The Night before M-x-mas

With my sincerest apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and to Richard Stallman.

'Twas the night before M-x mas, and all through the list
Not a lurker was stirring, nor were they missed
The ports were opened on the firewall with care
In hopes that st. ignucius soon would be there
The parens were nested, all snug in their configs
While delusions of wit danc'd in their sigs

With a hot cup of tea, and pillow at my back
I checked out the source for a short winter's hack
When out on the server a hard drive expired
And I ran through the house to put out the fire

Wanting the data, for this mystery to uncover
I tear open the casing, and try to recover
Though I cry, and I shout, and computing gods implore
I'm left with the backups from two days before
When, what should my bloodshot eyes near discern
But a hacker itinerant, and four FSF interns

With that little old yeelong, so lively and free
I knew in a moment it must be St. Iggy
More rapid than eagles his fingers they flew
As he danced, and he sung, to a bulgarian tune

    Join us now and share the software;
    You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free.
    Join us now and share the software;
    You'll be free, hackers, you'll be free. 

As microsofties before the GPL fly
Or when led to the zune store, obsessively buy
So onto the network, his interns connect
With a disk full of source, and documentation correct

And then in a twinkling, as I wait to reboot
I hear a creaky mixture of floorboard and foot
I open the door, just enough for a glance
and I see good old St. Iggy, warming his hands

He was dress'd in white robes, from his beard to his ankles
And his feet were quite dirty, from ill fitting sandals
A disk platter was strapped to the back of his head
And his hair look'd quite hippy, straight out of bed

His eyes were quite focused, with passion most clear
His cheeks rosy tinted, with much M-x mas cheer,
He has the nasally voice of a New England sage
And the beard of his chin was flecked grey with age
His laptop he held loose on the palm of one hand
With emacs open and ready to receive its command

A quick tap on the keyboard to check his email
just a memo or three, and a flame on e-devel
He jots off a reply, as quick as a flash
Then a quick swig of water, and some nuts from his stash
With a nod of his head, and a scratch of the chin
He signalled to me that his speech will begin

He spoke at great length, on non-free software most vexing
And fill'd us all up with visions of mac store protesting
He wraps things up with a tale of macaws
Before giving a bow, and receiving applause

He sprung from his lecturn, and to his interns he hollers
And for the fare home, asks a fee of some dollars
But I heard him exclaim, ere he ran into the black
Happy M-x mas to all, and to all a good hack

The first six lines were written to break the silence on #emacs. After that, I was compelled to keep going till I had finished.

The original poem is “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, with an excerpt from “The Free Software Song”.

Edit: 2013/12/29 At the request of rms, I made a few small changes to prevent some possible misconceptions. In the interest of historical accuracy, you can still read the original.