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FAQ: Why chosing Bouillon?

Deutsche Version von "Bouillon"

Just to clear up a missunderstanding: The preparations for the Linux beer hike 2001 began much earlier than generally known. The roots are to be found in the Middle Ages in the Ardennes, the modern day Southern Belgium near to the French border.

How could that happen? At that time there was only one religious system on the world market, whose branches and support-centers are still open in every European town. Then in Arabia another system was invented and conquered the whole region. Since that both systems longed for world domination, trouble was guaranteed before long. When the christians saw some Arab users conquering their most important city, they started a cyberware. But in that time weapons like marketing, advertising and price-policy hadn´t been invented, so the users of the systems had to fight with real LARTs like swords, bow and error and rams and such stuff.

At that time Network connections were rare, so DoS-Attacks, sniffer and other comfortable tools were just nice, but without measurable result. It was quite usual, that so-called "Knights" got together in brutal-looking mobs in Western Europe and travelled across Europe to Arabia to free Jerusalem. Well, thats what they said. The actual truth might have been their unemployment and the costs of all their heavy stuff and castles and personnel. So they jumped at the chance of rioting in the Orient. Incidently: that was more difficult than you might think. Just imagine, you had to go to Jerusalem by horse or donkey. As to be expected, this protocol had no important effect on the world-market, until much later another Belgium Knight, Eddie Merckx, renewed that tradition. Well, he used a bike, but France was more interesting than Jerusalem. But that´s another protocol with another rfc.

What was I talking about...? Oh, yes. On one of these cruisades a knight called "Godefroy of Bouillon" caused a sensation by being a hero or acting much more brutal than the others or something like that. To avoid more unnecessary incidents on the battlefields, he was promoted as "King of Jerusalem". Kings in that time beeing leading Admins with MCSE, having the permission to organize the administration of bigger networks. The portrait of Godefroy here on the left has probably been brightened up by the marketing department.

The Godefroy was sitting in Jerusalem administrating. But very soon he realized, that the job wasn´t fulfilling, and he made new plans for his future career. On the cruisade he learned, that a proper network between Europe and Arabia would spare a lot of resources. He was speculating on having a much higher sharehoulder value as a pioneer of the network technic in Europe than in the sticky Computer-Center in Jerusalem with its poor air-conditioning. Again he loaded all his equipment on his horse, gave a wake-up-command to all his networkers, and applied to the emperor for a job in Europe (supported by a multimedia presentation).

Bored to death, the emperor listened to Godefroy´s buzzword-bingo (including 46 foils in true color) about interconnectivity, multimedial structures, global usability, and all that stuff. Somehow he seemed to be impressed and he sent Godefroy with all his network cable and networkers to the Belgium woods, to build up and to manage a network project. On the way to his new job Godefroy was unsure, wether that was a new step in his career or banishment. On arriving there, it was clear to him, the second. The emperor gave him only a mountain and a few meters of river in the boondocks. Godefroy won the buzzword-bingo, but lost everything else.

In the Belgium woods, the surroundings are a little bit... well... confusing. On every horizon mountains and wild rivers barring the way. Under such conditions a well-organized network needs a high level of innovation. Another less important problem was the high activity of miscallenious groups of robbers and crackers, who used to delete the area down to the / from time to time.

The few remaining peaceful inhabitants in the valleys couldn´t see any chance for a career in an IT-Company, so they took care of their goats and tried some farming on the omnipresent slopes. Or they enjoyed life (but with poor motivation only) paddling around with small boats. The rest of the time they had to hide for the robbers.

Deeply depressed, Godefroy drunk some fermented Fish-Juice, which was a speciality of that region. Promptly he got an attack, which increased to a vision. He took his beamer, jumped on the river-bank and entertained the bored people with a multimedia show, like they had never seen before. He told them crazy stories about an American, who would free all the propietary software, and a guy from Finland, a penguin-fan, whose system would conquer the whole world though no conqueror would be implemented in it. Once upon a time, far in the future, some hundreds of his users would visit this river valley to bring the blessings of unix to everyone.

