The Bastard Operator From Hell
The PreHistory to BOFH / The BOFH FAQ

This page was included from The BOFH Executive Relief Penultimate WWW Edition as it explains some background info on The BOFH. The BOFH FAQ is a signature file used by Simon Travaglia when replying to emails that are BOFH related.

The Prehistory of B.O.F.H.

Where it came from, How and Why

I get people asking from time to time, so I may as well tell...

Where it came from:

So I was writing the Striped Irregular Bucket and I was in much the same situation as the poor operator I was writing about. I was bored shitless. So I thought I'd bash out a couple of lines about something, and where better to start than a place I knew. So I chunked out Striped Irregular Bucket, which was far less offensive than some of my previous posts. Unlike most of my other posts, I knew the area I was talking about. (Being bored in a Computer Room that is). Then I started getting mail from people, which was unusual in itself, and it didn't say that my library books were overdue and it wasn't from story-tellers who wanted to tell you why they needed more disk, connect time etc. I ignored most of this and went on with other writing, resurrecting BOFH (who was as yet pretty much unnamed) in Striped Irregular Bucket #5. Then I got more mail, so I thought I'd bash out a couple of BOFH articles. So I did, then ran out of material briefly, so I stopped. Then got some material, and started then stopped again. That was about BOFH #15, after a brief splurge into BSMFH. Etc etc. Then I went to Britian for a year and worked for Enterprise Oil PLC (good place, say Hi!) in London, bricking out 2 articles in that time. Along the way, Waikato kept my old account open, so I'd get maybe one mail message a week from someone who'd just read it for the first time. I still do, strangely enough. Anyway, so I got back home, took up a job as Analyst Programmer, kissed the Computer Room goodbye, and thought that would make a fitting end to the BOFH.

To all the people who mailed me over 1993 or so and got no reply, sorry, but had to login from a Sun Sparc SLC via a modem to a machine which connected to a machine which let me login via a weird version of telnet to home in New Zealand.

Anyway, that's the very end of it. I know I've said that a couple of times, but there you go, you can't trust an Operator. But you can trust an A/P - Trust me.


Okay, so I lied.

Lied again..

Still lying...
December 1995
No more lies - I guess I'll be writing them for a while. If you want up-to-date articles, you should be reading Datamation Magazines Web Site and/or Subscribing to "Network Week" magazine in London. Some of the episodes make it to both places, some now. Network Week sometimes also pens their own episodes.


Congratulations on sending me mail, it getting here, and you getting a reply!
This is the Bastard Operator From Hell (and other) FAQ file v1.6 (Revised Beta)
created in response to the sporadic queries I get regarding things I write and post
to Usenet News.  You have received it because either:

        A. You asked for it
        B. It looks like you want some information from it
        C. I know you're paying for every byte you receive
                (which means you'll get the 2000 line version)
        D. You're a postmaster and the person I sent it to passed a bad
                return address to me.
        E. Extra Terrestrial Activity.

        Q0.  Is there a book?  Tell me there's a book?
        A0.  There's a book.  Maybe.
        Q0b. Where?
        A0b. Send email to to hear more.

        Q1.  Can you mail me BOFH/Quantum Optics/Part 4 of xxx/Party Dude/etc?
        A1.  No

        Q2.  Can you tell me where to get BOFH/etc?
        A2.  Possibly.  It should be available on Anonymous FTP at the
             following site.  It may not be up to date at all tho:
                  in      /misc/fun/humor/simon/
             Also, my WWW archive is fairly complete.  (See Below)

        Q3.  How many BOFHs were there?
        A3.  Well, it's a little grey for me, but to my knowledge there was:
                2       pre-BOFH texts (Striped Irregular Bucket Series)
                ~15     BOFH real
                2       Bastard System Manager from Hell
                2 or 3  Bastard Operator from Britain
                1       Last Bastard Operator from Hell
                1 more  Bastard returns briefly
                1 more Bastard goes to the Trade Show.
                (There's probably a discrepancy as I didn't keep a hot copy
                the whole time so I may have missed one somewhere.
                There were two "full" reposts to my knowledge:
                        "The Executive Relief Repost" and  (prior to BOFB)
                        "The Penultimate REREPOST"
                The Penultimate REREPOST (or REPOST) is the last compilation
                available, so if you have that, you have a major part of it.
                10-Jun-1995.  1 more "The Bastard's still about"
                22-Dec-1995.  1 more "The Bastard does Xmas"

        Q4.  Will there be any more BOFHs?
        A4.  I've given up denying it, I have no idea.  I do some for
                "Network Week" (U.K) and Datamation (U.S) Magazines
                from time to time.

