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Immigration in Historical Perspective

How Jerry Pournelle Got Kicked Off the ARPANET

Back in the old days, computer scientists funded by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Administration (DARPA) worried greatly about how their proto-internet, the Advanced Research Projects Administration Network (ARPANET) might appear as a frivolous gossip-fest to accountants, inspector generals, and legislators anxious to show that they were flint-eyed custodians of the public purse. Hence they strongly requested that people, especially people with guest accounts, not mention ARPANET in non-Department of Defense contexts.

And that was how in 1985 science-fiction writer Jerry Pournelle got himself kicked off the ARPANET:

Wed, 29 May 85 06:16:01 EST From: Leigh L. Klotz KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA To: POURNE@MIT-MC.ARPA cc: USER-ACCOUNTS@MIT-MC.ARPA

You used the word "ARPANET" in your June Byte column three times. You even said

"I gave Alex the local ARPANET access number to record for the 1200-baud modem and inadvertently transposed two numbers."

I don't care if Alex IS a computer--you may soon find your accounts on MC decremented by gov't order.

Thu, 30 May 85 03:57:38 EST From: Jerry E. Pournelle To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA

thank you. if left to you I suppose I cewrtainly will find my accounts terminated. Your nice private message appreciated. seppuku follows.. maybe you ought to have me dumped off the net and be done with it? or must you work through someone else? J. E. Pournelle

Thu, 30 May 85 11:23:26 EST From: David Vinayak Wallace To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: Surprise!

Date: Wed, 29 May 85 07:04:16 EST From: Leigh L. Klotz

Do you think I chastised jerry pournelle too much for talking about his use of the arpanet in byte?

Yes. It's embarrassing to send a message to someone like that when a message in OFF POURNE would have done as well!

And now you've sent the message out I'll have to go and find out why he had to mention it in the first place!

Thu, 30 May 85 18:44:42 EST From: Leigh L. Klotz KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA To: POURNE@MIT-MC.ARPA cc: GUMBY@MIT-MC.ARPA

Date: Thu, 30 May 85 03:57:38 EST From: Jerry E. Pournelle To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA

thank you. if left to you I suppose I cewrtainly will find my accounts terminated. Your nice private message appreciated. seppuku follows.. maybe you ought to have me dumped off the net and be done with it? or must you work through someone else? J. E. Pournelle

USER-A is the mailing list created explicitly for dealing with these sorts of issues. It is the appropriate forum for discussion. There are eight people on user-a. You probably know better than I do, but last I heard about 100,000 times as many people read BYTE. Thus, the issue of privacy is the last one you should raise.

I don't particularly want to force you into ritual disembowelment; rather, I'm interested -- and I'm not the only one -- in why you find it necessary to flaunt your use of the arpanet. The more attention you (and other people) draw to non-blow-em-up use of the arpanet the more likely some Proxmire type is to start inquiring into its operations.

Fri, 31 May 85 01:11:16 EST From: Jerry E. Pournelle POURNE@MIT-MC.ARPA To: KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA cc: GUMBY@MIT-MC.ARPA

I find this thoroughly distasteful. If you have some authority to order me off the net, do so. If not, leave me alone.

31 MAY 1985 0225 EST From: GSB at MIT-MC.ARPA (Glenn S. Burke) To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA

i guess i haven't been paying enough attention to realize that he knew there was any heckling going on at all. I'm almost tempted to let him take his marbles and floppy disks and go home.

Fri, 31 May 85 09:39 EDT From: Kent M Pitman To: CStacy at MIT-MC.ARPA cc: Klotz at MIT-MC.ARPA, KMP at SCRC-STONY-BROOK.ARPA, Gumby at MIT-MC.ARPA

Subject: Pourne Date: Fri, 31 May 85 01:11:16 EST From: Jerry E. Pournelle POURNE@MIT-MC.ARPA To: KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA

I find this thoroughly distasteful. If you have some authority to order me off the net, do so. If not, leave me alone.

