Bastard Operator From Hell

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The Bastard Operator From Hell (BOFH) is a fictional rogue computer operator who takes out his anger on users and others who pester him with their computer problems, uses his expertise against his enemies and manipulates his employer.[1][2]

Several other people have written stories about BOFHs, but those by Simon Travaglia are considered canonical.[2] The BOFH stories were originally posted in 1992 to Usenet by Travaglia, with some being reprinted in Datamation.[3] They were published weekly from 1995 to 1999 in Network Week.[citation needed][4] Since 2000 they have been published regularly in The Register (UK).[5] Several collections of the stories have been published as books.

By extension, the term is also used to refer to any system administrator who displays the qualities of the original.[1][2]

The early accounts of the BOFH took place in a university; later the scenes were set in an office workplace. In 2000 (BOFH 2k), the BOFH and his pimply-faced youth (PFY) assistant moved to a new company.

Other characters[edit]

  • The PFY (Pimply-Faced Youth, the assistant to the BOFH. Real name is Stephen[6]) Possesses a temperament similar to the BOFH, and often either teams up with or plots against him.
  • The Boss (often portrayed as having no IT knowledge but believing otherwise; identity changes as successive bosses are sacked, leave, are committed, or have nasty "accidents")
  • CEO of the company — The PFY's uncle Brian[7] from 1996 until 2000, when the BOFH and PFY moved to a new company.[8]
  • The Head of IT, almost as disposable as the Boss.[citation needed]
  • The help desk operators, referred to as the "Helldesk" and often scolded for giving out the BOFH's personal number.
  • The Boss's secretary, Sharon.
  • The security department [9]
  • George, the cleaner (an invaluable source of information to the BOFH and PFY)[10]


  • Travaglia, Simon (2001). The Bastard Operator From Hell. Illustrated by Pete Abrams. Plan Nine Publishing. ISBN 978-1-929462-17-9. OCLC 276706543.
  • Travaglia, Simon (2001). Bastard Operator From Hell II: Son of the Bastard. Plan Nine Publishing. ISBN 978-1-929462-40-7.
  • Travaglia, Simon (2002). Bride of the Bastard Operator From Hell. Plan Nine Publishing. ISBN 978-1-929462-48-3.
  • Travaglia, Simon (2003). Dummy Mode Is Forever. Illustrated by Brad Guigar. Plan Nine Publishing. ISBN 978-1-929462-63-6.
  • Travaglia, Simon (2005). Dial "B" for Bastard. Plan Nine Publishing. ISBN 978-1-929462-94-0.

References in other media[edit]

The main protagonist in Charles Stross's The Laundry Files series of novels named himself Bob Oliver Francis Howard in reference to the BOFH. As Bob Howard is a self-chosen pseudonym, and Bob is a network manager when not working as a computational demonologist, the name is all too appropriate. In the novella 'Pimpf' he acquires a pimply-faced young assistant by the name of Peter-Fred Young.


External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]