Bastard Operator From Hell

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"PFY" redirects here. For other uses, see PFY (disambiguation).

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.[1] The BOFH stories were originally posted in 1992 to Usenet by Travaglia, with some being reprinted in Datamation.[2] They were published weekly from 1995 to 1999 in Network Week[citation needed] and since 2000 they have been published regularly in The Register.[3] Several books of the stories have also been released.

By extension, the term is also used to refer to any system administrator who displays (or wishes he could get away with) the qualities of the original.[1] The term has become common Internet slang.

Early BOFH editions took place in a university, moving on to an office workplace over time. 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, whom he believes are intent on breaking it.[citation needed]
  • The PFY (Pimply-Faced Youth) (real name of Stephen[4]) (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
  • The CEO — The PFY's uncle Brian[5] from 1996 until 2000, when the BOFH and PFY moved on to a new company.[6]
  • The Head of IT, almost as disposable as the Boss, slightly more intelligent.[citation needed]
  • "Helldesk Operators"
  • The Boss's Secretary, Sharon.
  • Security (who will tape Emmerdale over CCTV video tapes)[citation needed]
  • George, the cleaner (invaluable source of information, often referred to as the "Alfred" to the BOFH and PFY)[citation needed]
  • Sam, the janitor (scapegoat[citation needed])
  • Ron, the electrician (Mad Ron the Sparky, often electrocuted, possibly deceased[citation needed])
  • Engineers, from various suppliers (often shown as having no idea what they are doing, often used as scapegoats[citation needed])
  • The 'Coloured Crayon' Department — the users of Apple Macs for graphic design[citation needed]
  • Code Hacks — Programmers

BOFH books[edit]


External links[edit]