Personally, I'd just turn off his account. It's not like it's the first time, and he not only flaunts his use of our machines but stabs us in the back with grumblings about why he doesn't like this or that program of ours when he gets a chance. (Am thinking particularly of an article he wrote which condemned Lisp for reasons amounting to little more than his ignorance, but which cited Teach-Lisp in a not-friendly light... The man has learned nothing from his presence on MC and sets a bad example of what people might potentially accomplish there. I'd rather recycle his account for some bright 12-yr-old...)

Date: Fri, 31 May 85 11:02:27 EST From: John G. Aspinall To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA, GSB at MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: just think of it...

MIT Maximum Confusion PDP-10 MC ITS.1488. PWORD.2632. TTY 57 16. Lusers, Fair Share = 86%

:login pourne

That account has been temporarily turned off.

Reason: Think of it as evolution in action.

Any questions may be directed to USER-ACCOUNTS

I don't know whether you guys have read Niven and Pournelle's Oathof_Fealty_, but "Think of it as evolution in action." is their thinly disguised rallying cry for do-it-yourself social Darwinism. It would be so, so sweet to shove it back in his face.

Sat, 1 Jun 85 04:37:47 EST From: David Vinayak Wallace To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: POURNE

Date: Sat, 1 Jun 85 00:09:30 EST From: Glenn S. Burke

I.e., little jerry isn't going to get my sympathy if big bad leigh klotz picks on him.

KLOTZ: 5'8"?

POURNE: 6'4"

Fuck it. Flush him.

Tue, 4 Jun 85 16:01:51 EST From: David Vinayak Wallace To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: pourne

Why hasn't he been flushed yet?

Tue, 4 Jun 85 16:54:04 EST From: Christopher C. Stacy CSTACY@MIT-MC.ARPA To: ACCOUNTS-HELD-REFUSED@MIT-MC.ARPA

I set the following account:

Was: POURNE NTURIS [OK] TM Jerry E. Pournelle 06/03/85

Is: POURNE NTURIS [OFF] TM Jerry E. Pournelle 06/03/85

Because: This account has been terminated due to abuse.

Tue, 4 Jun 85 17:04:29 EST From: Christopher C. Stacy CSTACY@MIT-MC.ARPA To: USER-ACCOUNTS@MIT-MC.ARPA

Given POURNE's obnoxious attitiudes towards USER-A and his apparent belief that he has a god-given right to be on this machine and the network, we have flushed him.

Tue, 4 Jun 85 17:55:12 EST From: David Vinayak Wallace To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: POURNE

Too late. CSTACY flushed him even from the tac database.

Fri, 12 Jul 85 20:54:44 EDT From: Glenn S. Burke To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: [Forwarded: topaz!RU-BLUE LECIN@seismo.CSS.GOV,

Re: for those out there who DON'T read SF-LOVERS...]

Date: Monday, 8 July 1985 15:45-EDT From: "Franz Mark" at LLL-MFE.ARPA Re: WESTERCON 38 and The Pournelle/ARPANET Split

We attended the WESTERCON 38 SF convention held in Sacramento, CA, over the July 4th weekend. At WESTERCON we talked with Jerry Pournelle about why he never contributed to the SF-LOVERS bb since he had an account at MIT-MC. He said his account at MIT-MC was terminated by some "graduate student" in charge of accounting, who felt he did not have a need for an account. He knows who this "graduate student" is, and he refuses to grovel so that his account is reinstated. However, he asked us to broadcast this little story - presumably so that MIT-MC will come to him.

BTW - if you ever get a chance to meet Jerry Pournelle, you will not be dissappointed. Sequel to FOOTFALL:-)

HARPANET FOR PRESIDENT,

HUSENET FOR VICE-PRESIDENT.

Also planned is a sequel (and a prequel) to THE MOTE IN GOD'S EYE. WESTERCON 38 was run very well. In addition to Jerry, we spent several hours talking with Greg Bear, Norman Spinrad, Robert Adams, James P. Hogan, Larry Niven, John Brunner, and David Brin.

He might still have an account if he could keep from using words like ARPANET and DARPA in his column in BYTE magazine!

Wed, 24 Jul 85 22:35:03 EDT From: Christopher C. Stacy CSTACY@MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: [kerch: Jerry Pournelle] To: USER-ACCOUNTS@MIT-MC.ARPA

I'll take care of this, but I thought you might be amused by it.

