With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, Richard Stallman, and the English-speaking world in general — ed.
‘Twas the night before Christmas
While up in my bed,
I stared at the ceiling
With feelings of dread.
I’d really no reason for portents of doom
Lying there, sleepless, in gathering gloom.
We’d wrapped all the presents, and decked out the tree,
But still, there was something niggling at me.
Then a stab of fear struck me, right through like a knife.
“Holy crap!” I exclaimed. “I FORGOT MY WIFE!”
Yes, somehow through all of the retail hell,
I’d forgotten to get my dear wife something swell.
To my shop, I retreated with blistering speed —
I’d only mere hours to fix my misdeed.
I warmed up the RepRep, went quickly online,
For I needed to find a nice bauble design.
Now I know what you’re thinking –“Is he really so crass?
To print his wife’s present? That just shows no class!”
Why yes, I agree, it’s incredibly lame.
But I’d really no choice when so late in the game.
While the printer head scanned to and fro cross the bed,
The smell of hot plastic wrapped ’round my head.
I started to nod off, lulled by the whine,
Of steppers and servos coming online.
When from the screen of the laptop I spied a strange sight,
A bash session started — it gave me a fright!
I watched commands keyed in with terrible speed.
I’d been hacked, it was clear from what I could see.
A new window opened, and showed a strange face.
All grizzled and gray, he seemed out of place.
It took me a second to figure it out,
But I knew who it was and I let out a shout.
“Richard Stallman?” I said, “What is this all about?”
“Never mind,” he intoned, “What you’ve got going on,
Is going to be trouble when night turns to dawn.
You’re printing some useless damn thing for your wife.
What’s wrong with you boy? Don’t you value your life?”
“Why just look around you! Check out your scrap bin.
Just think open source, there’s no way you can’t win!
An Arduino perhaps — you could build a quick clock.
Just nothing with Nixies or that sort of schlock.”
My eyes darted ’round, and what did I spy?
Unused and unloved — a Raspberry Pi!
A USB webcam, too — what a treat!
Surely with this stuff, I’d build something neat.
A family picture from just down the hall,
Would no longer hang in its spot on the wall.
I needed its frame for the build I had going.
My plan, it was working — I was practically glowing!
An LCD monitor gave up its screen,
When put in the frame it would look pretty keen.
With some open source code, it couldn’t be clearer,
That I’d soon be building a nice Magic Mirror!
I soldered and coded and tested past three,
While Rich, in his window, watched over me.
We hacked and we tweaked until finally done,
Just in time for the rise of the cold winter sun.
I desperately wanted to take a short nap,
But thanks to old Rich, I’d one present to wrap.
I waved and I smiled at his face on the screen,
But with camera taped over, I couldn’t be seen.
He smiled a sly grin, gave a nod of his head,
Typed a few short commands, and he headed to bed.
But I heard him exclaim as he faded from view,
“Remember, the NSA’s still watching you!”
And thank you, dear reader, for giving a crack,
To this little poem — we know, “Not a hack!”
And lest that you think now that this silly verse
Is surely a sign that we’ve turned for the worse…
Just wait a few months — until April the first.