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Rural BOFHs face FBI threat menace

It's in the registry, stupid

Administrators everywhere should prepare for a whole new class of user request classifications. Common request tags such as "Priority," "High Priority," and "Dear lord, this is an EMERGENCY!!" have proven insufficient for some. In fact, one IT expert continues to extoll the virtues of the "I'm calling the FBI now if you don't help" support escalation.

Yes, it's our man Jerry Taylor, the city manager of Tuttle, Oklahoma. Taylor acquired international fame for firing off the angriest set of support requests on record to Linux maker CentOS. Taylor, who has 22 years of IT experience, mistook a new web server installation for hack attempt on Tuttle's IT infrastructure. He ordered CentOS - which had nothing to do with the situation other than providing an OS to a hosting company - to fix his problem or face off with the Feds.

At first, Taylor claimed to welcome media attention around this issue. But his mind changed after hundreds of you e-mailed and phoned him - at which point Taylor issued an urgent request for us to stop all media attention.

Taylor, however, hasn't backed down from his policy of threatening to phone in the FBI in order to get support requests sent to the wrong organization taken care of.

"Taylor said he had no regrets about his attack-dog mode against the CentOs organization," The Oklahoman reports after having talked to the Tuttle man.

"I was frustrated because I couldn't get any help," he said. "The guy kept telling me to get an IT person. I don't know how to break this loop without threatening him with the FBI because this is not getting anywhere."

Many of you have mocked Taylor, but he may be onto something.

Say, for example, that your boss asks you to fire up a new BEA web server on a Solaris box. At the first sign of trouble, phone Microsoft and tell the support desk you're going to call the Department of Homeland Security if you don't get immediate help installing the BEA software. Or have some real fun and play the CIA card with Oracle when your DB2 installation gives you fits. This process will give administrators everywhere more clout or at least buy some extra time for chatting over Friday doughnuts and coffee service.

Having read The Oklahoman's take on the Taylor situation, we can't help but wonder if there aren't more pressing IT issues involved here.

"The guy is having a lot fun with it. He put it out on the registry, I guess," Taylor told the paper. "I've gotten about 500 e-mails with it, all kinds of obscene (stuff), so you know the level of person who is responding." [Did he really say the obscene word "shit"? - Ed]

This leads us to wonder if the paper's technology reporter Jim Stafford knows something we don't. Where is this "registry" and how do you put things on it? This means of information dispersal seems almost Biblical.

Stafford and his editor have declined our requests to explain where we can find the "registry," but they are looking into the matter - seriously. If you know where the registry is or can explain its special powers, send Stafford a line.

Four Tuttle stories in one week is too many to be sure and this is the last we'll write on the subject no matter what our man Taylor does next.

As a show of good faith from your Texan reporter, however, we'll leave you with a couple of reader letters, claiming Oklahoma isn't the backwater IT black hole it appears to be.

Oklahoma is not as much a third world country as it seems. There are many of us who do in fact posess opposable thumbs, can walk on two legs, and have the capacity to dress ourselves and form simple complete sentences; though some of the more vocal representatives of this state would lead you to believe otherwise.

I have nothing else to offer but my most sincere apologies for the rampant idiocy displayed in recent past, and a promise of hope that the younger generation of Oklahomans emerging into industry today do not reflect quite so much a lack of Clue as displayed by the exchange between the City Manager of Tuttle and CentOS.

Reid Linnemann

I live in oklahoma and being that i am a computer user and long time linux user i was appalled but Mr Taylors behavior. This man should not have been threatening anyone. he could have asked properly that centos give him an idea on how to find out where it was coming from without stating he was being hacked. on a couple of occasions i have been called upon to use whois and other tools to find the locations of spammers and such. for anyone involved in computers its easy. this guy is a fossil with technology and should really think about pushing more education for himself to get up to date.

i want to make mention to one of the readers that made the comparison of oklahoma and a third world developing country that this Mr Taylor is not representative of oklahoma just a small town city manager who has floated around to several small towns. You should not be so quick to make that statement because i happen to work for a pretty state of the art IT facility in a government office here.

That only means that everynow and again there is going to be some arrogant jerk who doesnt know his 0's from his 1's. Dont let it slay your judgement of oklahoma. There are many people that are highly educated here just not all. I think that is par for the city province or country you live in as well.

Joe Watson

As a member of the IT community in Oklahoma, I have to apologize for the actions of the illustrious Tuttle City Manager. He is a fairly accurate indicator of the level of government incompetence we deal with here on a constant basis, unfortunately. Hopefully his email privileges have been revoked and his computer replaced with a large box of crayons. Steve

Funny, this guy was actually the city manager of the town I grew up in (Harrah). Considering all the other "part-time city worker" rednecks in Harrah that carry full time jobs being apartment complex maintenence men or tow truck drivers, it doesn't surprise me somebody like this was able to score a near respectable job without actually having to soak in the required knowledge.

Reminds me of our ex-police cheif that took a few pills, got drunk, and took his patrol car out for a joy ride and rear-ended somebody.

Only in Harrah!

Post Scriptum: Viva la blue comic sans! Though his city page would be much better with low-res animated gif's dancing in each corner.

Ricky McLaughlin

I just read the story about the guy from Tuttle, Oklahoma. I just want to reaffirm the IT community's faith in it's professionals here in Oklahoma. I think any knowledgeable professional here wouldn't make the mistake this individual made, and certainly wouldn't have gone through the anger he did. I'm sure many of us use CentOS and am surprised that a Linux user wouldn't have heard of it before.

Tuttle is a small town, and probably doesn't have many people in the city IT department. Hopefully this individual will make an effort to confer with other professionals before going off the deep end again. Maybe we could give him a free session in anger management and ship him off to a Linux workshop.

Chris Miller

Not to dampen your letter writing spirit, but we should note a couple of things. Yes, we do have Taylor's e-mail address. We're not publishing it on purpose, but thanks for passing it along - all of you. And, yes, we've seen Brazil.

FBI up, ya'll. ®

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