REDMOND, WA -- Forget SCO, the real threat to the future of Open Source lies in Bill Gates' multi-billion dollar bank account. Utilizing assets that only the world's richest person can tap into, Chairman Gates has registered trademarks and domain names for virtually every combination of letters and numbers that could conceivably be used for free software projects.
"If you thought the flamewar over Firebird was intense, just wait until we file lawsuits against everybody from AAAAAAAAA to ZZZZZZZZZ," explained one of Bill Gates' favorite lawyers.
Thanks to the US Patent and Trademark Office's new Frequent Squatter Program, Bill Gates was able to register billions of trademarks at only a fraction of the usual rate. Meanwhile, thanks to Network Solution's "Buy 1,000 Domains, Get 1 Free" promotion, Gates had no difficulty snatching a whole portfolio of .org, .net, .com, and even .gov domains.
"I don't know why we didn't think of this sooner," boasted Gates' personal delivery truck driver who helped transport 2,156 tons of paperwork to the USPTO offices in Washington, D.C. "What will geeks do when they have an itch to scratch but the shortest open source project name available is Aw0jsl-256qplg-zzzlp09dax? The war is over. Microsoft wins."
A spokesperson for the Mozilla G59-delta-Gremlin project (formerly known yesterday as PintoX, the day before as Canyonero L7, last week as Firebird, and last month as Phoenix) said, "This is an outrage! Project namespace collisions have already become the single most contentious flamewar topic, even surpassing GNOME vs. KDE! And now all of the money we've sheepishly given to Microsoft over the years is being used against us!"
As a stopgap measure, Larry Wall pointed out that Microsoft only registered names with characters in the set [a-zA-Z0-9-]. "Gates has only defiled a negligible portion of the Unicode character space," Wall said. "If push comes to shove, we can all just adopt post-modern project names using mathematical symbols, Greek letters, or the Klingon alphabet.
He added, "Or we could take a plain English name and run it through MD5. How about f83a0aa1f9ca0f7dd5994445ba7d9e80? ...Uh oh, I see Gates has already registered that. Well, Perl sounds better anyway."
Slashdot's Taco Boy was watching the Matrix sequel for the 16th time hoping to catch a glimpse of the ssh screenshot and was therefore unavailable for comment at press time.