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Godmother of Unix admins, presumed lost
July 6, 2013 5:25 PM   Subscribe

The schooner Nina was last heard from on June 4th, as it fought high winds and seas off the coast of New Zealand. It carried a crew of seven, including Evi Nemeth - well known to sysadmins for co-authoring The Unix System Administration Handbook. As of today, the search has been suspended, and all are presumed lost at sea.
posted by bitmage (42 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by furtive at 5:31 PM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


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Very sad now. I remember going to Usenix and how excited everyone was to see Evi.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:34 PM on July 6, 2013


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:36 PM on July 6, 2013


Evi taught my Data Structures class at the University of Colorado in 1991, and was kind enough to let me take a midterm late so I could go on a tournament trip with the basketball band.

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posted by dr. fresh at 5:37 PM on July 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


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That book lives on my desk.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:48 PM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


[root]#
posted by DU at 5:54 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've always loved the super cheesy artwork. It's the perfect art for what has, for a very long time, been my bible.

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posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:55 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


May we who are safe on land ever remember the many who go down to the sea in ships, and may those in peril contact with something of comfort.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:02 PM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Matthew Wootton, who was also on the Nina, was a good friend to a great many people and is very missed as well.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:05 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:07 PM on July 6, 2013


When the purple book came out, I very shyly asked for her to sign it for me at LISA, and as she did, she said some incredibly encouraging things about meeting more and more women in system administration. It was really kind of like meeting your hero, as I'd been given the red book when I first started as a sysadmin and used it as my favorite reference for ages, and I loved all the humor in the book -- that humor is something I still think really defines the unix philosophy. (Pipes are great and all, but cheesy jokes are even better!) I hope that lives on.

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posted by sldownard at 6:11 PM on July 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


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posted by drowsy at 6:40 PM on July 6, 2013


Oh dear. Not to dismiss the loss of life in any way, but that vessel is also an important landmark in marine design. A sad year for sailing.
posted by Miko at 6:46 PM on July 6, 2013


while true
do
echo .
done
posted by caphector at 7:16 PM on July 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


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posted by Cash4Lead at 7:23 PM on July 6, 2013


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posted by limeonaire at 7:39 PM on July 6, 2013


She was an institution when I was at CU in the late 90's, admired, feared, and always listened too. Whenever I saw her she had wry smile and a twinkle in her eye and always took time to talk to students, not a professor to ever shirk duties off on the TA's.
posted by nickggully at 7:40 PM on July 6, 2013


[user@host: ~]$ ps -A | grep -i evi
[user@host: ~]$

posted by xbonesgt at 7:56 PM on July 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


While faking it until making it, her book was a Godsend to me. Thanks, and God bless.

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posted by wenestvedt at 8:06 PM on July 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


While faking it until making it, her book was a Godsend to me. Thanks, and God bless.

I owe my entire career to the USAH: it was the go-to reference for pretty much anyone running a Unix box in the '90s... so it essentially built the internet.

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posted by Slap*Happy at 8:29 PM on July 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I read the USAH when I was new to Unix, and its common sense, breezy style solidified so many foundational concepts in a way virtually no other Unix books attempt, much less achieve. I reread it again years later and found equal value in its presentation of information, even as the technical specifics had long faded into obsolescence.

This is a huge loss.

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posted by ipe at 8:57 PM on July 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


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posted by lapolla at 10:47 PM on July 6, 2013


I wonder is it common for things like this to happen? How risky was the journey they were trying to make?
posted by rubber duck at 11:15 PM on July 6, 2013


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posted by Inkslinger at 11:48 PM on July 6, 2013


Do what you love.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:14 AM on July 7, 2013


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posted by hap_hazard at 1:22 AM on July 7, 2013


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posted by PROD_TPSL at 2:28 AM on July 7, 2013


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posted by Samizdata at 2:47 AM on July 7, 2013


I wonder is it common for things like this to happen? How risky was the journey they were trying to make?

I don't know, but this is eerily reminiscent of the disappearance of Jim Gray, the Microsoft computer scientist who was lost at sea while sailing his small yacht Tenacious (previously and previously).
posted by RichardP at 3:19 AM on July 7, 2013


There's a name I hadn't thought of in a long while. In my early days of Unix there was an essential library of useful works, and hers was among them.


]man evi-nemeth
no manual entry for evi-nemeth
]why
No such file or directory

posted by grimjeer at 6:13 AM on July 7, 2013


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posted by introp at 7:02 AM on July 7, 2013


A friend of a friend was on that boat. This is upsetting.
posted by cloeburner at 7:25 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by adventureloop at 8:20 AM on July 7, 2013


Her System Administration course was one of the most challenging, and most rewarding, I've ever taken (although by that point, she no longer required C code to pass lint before being submitted for grading). The System Administration Handbook is still useful; if nothing else the last chapter full of case studies is a great read for anyone in IT. It's one of the few books that made the cut to move overseas with me.

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posted by penguinicity at 10:02 AM on July 7, 2013


Six other people, too.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:48 AM on July 7, 2013


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posted by cmdnc0 at 11:15 AM on July 7, 2013


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Damn
posted by halonine at 11:18 AM on July 7, 2013


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posted by floatboth at 11:57 AM on July 7, 2013


Such a shame.

I've always loved the super cheesy artwork.

Computing has the best cheesy artwork. And it's always a sign of data transcendence. (Ever seen the original manual for the Apple II? Back when a rainbow was 'corporate' enough?)

Get off my BBS.
posted by Twang at 1:05 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by eviemath at 1:15 PM on July 7, 2013


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posted by chance at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2013


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posted by Gelatin at 5:33 AM on July 9, 2013


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