Put April Fools' Day to Bed

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 01, 2010

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. Well, there's really nothing to cry about, but there's really not much to laugh about this year, either. I'm talking about the annual April Fools' Day tradition of bogus announcements that we see every year on April 1st.

Companies and communities in and around the FLOSS community have been doing April Fools' jokes for many years, but they peaked with Slashdot's OMG Ponies theme in 2006. Or, as Bradley Kuhn pointed out, when the UNIX and C Hoax was revealed. Actually, it was Kuhn who got me really thinking about this, and I have to agree that April Fools' Day has jumped the shark, at least as far as the tech community is concerned.

Not to be a sourpuss, but it's run its course. This year's crop of April Fool's announcements are generally forced and certainly not surprising, which is a crucial element of April Fool's Day: one needs the element of surprise or subtlety to pull off a good one. I got a minor chuckle out of Google announcing a name change to Topeka. It's cute, but isn't fooling anybody. This year's xkcd is superbly executed (seriously, check out the site) but doesn't really constitute a prank of any sort.

Opera's Space Browser is sort of funny, and the PostgreSQL 9.1 Release theme is amusing if you follow the SQL/NoSQL debate, but overall, there's just not a lot that's terribly funny out there. Certainly not the announcement that the GNU Project is endorsing the iPad.