiohead album ;-)
  • I hope they have the sense to have a voice synthesiser 'read' out the code, if the participants really feel that this is an important project. The whole endeavour sounds to be a bit dumb. And if they really want to emulate the 'numbers' stations they'll have to use a one time pad [] to encrypt the 'message'.

    It's all codswallop this morning ... where's my goddamned newspaper!!??!!

  • ... and I'm not sure what that bit about the Illodium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator was all about. That voice sounds familiar though ...
  • by Querty ( 1128 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @09:35AM (#2945860) Homepage
    I'm surprised noone has notices that the station still hasn't been slashdotted! They are streaming with the experimental icecast2 server. I'd say that's pretty impressive.

    Thanks to all who are making this possible. Especially Monty, Ogg/Vorbis rocks!
  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @10:16AM (#2945956) Journal
    To fund it, their gonna hide advertising in the code - e.g. "printf("This kernel sponsered by Pepsi, for a coders everywhere");"

    After the first month, all the advertisers will pull out because the listener base = 5.

    When they've finished, someone will ring up telling them that they made a mistake in line 2,432,243 it was "x" instead of "y".

    And Microsoft will probably have something to say about it all being evil...
  • I gotta say, I'm all for cool and geeky ideas for their own sake. But this just strikes me as a major waste of time, effort, and especially bandwidth.

    It'd take a lot of spam mail to equate to an audiobroad cast that long.

    • D'oh! The new touchpad driver on this laptop is a little sensitive; I submitted before finishing :-)

      I was going to say that they could have devoted the same time, effort, and bandwidth to something like broadcast text from the Gutenberg project, and done something useful (as well as novel).

  • In other news, TimepassTown [] placed signs outside Redmond stating that it urgently needed shorthand writers, who would work for about a year of two in twelve hour shifts.
  • by mindstrm ( 20013 )
    That's the stupidest Thing I've heard in a long time.
    What's the point?
    • I agree. Makes me wonder what else the people who set up the project do to pay the bills and feed themselves.
  • Don't you all see, this is what it is going to take to prove to the rest of the universe that we actually are worth talking to.

    The first interstellar message we receive will start out:

    RCS file: /cvs/linux-2.4-xfs/linux/Makefile,v
    retrieving revision 1.146
    diff -r1.146 Makefile
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just when I think I've finally, after much effort, understood how navel-staring and just plain stupid the Linux crowd can get, they prove me wrong.
  • It would be interesting to have a radio talk show, which could be carried on the web, that would take a single module per episode, and discuss it.

    Today on Linux radio weekly we have the module blah.c for discussion, joining us are, so and so.

    A bit of discussion, and open up to some questions. Could be quite educational
    • grtngz, yep, we are planning to do this actually. a kind of talkshow / roundtable, isolating modules, even specific routines. we may rope in our colleagues, talkaoke to produce the talk show for us ... .hh radioqualia
  • I was just thinking about the atomic time signal that is sent around the globe and how clocks set themselves to the signals.

    Perhaps we could download and install new kernels and mods just by tuning in the channel. Perfect for newbies or the dialup-bandwidth challenged.
  • by Grax ( 529699 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @11:57AM (#2946276) Homepage
    USB support sponsored by
    KFC - Try the Kernel's special recipe today
    Pepsi - The Choice of a GNU Generation
    Raid - Kills bugs dead
  • What is with all of the background noise? It sounds like it is on a loop instead of being real noise. Are they just trying to make it sound like a cool "Contact" sort of transmission?
  • OK, you could use this as a rather inefficient way of getting software to remote area - have a text-to-speech program "read" the code, broadcast it on the radio, and tape it at your location. Then, play the recording back to a voice-recognition program (should be easier if the speech was computer-generated). You could probably even do this a double speed or more, right? Only, how the heck do you implement error correcting?
  • I'm sure the people with various diabilities will love this.. Now they can start submitting patches and the like! Just will be a bit out of date, but lets see Windows have accessibility like this!
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Sunday February 03, 2002 @12:57PM (#2946539) Homepage
    I want to play the part of a memory manager or an interrupt handler. That'd be SO COOL!
  • I can't help thinking this is really cool in a sick sort of way, but you'd hope they could have used a text-to-speech that sounded a bit nicer...
  • Anyone knows where to get the Lyrics and/or Tabs for this? I want to do a PunkRock-Cover of it...
  • This is the stupidest things I have listened to since Windows' 2000 text to speech reading the swap file, but I am going to use it with XMMS Wake Up as my alarm clock, nothing could make me want to get out of bed and shut it off more than this.

    vertical bar d vertical bar... f vertical bar f vertical bar f vertical bar ... plus sign hyphen minus plus sign hyphen minus plus sign hyphen minus plus sign hyphen minus vertical bar vertical bar veritcal b vertical bar b verictal bar...

  • What a nice gesture, for Stephen Hawking to read the whole thing!
  • This will be big. Soon loads of famous people will call in to read small parts.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.