Nevertheless, his presentation wasn´t as successful as he expected. The folk didn´t seem to be so interested in what he said as in what smokable stuff he´d captured at Arabia. Hadn´t he been abstinent from drugs before the cruisade? Godefroy was really upset about those questions, and he told them about the virtual future. He told them all details of his plan to acquire leadership of the world-market. He gave them the choice of a global final shutdown or multiple redundancy with an autarchic power supply. They seemed to be unimpressed. By promising better fish-juice, he persuaded them.

Godefroy made an end with the loafing at the river banks and ordered them divert the river. The people threw a lot of junk and waste and dead animals in the river, all the trash left from the last party. So they forced the river in a pipe around a mountain next to the river.

Godefroy was pleased. The mountains position was central in the river´s pipe now. It was a perfect kernel. The next step was the construction of a file system. Godefroy ordered a castle on the mountain to be built, for defence against the straying MCSEs and robbers.

This was a valid argument, which was even understood by his people. So they did a really good job, with a triple drawbridge, firewall, ditch, and all the peripherie which such a system needs. They constructed it in such a careful way, that this system is up even now. Godefroy organized a party with a sufficient quantity of fish-juice and allowed his people to call him "Admin".

The next attacks of the robbers and crackers went ahead according to the crontable. They had to cross the river, then the defenders in the castle showered them with stuff that was heavy or sticky enough including dead animals and zombie-PIDs. In shortest time the users learned to deny all attacks. The crackers understood the message and evaded the system spaciously.

Then Godefroy... sorry, the Admin invented a tool to optimize the performance of fishing. It was just a piece of network cable with a stick at the one end and a BNC-T-connector at the other. At the connector the users mounted food they supposed to be compatible to fishes. Frazzles of logfile-printouts, windows error messages, just any useless stuff. This worked astonishingly well, because the fishes were rather tired and hungry due to the pipe around the mountain. Therefore, the users still hung about at the river banks, but the second task was fishing.

In this efficient way, the supply of food was ensured. So the users started to care for their own systems. One by one, they put up rows of houses at the river bank and chained their security network to the castle. Later they named the project after its founder "Bouillon". For a long time the system was running properly. The descendents of the old Admin had also been very clever. So the village overcame various global problems (such as Christianisation, electrification, founding of European Union, Teletubbies) without any fallbacks or reboots.

The only thing the Bouillonniks still missed was the blessing of the unix as promised in the Old Admin´s vision. They understood that they had to outsource this problem to external IT-specialists. But how to decoy them? The only attractions of the system were the self-constructed sources for the processing of fish. Indeed, the performance of the software package "hook_pan" with its ultra-short traceroutes in the system Bouillon is still unrivaled.

Therefore the users decided to sell the results of this programm on the worldmarket. Some of them cleaned up their limbos, mounted a sign at their house "Hotel" and made advertising for mass tourism.

Others placed tables and chairs at the river banks, announced the foundation of a "Restaurant" and gave the world gastronomy. They developed a short form of the sources for fish-processing to a menu, which is a protocol for the optimization of the communication between visitor and kitchen-admin.

But now, after centuries, the users understood the brilliancy of Good Old Admin. Bouillon consists of three parts: A mountain in the center, a circular mountain around, and the river in between. Too little space, the Bouillon people thought, and, as a test, filled the river bank with tiny little hotels and restaurant on both sides.

That´s the incredible evil hack at Bouillon. Visitors can run around wherever they want. There is always a river or a mountain barring their way. It happens quite often, that they need a while to realize that there is only one river and one PID.

Wherever visitors go the way forward is always obstructed by something other. But there are everywhere inviting Restaurants and Hotels. Why not just sit and eat something?

The system looks able to fill a long process list. But the source consists only of a loop with $MOUNTAIN and $RIVER, forked to childs with $HOTEL and $RESTAURANT. The whole routine is recursive (a fallback always ends with a $RESTAURANT) and forces collisions with any process hierarchy (A control-c always gives a $HOTEL instead of a bash).

