Linux for Christians? Here comes Jesux

Jesux positioned as the Christian Linux distribution of choice.

Jesux Developers is billing its Jesux (pronounced hay-sooks) product as "the Linux distribution for Christian hackers, schools, families, and churches."

Hoax or reality? Based on information on the company's web page, Jesux looks like it might be a legitimate, albeit controversial, Linux distribution. Jesux will be based on the Red Hat Linux distribution. Indeed, the first Jesux distribution, due out in late December, may be little more than a patch set for Red Hat Linux 6.0/6.1.

So-called Christian software programs are common. And they go beyond applications for Bible education and Sunday school record automation. Every category, from point of sale systems, to Oracle database applications, to accounting programs, is represented. Thanks to Jesux, operating systems are now represented, as well.

Exactly what does a Christian Linux look like? Some of Jesux's changes will be purely cosmetic. For example, the fortune file will contain scripture quotes, the cal program will include Christian holidays, and the Enlightenment display manager will include Christian screen display themes. Other additions, such as including an online copy of the King James Bible and Netscape Christian bookmark lists, are also unsurprising upgrades.

No one who knows Unix and the sensibilities of some fundamentalist Christians will be surprised to see that Jesux Developers is seriously considering replacing such common Unix names as "kill", "abort" and "daemon". Things get more interesting however with tentative plans for Christian online support that can handle the state of your computer and your soul. More immediately, Jesux also will include a Squid proxy server configured for blocking "illicit" web sites.

All of this will be protected by the group's new open source license: Christian Software Public License. This license is based on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license with the proviso that the message: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, King James Bible)" must be including in any redistribution of the Jesux version of Linux.

Then there are the more-than-cosmetic changes Jesux is planning. For example, sendmail will not be included as the standard Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) because, according to the project's Web site, "a prominent homosexual" wrote it.

And encryption? Forget about it. "No encryption provided. Christians have nothing to hide," reads the Jesux web site text.

Even without this kind of posturing, some resellers say they find the notion of a religious operating system to be offensive. To quote one anonymous reseller, "Yup. Linux is officially a religion now. What's next, crucifixion of NT users?"

Take me to the Linux Lounge.