        Q5.  Is any of it true?
        A5.  None of it.  P.s.  You have a lot of free disk now.  Don't thank
                me, it was my job.

        Q6.  Why did you do it?
        A6.  At first because I was bored.

        Q7.  Did you ever *really* do any of that stuff?
        A7.  Ah.... ...  no.

        Q8.  Can I use the BOFH in my magazine/newspaper/book?
        A8.  What the hell.  The only things I ask are:
                0.  You acknowlege copyright
                1.  You acknowlege the author (me!)
                2.  You don't edit it in any way (If it sucks, don't use it)
                3.  If your magazine/newspaper/book is earning a truckload of
                    cash I'd like to see some of it!!!  ;-}
                4.  If you're not getting a truckload of dosh, I'd still just
                    like to get a copy of your magazine, book, paper whatever,
                    just to know how it's travelling.
             NOTE:  The Electronic Rights of BOFH are owned by Datamation
                    Magazine or their publishers.  I would prefer that people
                    who have electronic versions record this cos they've been
                    pretty good to me over the years.

        Q8a. What's the copyright situation?
        A8a. I retain all copyright on my stuff unless otherwise stated

        Q9.  You convinced me.  Where can I send the truckload of cash?
        A9.  To me!:    Simon Travaglia
                             P.O.  Box 13018
                             New Zealand

        Q10.  What if I haven't got a truckload of cash?
        A10.  Join the club.  I collect cameras...  (Pentax K1000s by
              preference) & United frequent flyer miles perhaps? (grovel)

        Q11.  When did the last BOFH come out?
        A11.  December 1995

        Q12. When did the first one come out?
        A12. Dunno, I didn't pay attention at the time, I didn't think it'd
             catch on.  (I got some angry mail from people who didn't like it
             and thought I denigrated the good name of Computer Support)

        Q13. Have you written anything else?
        A13. All sorts of stuff.  It probably requires a well 'tuned' sense
             of humour. (as mentioned above) has a directory
             called 'simon' that has some of my stuff in it.
             More of my stuff is on my web page (see below).  Some other stuff
             I neither have, nor in some cases remember writing.  So it goes.

        Q14. I'm a psych grad - what was BOFH's motivation?
        A14. The undeniable realisation that Computer Operators rule the world!

        Q15. Is that the lot then?
        A15. Ah.  Well, there's a WWW distribution at Waikato University
                which contains the most complete collection I know of.

        Q15a. So where's this network week site with all the new bofhs?
        A15a.  follow the Network Week links.
	Say hello to Maxwell Cooter while you're at it.

        Q15b. Ist das alles?
        A15b.  Ok, there's a webbed german language version on:
        A15b(ii)  Ok, there's also a Russian version (apparenly, I can't read it) at:

        Q16. Anything Else?
        A16. I thought about getting "The Bound Bastard" or "The Bound
                Bastard and Other Stories" printed or maybe a tee-shirt
                with "Talk to me and I'll kill -9 you!" but I didn't know
                how well it would go.  But if anyone can track down a
                publisher who had the wherewithall to do it...
	Versions of Tee-Shirts were made by JFurr (lost his email
	addr) way back, and Network week in 1996.
	*Late Note*  Both Network Week and Chuck Burke (
	are looking at compiling books as at 28-1-97

        Q17.  What, no "Sorry about all your files" or "What was your
                username again?"
        A17.  Oh, of course.  What was your username and password again?

        Q18.  How many K1000's have you got?
        A18.  Two.  Broken.  And I paid for them too.
              I haven't *EVER* received one.  It would be nice. (Hint Hint)

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