November 16, 2002

A UNIX sort of day

Category: Research — Biella @ 3:56 pm

I finally got around to signing all the keys that I exchanged while I was in the Netherlands. Seth wrote a nifty script so that I was able to do the whole deal with one command, which was nice. One of these days I need to really write about my ethnographic experiences with key signing. If there is one purely non-technical event that makes a Unix geek full of glee and joy, it is the key signing event. If you ever encounter a sad Unix geek and want to immediately bring some cheer into their lives, just break the emergency glass and aks them: “want to exchange keys?” and it will produce an effect that no anti-depressent or recreation drug could ever produce.

Today Seth and I also recommenced our weekly “Unix” and networking lesson and I have to say that he is one fine, fine, fine, fine, I do mean, fine teacher. I learned, at least conceptually, about IP assignment, dhcp, static vs. dynamic and public vs. private IP addresses as well as some other things about netmask, routing, and routing table. He makes it seem like the whole world of networking is so, so, so straightforward. If only everything could be presented so clearly…

Speaking of Unix, I never told people about the funny Debian joke that I told at the 4S paper presentation last weekend in Milwaukee . So, the paper went well mostly because I am no longer really nervous at public speaking and in fact kinda enjoy it as it is a good venue for telling jokes. So, at the end of the talk, someone ask me whether Debian developers “really get” by participating in Debian as I sort of argued that part of the devotion can be explained by the fact that Debian developers receive and get all sorts of material and immaterial things through sustained participation. To answer, I could not help but blurt out: “wow, do they get?!!!? Well, we all get through Debian, we apt-get.” Of course I was like one of two people there who got the joke but I could not help laughing at my albeit very corny joke. But there is a real sort of crazy sensation of pleasure when I run apt-get install. It is a bit like magic and I can’t help but feel a burst of amazement and joy. Perhaps this is what folks feel during key signing?? :)

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