Get your name in “Absolute FreeBSD 3rd Edition”

The charity auction for the httpd/relayd book raised $1300 for the OpenBSD Foundation. And more importantly, running the auction amused me. Heaping abuse on the generous winner, in a book, has amused me even more.

So let’s do this again.

The new edition of Absolute FreeBSD needs a sample user. I’ll refer to this user in appropriate sections throughout the book, as I need them. I can promise they’ll appear at least half a dozen times.

That sample user could be you.

All it’ll take is a donation to the FreeBSD Foundation.

While I could use more than one sample user, that would require work and coordination on my part, and I can’t be bothered. Obviously, the user should be the person who makes the biggest donation.

Which, to me, sounds like an auction.

A bid is not an obligation to donate. Winning the auction is an obligation to donate. I’d encourage you to donate anyway, mind you.

The winner will get their real name and preferred username, or reasonable substitutes, used as AF3e’s sample user. The winner will get their name in the acknowledgements section of both the print and electronic versions.

The auction takes place in the comments section on this web page, because why pay eBay?

Some questions and answers. (As these worked well for the OpenBSD auction, I’m mostly reusing those.)

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


  • Does the Foundation know you’re doing this?

    And ruin the surprise?

  • 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 repeated insults are not fun. In public.

  • Will you treat me with respect?

    Ha ha ha ha! Thanks, I needed that.

    Seriously, have you read my work? I can absolutely guarantee condescension and insolence.

    This is a big book. It has space for a whole container ship of condescension and insolence.

    As I’m publishing AF3e through No Starch Press, though, they’ll probably invoke some editorial limits in the name of “taste” or “liability” or “OMG just NO” or some daftness like that. Whatever.

  • 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/Dennis Ritchie with shell on my server, so he doesn’t get a shell.” Our dead heroes deserve better than to have me sniping at them. Besides, one person’s hero is another’s monster.

    Any Unix sysadmin knows that Ritchie clearly had a great sense of humor, but: no.

    Could I be nice? I have that feature set, 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.

  • When does the auction end?

    5 PM EST Monday, 27 March. 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 27 March.

  • How do I claim my prize?

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

    If the donation is sufficiently large, I might ask you to give the Foundation permission to tell me that you actually donated the money.

  • What if the winner doesn’t pay?

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

    I won’t blog that the #1 person sucks, but I will say that they didn’t donate and thus the award falls through to #2. You’re perfectly capable of determining a person’s suckage level on your own.

  • 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 book acknowledgements, described as the “Tuckerization Charity Auction for the FreeBSD Foundation Prize Winner” unless I can come up with a less awful and mutually agreeable way to say that.

    If you provide your address, I will ship you a copy of the book once it comes out.

  • Ooooh, a third edition? When will it be out?

    As soon as I finish writing it. Which I’m doing now.


    Oh, wait, no. Give the Foundation your money.

    You’ll have time before the book comes out to earn some more.

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