Get Your Haiku Published in the new “Absolute OpenBSD”

Something weird happened as I worked on the second edition of Absolute OpenBSD: people started sending me haiku. The first edition included a haiku at the beginning of each chapter, something apropos to the topic.

Learn how it fits together
You cannot escape

I reviewed the old book before outlining the new version, and the haiku made me wince. They’re mediocre at best. I considered dropping them from the new edition, or perhaps replacing them with quotes on trust, but an informal Twitter poll came out overwhelmingly in favor of the haiku. This demonstrates that computing professionals have lousy taste in poetry, or that an author is permitted no opinion on the quality of his own work. Or both.

Frankly, the haiku my fans send are better than the ones I write. Some of mine are okay, but they can’t compete with someone else’s inspiration.

So, here’s the deal:

You’ll find the outline for the second edition in my September status blog post. Each chapter needs a haiku.

Post your English-language haiku here, along with valid contact information and your name as you’d like to be credited. If your haiku is better than what I have for that chapter, I’ll use yours instead of mine. By posting your haiku here, you give me permission to use it in the book. Winners will be selected by me, at my sole discretion, based on whatever criteria I feel like using at the time. Your best bet is to amuse me.

If you don’t want to post your haiku, you can email it to me. Use the subject of “ao2e haiku” to avoid the Horrible Black Void that awaits most email I receive.

What is a haiku? Real haiku are in Japanese. I can’t use real haiku — I can’t even read real haiku. For my purposes, a haiku has:

  • 5-syllable first line, 7-syllable second line, 5-syllable third line
  • A season word (i.e., summer, snow, etc)
  • A comparison
  • You might note that my leading haiku breaks two of these three rules. It amuses me, however, which is more important than any other characteristic. But if you can follow all three rules in a haiku about packet filtering, I’ll be slightly impressed.

    Both entries and attributions must be PG-rated. As in, no obscenity. Sorry, folks, I know that obscenity is a staple in sysadmin circles, but AO2e is supposed to be a clean family book.

    I’m not limiting entries per person, but I can say that if you flood me with dozens of mediocre haiku I’ll probably miss the the one awesome one you do post. (“Oh, it’s him again. Sigh.”)

    So, what’s in it for you?

    Selected haiku will appear at chapter headings in the second edition of Absolute OpenBSD, with attribution. This is your chance at eternal fame. Selected haiku-ists will get an ebook of the finished book. If I can swing a sufficient number of physical copies, I’ll give those out as well. Depends on how many winners and how many copies I get.

    Competition will remain open until I finish the first draft of the book. I’m writing frantically, hoping to get a first draft done by mid-November. If I make that deadline, the book can exist for BSDCan 2013. That would be awesome. Can I make that deadline? Dunno. I’m holding the contradictory ideas “no, that’s impossible” and “sure I can!” in my brain simultaneously.

    So, in closing:

    Lucas is lazy
    Your haiku makes him chortle?
    Get free electrons.

    13 Replies to “Get Your Haiku Published in the new “Absolute OpenBSD””

    1. I have a little quote from my uncle which can be used for a chapter on crash recovery:
      Life is like looking into your own ass, its shit everywhere.

      Its not a Haiku, but its good motivation for a nights work.

    2. “Network Connections”

      Gently packets fail
      My gateway unreachable
      I crimp cables again

      “IPv4 & IPv6”

      My tunnel is now up
      I can do IPv6
      Me and three other guys

      “Root, and how to avoid it”

      I see no problem
      He said as he typed again
      rm -rf

      “Desktop OpenBSD” (hey, I got weather in this one)

      Spring comes and hope rises
      Optimism runs rampant
      Let’s try KDE

    3. 0: Introduction

      Pure, simple, elegant,
      Security is built in.
      Code correctness wins.

      1: Community Support

      The one that already amused you:

      Mailing lists are rough.
      Homework is mandatory.
      Love it or leave it.

