Although the sign might initially appear to be in German and uses an approximation of German grammar, it is composed largely of words that are either near-homonyms of English words or (in the cases of the longer words) actual English words that are rendered in a faux-German spelling. As such, the sign is generally comprehensible by many English speakers regardless of whether they have any fluency in German. Much of the humor in these signs was their intentionally incorrect language. The sign, in more correct English, reads:
The sign is also reported to have been seen on an electron microscope at the Cavendish Laboratory in the 1950s. Such pseudo-German parodies were common in Allied machine shops during and following World War II, and an example photocopy is shown in the Jargon File.
The Jargon File also mentions that German hackers have developed their own versions of the blinkenlights poster, in fractured English:
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With dramatically rising CPU frequencies in computer processors, the traditional front-panel "blinkenlights" soon became useless for monitoring computations and diagnosing software bugs. Still, they remain useful for indicators of power on/off status, hard disk activity and network activity on most personal computers.
The Connection Machine, a 65,536-processor parallel computer designed in the mid-1980s, was a black cube with one side covered with a grid of red blinkenlights; the sales demo had them evolving Conway's Game of Life patterns.
This word gave its name to several projects, including screen savers, hardware gadgets, and other nostalgic things. Some notable enterprises include Project Blinkenlights and the Blinkenlights Archaeological Institute. Also, a telnet site, called towel.blinkenlights.nl, has an ASCIImation of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope on port 23 and a BOFH excuse server on port 666.