This song is called "Atlas' HDA." It's about Atlas and the HDA, but "Atlas' HDA" is not the name of the HDA, that's just the name of the song. That's why I call the song "Atlas's HDA."
You can get to your files all day
on Atlas' HDA
(except your thesis)
You can get to your files all day
on Atlas' HDA
You'll be sure there's just no risk
If you copy all your files to the local hard disk
YOU can get to your files all day
on Atlas' HDA
Now it all started about two full backups ago, during the week before finals, when my friend and I went to login to Project Athena in building 1. But our files don't live in building 1, they live in building 11 on Atlas' HDA.
And since Atlas is a 750, there isn't a lot of space free on it. Havin' so little free space, seein' as how Atlas is a 750, they decided that they didn't have to make any on-line backups for a long time.
Well, we got to building 1 and found that we couldn't get to our files in building 11 on Atlas' HDA, so we decided that it'd be a friendly gesture to call up hotline and tell them that Atlas was having problems. So we walked over to the phone with our NFS errors and serial numbers and usernames and UID's and Kerberos tickets and other implements of authentication, and dialed hotline's phone number.
Well, we called hotline and there was a long answering message which told us that we should call extension 3-0168 before reporting any major service outages. Well, we'd never heard of a hotline which you couldn't use unless you called another extension first, and with tears in our eyes, we walked off to find an operations droog.
We didn't find one 'til we came to a little machine room, off the building 11 hallway, and in that machine room was the Manager of Operations, logged into Atlas and playing with the HDA. We asked the operations manager, "Can you restore our files?" and he said, "Kid, you got any problem sets due tomorrow?" Well, I didn't, but I decided that being able to get to our zfwrite binaries was better than not, so I said, "Yes," and he said, "Then I'll restore your files." And that's what he did.
We went back to building 1, had a great time using zfwrite, and went into mboggle-mode, and didn't stop until the next Kerberos ticket lifetime, when we got a zephyr message from the Operations Manager. He said, "Kid, we found your network address on a zfwrite message at the bottom of a half-a-million other zephyr messages, and I just wanted to know if you had any information about it."
And I said, "Yes sir, Mr. Operations Manager, I cannot tell a lie. Someone sent that zfwrite message from my network address." After conversin' with the Operations Manager for about forty-five zephyr messages, we finally arrived at the truth of the matter and he said that we had to show him how we sent those zfwrite messages, and also had go down to e40 and speak to him at Project Athena headquarters. So we gathered together our serial numbers and usernames and UID's and Kerberos tickets and other implements of authentication, and headed on towards the Project Athena headquarters.
Now friends, there was only one of two things that the Operations Manager could've done at the Project Athena headquarters, and the first was that he could've given us a network-address hacked version of zwrite for bein' so brave and honest over zephyr with him (which wasn't very likely, and we didn't expect it), and the other thing was that he could've flamed at us and told us never to be seen sending zfwrite messages on the Project Athena network, which is what we expected.
But when we got to the Project Athena headquarters, there was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was both immediately sat down in Earll Murman's office and had our accounts suspended. And I said to the Operations Manager, "Mr. Operations Manager, I don't think I can show you how I sent that zfwrite message with this here suspension on my account." He said, "Shut up, kid. Follow me," and that's what we did, and walked over to building 11 to look at Atlas (Remember Atlas? This is a song about Atlas.).
I wanna tell you 'bout Project Athena, where this is happenin'. They got 800 workstations, all access_off, and about ten operations droogs. But when we got to building 11 there was about twenty droogs, five postmasters, and two MIT lawyers, this bein' the worst lie told to the Operations Manager in the last eight years, and everybody wanted to get in on yellin' at us about it.
And they was using all kinds of software and hardware that they had hanging around the machine room. They was taking window dumps, accounting traces, lastlogs, sulogs, findlogs, messages, printer dumps, screen dumps and core dumps... And they made seventeen multi-layered X windows with inverse text and scroll bars on the side and top of each one with a man page explainin' what each one was, to be used as evidence against us. They had windows of the zephyr messages, the xterm window, the login window, the xload window.... and that's not to mention the Galatea sequences.
