Let's face it: any script kiddie with a pair of pliers can put Red Hat on a Compaq, his mom's toaster, or even the family dog.

But nothing earns you geek points like installing Linux on a dead badger.

Your first step is to find the proper dead badger. A specimen from a zoo is ideal, but most people can find suitable badgers as roadkill along highways in many parts of North America, the British Isles, Europe, and Asia.

When you find a dead badger, check it carefully for spinal, skull, and leg damage. A dead animal won't heal, and a badger with broken legs will have limited mobility. Brain and spinal cord damage is likely to interfere with the Linux installation and render any successfully-installed system unstable.

Be certain to wear latex or polyurethane gloves when handling your dead badger as a precaution against becoming infected with diseases it might carry; it's also a good idea to wash the carcass with a decent flea-killing shampoo.

You'll minimally need:

  1. a pocketknife
  2. a computer with:
  3. a Duppy card (available in CardBus and PCI models) or a SpiritInTheSky external adapter (available in ethernet and USB models)
  4. a copy of VüDü Linux (available from Twisted Faces Software)
  5. a screwdriver to install the new card
  6. a 3'x3' fireproof surface
  7. privacy -- your Friday night LAN party is not a good environment to try this

For my test installation, I used a 400MHz clamshell iBook and did my work on the concrete floor of my garage.

My first step was to visit the Apple software site and download a copy of FleshGolem from their utilities section. Installation is pretty straightforward, but be sure to read the readme.txt file. The program works with both Duppy cards and SpiritInTheSky adapters.

Next, I put my Duppy card into my iBook. Duppy cards work best if you're using a Mac with an Airport slot; I found the response on the external SpiritInTheSky adapter to be sluggish.

The card has a hinged lid and a clear cover over what looks like a small, shallow ivory box. You pop the cover open, and then you take some hair and blood from the badger and put it in the compartment. You don't need much tissue, really. If one were to try this with a human corpse one would want to use pubic hair pulled out by the root. (But one really, really doesn't want to mess with human corpses, does one? That kind of thing leads to excommunication and long prison sentences, even if it is a terribly entertaining way to spend a quiet evening in the cemetery. But I digress.)

After I'd loaded and closed the card, I installed it in my iBook's Airport slot by unlatching the small white tabs at the top of the keyboard. I lifted the keyboard assembly off, being careful of the wires, and put the card in the slot.

Once I had the keyboard back in place, I was ready to install the Duppy card's security antenna in the badger. Every cyberspiritual card should come with such an antenna, so if you purchase a package that doesn't have one, take it back and get a replacement. You can run your badger without it, but it'd be pretty easy for someone to hack your badger if they could get close and get some blood and hair for their own card. Duppy makes sure that each card and antenna are uniquely coded to each other, so when the antenna's installed properly, the badger will only respond to a computer with the card that matches the antenna.

To install the antenna, I made a small incision with my pocketknife at the nape of the badger's neck. Then, I shoved the antenna down the badger's back under the hide. You need to get the antenna to lie as flat as possible along the spine, or your security won't be optimal. You can also cut the badger's back skin open, but that's a lot messier and requires you to sew the thing up afterward.

Next came the fun part: installing Linux on the badger.

I first installed the software components on my iBook. VüDü is compatible with all operating systems, and that part of the installation is pretty straightforward.

VüDü is a cool little SuSE port. Some of the German software engineers who worked on SuSE moved to Jamaica and started up Twisted Faces Software. Excellent product, I highly recommend it.

The default partitioning is pretty simple; /boot goes in the spinal cord, the root partition goes on the left hemisphere of the brain, and the swap files go on the right. If you're working with a badger with damage to one of those areas, you can repartition one or the other brain hemisphere, but it's a pain. Read the manual before you try it.

Your system configuration information and the spiritual components of the package come on a small, rolled-up piece of parchment. There's room for you to write in your password, plus any auxilliary programs like NecroNull. The VüDü package comes with two scrolls, but you can use your own blessed parchment if you know a voodoo priest or priestess.

When modifying the scroll, be sure to use chicken blood-based ink, and write neatly -- if you can't read it, the ambient spirits probably can't, either! You don't need to get every last little big of information in -- you can Telnet into your badger later to change the configuration. The language on the scroll is fairly flexible -- VüDü is written in Soulscript, but I've seen successful additions in Latin and Hebrew.

After I had my parchment written up, I rolled it up and stuck it down the badger's throat, all the way into the stomach. Use your screwdriver or a pencil to get it all the way in.

The next step was to install VüDü itself. In your box, you'll find a large square of herb-scented paper. This is the entire code behind VüDü. You must fold this paper into an origami shape resembling the animal you're installing VüDü on. There are folding directions for common animals in the box, but if you need more, visit any origami site on the web.

Don't lose the paper; replacements are expensive. There are recipies for homemade paper out on the Web, but even if you get the herbs right, getting all the information written down is a huge task.

I folded my paper into a badger shape, making a hollow inside where I put more blood and hair from the animal.

I put the badger in the middle of the garage floor, then used the creature's blood to smear a foot-wide pentagram on the concrete around its body. I set the origami code badger at the top point of the pentagram, and lit the paper while making the boot incantation:

 

Suse vivo vixi victum reduco is ea id creatura absit decessus a facultas Linux! Dev root, dev root!

 

The paper should burn with green flames -- black or gray means the herbs are all wrong and the whole thing's a wash. Purple means you should run for your life. The smoke should flow over your badger and into its mouth and nose. After you've completed your incantation, you should see your badger shudder awake.

If so -- congratulations! You've got your very own Linux-controlled zombie badger! My badger woke up pretty angry (reanimation puts most creatures in a foul mood) so I had to quickly launch FleshGolem to get the beast under control. So, it's best to have your computer close at hand when you're making your incantation.

If the badger isn't responding correctly, you may need to make some configuration adjustments via Telnet; instructions are in the VüDü manual.

If your badger still appears dead after you've made your incantation -- call Twisted Faces' tech support. You get two calls free when you buy your software (after that, tech support will cost you an arm and a leg ... or somebody else's arm and leg; Twisted Faces won't care where you ship the parts from, as long as they get them before they spoil.)

Good luck, and happy badgering!


czeano says The Pookah project does this all automatically, it's on soulforge and is listed on freshermeat.

/me replies: Well, sure, but first you have to install GaelOS, and there's just not a good build for Macs and Amigas yet. And I've found the HarveyTheRabbit utilities that come with Pookah create an awful lot of invisible files, making it hard to manage hard drive space. Also, NecroNull just won't run right on Pookah.

If you liked this, please check out Installing Linux on a Dead Badger and Sparks and Shadows. Thanks!