      Here’s a new one, which I posted to ports@ on Oct 10 after I had a PEBKAC:

      For lack of a clue
      We waste developers’ time.
      Tread carefully now.

      2: Installation Prep

      Some old piles of junk
      Should be reused; re-purposed.
      The Phoenix rises!

      3: Installation Walk-Through

      Straightforward questions.
      Will you take the default prompts?
      Think before you choose.

      4: Post-Install Setup

      Stop using passwords!
      You should read Mike’s other books,
      Admins need to think.

      5: Booting

      Multistage booting,
      Is mostly hidden from you.
      Then you get a prompt.

      6: User Management

      All your resources are
      Under the admin’s control.
      Access is granted

      7: Root, and how to avoid it

      Beware of your power.
      You don’t want to be known as

      8: Disks & Filesystems

      Getting to your files,
      Once you know which disk is which
      Is very simple.

      9: More Filesystems

      Sharing with others.
      We teach it to our children
      And computers too.

      10: OpenBSD Security Features

      Some programs runs well.
      Not like all the others do.
      We permit them here.

      11: IPv4 & IPv6

      Different layers?
      Our results should be the same,
      If we do this right.

      12: Network Connections

      Information flows.
      Packets travel here to there.

      13: Software Management

      It’s so simple, dude.
      Do you know what you’ve installed?
      A utility.

      14: /etc

      This is so easy!
      All my configs in one place
      And in plain text, too.

      15: Maintenance

      There are nightly jobs
      That produce simple reports.
      Be sure to read them.

      16: Daemons (sensorsd, snmp, etc)

      Automated tasks
      Simplify the admin’s life
      Engaged when needed.

      17: Desktop OpenBSD (cwm, tmux, etc)

      Of course its easy
      Once your desktop is set up
      The way you want it.

      18: Kernel Configuration

      Make kernel changes
      Like disabling a driver.
      And then just reboot.

      19: Building Custom Kernels

      Not for the clueless,
      Nor for the Linux admin.
      You’ll get no support.

      20: Upgrading

      Packages are quick
      And upgrades are quite easy
      If you keep in sync.

      21: Packet Filtering

      The tool is easy.
      Understand your network apps?
      Knowledge must come first.

      22: managing PF

      Dynamic changes
      Can be helpful to adopt.
      Just use Anchor points.

      23: edges

      Highlight OpenBSD.
      We live on the edge.


      Simple to deploy.
      Network interconnected

    4. Upgrading:
      Feeling old and due
      Issue pkg_add -u
      Fresh as morning dew

      Software management:
      Intertwined as weed
      In beautiful harmonies
      Ports and packages

      Kept in /etc
      Not spread all around

      Working behind scenes
      Taking care of vital things
      The daemon is here!

    5. Kernel Configuration:
      O lord, we praise
      in summer or fall,
      kernel makes my day

      Desktop OpenBSD:
      From former times,
      through thick and thin –
      keeping the console tradition

    6. My haiku could make one take their own life, but here goes:

      shady business deals
      all start with firm handshakes
      who is watching you?

      finished the upgrade
      my files have disappeared
      lets check lost + found

      function over form
      its how its always been done
      no gui for you

      the root of all evil
      is never far from your touch
      sudo saves your life

      thank you for your books
      they keep me safe in dark times
      i love BSD


    7. 1: Community Support

      To get yourself help
      First you must read the FAQ through
      misc@ will destroy you


      11: IPv4 & IPv6

      IPv4 dead
      but IPv6 is poo
      at least it isn’t DECnet


      17: Desktop OpenBSD (cwm, tmux, etc)

      flash and java, no!
      we consider that a feature
      you will be ok


      19: Building Custom Kernels

      just use generic
      do not make something custom
      you are screwed


      20: Upgrading

      here, use this patch wuss
      fine there is also sysmerge, too
      Read carefully all instructions.

    8. 夜の雨

      yoru no âme
      nagare hitotsu ni
      haru toushi

      night rain meandering

      down the banks of the lonely river
spring is distant

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