Date: Wed Jul 24 13:15:44 1985 From: kerch at lll-tis-b (Berry Kercheval) To: CSTACY Re: Jerry Pournelle Status: N

(Note -- I am a neutral third party)

Mr. Pournelle bids me tell you that if you intended to annoy him, you have succeeded, and that his next column in BYTE will have a lot to say about the ARPANET....

Wed, 24 Jul 85 23:00:04 EDT From: David Vinayak Wallace GUMBY@MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: [kerch: Jerry Pournelle] To: CSTACY@MIT-MC.ARPA cc: USER-ACCOUNTS@MIT-MC.ARPA

It's funny this should appear in my mail to-day. I had lunch this afternoon with McCarthy, and in the course of conversation (we were discussing SF) he mentioned that someone at MC had flushed Pournelle...

As for pournelle himself: He really thinks that WE are trying to annoy HIM??? Of course if he's vitriolic enough and all the obnoxious turists vanish (leaving the nice ones of course) then he may have atoned without realising it...

Thu, 25 Jul 1985 00:04 EDT From: PGS%MIT-OZ@MIT-MC.ARPA To: "Christopher C. Stacy" CSTACY@MIT-MC.ARPA Cc: USER-ACCOUNTS@MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: [kerch: Jerry Pournelle]

Wednesday, 24 July 1985 22:35-EDT From: Christopher C. Stacy To: USER-ACCOUNTS at MIT-MC.ARPA Re: [kerch: Jerry Pournelle]

I'll take care of this, but I thought you might be amused by it.

You might consider contacting Byte about publishing some note from us to appear simultaneously with this. This is only important if pournelle is going to say what I think he is going to say (what JMC told me pournelle was claiming), which is that the reason his account was flushed was because he favors the Strategic Defense Initiative, and MC is run by a bunch of communists. This will no doubt please darpa immensely.

Pournelle claims that he heard at a science fiction convention that you (chris) had said that the real reason his account was flushed was that ``he (pournelle) is a fascist.'' Given the current political climate, this could raise some sort of ruckus, so it would probably be good to nip this in the bud.

Thu, 25 Jul 85 14:06:21 EDT From: Daniel Weise DANIEL@MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: Pournelle and Byte. To: PGS@MIT-MC.ARPA, USER-ACCOUNTS@MIT-MC.ARPA, CSTACY@MIT-MC.ARPA

All we have to to is warn Byte that MIT will sue the magazine if any incorrect defamatory comments are made by Pournelle. I am sure the editors there have the same opinion of him that we do and will make sure that Pournelle doesn't end them up in court.

As it stands Pournelle really doesn't understand the state of the world. If he insists on printing his delusions then MIT's case would be trivial to win.

Daniel

Wed, 9 Oct 85 23:55:48 EDT From: Leigh L. Klotz KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA To: user-a@MIT-OZ

The following is offered without comment. It was forwarded to me by someone who reads the Byte Magazine bulletin board.

One thing that is known about ARPA: you can be heaved off it for supporting the policies of the Department of Defense. Of course that was intended to anger me. If you have an ARPA account, please tell CSTACY that he was successful; now let us see if my Pentagon friends can upset him. Or perhaps some reporter friends. Or both., Or even the House Armed Services Committee.

Date: Thu, 24 Oct 85 16:45:09 EDT From: "Christopher C. Stacy" CSTACY@MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: vax135!petsd!pedsgd!bobh at UCB-VAX.Berkeley.EDU To: USER-ACCOUNTS@MIT-MC.ARPA

It would be a good idea if people did NOT respond to the message about Jerry Pournelle; nothing useful can come from stirring this around further.

Sat, 9 Nov 1985 23:10 EST From: PGS%MIT-OZ@MIT-MC.ARPA To: user-a@MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: Pournelle

Leigh read me some of Mr. Pournelle's expose' of the ARPAnet. He pretty much said that, due to increased demands on computational resources, guest accounts are no longer generally available on MC, thereby saving Chris some typing

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