Bastard Operator From Hell
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2013)|
The Bastard Operator From Hell (BOFH) is a fictional character, a rogue system administrator who takes out his anger on users (often referred to as lusers), colleagues, bosses, and anyone else who pesters him with their pitiful user created "problems". Several people have written stories about BOFHs, but the canonical one is created by Simon Travaglia.  The BOFH stories were originally posted in 1992 to Usenet by Travaglia, with some being reprinted in Datamation. They were published weekly from 1995 to 1999 in Network Week and since 2000 they have been published regularly in The Register. Several books of the stories have also been released.
Early BOFH editions took place in a university, moving on to an office workplace over time (an exact transition is not given). BOFH 2k began with the BOFH and his pimply-faced youth (PFY) assistant moving to a new company.
The following characters appear regularly:
- The BOFH (real name of Simon). Loves 'his' system, and hates the users, who he believes are intent on breaking it. Faked his death in order to take an extended holiday, twice, with great success.
- The PFY (Pimply-Faced Youth) (real name of Stephen) (BOFH's assistant, 1996–) Possesses a similar temperament to the BOFH, and is often found either teaming up with and/or plotting against him.
- The Boss (often portrayed as having no IT knowledge whatsoever yet believes otherwise, changes throughout the stories as successive bosses are sacked, leave, are committed, or have nasty "accidents")
- "Beancounters" aka accountants (disposable, interchangeable, faceless, used on occasion as balls in a game of "blackout fire-alarm beancounter pinball")
- The CEO — The PFY's uncle Brian from 1996 until 2000, when the BOFH and PFY moved on to a new company. Generally on good terms with the BOFH, if only because both parties like to keep their jobs safe
- The Head of IT, almost as disposable as the Boss, slightly more intelligent.
- "Helldesk Operators" (disposable, interchangeable, faceless)
- The Boss's Secretary, Sharon.
- Security (who will tape Emmerdale over CCTV video tapes; useless with computers)
- George, the cleaner (invaluable source of information, often referred to as the "Alfred" to the BOFH and PFY)
- Sam, the janitor (scapegoat)
- Ron, the electrician (Mad Ron the Sparky, often electrocuted, possibly deceased)
- Engineers, from various suppliers (often shown as having no idea what they are doing, often used as scapegoats)
- The 'Coloured Crayon' Department — the users of Apple Macs for graphic design
- Code Hacks — Programmers
- The BOFH stories are alluded to in the Laundry Series by Charles Stross, featuring main character Bob Oliver Francis Howard (a system administrator) and, in "Pimpf" in The Jennifer Morgue, his intern Peter-Fred Young.
- The Bastard Operator From Hell (Plan Nine, ISBN 1-929462-17-4)
- Bastard Operator From Hell II: Son of the Bastard (Plan Nine, ISBN 1-929462-40-9)
- Bride of the Bastard Operator From Hell (Plan Nine, ISBN 1-929462-48-4)
- Dummy Mode Is Forever (Plan Nine, ISBN 1-929462-63-8)
- Dial "B" For Bastard (Plan Nine, ISBN 1-929462-94-8)
- Raymond, Eric S. (1996). The New Hacker's Dictionary. The MIT Press. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-262-68092-9.
- Travaglia, Simon. "The Bastard Operator from Hell Official Archive". Datamation Magazine.
- Simon Travaglia, The Register, accessed 18 January 2013
- "BOFH: You just can't go around killing people (The Register)".