After the ordeal, we went back to back to e40. The Operations Manager said he was gonna make us proofread Athena documentation for a while. He said: "Kid, I'm gonna give you some documentation to proofread. I want your pen and your `r' key."
I said, "Mr. Operations Manager, I can understand your wantin' my pen so I don't accidentally mark up the documentation, but what do you want my `r' key for?" and he said, "Kid, we don't want any accidental rm problems." I said, "Mr. Manager, did you think I was gonna rm -r * my account for hackin'?"
The Operations Manager said he was just makin' sure, and friends, he was, 'cause he took my pause key so I couldn't type ctrl-alt-pause and reboot the workstation (even though it was a VAX), and he took my telephone, so I couldn't dial in to athena, make 1200 baud sounds with my voice, login as the super-user and eliminate all the evidence collected against me. The Operations Manager was makin' sure.
It was about four or five hours later that Jon (remember Jon?) came by and, with a few nasty looks at the Operations Manager on the side, told me I could stop proofreading documentation. And we went back to the SIPB office and had a great Pizza Ring take-out dinner and didn't logout until the next day, when I had to go talk to a design review.
We walked into the conference room, sat down, and the Operations Manager came into view with the seventeen multi-layered X windows with inverse text and scroll bars on the side and top of each one, and sat down.
Bill Cattey came in, said, "All Rise!" We all stood up and the Operations Manager stood up with the seventeen multi-layered X windows. And Jerry walked in with his PC and sat down. And we sat down. The Operations Manager looked at the PC... and then at the seventeen multi-layered X windows with inverse text and scroll bars on the side and top of each one with a man page explainin' what each one was, and looked at the PC, and then at the seventeen multi-layered X windows with inverse text and scroll bars on the side and top of each one with a man page explainin' what each one was, and began to cry.
Because the Operations Manager had come to the realization that it was a typical case of user interface incompatibility, and there wasn't nothin' he could do about it, and Jerry wasn't gonna look at the seventeen multi-layered X windows with inverse text and scroll bars on the side and top of each one with a man page explainin' what each one was, to be used as evidence against us.
And we was fined 50k quota and told to delete the zfwrite binaries.
But that's not what I came to tell you about. I came to talk about the watchmakers.
They got this area over in e40 called the watchmaker zone, where you walk in and get your programming skills inspected, detected, neglected and selected!
I went down and got my interview one day, and I walked in, I sat down (slept on the third floor of lobby 7 the night before, so I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning, 'cause I wanted to look like the best MIT hacker. I mean... I wanted... I wanted to feel like.... I wanted to BE the best MIT hacker), and I walked in, said down, I was hung down, brung down, locked out and all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things.
And I walked in, I sat down, and Jane gave me a piece of paper that said: "Kid, see Geer in the watchmaker zone."
I went up there, and I said, "Dan, I wanna hack! I mean I wanna hack! Hack! I wanna see gross code and dereferenced null pointers and overnight hacking sessions and bugs to fix and impossible-to-comprehend code! I wanna feel nine-track tape between my teeth! I mean hack! Hack! Hack!"
And I started jumpin' up and down on his desk (there was no room to jump on the floor), yellin' "HACK! HACK! HACK!" and Win Treese walked in and started jumpin' up and down with me, and we was both jumpin' up and down, yellin', "HACK! HACK! HACK! HACK!!" and some watchmaker came over and gave me the watchmaker root password, sent me into the watchmaker zone, and said, "You're our bug-fixer." And I didn't feel too good about it.
I proceeded to work as a watchmaker, gettin' more inspections, rejections, detections, neglections, and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me at the thing there, and I was there for two years... three years... four years... I was there for a long time goin' through all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things, and I was just havin' a tough time there, and they was inspectin', injectin', every single part of my code, and they was leavin' no function untested.
I proceeded through, until my thesis was almost finished and I came to see the very last man. I walked in, sat down, after a whole big thing there. I walked up, and said, "Waddaya want?" and he said, "Kid, we only got one question: have you ever been in trouble with the Operations Manager?"
