It is not a joke, but a “small tribute” done by the creator of Linux to honor in some way to one of its competitors in its time. Windows 3.11 for Workgroups was released on August 11, 1993 (will be 20 years old), as an update to Windows 3.1. It definitely left behind DOS commands and user jutted into the world of graphical interfaces. By that time, Linux was also in its early versions.
The tribute of Torvalds to that primitive Windows is not only in the name of Linux for Workgroups, but also includes the new logo: the penguin characteristic of Linux, holding a banner with the old logo of Windows 3.1.
Where I do not have absolutely nothing to do this new Linux kernel that Windows is on content, which is not bad. The new kernel version includes improved support for the power management features of the Radeon controllers and support Intel Rapid Start technology.
Many say this is a joke and not a tribute and not a few who have expressed their rejection of the Linux name for Workgroups 3.11, saying it would have been preferable to have overlooked the version number, going to 3.2. The truth is that Torvalds has a particular sense of humor.