Bastard Operator From Hell

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"PFY", an acronym for "Pimply-Faced Youth", redirects here. For other uses, see PFY (disambiguation)

The Bastard Operator From Hell (BOFH) is a fictional 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 computer problems. Several people have written stories about BOFHs, but the canonical one was 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][4] becoming common Internet slang.

The early editions of the BOFH took place in a university, later moving on to an office workplace over time. The stories of 2000 (BOFH 2k) began with the BOFH and his pimply-faced youth (PFY) assistant moving to a new company.

Characteristics of the BOFH[edit]

The BOFH employs a system wherein the users are constantly deceived and manipulated at his will. Attempts to break this system or uncover it are met with blackmail or termination of employment (accomplished by various techniques). The same punishment is sometimes exacted on users who are especially annoying.[5] The main characteristic of the Bastard is that he is intent on slacking off and not helping the users (as he considers their problems to be annoying), accomplished by various means.

Other characters[edit]

The following other characters appear regularly:

  • The PFY (Pimply-Faced Youth, the assistant to the BOFH. Real name of Stephen[6]) 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")
  • The "beancounters", also known as accountants.
  • The CEO of the company — The PFY's uncle Brian[7] from 1996 until 2000, when the BOFH and PFY moved on to a new company.[8]
  • The Head of IT, almost as disposable as the Boss, slightly more intelligent.[citation needed]
  • The help desk operators, referred to as the "Helldesk" and often scolded for giving away the BOFH's personal number.
  • The Boss's secretary, Sharon.
  • The security department (who will tape Emmerdale over CCTV video tapes[9])
  • Engineers, from various suppliers (often shown as having no idea what they are doing and/or used as scapegoats[10])
  • George, the cleaner (an invaluable source of information to the BOFH and PFY, but at a price[11])

BOFH books[edit]


External links[edit]