Open Source Confusion

This is only slightly related to open source; however, it was way too humorous not to share. The short story is that a slightly clueless local city official (Jerry A. Taylor) in Oklahoma mistook an Apache / CentOS misconfiguration page for a malicious attack against several of the cities web servers. Despite the several threatening and misinformed emails to the CentOS team, a developer at CentOS was kind enough to “help” this man by using standard networking commands (whois, nslookup, etc.) to find his IP address, hosting provider, etc., which for some reason this official was unable / unwilling to figure out on his own.

Here are a few of the more interesting snippets from the email exchange:

Jerry Taylor to CentOS: “Who gave you permission to invade my website and block me and anyone else from accessing it??? Please remove your software immediately before I report it to government officials!! I am the City Manager of Tuttle, Oklahoma.”

CentOS to Jerry Taylor: “I feel sorry for your city. … Please contact someone who does IT for you and show them the page so that they can configure your apache webserver correctly.”

Jerry Taylor to CentOS: “Get this web site off my home page!!!!! It is blocking access to my website!!!!~!”

CentoOS to Jerry Taylor: “It is not a website … it is the operating system. … We didn’t DO ANYTHING … that is what the default apache setup looks like if you are running our operating system (CentOS). So how your configuration file has been replaced by the default one … that is not something that we can do, it is something that might have been done by the administrator of the machine.”

Jerry Taylor to CentOS: “Unless this software is removed I will file a complaint with the FBI.”

CentOS to Jerry Taylor: “You obviously do not understand what I am trying to tell you, is there no one on the city council or in your building who understands what an operating system is.”

The full email exchange can be found on the CentOS site.

It was also interesting to note that within the past 24 hours, Jerry Taylor corrected several grammatical errors and removed his email address from his online city profile.