Rob Pike robpike at gmail.com
Mon Jan 18 09:20:18 AEST 2021

I too miss Greg acutely.

The error message arose because of bugs blamed on Greg, arising from the
combination of Datakit code and mpx, both of which were responsible for
innumerable kernel crashes. So one day, needing a new error code for
debugging, EGREG was born. I remember Ken being the creator, but it might
have been Dennis. Ken's sense of humor is a better match, though. (Or mine,
but I'm not taking credit without corroboration.)


On Mon, Jan 18, 2021 at 8:15 AM Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 03:52:43PM -0500, Norman Wilson wrote:
> > As to the origin of `It's all Greg's fault' as a meme,
> > that was already around and established when I arrived at
> > the Labs in mid-1984, though Greg himself had already
> > moved west.  Maybe Doug or Ken remembers how that started.
> I worked for Greg at SGI and loved that I got to do so.  This whole
> EGREG thing is news to me and amusing, Greg was the sort to laugh
> at himself.
> I'm sure I've told this story but just in case.  Not long before he
> died, the cancer came back, he called me up and wanted to come up
> and hang out with me on my place in the Santa Cruz mountains.  I
> asked what was up and he was all "Kids these days with their shiney
> frameworks and Javascript and $JUNK_HE_DIDNT_LIKE, I just want to
> talk to someone who likes C and kernels."  I said fine, but you
> have to run the excavator.  I had bought a used 12,000 pound Kubota
> excavator, it's useful where I live, I have 15 acres, trust me, it
> gets used a lot.
> So he came up.  He was not in great shape, the only thing that he
> could "eat" was tiny chips of ice.  Actual food was baby formula,
> or something a lot like it, that went into a tube that when to his
> stomach.
> While his was body failing, his mind was 100% there, Greg was the
> same Greg that I had met more than 20 years earlier.  I met him right
> as he got cancer the first time, got hired and Greg went away for
> 6 months and came back looking a lot older.
> So we talked, it was pretty much what you might imagine, talked about
> kernels and problems we had hit and solved, it was pretty basic,
> nothing fancy.  It was pleasant.
> He is getting ready to leave and I said you have to run the excavator.
> "I don't want to run the excavator."
> "I don't care, you promised."
> The excavator tends to live next to a pile of logs and I put all sorts
> of people in it, Greg was perfect because he was sick and weak.  The
> machine doesn't care, if you can move a joystick, you can run it.
> Greg being Greg, he refused to let me show him how it works.  It has
> two forward/reverse joysticks that run the tracks, a 4 way joystick
> that runs the dozer blade, and 2 4 way joysticks that run the two booms,
> control rotation, and curl the bucket.  And there is a rocker switch on
> the right hand joystick that controls the hydraulic thumb.  Greg wouldn't
> let me show him anything, he just got on it and started playing.  If you
> go through the pictures, I definitely got the concentration, I'm not sure
> I captured how grumpy he was.  He was trying to pick up a heavy wet log
> and it kept slipping out.  But at picture 7 and 8, big old Greg grin,
> he figured out how to curl the bucket under the log and that held.
> http://www.mcvoy.com/lm/xtp+excavator/
> That's the last time I saw Greg alive, sadly.  He was a gentle soul and
> I miss him.
> BTW, I told that story, and brought those pics, at his funeral.  That
> story is so typical Greg all the way through.
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