But don´t worry: Meanwhile the user improved his drinks. The monopoly for fish-juice, fresh pressed or fermented, was rated by a consulting manager as worthless for the local gastronomy. It was sold, including the whole processing technology, to a bigger town in the Rhine valley, where fish-juice is even now sold as so-called "Kölsch". Some say that there are some very hard guys, who even drink it. On the way back from this sales trip someone bought some bottles of "Alt"-beer. This fluid was analysed, copied and sold under the trademark "Godefroy".

As the last problem, the absence of a net between both riversides remained. All visitors had to wade through the river and arrived wet through the restaurants on the other side, causing annoying smut there.

What had provened attack repellant, was counterproductive for the business with the visitors. Fearing never to run unix at full runlevel, the users asked the officiating Admin what to do.

Rather helpless, the Admin went to all corners of his castle and saw - a river. Indeed, that seemed to be a problem. Another pipe wouldn´t be a quite satisfying solution...

Some users tried to organize a ferry system with their old little boats. That wasn´t successful, because the performance was too weak, and the visitors prefered their own feet as a low cost system.

So the Admin thought, if a system like this castle with an uptime of centuries is possible, the extension of this system by one or two bridges shouldn´t cause any substantial difficulties. Why not bridge that silly... ah, sorry... ingenious river?

After organizing several meetings, some of them with the external consulting manager, the users built two bridges. Both are routing two small servers full of hotels and restaurants.

Visitors usually don´t realize the meaning of this hack. They´re shuffling through Bouillon from one side to the other, again and again stopped by mountains or rivers. Happily they learn to use the bridges. After crossing them, they are stopped again by the next mountain. The only exits out of this system seem to be the hotels and restaurants. What the visitors don´t understand: The gastronomy is part of the system. (An American created a slight copy of that principle in his film "Matrix".)

The Bouillonniks added to the system a tunnel through the mountain under the castle. By crossing it, visitors see on the other side ... correct: a river. Loop.

Meanwhile robbers and crackers are seldom in the forests around bouillon. So the users cleaned up the whole castle, spread out their prettiest antiques in the rooms, and are now presenting the castle for a fee to the visitors. Which means: To those few visitors, who survived the river and its rows of hotels and restaurants on both sides, and, in addition, have still been able to climb up the mountain. After the visit of the castle, hungry again, they climb down the mountain, to see what? Rivers, hunger and mountains in their customer requirement specification, and hotels and restaurants as complete userfriendly GUI-tools as clickable solution. Loop.

Finally the usual sight_seeing_tools have been added to the network. The church was cleaned properly and a mechanical sound system was mounted, which disturbs infrequently. A funny machine on wheels, inpersonating a train badly, is transporting its visitors through the city, crossing all the bridges on its way. One or two museums have been placed beside the castle, and in the tradition of good old presentation specialist Godefroy, a multimedia show was added. Its theme: crusades. Well...

The whole system is running at top perfomance. 2000 Users are serving ten thousands of visitors. Up to 10.000 of them can´t find the route out on the same day and ask for hotels. Bouillon ´s got ´em. The capacity is comparable with a load of 5.

At last now the plan of the Good Old Admin is fulfilled. The penguins having been deeply impressed by this collection of ingenious hacks, have decided to hold their annual meeting in Bouillon in August 2001. The users are perfectly prepared and looking forward with great pleasure to the day, the unix will arrive in their town.

Rainer Kersten

OK, folks. This was my impression of Bouillon. It´s great. I love it. But now I´d like to go back home again. But I can´t find the route... The whole area is full of mountains and rivers... And again someone is offering a desk with a river-view and a drink... And these fishes... Wow... With creme sauce... OK, OK... But this will be the last one...!


Deutsche Version
Infos about Biking (flaams)
Tourist Information
Linux Beer Hiking 2001 (and much more photos)


Text: Rainer Kersten
Photos: Jürgen Brauckmann, Alex Janssen & Rainer Kersten,
Except of: all cards, godefroy.jpg, chateau.jpg: © Syndicat dInitiative et de Tourisme Bouillon
released under the terms of GPL

Many thanks for the translation to: