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Fake Linux Torvalds Set For Web Vitriol Barrage

Fake Steve Jobs made a splash on the Web in 2007, and now a contest featuring four different Fake Linus Torvalds characters is aiming to have a similarly viral impact among the social networking cognoscenti.

The Linux Foundation is running a contest in which four different Fake Linus Torvalds will post Twitter messages from the Identi.ca (linuxfoundation) and Twitter feeds (www.twitter.com/linuxfoundation), all in an attempt to portray themselves as the most compelling facsimile to the father of Linux.

In a blog post earlier this week, Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, said he expects that some of the posts from the Fake Torvalds will be "dangerously outrageous," while others will be "downright funny."

Torvalds, of course, is no stranger to bombastic statements. In a July 2008 e-mail sent to the Gmane Linux kernel mailing list, Torvalds criticized developers who portray themselves as heroes for finding and fixing security bugs, and also referred to OpenBSD developers as "a bunch of masturbating monkeys."

In April 2008, Torvalds, in an argument with a pro-Intel techie at the Web site of Real World Technologies, got himself worked into a lather of sarcasm and retorted: "Are you the kind of person who was really happy when you got the 'most improved' plaque while sitting at the back of the short bus for the 'special kids'? "

According to Zemlin, Torvalds himself has given the go-ahead for the contest. Starting the week of Sept. 7, the public will be invited to vote for their favorite Fake Linus Torvalds. The identities of all four Fake Linus Torvalds will be revealed at LinuxCon, which will be held in Portland, Ore., from Sept. 21-23, and the top vote-getter will receive a 'Silver Penguin' award.

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