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Oklahoma man asks Reg to turn off the internet

Make these Linux meanies stop!

By Ashlee Vance, 27 Mar 2006

Letters Jerry Taylor, the now famous city manager of Tuttle, Oklahoma, who last week threatened to call the FBI to stop Linux maker CentOS from helping him configure a web server has presented The Register with a massive request. Taylor wants us to shut down the internet.

For those of you who are not up to speed with this popular story, here's a brief recap.

Taylor went to Tuttle city's web site, hoping to make some changes. Upon arriving at the site, he discovered the boilerplate Apache web server configuration page and mistook this for a possible hack attempt on Tuttle. Instead of contacting a server administrator about the problem, Taylor initiated a tirade with a CentOS support staffer in which he repeatedly threatened to have the FBI investigate the Linux maker for attacking Tuttle's municipal web site.

Eventually, CentOS showed Taylor that it had nothing to do with the web site other than providing the operating system software for the web server. The fury of Tuttle's e-mails made plenty of you laugh as our story was picked up by Slashdot, Digg and others.

It would seem that we made too many of you laugh.

Taylor - who once proclaimed to the CentOS staff, "I have no fear of the media, in fact I welcome this publicity" - has asked us to put a halt to the publicity.

Taylor declined to respond to this reporter's request for comment but did write to a member of El Reg's marketing team.

I do not follow instructions that show up when a website that I am not familiar with appears on my computer and I do not think anyone with experience would do so either. Once the Centos site appeared on four computers at one site I contacted our web service provider. The web service provider did not know what could cause the problem and had never heard of "CentOS". I then contacted the internet provider's local office and was told that they did nothing to cause the problem. I checked the building's server and found nothing relating to CentOS on the server. I was then left with only the web page email address to contact. I asked for the strange website to be removed because it blocked my City web site and I could not post public information. I only got help after threatening to contact the FBI.

Now I am being flooded with emails from CentOS users that after knowing the answer say the problem was simple. I think this is unjustified and would like for this to stop. Your website should provide useful information and be a credit to the IT world. I do not believe it should be used to incite the users. Your attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

So stop, now. Please.

It should be noted that Taylor failed to thank many of you for improving Tuttle's web site.

About 100 of you noticed the spelling error in Taylor's bio page where he wrote, "I am please [sic] to serve the citizens of the City of Tuttle." That line now reads "I am pleased to serve the citizens of the City of Tuttle." The site, however, continues to misspell Heisman - or Hiesman according to Tuttle - despite being the home of Heisman Trophy winning football star Jason White. Plenty of you noticed this mistake, and we guess Taylor will fix the problem soon.

The fact that Taylor cannot handle the abuse of Linux fan boys may be surprising given that he has faced off against a tiger in tong-to-fence combat - a story captured by The Tuttle Times - note the granddad's pride and joy sweater. (In an unrelated item, you can find a Tuttle police officer preparing for a party here.)

Now, more from our beloved readers.

Hello Ashlee,

This is denial of the bleedin obvious on a scale that Comical Ali would be proud of. Are they by any chance related? I hope I attain a similarly serene degree of confidence after 22 years in my area of expertise.

Might I respectfully propose that these events mark The Register's foundation of the Hughes cross, to be awarded for conspicuous and selfless assistance in the presence of overwhelming and bloody minded stubbourness?


Matthew Barratt

Mr. Vance,

Someone really ought to explain DNS to these folks, while they're at it.

:>D == THANKS !! You made my day !!!!

JB ==

Perhaps the people at Cent OS should have offered the FBI's phone number and contact name to the city. Then the FBI would explain (probably in words of one syllable) just how stupid the guy was. I would have loved to have been in on that phone call. I suspect that the FBI (hopefully!) knows about such things.

Maybe there should be a remedial reading course for the city manager who had "22 years..." of experience. Apparently none were in how web servers work. Perhaps the 22 years date back to his keypunch/Fortran years.

p.s. Yes, I do have experience in both keypunches AND Fortran!

Tom Watson

Those CentOS guys had better watch out. A man that uses blue Comic Sans text ojn an official, public presentation is capable of anything.

Taking into account that his first sentence runs " I am please to serve the citizens of the City of Tuttle. " and I think it's clear we are in fact dealing with a Robot Drone programmed by the Lizards to create total and utter chaos in preparation for their final attack. Observe those stilted sentences and weep.

Rose Humphrey

Dear Mr. Jerry A. Taylor, please stop threatening people who know what they do (especially if they are working on stuff you use for FREE). Mr. Hughes was very nice to you and you behaved like a pre-teen bully.

It is cleary your fault. Please state so and stop taking ... whatever you take.

Greets from Germany

Falk Husemann

Classic reading. Thank you for starting my Saturday on a knee-slapping hilarious start.

I'm still mystified how someone with a BSEE (or part of one) and 22 years at Raytheon can't know understand "OS" and "network administrator." Maybe he drinks on the job? That horrible case of rosacea might be a clue. ,:)

Yours, chuckling,

David Spalding

The whole debacle in Oklahoma should not come as a shock to anyone. This is exactly the sort of thing that happens when you give people in developing countries computers. If we can just manage to stay the course, we can help these poor bastards overcome the gap.

Charles Henderson

Great story - however the last item on Jerry Taylor's Background and Qualifications says it all - Program Manager 22 years Raytheon(E-Systems, Inc.)

Everyone in the defense industry knows that the old E-System guys were always out of control - that is their standard operating procedure, they stand there yelling at everyone, that its their fault and you better get if fixed pretty darn quick - or else! Quite funny to see that they now take their "attitude" in to their other walks of life...

Gordon Bader

Hi, This was one absolutely priceless article!

I can not believe this person was so unbelievably uninformed for someone who claims "22 years in computer systems engineering!" ... I did read that right ... computer systems engineering?

Hard to believe that in all those '22 years' of 'obvious knowledge' that someone could have missed the Internet entirely! Or at least have NEVER before seen a standard apache web page that is happens upon successful installation of the apache web server on any server around the world.


Fran Parker

Tuttle city manager Jerry Taylor is obviously a first rate egoic psycopathic asshole. I'd advise CENT OS to threaten a suit for government harrassment, AND include a suitable invoice for "services rendered under duress".

Ed Ebert

I am one of the developers that receives emails to Debian webmaster alias. I'm glad to see we're not the only ones that get these sorts of messages.

While the number of times it happens has decreased, we still get indignant emails from some punters out there saying why are we hacking their website, get off now, we'll sue or call the authourities etc.

Never had one of those complaints go for so long though, that Oklahoma guy is in a class of his own.

Craig Small

I checked out Jerry Taylor's webpage to see if it had a link to email him, perhaps to tell him what an asshat he is and inform him that he should apologize to the CentOS team and maybe make a contribution to the project, when I noticed this:

"Please call me, or come by my office at City Hall. My door is always open and I answer all calls. Click on my name to send an email."

Sounds like a guy that's open to some friendly discussion. Too bad there's nary a link on the page containing his email address. I even checked the page's source to be sure I wasn't missing a mailto: link somewhere. Nada. Since he has 22 years in computer systems engineering and operation, I can only guess the link was taken down purposefully and was not simply an oversight, and was most assuredly not due to lack of knowledge and understanding on his part.

Also, the guy uses Comic Sans to deliver his bio. What a tool.


You get the idea. ®

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