The Rime of The Ancient Hacker

The Rime of The Ancient Hacker

Anthony, Brett, Callum, Warren

29th September, 1993

He was an ancient hacker,
And he stoppeth one of three.
`Sit down and let me tell you a tale
of a hack on a PDP'.

`T'was on a souped-up KL10 with TWENEX in its core, the likes of which are no longer seen nor ever seen before.'

He paused and scratched a moment the stubble on his chin, before the documents were consigned by the inevitable RM -F /BIN.

`The 'phone rang hot!' the hacker told, `The old RK05 had crashed, and the screaming users, a hundredfold, came flocking from all o'er the land.

Their fists they did beat on the doors and the walls; their quest for revenge, it was bloody. They walked all over the KL10 and in doing so made it muddy.

We sync'd the disks and shut 'er down. The load had scarcely altered. With a BANG and a CRASH the platters slowed, the autopark never faltered.'

The smoke cleared, the flames subsided, the hacker peeked out from under smouldering motherboards or daughterboards - I'm undecided; but 'twere definitely in need of some soldering.

He knew there'd be no time to lose. His visage set in grim determination; After replacing the smoking 33 ohmers, the hacker rang up Datamation.

`Send out your best with speed my friend, a saga is now unfolding that must be told unto the world's end with full underline, italics and bolding!'

But now this fact was clear and plain: the system needed rebuilding. Through fog, through snow, through sleet, through rain, through left-shifting and bit-fielding.

The system sat all hunched and black, in defiance of the hacker. Its lights were dim, its wires slack, its panels shone with lacquer.

And as the hacker waited near he knew what it was planning. So with foresight like no other he began to put a LAN in.

The core dump took him by surprise as the stack frame grazed his head; holding head in hand, his LAN's demise filled him full of dread.

Resolve he drew around him, like a grim cold shroud of gray; The problem did confound him, but he knew the only way.

The generator was humming with power switch in view. A manual he considered thumbing, if alternatives it could name a few.

With a prayer to the gods of hacking he shutdown the big machine. But as he began to sync the disks, he heard a frightening scream.

His ears pricked up and eyes dilated, A gnawing fear began. Unmindful of danger or risks to the computer room he ran.

\newpage An operator backed out the door. The disks, they followed after; the platters whirring more and more like evil sounding laughter.

But our hacker was no fearful man, for much greater foes he'd faced. He'd triumphed over the evil DOS and put it in its place.

But this was getting him nowhere fast and the users were impatient. His stomach growled from no repast, managers were looking for a replacement.

Thinking furiously, he wracked his brain, a solution was not long forth-coming. `Those VAXen there must go away to get the box a-humming.'

He eyed up the herd of VAX machines and picked up his loaded shotgun; the VAXen jumped like mexican beans but he picked them off, one by one.

His box squatted devoid of life; he gave it a sample kick. Amazingly it booted up with no problems on fsck.

`So that was it!' the hacker claimed. `We're 36-bit clean again.' The perils of hacking had been tamed, proving silicon inferior to men.

It's plain to see from this here yarn a moral's to be had: (A hacker's motto - the sysops warn) If you can't be good, be bad!

`An amazing tale' the punter said. And the hacker replied with glee: `You can hack anything you want with TECO and DDT.'