Difference between revisions of "686: Admin Mourning"

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Revision as of 13:15, 17 January 2013

Admin Mourning
And every day it gets harder to fight the urge to su to the user and freak people out.
Title text: And every day it gets harder to fight the urge to su to the user and freak people out.


The background images show output from the the ps command of Unix computer system, that lists the programmes a user is running. If a user is not able to log out, their processes would continue to run until stopped by a reboot. If a user were to die while logged in their still running programs would be a reminder of them to other users.

This comic supposes that an administrator is unwilling to reboot a machine which has still running processes from a presumably deceased user named "sam". The final joke refers to the command line interface called a shell, and a particular type of shell called zshell, and the expression "Ghost in the machine". The other process that sam appears to be running is irssi, a realtime chat client.

To "su to the user" is to use the ability of an root user to become other users, thereby giving the impression that "sam" or his ghost had logged in again.


[The text is over a white-on-black terminal showing a bit of output from ps -el, with processes running from root and sam.]
When a user dies, their connections time out,
but their screen sessions linger.
[The end of the command line is a |grep sam.]
The server's uptime grows
because you can't bring yourself to reboot
and wipe out
their last earthly presence
[The processes listed are screen, zsh, irssi, and grep sam.]
the ghost in zshell.

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This reminds me of the philosophical thought that "...a person dies three times. The day he dies. The day the last person who knew him dies. The day his name is spoken for the last time." Makes you think, eh? 20:15, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

By "their screen sessions linger," does it mean litteral GNU Screen sessions? Ad1217 (talk) 04:00, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes. SCREEN is in the greped output of ps in the comic 17:16, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

irssi (Internet Relay Chat client software) process running in SCREEN session possibly means that Sam is logged on to the IRC and appears as a live person on some talk channels. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I'm not sure "old fashioned" is a correct description here. Modern Unix systems do this, too. 00:02, 8 August 2014 (UTC)

In my opinion this comic might contain a reference to the more or less popular movie "Ghost" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_(1990_film) ) as well, since the main character in this movie is called "Sam", too. -- 09:42, 21 October 2014 (UTC)