Get your name in the relayd book

(note: comments that are not bids will be deleted. The next post is for meta-comments.)

There’s a long tradition amongst science fiction writers of selling bit parts in books in exchange for charity donations. It’s called tuckerization.

I see no reason why science fiction writers should have all the fun.

I need a sample user for the forthcoming book on OpenBSD’s httpd and relayd. This user gets referred to in the user authentication sections as well as on having users manage web sites. They will also get randomly called out whenever it makes sense to me.

That sample user could be you.

All it would cost is a donation to the OpenBSD Foundation.

The catch is that I only need one sample user.

That should be the user with the biggest Foundation donation. Because I’m from the US, where bigger is clearly better.

It makes sense to auction this off. The person willing to make the highest donation will get their real name and preferred username, or reasonable substitutes, used as the book’s sample users.

They’ll also get their name in the back of the book, in both the electronic and print versions.

The auction will take place in the comments section on this web page. Yes, you place your bid here. (edit: a bid is a promise to donate if you win, not a statement that you have donated. You know, like an auction.)

Some questions and answers.

  • Is this a cynical scheme to raise money for further development of assorted OpenBSD-related projects?


  • Any limits on our name and username?

    I reserve the right to reject names or usernames. If your birth certificate really says your name is an obscenity, I’m pretty sure you have a nickname. Similarly, even if your username on all your systems truly is henningsux, or your legitimate full name is Felicia Urban-Channing Kildare and you use your initials: nope.

    I won’t spell out exact rules for names, because you people are clever buggers and would find a way around them. Your name. Your preferred username. Or reasonable substitutes for them.

    This is intended to be fun. Dirty words and insults are not fun. In public.

  • Will you treat me with respect?

    Uh… have you read my work? I can pretty much guarantee condescension and insolence. Perhaps not a huge amount (this isn’t a book on sudo), but some.

    Then again, this book involves openssl(1) commands. You’ll probably catch some of my perfectly understandable emotional reaction to having to type a command like this:

    # openssl ocsp -no_nonce -issuer chain.pem -VAfile chain.pem -header Host -url -serial 0x0367016F53A2A5425C1E50BB17D2AE63378A -respout ocsp.der

    Not only do I have to write about that string of stupidity, I have to write about it in such a way that you’re happy to read it.

    I’m gonna have a tantrum. It might as well be about you.

  • I’d like you to use my spouse’s/mother’s/soulmate’s/hamster’s name

    First, read the previous question and answer. Once I’m through with the user, this person might no longer be your soulmate… or your mother.

    I will search on your preferred name, to make sure I’m not abusing a social activist or anything like that. But yes, within the same limits. If your hamster is named Dumbass, nope. Same for your soulmate, or your mother.

  • I’d like you to use a historical figure/deceased developer/etc


    I’m not going to make statements like “I don’t trust George Washington/MLK/creepingfur with shell on my server, so he gets locked in a chroot.” Our dead heroes deserve better than to have me sniping at them. Besides, one person’s hero is another’s monster.

    Yes, creepingfur had a really good sense of humor… but no.

    Could I be nice? I have that ability, but nobody reads my books for kindness.

  • My company name–


    This is not a way to advertise your firm.

  • Why do this here, instead of an auction site like eBay?

    Partly because authors normally do this sort of thing on their web pages. Partly because it simplifies the running of the auction. And partly because it means I have no financial connection to the results. Touching donated money causes me weird non-financial risks, thanks to how US federal and state law interacts with my family situation. (No, I won’t explain that. It’s personal. Deal.)

  • Why not have the Foundation run this, then?

    They’re busy writing code and arranging hackathons.

  • Why do this now instead of when you started writing the book?

    Because the OpenBSD Foundation exceeded their fundraising goal for 2016. I’d like to see their 2017 start with a boom.

  • When does the auction end?

    5 PM EST Monday, 16 January. Or sometime shortly after that.

  • That’s a stupid time. Where’s my countdown timer?

    It’s convenient for me. It also will discourage last-minute sniping.

    If last minute bids are coming in fast and furious, I’ll let it run until bidding stops for five minutes or so. Fight it out fair and square.

  • When does the auction start?

    When I hit “publish” on this blog post.

  • How do I bid?

    Comment here with your bid amount. Each bid must be a minimum of $5 more than the previous bid.

  • How do I track competing bids?

    Check the “Subscribe to Comments” box when you bid.

  • Where will the winner be announced?

    On a separate blog post the evening of 16 January.

  • How do I claim my prize?

    You have three days to make your donation. Send me your PayPal receipt.

  • What if the winner doesn’t pay?

    The prize falls to the #2 bidder, who I will contact.

  • What exactly will the winner get?

    Your name and username in the body of the book, in places where I need to refer to a person. Some degree of emotional reaction to your name. Probably not a very positive reaction. Your name in the back of the book, described as the “Tuckerization Charity Auction for the OpenBSD Foundation Prize Winner” unless I can come up with a less awful and mutually agreeable way to say that.

    If the auction goes over $100, I’ll ship you a signed copy of the print book when I ship out the print sponsor copies.

  • Will you be offering sponsorships on this book?

    Yes. Once the auction ends.

  • You said this was for SF writers. Don’t you write SF?

    Yes, but nobody cares. For those who want to pretend to care: here’s my latest SF novel, Hydrogen Sleets.

  • I have things to say about this other than bids!

    Comment on the next post, please. Not here. I am easily confused. Comments to this post that are not bids will be deleted.

  • 21 Replies to “Get your name in the relayd book”

    1. $40. Which I fully expect to be surpassed, but someone has to start.

      Michael, you might want to clarify – should a bid here be made only after a donation is made? Or are you expecting that only the high bidder will actually make the donation?

    2. Well, I can’t beat the high bid, but I can thank MWL for inspiring these acts of goodness!

    Comments are closed.