[TUHS] Source code abundance?

Ron Natalie ron at ronnatalie.com
Wed Mar 8 05:44:46 AEST 2017

> Personally, so long as it wasn't garbage code, I've always been sort of
stoked to stumble across my code in strange places.  It's fun to think that
people found it useful.

It wasn't one of my  UNIX things, but I had written our own standalone
PDP-11 router system (we originally used MIT's C-Gateway but Noel got exiled
for a while and it kind of languished so I wrote my own).   About a year or
two after I wrote it I got a call from NASA:

ME:   Hello.
NASA:   We brought a VAX up on our network and now the gateway is printing
ME:   OK, what sort of error.
NASA:   Well... we're not sure exactly.
ME:  (thinking about my error messages) Did it just print out some register
in octal or something?
NASA:   It was from the interlan driver.
ME:   (now wondering why they're being real cagey about things) What does it
say exactly?
NASA:   It was something about trailers.
ME:   (thinking)...Oh, is it "TRAILERS MAKE ME BARF?"
NASA:   Yes, that was it.

This was back before BSD used the ARP protocol numbers to negotiate if the
other machine wanted to use trailers.   It just always did them or not based
on an ifconfig option.     While trailers were a great idea for the paging
structure of the VAX they were a bad idea for my code (which wanted to find
the IP header at a fixed place not the beginning of the payload data).


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