IPP Mail Archive: IPP> FW: More on "Foo Counters"

IPP Mail Archive: IPP> FW: More on "Foo Counters"

IPP> FW: More on "Foo Counters" in RFC 3092

From: Manros, Carl-Uno B (cmanros@cp10.es.xerox.com)
Date: Mon Apr 02 2001 - 17:07:58 EDT

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    The new RFC 3092 on "Foo" has already got praise from a number of readers.
    See complementary information about MIT "Foo Counters" below.

    I identified the need for such a document about 2 years ago, but it kept on
    being too far down on my priority list.

    In late 2000 I was contacted by Donald Eastlake, who suggested he could give
    me hand with the project, and he took over the main editorship.

    When Donald was checking round if we could reference text from various
    sources, he stumbled upon Eric S. Raymond, well known evangelist for Open
    Source and author of books like "The New Hacker's Dictionary" and "The
    Cathedral & the Bazaar". Eric not only approved of using some quotes from
    his works, but also offered to become a co-author. You can find out more
    about Eric at: http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/

    Some of the originally proposed text was dropped in the process to make sure
    that we kept it on a professional level, but this is probably the only RFC
    so far that uses the term 'Fucked Up...'.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Steve Russell [mailto:stever@nohau.com]
    Sent: Monday, April 02, 2001 1:20 PM
    To: Donald.Eastlake@motorola.com; manros@cp10.es.xerox.com;
    Cc: tmrc-talk@MIT.edu
    Subject: More on "Foo Counters" in RFC 3092


    I applaud your exhaustive reference on "Foo". I have a footnote to the
    quote in the third paragraph of page 3.

    Sometime in the period of 1954 - 1958, I visited Boston and saw a "foo
    counter" in an MIT student's room. I got the schematic and built one. It
    was my impression that this was often done and that the name "foo counter"
    was the common name for this kind of device.

    The foo counter consisted of a line of NE-2 neon lamps wired as relaxation
    oscillators and powered by a 90V battery (commonly available in the days of
    vacuum tube portable radios). The lamps flashed with different periods
    giving the impression of a binary counter counting very rapidly.

    The normal usage was to leave it around somewhere where it would invite
    questions. If the questioner seemed sufficiently naive, they would be told
    that the device was counting "Foos".

         Steve Russell

    Steve Russell mailto:stever@nohau.com
    Software Engineer http://www.nohau.com
    Nohau Corporation phone: (408)866-1820
    51 East Campbell Avenue fax: (408)378-7869
    Campbell, CA 95008

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