And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Atlas' HDA massacree with full orchestration and five-part harmony and stuff like that, and other phenomenon --
"Stop it right there!" he said, "Kid, did you have to go meet with Saltzer?" And I proceeded to tell him the story of the seventeen multi-layered X windows with inverse text and scroll bars on the side and top of each one, and --
"Stop it right there!" and said, "Kid, I want you to go over and sit down on that bench that says, `Hackers who got caught.' NOW, KID!"
And I walked over to the bench there, and there's... The hackers-who-got-caught group is where they put you if you may not be moral enough to hack for a salary after learning to hack for four years.
There was all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly-lookin' people on the bench there... there was system crackers, password breakers, Kerberos bug-finders, sendmail demons, and Robert T. Morris enthusiasts!! Robert T. Morris enthusiasts sitting right there on the bench next to me! And they were mean and nasty and ugly guys sitting right there on the bench! And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one... the most obsessed RTM enthusiast of all, was comin' over to me, and he was mean and ugly and nasty and horrible and all kinds of things, and he sat down next to me. He said, "Kid, you get a security hole?" I said, "I didn't get nothin'. I had to delete the binaries."
He said, "What did you have to talk to Jerry about, Kid?" And I said, "Sending zfwrite messages..." And they all moved away from me on the bench there, with the Robert T. Morris enthusiast and all kinds of mean, nasty things, 'til I said, "...to the Manager of Athena Operations..." And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench talkin' about system cracking, password breaking, Kerberos hacking, virus hunting... and all kinds of groovy things that we was talkin' about on the bench, and everything was fine.
We was drinkin' coke and eatin' all kinds of junk food, until the dean came over, had some paper in his hand, helt it up and said:
"KIDS - THIS - BUG - REPORT'S - GOT - FORTY - SEVEN - WORDS - THIRTY - SEVEN - FILL - IN - BLANKS - FIFTY - EIGHT - ESSAY - QUESTIONS - WE - NEED - TO - KNOW - THE - DETAILS - OF - THE - BUG - THE - SECURITY - HOLE - THE - HACK - WHATEVER - YOU - DID - AND - ANYTHING - ELSE - AT - ALL - YOU - GOT - TO - SAY - PERTAINING - TO - THE - BUG - WE - WANT - TO - KNOW - THE - PROGRAM - NAME - THE - SERVER - IT'S - ON - THE - PATH - TO - IT - THE - RELEASE - NUMBER - THE - MACHINE - YOU - WERE - RUNNING - IT - ON - AND - EVERYTHING - ELSE ..."
... for forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said. But we had fun rollin' the mice around and lookin' at xpix.
I filled out the special bug report with the multiple-choice and essay questions and fill-in-the-blanks, and wrote it down there just like it was and everything was fine. And I put down the pencil, and I turned the bug report form over, and there, there on the back of the form... centered on back of the form.... away from everything else on the form... in parentheses, capital letters, back-quoted, in NewCenturySchlBk, read the following words: "Kid, have you passed Phase II?"
I went over to the dean. Said, "Mister, you got a lot of dammed gall to ask me if I've passed Phase II! I mean, I mean, I mean, that you say, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean, I'm sittin' here on the hackers who got caught bench, 'cause you want to know if I'm a good enough writer to go out and write computer programs, build circuits, and work in technical support after sending a zfwrite message?"
He looked at me and said, "Kid, we don't like your kind! We're gonna send your user-id off to the NCSC in Washington!" And, friends, somewhere in Washington, enshrined on a logical volume on dockmaster, is a study in ones and zeroes of my aborted hacking...
And the only reason I'm singin' you the song now is 'cause you may know somebody in a similar situation. Or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that, there's only one thing you can do. Walk in, whereever you are; just walk in, and say:
You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he's really dangerous and they won't give take him.
And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both hackers who got caught and they won't take either of them.
And if three people do it! Three... can you imagine three people walkin' in, singin' a bar of "Atlas' HDA" and walkin' out? They may think it's a new type of backup!
And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY people a day, walkin' in, singin' a bar of "Atlas' HDA" and walkin' out? Friends, they may think it's a MOVEMENT, and that's what it is: The Atlas' HDA ANTI-BREAKAGE MOVEMENT! And all you gotta do to join is to sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar.
(but don't forget to backup fast, on Atlas' HDA!)