About Me

The views expressed here are my own. More bits available here.

The story of PacHacker

Hannes Holtzhausen (2010)

In a parallel universe, known only as ‘the maze’, there existed a being known as PacMan. In a universe filled with ghosts, PacMan evolved and adapted and was able to navigate the maze like no other to escape the wrath of his enemies.

Life in the maze was hard. Daily life consisted of eating pac-dots and the occasional ‘fruit’ for sustenance to continue to outrun and outsmart the ghosts. PacMan’s only defence against his enemies came in the form of power pellets that allowed him to strike back at the ghosts (the effects of which were, unfortunately, only temporary). In a world where he was different, PacMan managed to survive.

Apart from the struggle inside the maze, the maze itself also had a dark side. A flaw in the design of the maze allowed it to consume more resources from its life force, also known as a platform, than it required. This meant that the maze outgrew it’s life force or platform every so often. Because of this flaw, the masters of the maze were forced to search for and occupy new platforms to sustain the maze and it’s inhabitants. The process of occupying a new platform was called porting.

During one particular porting excercise, to the unix platform, one of the masters of the maze mistakenly left behind a copy of The Art of Unix Programming (http://catb.org/~esr/writings/taoup/html/).

One day, while still running for his life, PacMan came across the copy of The Art of Unix Programming that was left behind during the last port. Being the superior being inside the maze, he realised the value of the information and started reading. A whole new world opened up for PacMan. Armed with new knowledge and a mastery of the C programming language, PacMan started to engineer his liberation from the maze. PacMan applied the unix philosophy (and hallowed engineering principle) of K.I.S.S (http://catb.org/~esr/writings/taoup/html/ch01s07.html) and after some tough, but rewarding hacking, he found himself outside the maze in unix user land (/usr). He was free.

With his new found freedom and knowledge he decided to change his name to PacHacker. As PacHacker his goal is to remind everybody that first principles are just as important now as it was when unix was first created.

Happy Hacking!

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